I woke up the next morning. It was the fourth day waking up in India, so I had my routine down. I showered in a bucket, woke everyone up, wrote in my journal and read my Bible, and then went up to the roof for worship and devotional. Worship was different because we learned new songs for when we would be doing Vacation Bible School the next Monday. After the devotional, the team talked about how we’d been scolded the previous day and the manner in which it was done. Since I really felt like I was at fault, I thought that complaining was a waste of time, but we still hashed it out for a little bit. After the group conversation, we headed to Suresh’s for breakfast and the first activity for the day.

Today’s activity would be a Mercy Mission. Every Saturday, Harvest India goes to a few places in the city and passes out a hardboiled egg, a piece of bread and a banana to those who come. We would be stepping into this mission and doing our normal event and then helping pass out the food. We waited around for the Mercy Mission to be ready for us, and then hopped into our cars and drove to the mission.

The drive wasn’t very long at all. It was less than five minutes from where Suresh lived. We got out of our cars and were greeted with flower bouquets from children. We accepted our greeting and walked up to the stage area. There was a canopy set up and there were three columns of people sitting in front of the stage. The columns were so long that not everyone was sitting under the canopy. We walked past the people greeting them the entire way to the stage. We took our places on the stage and waited for Suresh to introduce us. I was the MC for the event. We sang our worship songs, had someone share something from the Word, and then I said a prayer of blessing over the gathered people. We then organized the team to start passing out the food. We had pallets of hardboiled eggs, big bowls of small bananas, and boxes of dinner rolls. The food was to be passed out until everyone was served, or there was none left. Members from the team walked down each column handing out food. We gave one piece of each food to each person there regardless of age. I prayed the entire time that we wouldn’t run out of food. Unfortunately, we did run out of the bread, so everyone there got a banana and a hardboiled egg. It was humbling to see how little food we passed out to each person compared to the amount of food the team was given for each meal. Most people on the team were sick of hardboiled eggs and wouldn’t eat them at our meals, but these people at this mercy mission truly depended on this food.

Walking up to the Mercy Mission and greeting the people along the way.

Pastor Suresh shows us the people gathered to receive free food.

Jenna passes out a dinner roll while Anita passes out an egg.

A small child holding the free food that she got for the day.

After we were done passing out the food, we went into the medical clinic located right next to our event. This small clinic is similar to the medical outreach we did on New Year’s Eve, except it was open for longer than just one evening. The clinic was tiny which made it cramped for 16 team members and then 10 to 20 villagers to stand in. Suresh told us about the clinic which sees around 1,000 people a month. Someone said a prayer of blessing over the place, and then we left the clinic.

Outside of the small medical clinic which is free for the people of the area. It see about 1000 people monthly.

The group then walked further up the road we had driven in on to the Harvest India School of Nursing. This school trains nurses from the Dhalit women (the poorest of the poor). The women take their classes at this building and do all their lessons there. The school is free to them. When they are done, they will spend a year working for Harvest India, and then they can work wherever they want. They are given a Christian education and a solid education in nursing. We didn’t see any of the women because they were on holiday, but we saw the whole school.

The Harvest India School of Nursing.

We made our way to the roof and looked at the city around us. As we were looking around, we noticed that there were some boys playing cricket in the vacant lot next to the building. I immediately asked if we could join in the fun and since we had nothing else to do until the evening, Suresh told us we could. I ran downstairs excited to swing a cricket bat for the first time ever in my life. I took a few hacks, flailing miserably at a ball that bounced away from me, but when I finally made contact I wasn’t disappointed in where it went. The next man up, Cory, took his first ball and hit it over a large wall that we couldn’t climb. Disappointment was in the air, but someone had a spare ball that we could use. Cory didn’t try and hit any more. I took a few more swings, finally finding my stroke and lining the ball over a wall that we could fetch from a few times. I had them throw a real cricket ball to swing at too. This was interesting because it felt like I was hitting a rock with a bat. When I made contact it barely rolled in front of me. I had them then throw the practice ball with some spin on it. One swing, the ball bounced to my far left, came back across my body where I swung and missed, and then hit me in the chest. We then let some of the girls take swings which was fun to watch. I tried to bowl a few times, but was unsuccessful. After working up a nice sweat, I stopped playing and started talking with a pair of the local boys and got to know a little about them. We drank some chai and then it was time to leave.

Jenna trying to hit a cricket ball.

We were so close to Pastor Suresh’s house that we walked home. The team hung out for a while talking and waiting for Team B to come back so we could eat lunch. After lunch, the teams headed back to the hotel to rest up for the night’s activity: the outreach.

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Comment by John Clanton on February 15, 2010 at 9:31am
Thank you so much for your kind words. The next few blogs are the ones I am most passionate about and were the whole reason I started these blogs in the first place. I hope that I can effectively convey to you my experience. All of the other posts culminate in these next two blogs.
Comment by Michael J. Austin on February 15, 2010 at 1:15am
John, you my friend not only touched the lives of people in India on your mission but have passed that on to me in your posts. We have just a short time on this Earth to make a difference in someone's life and you have done that. I thank you for not only sharing your experiences through your words and pictures, but as my Christian brother, I'm blessed to know you.

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