Rain, rain, go away come again another day, little children want to play, rain rain go away. I'm sure you know the children's song with these words
Our kids in play school and Lower Kindergarten (LKG) sing this song often. At the end they all yell in unison "rain rain go A-WAY!" I am beginning to understand their sentiments. A while back we had a HUGE rain storm. Even the down pours I experienced in Florida or in Costa Rica dwindled in comparison. I have never experienced so much water falling from the sky at once ever before in my life! And just that day we had taught our LKG students the story of Noah's Ark. I think I understand how terrifying 40 days and 40 nights of enough rain fall to flood the entire earth must have been a little better now.
Most every house is raised a few feet above the ground here, it allows all the rain to have someplace to go. Our house, the main house which is upstairs, has a few holes which allow rain water to get into the under workings of the house. If too much water ends up entering through the holes, there's a good chance that a portion of the house would collapse. Pappa Joseph and Mommy Aneena were out taking care of some business in the town somewhat far from home, so they missed all of the excitement.
It was night time, dark. There was SO much water! All the boys were running back and forth with sand bags furiously trying to block the water from going under the house, meanwhile the front walk and patio area was quickly flooding. There were large caldrons placed under the gutters to catch the water falling from the roof. These caldrons were being emptied fire-brigade-style with a line of boys (and a few brave girls, Sydney and myself included). We dumped the water down the trains in the large outdoor kitchen where our food is prepared, we dumped the water over the edge of the fence, down to the "down stairs" portion of Aswasa Bhavan. If there was some place else where we could put the water, that's where we put it. There was so much water! I actually think I have been dryer while swimming than I was standing outside under the down pour. At least when you're swimming your head gets a little dry when it's out of the water. We were all absolutely drenched. The storm lasted for a solid 45 minutes, it took about a 5 minute break, and began again! Finally it let up and we all had a chance to rest (and to dump remaining buckets full of water on each other's heads). Like any hard worker, we were rewarded for our efforts. We all received dried dates and a few sweets. School was closed for the next two days because of all the damages done to the roads and the flooding. Our little creek that runs though the campus rose so high that it had almost covered the bridge!
In the morning the news papers were filled with reports of damages and loses. Several people died in the flooding, one woman was shocked through her television set when lightning struck, and died. She was related to a friend of ours here. 3 million chickens died in the rain! That's a lot of chickens! Cows washed away, houses, and roads. That afternoon we all went out to repair our road. We swept the debris off, collected stones and filled the holes, and then overlaid the stones with cement. I can't imagine how long that job would have taken if there weren't 50 people working on it together. We actually finished in less than an hour! We had two storms like this. After that we haven't had very much rain. Things are all back in order here now.
All of this happened over thanksgiving. That day we were thankful for many things.
Thanksgiving here was spent like any other day, except we actually didn't have school because things were still in disarray because of the rains. It was Moses' 15th birthday, so we celebrated that evening with a special meal and music. It wasn't the same as being home with family and loved ones, but it was a good time with our family here in India at Aswasa Bhavan.
After thanksgiving the church began their customary time of 3 days of fasting and prayer. This happens leading up to the last Sunday of the month. It was a wonderful time in the Lord. Sydney and I were able to participate in the prayer meetings and worship with the church, seeking God publicly and communally during the lunch hours and having extra time to pray at dinner.
Now we're already a week and more into December! My how time flies! Teaching has leveled out, we have a more predictable schedule most days and even when things change we're usually ready and able to accommodate to the changes fairly quickly.
Right now the whole family is preparing for our Christmas program. It will be held on the 17th and the 19th of December. They are putting on an entire nativity act including 4 shepherds, 3 magi, several angles, Mary and Joseph, and all the other cast members you can imagine. All with the members of one family! There will be a popular singing quartet coming to sing and in between their songs the kids from Aswasa Bhavan will be singing. Sydney and I are also joining them for two songs, one of which is in Malayalam! We've been practicing a lot. Also, Pappa Joseph asked that Sydney and I do some ballet dancing…. So we have both been dancing our brains out over the last few weeks. Not only is trying to choreograph something difficult when we don't have all the right tools (like shoes), but also I've been giving Sydney a crash course on basic ballet! She's doing remarkably well considering she's never danced before, has no mirror, shoes or barre to practice at. Her positions are great and her movements are smooth. Now we are only a week away from the big day! Everything is ready, all the small details are coming together, and everyone, community members, Aswasa Bhavan folks and teachers from the school, are all very excited to see this strange foreign "French dance" that I've talked about. My nerves are up there, that's for sure. But also, if they've never even seen ballet before, they won't have any idea when I mess up, right? Haha. Yes. I choose to believe this. Prayers!
Our time here has been a huge blessing. Sydney and I are both very grateful for all that God has done for us and we are glad to be here serving the family in the best way we can. We have seen God answer many prayers as He continues to reveal Himself to us. The more time we spend here the more excited I am about the ministry that is taking place. Since Mommy Aneena went into the hospital right after we arrived, things had still been a little off kilter from their normal way of functioning. Now that she is healing nicely, we are able to see more and more the details of the ministry here. Mommy Aneena is on the Orphanage Board of India and helps to establish other orphanages all over India. As we've been here for more time we have also been able to hear stories from the children who have been welcomed into the Aswasa Bhavan family. Some of their stories are heart breaking, others are devastating. It's incredible how much a child can endure, and how much they can change when a little love is involved. Please keep them all in your prayers.
As for Sydney and I, we are well. Language study is still a struggle daily. Pray that we are able to finally and firmly establish a regular tutor. We've tried many things but nothing is working consistently. It makes all things difficult! Also I have had a cold off and on for the past two weeks and a cough that's annoyingly persistent but day by day it seems to be improving. Remember us in your prayers as we remember all of you! Ask that God will continue to use us as lights here, that we may encourage our brothers and sisters, and that we may witness to our fellow teachers.
Peace, Joy and Rainbows,