by Paul Allen
In Chennai, our ministry focus has shifted slightly from working directly with children’s homes. Here, we are working primarily on prevention and community development of at risk communities (hut slums, railway stations, markets, street families, villages, etc). Here’s what we have done since our arrival in Chennai on January 28:
Jan. 29 – Open Air (drama, testimonies, preaching and friendship evangelism held outside in the open) in a hut slum community
Jan. 30 – Morning: Prayer walk (walking the streets, praying for the community and visiting people in their homes) in a different slum community.
Evening: Open Air in the same Slum of our prayer walk… Afterwards, we attempted to give away balloon animals after the open air, but soon discovered the sheer chaos this unleashed. We also prayed for a long time for a nine year old boy named Akash who has a terminal illness. His family believes prayer is keeping him alive because the doctors said he should have died nearly two years earlier.
Jan. 31 – We went to Rescue and Restore Shelter, a children’s home for 36 former street kids. We threw them a huge party (officially celebrating Jen’s birthday with them), complete with tons of cake, bubbles, balloon animals, dance, toys, games, crafts, puppets, and funny skits. It was quite a party.
Feb. 1 – Matt preached at church in the morning, Hattie shared a testimony and we performed our drama.
In the afternoon, we held an open air meeting in the slums near the church and PD preached.
Feb. 2 – DAY OFF (and also Abe’s Birthday!!!)
We went shopping for gifts and souvenirs. Later, we went to an Indian Cinema to watch “Slumdog Millionaire.” We highly recommend this movie to everyone back home. It is very realistic to some of the situations we’ve experienced in the slums and really encouraged our team that our work is important.
Feb. 3 – Morning: Prayer walk near the railway station where many of the street kids live.
Afternoon: Open Air in the first hut slum we visited. Afterwards, we visited a cell church (inside one of the huts) and encouraged them through songs and teaching.
Feb. 4 – Morning: Prayer walk in a major flower, fruit and vegetable market. We also had a time of public worship. Many Indians gathered around Abe as he played his guitar and some even asked us to pray for them.
Afternoon: We visited PACT (Project of AIDS Care and Training). They care for 15 children affected by HIV, plus several additional women. They also visit homes of HIV+ patients, and work in an AIDS hospital.
We helped the kids of the AIDS home make their own t-shirts using paint, stencils and stamps. Afterwards we played with them for a long time.
Feb. 5 – We traveled to a village 1.5 hours outside of Chennai. There we held four different open airs in various locations of the village. Almost everyone on our team either preached or shared a testimony.
Feb. 6 – We visited a YWAM Day Care Center. They are working on transforming the lives and communities of five slums. By running a Day Care for children ages 3-5, they are able to build relationships with whole families. They are teaching women how to sew, teaching families how to save and giving loans for small businesses. They also have done feeding programs and home building projects.
Feb. 7 – We spent our second full day with Rescue and Restore Shelter. We performed our drama for the kids, performed a puppet show and had the children make their own puppets and puppet show. We played cricket and other games with them. We had a “beauty session” for the girls with makeup, jewelry and fingernail painting… And MUCH more!
Feb. 8 – Rynn preached at church and Katie shared a testimony. After church, Hattie preached in a special service for teens. And we also visited a home of one of the church members and prayed for her health and her family.
Feb. 9 – DAY OFF
UPCOMING EVENTS FOR OUR LAST WEEK IN CHENNAI:
* Taking street kids from Rescue and Restore Shelter to a water park
* Distributing care packages to 210 families in a hut slum
* Spending another day at PACT with 15 AIDS orphans
* More prayer walks and open airs
* A city-wide gathering of all the different YWAM works in Chennai (about 200 staff are distributed across the city in 15 different ministries)