On the 24th July, myself and a team of 7 travelled to Vijayawada India with Salt Factory Sports. A mission organisation from Northern Ireland that uses sports as a means to create opportunities for evangelism and discipleship. As a team we were going over to support Good News Ministries (GNM), an established Christian organisation in India ran by Chanti and his family. Through the support of sponsors, GNM are in the process of building two orphanages (one for girls and one for boys). Each orphanage will have the capacity to home 100 children. GNM also supports widows, with some working at the orphanage making food for the children. These orphanages and other centres are being developed on a plot of land outside Vijayawada, which has been named Zion City. Zion meaning city of God. Through kind support from churches, friends, families and University of Cumbria each orphan, widow and staff member were given 2 towels, 2 facecloths, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and talcum powder. As well as over 100 bed sheets and over 200 pillow cases for the orphans and widow’s homes. Although these are everyday items for us, the smiles and heartfelt words, demonstrated just how thankful they were to receive these items.
For 4 days we provided a camp all day for the children with songs, team competitions, bible teachings, craft, sport in the evening and my favourite part DANCING! Following the camp each day we had team devotions and team bonding. One of the major struggles was the language barrier, whilst leading the camp there was a translator who assisted us during bible teachings and other activities. A few occasions when I had wanted to find out more about the children and widows a translator wasn’t available which was difficult. In spite of this, God was continually working through us, within bible lessons and in conversations. At the end of the week a young girl called Monica give her life to the Lord, which was a special moment for the whole team. Throughout the 10 days witnessing and listening to stories of the Indian culture was a big challenge, from arranged marriages to abandoned children.
Despite setting out with a team I didn’t know and to a country I had never imagined travelling too, I spent 10 days with a constant smile on my face and constantly laughing. I could write page after page of the memories from this trip. From the onset everything fell into place, even though it didn’t feel like it was. This was the first time a group has went out to support GNM and provide a camp for the children, this has opened the door for a return visit … which I would not say no to in the future. I want to say a massive thank you to the University of Cumbria for the funding you provided. The money assisted in travelling over to India and buying supplies for the children and widows. This was a memorable trip which would not have been possible without Elinor Peel support.