Saturday, 14 May 2011


Each child is precious.

By God's grace we are in touch with about 150 people in Thane who have HIV/AIDS through the JSK home-based care programme.

Many of our friends have children. Some of our positive friends are children. Each child has their own special needs.

Holidays are a challenge for many - as there just is nothing to do.

The streets beckon.

For a number of years Jeevan Sahara has been organising a Vacation Bible School together with folks from local churches for children who we are in touch with. This year's time was a wonderful one.

The kids who join the JSK VBS are not 'Sunday School' goody-goodies. They are children who have seen their share of sorrow. Many have lost a parent. Some have lost both. Some are HIV positive themselves. Some have HIV positive siblings. Almost all have a parent who is suffering from the disease.

Needless to say - it is unsurprising that many can hardly sit still.

Which is why we worked hard to get teachers who have big hearts. Lots of them. We ended up with 18 different classes taught by 22 different teachers. With 119 kids being there on the final day this meant that almost every class had only 6 kids in them. Some with even less. The attention to each child is vital. Precious.

Over the 5 solid days of the VBS we saw so many blessings. Lives receiving love. Children holding on to their teachers. Much laughter and prayer. Games and joy as well as times of introspection.

The children loved singing. Loved it. To have over 100 kids singing lustily together was an amazing sight. We were so blessed to have a great song-team who poured themselves into the kids.

The premises for this intense 5 day time was provided very very generously to us by the Marthoma Church in Majiwade, Thane. We are so grateful for the beautiful hall and stilt area which we were able to have fully to our use for the whole time! Such a blessing to have a safe, beautiful space for the kids to learn, play and enjoy in.

At the centre of the VBS is the Bible. We are convinced that it is God's word which changes hearts - and know that many of the dear ones will see real fruit in their lives.

We were blessed to have Bro Oliver Ammana and Sheba share with the older children in the special devotional assemblies - and Sis. Sabina Jadav share with the younger children.

I had the joy of telling a daily 'missionary story.' As I was telling the older children about David Livingstone - it struck me that Livingstone left school at the age of 10 to work in a rope factory because his parents were too poor. Instead of giving in to a life of drudgery, however, Livingstone took his books along with him and tried to read and learn in every spare moment - while working 12 to 14 hour days. So many of our children have very poor educational situations - but how any one of them can be a world-changer - and a desitiny-shaper - with God's help!

Behind all the classes and amazing sessions - was a whole lot of work. Cleaning, serving, preparing, cleaning again, purchasing, bringing food, serving food, cleaning again, bringing children to the VBS, taking them back, cleaning again.

We were blessed with a small army of young helpers who made it all possible - and an excellent JSK team who continued to meet people with HIV in their homes - after having dropped off their assigned kids in the morning - and then taking the children back home at the end of the day.

And we were also blessed with a lot of prayer. People across the city (and the world) were praying for this special time. We did too. As teachers and helpers. Many times in preparation and during the whole VBS. Prayers made a huge difference in all of us!

All good things come to an end - and on the last day we had a programme where the children shared what they learned with their parents. What a joy to see all of them wearing their crowns - and each class giving a short presentation on what they had learned.

The theme of the whole VBS was 'Walk in My Ways.' At the end of the time we know that God had helped all of us - kids, teachers, helpers - everyone to walk in His ways a bit more.

Here's to the on-going journey!

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