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.