11 Feb

Home sweet home

Liz Callander

Dear All

One last email to say the UK arrived home safely this morning following the long haul having left Repalle on Thursday night. Overall the journey was fine and the team are well.

Thank you all for your interest, support and especially your prayers over the last few weeks – it has been so appreciated by the team.

Please continue to remember us over the next few days as we adjust to being home, spending time with family and friends and going back to work. Just daily routine but a world away from India.

Please pray for USA team who will get home after a 16 hour flight and some then face a 3-4 hour drive.

Pray for all at IREF too as they pick up daily routine again. Also from Monday they are being audited by Word and Deed which also includes Child Protection aspects.

This is a key issue as 30% of IREF’s overall child funding comes from the organisation and the Child Protection aspect is a first so really significant.
We have been able to offer them some direction but there is a huge amount of work involved.

Above all, thanks be to God for all His goodness and blessings to His people.

On behalf of all the India 2012 and IREF UK Trustees – thank you again for all your support.

If you want more information on IREF, or sponsorship, giving or would like to receive the IREF(UK) newsletter please visit the IREF(UK) website.

In His service

Liz

11 Feb

IREF update 7

Liz Callander

Dear All

Last report from India

Thursday morning we were reminded at devotions of Christ’s love for the poor. While we are surrounded here on a level few reading this will experience, we have done the job we set out to do, we have touched individual people and for them have made a difference.

We can all reach out in our own way
to the people we come in contact with and practice God’s love.

The medical team headed back to the Nursing School to collectively thank them for their support and give some gifts to the nursing students. For some it was an emotional time as we said goodbye to them.

A quick trip to the school to catch up on developments there and take some photos then we went sightseeing to the local blanket factory. Not quite mechanised yet but blankets are good quality. 14 years later the ones I bought then are still as bright and good as the ones we saw today. Good business done.

An IREF farewell is no small feat as 2,000 children and college students met in the college courtyard to say goodbye.

It was also Dee and Emmanuel’s wedding anniversary so became a double celebration – much to the amusement of all.

It’s always an emotional time saying farewell but none moreso than when it’s to several hundred children and friends that we have come to know over several years.

Let’s just say, the bus journey to Guntur where we were boarding the train was somewhat harrowing but we got the train as planned and arrived in Chennai at 7am this morning.

Off to do last minute shopping and then relax before we leave.

UK team leave for airport at 6pm local time and fly at 9.20am for Dubai where we have a 6 hour stop over to arrive in UK around 12 noon.

US team leave around 1am on Sat morning.

Indian folk who have been with us will return to Repalle on Saturday too.

Please pray for safety in travel for all as we look forward to home.

Praise God for all he has done over these last weeks.

Remember Dee and Emmanuel and the IREF family.

Thank you for your prayers, support and encouragement.

Liz

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09 Feb

Ready to roll

The final day in Repalle has arrived for the group of volunteers. Bags are packed and they are ready for the return journey.

Those at IREF organised a farewell for the group.

Please pray for safety in travel as they return to the UK and USA.

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09 Feb

IREF update 6

Liz Callander

Dear All

It’s Wednesday night as I write this and hard to believe Thursday is our last day in Repalle.

Life here is so unpredictable at every level that sometimes we from the west find it so hard to take on board. It’s often frustrating but at the end of the day we just have to accept today was one of those days.

It started off well enough with:

7.45 prayers
8.00 breakfast
9.00 Devotions either at nursing school or junior school – for me it was nursing school, with two of the final year students reading bible and praying both in English and Telegu.

The students have been such an asset to have around,soaking up the experience we were able to give them in assessment, physical examination, doing dressings, helping with pharmacy as well as with the dental team. Some also acted as translators for us that meant teachers weren’t being pulled from classes and we had the added advantage of people with clinical awareness and understanding.

After devotions a few of us spoke to the nursing students both about their course, future experience and christian life.

We were then shown around the college and while they had some useful equipment and supplies, I was really impressed at their resourcefulness and initiative in making aids to help studies.

10.30 We were off to a ground breaking cermony for a new Child Development Centre at Pesarlanka. CDCs, as they are known, have been a development over the last 10 years. Sited in a village, often either in or close to a church, the children stay at home, attend their local school and after school go to the CDC where they are given a meal, have help with their homework and hear about the bible.

A number of CDCs have been established over the years with many of the children sponsored or donations supporting running costs.

It was a blazing hot day and we knew about it standing in the field dedicating and breaking the ground for the building.

From there it was off to revisit a couple of churches in the nearby vicinity and that meant speeches, readings and prayers, as well as many photos and the offer of a lunch we couldn’t eat, before heading back via another two churches to Repalle.

14.30 lunch – I won’t tell you how pleased we were to be back!!!!

15.00 saw us clearing up the clinic, cleaning instuments, going through drugs and supplies that could either be used in the infirmary, by the nursjng college, given out to adults by Dee over the coming weeks or packed up for our use in 2 years time.

17.30 and we were finished in the clinic just in time to get back on the bus to go to Pedalanka church for a re-dedication of their larger church which had just been rebuilt. It’s so encouraging to see how God is moving in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

Driving on through the banana plantations we headed for Nalluripallum to open a new church there. There are two churches in the village; one for higher caste and the other for lower caste Indians. Perhaps one thing that is hard for us to understand.

19.00 By now hoping we were heading back it was onto the CDC passing the other church enroute. Nalluripalem CDC has over 100 children daily and along with a number of others there was well over 200 people around for our visit. Following prayer this time we did head back to Repalle for a late dinner of barbecued chicken and wonder of wonders, corn on the cob….mmmm!!!

21.00 and at last we really have time to chill and relax or maybe start packing or speak to the kids, get henna tatoos on hand or start to dream of the journey home or maybe not.

Please pray for the ongoing work of IREF, especially following the crusades last week that God will continue to work His purpose out.

Pray for ongoing links between the IREF Boards in USA / UK and India and will strengthen in days to come.

Praise God for improving health for Dee who joined us for the first time in 5 days and other team members.

Best wishes

Liz

09 Feb

Final day

The IREF trip 2012 is very nearly at an end, today being the last day in Repalle before the return to the UK / USA for the volunteers.

They started the day taking part in the morning devotions of the nursing students.

Later in the day they paid a visit to the Repalle Blanket Factory and the local store.

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08 Feb

Revisiting Pedalanka

As well as attending a Ground Breaking Ceremony, the team also visited a Church that had been opened 6 years earlier during one of their trips at Pedalanka.

The team managed to resist buying one of the multi-coloured birds for sale by the side of the road after the visit.

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08 Feb

Morning assembly

With clinics complete, the volunteers are free to partake in a range of other activities in and around the IREF compound in Repalle.

This morning, Jim Leitch was able to return to his teaching routes by taking morning assembly. The group were also able to visit different classes to see how the children were getting on.

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07 Feb

Out and about in Repalle

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”…or in this case, Jason.

Having worked tirelessly, the group of volunteers decided on a little night out sampling the delights of downtown Repalle.

A little retail therapy was enjoyed by all, be it food, jewellery or a new shirt…ready in 24hrs!

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07 Feb

Support at IREF

IREF is a charity and, as such, relies on financial support from those giving from around the world. One way of supporting is through Child Sponsorship (more information can be found on the IREF(UK) website.

Today the team met a young girl who is sponsored by our Pastor and his family.

The volunteers have also been supported by the student nurses on site at IREF. They would not have been able to achieve all they have without these vital assistants.

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07 Feb

Arumbaka Orphanage

The volunteers ran a clinic for 87 children at the local Arumbaka Orphanage. There were many extractions required, although not everyone’s teeth were in a bad condition.

At the end of the day the equipment was packed up, ready for the last clinic tomorrow.

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06 Feb

IREF update 5

Liz Callander

Dear All

Looking forward to a day off we found ourselves driving for two hours across Andhra Pradesh to a little town called China Parapa for a church dedication.

Around 150 people gathered as we walked around the church 3 times -that’s traditional, then Emmanuel prayed and, along with some pastors, one of the USA group and Gordon for UK cut the ribbon across the church door and we all entered.

Prayer, singing, speech giving thanks to God and seeking His blessing on the church and people. Then it was across the road to sit under an awning for a service of dedication and the opportunity for us to bring greetings to the church. Sitting quietly, minding your own business and suddenly your name gets called out and it’s get up and speak – not enough volunteers…hey ho!

Church dedication is a big thing – its an opportunity to witness to the town, we’re there so there is an element of curiosity for all. With the band present, loud speakers, and all the singing you couldn’t fail to know something was happening.

A tasty meal of rice, barbecue chicken, fresh shrimp, along with a few other elements we didn’t take, then the congregation were fed.

We headed a short distance through town walking the half mile to the ocean – the sights of town were so different to what we would ever see in the west.

The beach was really white and sandy. Very much a fishing area going by the boats moored out in the bay.

The water was clear and warm with air temperature of around 28C. We had a paddle, were joined by some local church people, had our photos taken and instantly printed on the Lexmark photo printer the man carried – all for a few rupees.

We laughed as a young water buffalo joined us gambolling across the sand and straight into the sea. He lay down oblivious to us all and took delight in the water washing over him. It’s important for water buffalo to be washed or taken to the river each day – so it is a common sight – that was a first for us seeing them in the sea at the beach.

Then we headed back to Repalle.

Please pray or the church that God will indeed bless the start of their new ministry.

Pray for the team some have been unwell in last 24 hours with gastric symptoms, some of the Scots included Jason, Jim and to a lesser extent Shieleen – it’s not serious just a bit of an upset but they are feeling better as day has gone on.

Tuesday sees us heading for Arumbaka one of the outside schools – never easy but always good to do.

Best wishes
Liz.

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06 Feb

Life at IREF

Monday arrives and so begins the Volunteer’s second week at the IREF compound in Repalle.

The compound incorporates numerous buildings, including a School and Junior College, a dining hall and dorms for the students who attend. There is also an area set aside for the washing of dishes and such like.

The optician clinic was again busy, with 60 people passing through today. Evening devotions are about to get underway.

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05 Feb

Sunday at IREF

Sunday started with a trip to Church…a 4.5hr trip to church! Afterwards, the congregation of 3000 posed outside for a photograph…stopping the traffic in the process.

Following this, the volunteers got to tour the Degree College at IREF with the College Principal, Ratna Prasad. They met Physics students who were preparing for an exam tomorrow.

Evening devotions were led by our very own Jim Leitch…a captive audience of a mere 1000 people!

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05 Feb

IREF update 4

Liz Callander

Dear all

It certainly was quite a Saturday.

The clinic saw over 180 people with adults fighting to get in to both the clinic and to see the optician who saw over 120 people!

50-60 people were baptised in the River Krishna and it was a good chance to see village life by and on the river.

Saturday night was the final crusade with the field packed with thousands of people. We had some noisy competition from the local Hindu temple, but nothing significant. Several hundred people came forward with the appeal. It is always hard to tell how many go forward making a new decision to follow Christ as some do want prayer and others for reasons unknown.

Regardless of all, Christ was present and working his purpose out. The meeting finished at midnight.

Sunday, they say, is day of rest

Following a long 30 minute lie in – bliss – we headed for church at 9.30 having got looks of disapproval from the girls if we had decided not to wear a sari. Those who did were subjected to at least 30 minutes of dressing and sari adjustments before being allowed out of the door.

There is only one service at Repalle; today it started at 9.30 and eventually we were out at 2pm – honestly.

We had music, singing, testimonies and more testimonies, communion, sermon all various in frequency and length.

The usual group photo followed with all 3,000 at church posing for the photo. Traffic was stopped in the road so that we got a clear shot of all.

A Sunday nap was in order for some. We had a telephone link up with Airdrie Baptist Church during their morning service but couldn’t Skype as we had hoped as links were poor.

We then had a wander round the boys and girls dorms and it was good to see there has been significant reduction in overcrowding with the building of the new girls’ dorms. Younger girls now have 20 to a room instead of 40 and older girls 10.

Paint crew have made a huge difference to the boys dorms which were a bit in need…serious need.

Practical exams are on for some of the students on Monday who have asked for prayer for that.

Dee has been very unwell and although now a little improved is still very much in need of prayer.

15 more were baptised today so please remember them.

All the villagers have returned home – please pray that what they have heard and learned this week will stay with them and that they will be enabled to share with their friends and family.

Just a Sunday in Repalle for the team but one so different from home.

All feeling much better and off to Church dedication on Monday. It’s 3 hours away…hey ho!

Greetings from all in Repalle

Liz

05 Feb

Church in Repalle

This morning the group of volunteers attended the Church in Repalle that has close links with Airdrie Baptist.

With a 9am start, the congregation was still in full voice singing at 11am.

The volunteers will be called during the morning service at Airdrie Baptist; come along and hear from them at 11am.

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