Poisonous snakes in the church
Last week we suddenly had poisonous snakes on our church grounds, which had "wandered in" through the main gate from our neighbour's area. The neighbouring area belongs to a Muslim and has been mostly derelict for the last few years. Now the owner is willing to sell the land after all, but for the great sum of 250,000 Euros.
Maybe you are surprised about the price. This is the grotesque thing in India: the prices for building land are rising to giddying heights and normal earners hardly have a chance to purchase land for themselves and to build on it. The economic boom over the last few years has created a wealthy "middle and upper class" in some areas (automobile, IT, construction, finance and stock exchange, banks and insurance, sugar and steel industry). But these people have been badly hit by the Corona pandemic. Large companies have grown due to the opening of the stock exchanges, but over 30% of the people in India have to live from a daily wage of roughly 1 Euro at the bottom of society! Approximately 70% of the people in India do not earn more than 1.70 Euros per day.
Our church grounds lie directly next to a highway (our "roads that would like to be motorways"), which further drive up the prices in this area. Whether it was by chance or "on purpose", that the snakes came to us from the neighbour's land, we are not able to tell. Yet on the very next day the "offer" from the neighbour came fluttering into our house! The price is very high, but owning the land would be very good for the future of our church community. We are a very evangelistic church and growing strongly. Having a neighbour from a different faith culture directly next to us is rather worrying, especially concerning the religious fanaticism and increasing radicalisation. Please pray that the Lord will give us wisdom and the necessary means, should the purchase be in His will!
Corona emergency aid continues!
Church in times of Corona
Last Sunday we were able to celebrate our worship services in the church for the first time live and in person. Following strict regulations with masks, social distancing and hygiene measures, we were able to accommodate 500 visitors in four halls. Furthermore we will continue to broadcast the events in the internet and on TV and thereby reach a very large audience far beyond the walls of the church.
The "Good Shepherd Free Clinic" with six helpers (doctors, nurses), which is run as a free offer by the church and treats 50 - 60 patients a day, has to be closed, due to the lack of sufficient room to move around.
The "tuition centre" which offers free after school lessons for kids from poor families, is also temporarily closed, for as long as the schools are only allowed to teach online. The kids really hope we will be able to start again soon! Approximately 60 kids have profited from this daily, and are taught by 12 female teachers and volunteer helpers.
Training Centre for young ladies
To the great joy of our young ladies from MM, most of the training and study courses have now been opened again since last week: theology (online), English and Hindi lessons, sewing, baking, cooking, painting and music lessons.
The training bakery (5 Loaves German Bakery) is now open again! Thanks to the internet, the trainees are now being taught and getting practical instruction direct from Germany! The oven and cooking appliances are in good working order again and the enthusiasm of the 13 young lady bakers is without bounds. Next Sunday they intend to give each person attending church a "Swiss smiley" on arrival. The offer is already good: German bread, nut pastries and doughnuts fresh from the oven – wow don't we all want to say "I am a Berliner (doughnut)"...!
Sewing school: We have a very good female teacher, who has invested greatly in our trainees. 14 young MM ladies, as well as 17 ladies from the neighbourhood are doing this apprenticeship. The final leaving certificate is acknowledged throughout India.
Cooking courses: Most of the young ladies are very interested in cooking well, but only a few study this as "their" main subject. We currently have two good chefs who are giving professional training to our young ladies.
Art: Six of the young ladies can paint excellently and are eagerly hoping that their studies can be continued. But already before the lockdown it was not sure whether it was economical to provide a teacher for so few pupils.
Language lessons: Five beginners and 18 advanced students are taking part in Hindi classes. Hindi is spoken or understood by roughly 50% of the population in India and in numbers, it is the fourth largest mother tongue language in the world.
The subject "Spoken English" has 14 participants and is taught by a former Catholic priest who is also a "Doctor in English Literature". He is a member of our church and very involved in providing a good future for our young MM ladies. He not only teaches excellent English, but also encourages the young ladies to continue studying. His students love his lessons.
18 young ladies have now decided to study at University. 13 of them are doing a "Bachelor" in "English Literature" and five in "Economics". It is also possible for them to extend their studies to do a "Master" or "Doctor".
The theological studies will restart online in the coming week. 58 girls are studying in their second year and there is one applicant for the Master Degree course, we still have to find a solution to provide this.
Shopping nice things from India
(Only German laguage)
Evangelische Bank e.G.
Account for donations CH
please use the german Evangelische Bank accout, see above. There will not be extra costs if you send it as SEPA only.
Account owner: A. Schmidt
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Evangelische Bank e.G.