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A Day With Princesses

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The women’s justice teams to India all have something in common: lots of feet. If you have followed our teams for any amount of time you know that we always take our pedicure and manicure supplies. This trip has been no exception.Tuesday and Wednesday we shared with the women of two vocational centers. These women are learning computer, sewing, or cosmetology skills. All of the women are from extreme poverty and are at great risk of falling prey to abusive men or even traffickers. They all just want a better life for themselves and their children.

Disha Foundation’s hope is to have self sustaining businesses all over Delhi that will be a place for the graduates to begin working. It is so important to have this kind of mindset when trying to help women overcome the tremendous obstacles that extreme poverty presents. It is one thing to teach a skill and give shelter, but being able to move that into real life situations is key to a woman’s lifelong empowerment.

Most of the women from the centers are Hindu. We shared that we came across the sea because as Christ followers we are called to share the love and care He has for them. We also said that real empowerment for us has come because we have learned that we are daughters of the King. Our team talked about cherishing the friendships that He puts in our lives. The ladies told us over and over that no one, not even family, has ever treated them with such honor. They had no hesitations at all about us washing their feet, as this can happen often in this culture. They were ready to receive.

Today we are on a four hour train ride to Ludhiana, Punjab. Our host told us this morning that there are about 740 girl children born to every 1000 boys. Tonight we will spend the evening with the daughters of lepers. Tomorrow morning we head into two schools followed by a teen conference.

Our team is learning a lot about the culture as well as each other. Much of what we do comes from a very personal place in our lives. God is able to take our good and bad, redeem it and weave it together to make a powerful story of grace. Sharing deep parts of one’s life takes courage and hearing it is a privilege that demands the greatest care. It is a beautiful thing to watch our team grow together while serving the people of India.
(Photo credit to Melissa for the pictures that are good) 🙂

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A Fruitful Day

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St. Michael’s Hostel for Girls has been our home for the last two days. We have conducted a workshop for the 95 residents and have fallen in love with them.  Our team was completed on Saturday as our two dear sisters, Zeenat and Anita, from  Kolkata joined us. They have translated for 10 of our Kingsland teams. We don’t know how to do India without them and their passion for the Word of God and their careful delivery of the words we share.

Melissa took this neat picture of some of the backpacks lined up ready for school. The girls here at the hostel sleep in bunk beds and have a separate room with a trunk that holds all of their belongings. They are very tidy!

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 Mary helps the girls get creative.

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Jana and Rachael shared about speaking words that you can never get back.

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Rona read a story about a very special princess to the girls.

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This morning we went to St. Thomas church. Rachael shared a song in Hindi…something that the congregation never expected. They were very touched that she took the time to learn a song in their language.

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Christina shared about Gods plan for purity with the St. Thomas teen class

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Arrival Day

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In the wee hours of this morning our team (and all of the bags) arrived at our destination. We were greeted with glittery leis and a cheerful bus driver.

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Kaytlin, our 10th team member joined us from Kolkata. She has been interning with one of our partners there since July. It was a very happy greeting!
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We met with our host who has a radio show on Air India. Were were privileged to watch a taping of her show today which will be aired on October 9, the international day of celebrating the girl child. We learned that literacy in India is judged on whether one can write their name or not and that 50% of the country is considered Illiterate. Radio is a very important tool in that it presents an opportunity to repeat things over and over again. The internet and television are not available to much of the population but radio is. Khush Khabri is the name of the radio show and means “good news” in Hindi. The show addresses crimes against women and society’s devaluation of them.
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After a good long night’s sleep in our “cushy soft” beds we will head to St. Michael’s hostel to conduct a VBS for 95 orphaned girls.

Our “word for the day” was bivouac- to set up a temporary camp without cover. (See our first blog to find out why you are reading about the word for the day)

A New Journey

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Our team is ready and excited to begin our journey to India. This is our first time for our women’s justice team to travel to India’s capital. Our work will be a bit different than what we do in Kolkata, but very closely related.

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Our women’s justice team will be traveling to New Delhi and Punjab to work with a partner that is proactively working to champion the rights of Indian girls and women. It has been said that the three most dangerous words in India are “It’s a girl.” Killing girl children just after birth and female fetacide is on the rise in India as girls are thought of as a burden on their families. Rape and violent crimes against women are also becoming more prevalent – a result of the devaluation of females.

Decades of sex-selective abortion have created an acute lack of women in certain parts of India. Traffickers capitalize on the shortage by recruiting or kidnapping women ensnared in poverty to sell as brides. It’s a cycle influenced by poverty and medical technologies, but one that ultimately is perpetuated by India’s attitude towards women.” – Carl Gierstorfer CNN

Our team will be educating teens and young women about the sanctity of life, living a life of purity and approaching the issue of gendercide from a Biblical world view. We will also be conducting a VBS for orphans, visiting the daughters of lepers and pampering women of extreme poverty that are a part of Disha’s vocational training center.

Our team:
Kay Smith
Kaytlin Norman
Mary Whittington
Rona Lee
Jana Soroski
Ruth Soroski
Rachael Soroski
Melissa Crowder
Sterling Greene
Christina Crane

Thank you for praying for our team and following along on this journey with us,

As it happens when women travel together we tend to talk a lot. Our wait in the Houston airport was filled with fun chatter and getting to know one another. A funny thing we found out was that lots of us feel like we need to expand our vocabulary. So we decided that we will pick a new word each day and use it…today our word (from Jana) is perspicacious- to have a ready insight or understanding of things. I guess that is a perfect word to begin the journey.