Final day photos

Well here are the last lot of photos to show, we have hundreds of others which haven’t been shared on here which we would love to show anyone who would like to see them!

We have had a lovely evening spent with Pastor Raj, Pastor Gladson and Somi, before we leave in a few hours, we are so so sad to leave them, and everyone else here! But I’m sure it won’t be long until we return, for now they will all be in our thoughts and prayers (and on our facebook newsfeeds!!) and we hope we and our churches at home will be in theirs!

Thank you for reading,

over and out.

S, C, M

 

 

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A royal send off 

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The henna process

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Twinning 

 

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Day 10

So now I am sadly about to tell you about our final day in India 😭 …

And what an awesome final day it has been! Beginning with us managing to source breakfast by ourselves, what an acheivement! (Not mentioning the fact that it’s the same restaurant we’ve been to most mornings and therefore they have become used to our English ways!).

We then headed off to church, yet again a brilliant service, filled with singing, clapping and praising God. The congregation were very happy to see us again and many spoke to us afterwards saying how sad they were that we are leaving- right back at you all!

We were once again presented with rose garlands as a thank you for the last 10 days and to symbolise their appreciation to us- we are all getting a bit too used to this royal treatment, St Cuthberts and St M&M best be ready to welcome us home with flower garlands and singing!!

Today Pastor Gladson preached on Psalm 130, they are currently focusing on each Psalm in turn. After which Dad preached on Collosians 3:1-4 talking about how we must not get distracted with earthly troubles and bad habits but instead focus on the life and gifts that God has given to you. And then on Luke’s Gospel 4, how we should not test God, prayer is not an opportunity to bribe God or request things for our lives, this is not how God works, he provides and blesses us with exactly what we need at each time, Dad related this to himself personally sharing how years ago he was battling Christianity and explains it as trying to bargain with God, that if God would restore his sight he would follow him, but this is not the way God moves, Dad says how he later learnt that this is not what was wanted for his life, God has blessed him with other gifts and used his sight loss in his ministry, and what a difference he has made to us all! (Yeah, my dad’s pretty fab, just sayin’).

Today we again had the honour of witnessing 6 individuals from the church be baptised, Dad was able to assist Pastor Gladson during the baptisms and afterwards handed each candidate a holding cross which again were accepted so gratefully! – Due to sensitivity we sadly can’t share photos of the baptisms on here but we will show them in church

We then had a scrummy lunch, relishing in the opportunity to use our hands as it’s not long before we may need to revert back to cutlery- sandwiches ok, but roast dinners? Hmm…) Somi told us she is very proud of how much of the Indian culture we have learnt- what a compliment!

Today we finally met the 5 girls from the home, they were all very shy (too many scary white people in their home!) but so polite and what beautiful smiles! We gave them the rest of the gifts that were donated and they were all very happy and excited to use them! We also gave Johanna and Alyssa (Somi and Gladson’s daughters) each a gift of colouring books and pens and within minutes they were back at the table showing us their first page completed! Thanks to all who donated things, everyone has been so grateful and I think all the things we brought couldn’t have gone to better places!

As a final treat before packing and preparing to leave Somi took mum and I to get henna put on our hands,  ITS SO PRETTY!

We have had the most amazing 10 days, full to the brim of new experiences, happy memories, new friendships and lots and lots of God lovin! I feel so inspired, propelled, and motivated by this trip and I’m so excited to see the work of God in this place, here’s to the next time!

Tomorrow (Monday) we will arrive back home with a smack in the face by this little thing called reality, but all the things we’ve seen, shared and experienced here will stay with us, for anyone that has been reading don’t forget all the things we’ve shared in this post, just because we are flying home to our sheltered nest does not mean this story ends, these people still need your thoughts and prayers and for anyone who feels uber inspired, they really love visitors!

Thank you for sharing in our journey, we are definitely returning different people to when we arrived, and I hope you have been able to reflect along with us and won’t forget the lessons we have learnt together over the last few days.

See you all on the other side!

Ps stay tuned for my book release!! 🙈

 

Day 8 & 9 continued…

So in conversation over our evening meal I learnt I have been spelling ‘Sumi’ wrong this whole time ! (sorry SOMI!)

Also to add to my previous post which I forgot to mention, whilst visiting the tourists attractions yesterday in Mysore it was fascinating to see the reactions of locals, particularly school children who were on trips to the zoo etc, they kept taking photos of us, asking us our names and where we are from, then some little school children behind us as we walked down some steps in the palace were touching our hair, touching our shoulders etc and then dad and I were asked for a selfie randomly as we walked past said selfie-er ! When we were in the palace it half felt as if they may think we are related to the Queen of England (obviously this is not crazy at all, we all look incredibly royal in our sweat and exhaustion !), I’m sure we will all miss this royal treatment when walking through the streets of Norwich we are ignored by passers-by!

Photos of the last 2 days…

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Sunrise through the wind screen as we began our early road trip to Mysore
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St. Joseph’s Cathedral- how’s that for a rosary?!! (between the two towers)
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While at St. Joseph’s cathedral we watched the connecting catholic schools’ morning assembly, the children were all in perfect lines singing beautifully while a few children at the front formed the band, we then saw each line march out line by line each step in perfect time to the drum beat… and I thought I went to a strict catholic school!! (we took a video but it won’t upload sadly)

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“We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo…”
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A tiny part of the amazing sand sculpture

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So from being at the zoo where there are giant mesh surroundings to keep the animals in we later went to Mysore dam and saw monkeys EVERYWHERE! These two cheeky monkeys (literally) thought they’d have a good go at taking this bike for a ride
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Dried coconut palm leaves woven together to make very effective homes and shelters
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Some of the fountains

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These two just kept getting in the way of my water shots…

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Lunch

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First ride in a Tuk-tuk! (I think the driver was slightly baffled as to why we wanted a photo!)

Day 8 and 9

Today we had a very long but great day sight seeing,we left the hotel at 6am local time and arrived in Mysore about 10am, we packed in absolutely loads, visiting the catholic cathedral, the zoo, wax museum, sand museum, royal palace, dam and fountains, plus eating more new foods, enjoying the sunshine, and visiting some local shops. We arrived back at the hotel about 11pm all ready to collapse into bed!

Mysore again has a very different feel to Bangalore, Sumi told us that Mysore has won ‘cleanest Indian City’ award and is recognised as a UNESCO city of culture. It may be cleaner than some places we visited but I think I’ll keep the hand sanitiser with me thanks!

All of the activities we did yesterday were great fun, and helped us get a feel for Mysore as a whole, it definitely felt more well off than the other places we have been- although this may have been due to the selected areas we were shown! The zoo was much like an English zoo but exciting all the same! The palace is absolutely magnificent, belonging to the royal family here, some parts were very similar to Buckingham Palace actually!

The sand museum was incredible, all done by one girl in 5 months, using 115 truck loads of sand to create the sculpture which incorporates 16 themes including Mysore heritage, religion, education, mythology, history and emotions- it brings a whole other spin to a Sheringham sand castle!

Our day finished with a visit to the dam in Mysore, an immense structure with an amazing waterfall, and the gardens have lots of lovely fountains, plants, a boating lake, and an aquarium. In the evening we got the boat across the lake to watch the fountain display where the fountains dance to music.

Although our day was spent sight seeing and exploring we also had lots of really interesting conversations with Sumi and Pastor Gladson, talking to Sumi about the children’s home I learnt a little more about it, she told me that housing and caring for the children is all part of their ministry, they get no payment from the parents or any organisation for doing this, the only support they get is from church donations, for example at christmas many of the church will buy the children books and pens for school etc. the girls that currently live there all have parents, some from single parent families, but live with Sumi and Gladson due to their parent/s not being able to fund their schooling and care, she also explained than some of the parents have little interest in seeing their children, however Sumi encourages the parent/s to collect their children for at least a few days each year, for example after christmas, they spend christmas in Sumi and Gladson family home and then Sumi pushes for the parents to collect the girls and spend some time with them before they return them to her care. Sumi explains the girls as a blessing to her life,  I’m 100% positive they would say the same about her and the family!

 

Day 9

SHOPPING!! As its our penultimate day here (wahhhh!) we spent today mooching around the market stalls of Bangalore getting ourselves some obviously much needed (thats what mum and I told ourselves anyway) Indian souvenirs. It was great fun looking around, experiencing Sumi’s expert bartering skills (!!), seeing local stalls and Bangalore normality in all its glory, as dad described its like Back of the inns (in Norwich) but with hundreds of thousands of market stalls either side and cars, trucks, motorbikes and tuk-tuks trying to get through both ways – so really nothing like Back of the inns!!

(Photos to follow)

Tomorrow is back to work with church, baptisms and much more I’m sure!

M

 

Day 7

Not much to report back on today (I can almost here your sighs of relief!), lots more travelling to get back to Bangalore in preparation for tomorrows long day in Mysore, we are getting the hang of Indian travelling now- Norfolk roads are going to seem very tame!

Thank you for the lovely comments I’ve had about the blog, believe it or not I’m not writing this only for my own enjoyment so its great to know you are enjoying it and are able to feel as if you are experiencing these things yourself, even if it is only vicariously!

Just a few photos we captured during the journey…

 

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“Follow lane discipline” Ha, you must be joking

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More coconut water and a beautiful mumma- they look so different to the coconuts at home

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Street corner 

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Day 6 photos (part 3)

This is the last lot for day 6 I promise! enjoy 🙂

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This little boy has problems with his sight- pretty amazing to watch dad pray for him, very special moment 
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Lady on the right in her post-baptism robe
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A blurry photo but the only one we have- with the baptism candidates (minus one who had already left!)
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TERRIBLE photo of me but had to upload it as these are the selfie queens I spoke about- these 2 are incredible, they are my age (20), both have degrees, one in Economics the other in Business commerce but neither can find work due to the area they live in, and we say life isn’t fair?! 
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‘Oranges’ *cough* 

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Our tea made by one of the ladies who came to the evening service

Day 6 photos (part 2)

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The ‘top table’ (check out our fab plates- banana leaf!) at this point we were at the front while everyone else was sitting ahead of us on the floor watching us attempt eating with our hands- thank goodness Sumi and Pastor Gladson prepared us so well!! 
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Some of the congregation eating, sat in rows either side of the church
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…And the rest were out here! note the incredible hand made gazebos
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The giant pots our food was made in

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At the front of the church is a red cross back-lit with red LED lights, this is the reflection of said cross in Dad’s laptop (with UK date and time on!!) photo credit: Mother
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Prayer before baptism 
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The official dunking