On January 14, 2019, at 5 a.m., Dr. Paul Boatman, Dr. Steve Kottemann, Tom and I left for India. We had several goals in mind as we planned the trip, including: participating in a three day Christian Convention that was being held in one of the Villages; taking part in a Medical Camp; helping with the capping and pinning service for 40 graduating nurses, and of course, (my favorite), visiting the kids at the Rutan Children’s Home.
We were loaded down with two 50 lbs. suitcases each for a total of 8. We had one filled with our personal clothing and one filled with “stuff.” We took children’s books, books for the seminary, clothing for the kids, toys, including about 100 little matchbook cars donated by Bill Haak,( friend of Tom’s), letters and gifts from sponsors, gifts for the ladies of the churches, medical supplies and approximately 200 pair of glasses to be donated.
We arrived a bit worse for wear and jet lagged after about 30 hours of traveling. We were graciously hosted all week by Drs. Kimcha and Alet Khongsai, the daughter and son-in-law of Dr. T. Lunkim.
The 40th Annual Kuki Christian Church Manipur Synod Convention took place Jan. 18-21 and was hosted by the Phainom Christian Church in a remote village about a 1 1/2 hour drive from Imphal. The trip back and forth each day was quite an adventure over rutted, rocky “roads” that made the trip feel twice a long as it actually was. However, once there…the difficult ride was well worth it.
Dr. Paul Boatman was the main speaker each day, speaking before an audience of up to 2,000 people. The messages were well presented and received with the help of an interpreter. The crowd was seated in a colorful tent and open to the warm days and cool nights.
The choirs sang beautifully each night and added such a special aspect to the worship services. We had the privilege if observing approximately twenty men become ordained to the ministry.
On two days of the convention, during the afternoon, Dr. Steve Kottemann and several Drs. and nurses from the Christian Hospital in Imphal provided free medical care to anyone who had a need. It was very touching to see hundreds of people wait in line to be seen. I believe that over 500 individuals were treated or referred during the short time period. In addition, Kimcha and I were able to give away all of the glasses we brought and could have used three or four times as many as we had. So many have vision problems and no means to buy glasses.
The convention and the medical camp were certainly two of the major highlights of the trip, but the top of my list was the night that we took all of the children from the Rutan Children’s Home out to a nice restaurant to eat. Kimcha and I planned the outing at a local 4 star hotel. We had our own banquet room and a buffet was set up just for our group. The kids were so excited and had NEVER been to a hotel restaurant to eat. They had never seen so much food in their lives and had never been given the opportunity to eat as much as they wanted. It was so heart warming to see them so happy. We explained to them that the reason we had chosen to take them to the restaurant was because we wanted to do something very special for them to show them how much we love them. We also wanted them to know that if they work hard at their studies and continue to work toward their goals in life, that they too can take their families to a nice restaurant someday. It was magical.
We were also excited that the new floor of the Children’s home was opened while we were there and we were able to see the girls excitedly move their belongings to their new home. We have new beds, mattresses and wardrobes coming soon. Thanks to the generosity of so many of our dedicated sponsors and others.
We were all involved in the Anjuli Nayak School of nursing graduating service for 40 nurses. This service was very impressive and inspiring. The class consisted of 39 young ladies and one young man. We were so very proud of each one. Many of these young people will be returning to their home villages to provide medical care where there was none previously. Each one of these young people have also received Bible training during their course work so they can be spiritual leaders in their villages in addition to providing health care.
In the interest of time and space, I will not write too much more about the trip except to say it was wonderful. If you are interested in more detail, please feel free to call me or any of us who went and we would be happy to occupy your ear for hours. God blessed us so much during the trip and we came home changed.