Saturday, November 2, 2013

India Update

Hello dear friends!
First off, I want to express my sincere apologies for taking so long to send out this update. It has been a crazy ride since returning from our trip. I started my senior year of college at BBC so I’ve kept very busy.  
My trip was incredible. The Lord taught me so much and many memories were made. Here’s a little bit of my story. Claudia and I arrived safely in the Kochin airport after over 20 hours of flying. We were able to go through customs hassle-free and Pastor Shibu met us right outside of the baggage claim. It was about a 3 hour drive to Mundathanam where the Simons live. There we met Julie, Shibu’s wife and their two children Joshua and Abby (who are 12 and 8 years old). That night the Simon’s church held a welcoming ceremony for Claudia and me. We also had the opportunity to share our testimonies; how God has worked in our lives. We stayed a few days at the Simons, to recover from our jet lag. Where we were in India is 9 ½ hours ahead of us here in the northeast! 
The Thursday after coming to India we moved into the Mercy Children’s Christian Home which is also used as the girls’ dormitory for Kerala Baptist Bible College. It is home to 15 children from 6-17 whose parents have passed away or are unable to care for them. Over the 6 weeks Claudia and I had a lot of fun with them, playing outside and getting to know them. I was able to do devotionals with them every day, teaching them from the Bible. Out of the children there were 9 girls. I had brought crafts and jewelry to make with them; something they really seemed to enjoy. We also played a lot of games with them outside like follow the leader, tag, and hide and seek. I spent a lot of time getting to know the girls and their caretaker Mary, whom I called Amma Che which means grandma in Malayalam (the language they speak in Kerala). The children did not speak English very much. I became interested in learning their language though so they were constantly teaching me different words in Malayalam. I also learned a few songs (and correlating dance moves).
Music played a big part in my time in India; something I was not expecting. Just like here in the US they love music in particular, singing. If you know me you know that I absolutely love to sing. It was a blessing to be able to use my God-given voice to encourage others. I had a number of opportunities to sing for churches and at KBBCS during chapel. I also was able to teach countless worship songs. I taught the children “Jesus Loves Me” and “He is Able”. I was given the opportunity to teach songs for an entire hour every Friday at KBBCS to the college students. The college girls also had me teach them several songs separately to sing during chapel or special events. Among many, I taught them “How Great is Our God”, “Jesus Messiah” and “I Will Call Upon the Lord”.
Claudia and I spent every week day working in the college library. We catalogued books and arranged shelves. We organized and numbered the shelves. I also did some odd jobs while at KBBC. I helped review their college website. I also edited and compiled a chorus book for them, containing songs that weren’t in the hymnal. In the last week I edited the college handbook.
I had many opportunities to minister to the college girls. There were 9 girls studying for their bachelor’s or master’s degrees. I was able to give a devotional every day and teach the Bible to them. I went through some of the women in the Bible, explaining how it applies to their life. I covered Eve, Sarah, Ruth, Elizabeth, Mary among others. I was also able to attend their prayer meetings and spend time communicating with God among them. I really bonded with the girls and got to know them. We really became like sisters.
We had quite a few adventures during our time in India. We saw elephants up close, one was at work moving logs. We saw monkeys and waterfalls. We took a trip to Ela Parra where there are tea plantations. While there we attended the college librarian’s little baby boy’s first birthday party. We also were able to attend an Indian wedding which was an exciting and beautiful cultural experience.
What I loved most about India was the relationships I formed. God used them to minister to my heart and encourage me. It was exciting to see God at work, drawing them closer to Himself through learning. I just want to thank you again for helping me get there. It was an amazing trip. I also ended with extra money and was able to bless the children’s home with over $400. They put the money to good use and many were blessed.
Thank you again, May God bless you all for your generosity.

In Christ, Gina Perone 
Above is a picture of Claudia and I with all of the girls, children's home and college as well as our Amma Che.