Friends of Pravaham

Archive for July 2009

AngieIndia09I’m just back from Irvine Presbyterian Church’s Third Saturday Service Project (click on the Saturday Service tab) led by Van and Mary Partible.  I arrived at 5: 30 pm with my donations for the hygiene kits and lasagna.  At 5:45 pm we began to enjoy the potluck dinner and at 6: 30 pm or so, Angie d’Aleo and Christine Von Vugt were introduced along with their husbands, Peter d’Aleo and John Stephenson. Angie shared copies of the stunning flier shown here and talked briefly. Created by her husband Pete, the flier front shown here, has a map of India and Indian flag, and the verso describes their upcoming Our India Adventure and what they will be doing in Pravaham.

Then, the kids started on the letters to Pravaham and El Nino students, drawing and putting stickers. At Van’s request I’d made Tamil (தமிழ்) stickers which said: Our Jesus is GoodNam Yesu nallavar –  நம் இயேசு நல்லவர். This is, apparently, the first line from a popular Christian Tamil song as well. I wonder if the Pravaham girls will learn it?  The stickers for the Mexico kits said God bless you in Spanish. The kids also started making the hygiene kits, containing 8 items in a ziploc bag: lotion, chapstick, a bar of soap, kleenex, comb, toothpaste, toothbrush, Johnson’s band aid kit and of course the card from the kids. In record time, less than an hour, 400 kits were assembled! Van gave 50 to Angie to take to Pravaham, India and 350 to Karen to take to El Nino, Mexico. We all laid hands on Angie and Christine and prayed for travel mercies and blessings for their loving and caring hearts for Pravaham, and for the girls at Pravaham to know the love of Jesus. Later, I collected and gave Angie the 30 Welcome to School kits from the VBS Jr. High kids.

The evening went by really fast and as my friend Nancy (remember Nancy, Arlene , and everybody, do check out her Incredible India website, a web journal of her own trip) put it: we did something that will help many! I was very glad Shanti (Lucy’s friend and now mine too) could be there.  Shanti brought two huge dishes of chicken wings and the 400 ziploc bags – thank you, Shanti! Another of my friends, Karyn came too and that was great; the bean salad she brought looked and tasted gorgeous and her donations were most appreciated too!  I do hope you guys will join us for other Third Saturday Service projects! I introduced Angie to Donna as also Jennifer and her fascinating houseguests: Ron, Erin, and Nikki (missionaries in Indonesia).

Back to Angie’s little talk: Angie did a wonderful job conveying the essence of Pravaham’s work in 2 minutes or less: how girls from the untouchable caste are touched by the love of Jesus and given freedom from the indignities of caste through their Nursing Aide student program.  Jennifer Dietz reminded me to arrange for Angie and her friends to share with us again after they return from India. I do hope Angie, Snobia (who could not attend today because of a conflict), and Christie will do so along with Pete and John !  Thanks Angie, Christi, Pete and John for braving the freeway and coming to Irvine. We all appreciate it very much.

When the kids were preparing the cards, I shared a teeny weeny bit of the history of Tamil with a few of the older girls: Tamil is a Dravidian language, distinct from the Indo-Aryan languages (e.g. hindi, urdu, sanskrit which are common in northern India). Indo-Aryan languages are a group of Indo-European languages. Tamil and other Dravidian languages are quite distinct from English, etc. In fact, Tamil is supposed to have some similarities to Finnish, Korean, Ainu, and indigenous Australian. I wish I knew more about Tamil language and literature!

Third Sat. Service project is an incredible undertaking – thanks to everybody who donated but especially the Partibles, Siakis, Culbertsons, Korneychuks and other families who are leading this with their kids ranging in ages from months old to the mid-teens. They have a nice little assembly line for putting the kits together and the kids just go down the line … with a few adults doing quality control at the end :). TSS is an innovative way to model the love of Christ and social justice in action for our kids. I’m glad I got to be a part of this – thank you, Van & Mary (and Pastor Tim too).  I am very grateful to Angie and her friends for taking IPC’s gifts of love to Pravaham.  God bless IPC, Pravaham, Angie, Christie, Snobia  and their church United Methodist, San Pedro, and all the people involved in Third Saturday Service, abundantly.


July 13 – 17 is Vacation Bible School at Irvine Presbyterian Church and the Jr. High class is doing something each day for IPC missions partners.  On Tuesday, July 14 evening, Shanti shared about Pravaham’s ministries with IPC ‘s  Jr. High kids. Following Shanti’s presentation, the Jr. High kids wrote letters sharing their favorite Bible story or verse to the incoming class of Pravaham Nursing Aide students. Led by teachers, Janel, Michelle, and various other helpers and guides 44 energetic kids besides also put together a number of Welcome to School kits. The letters & kits are IPC’s 2009 VBS Jr. Higher’s gifts to the new girls coming into Pravaham. According to Lucy, Director, as of July 6, 23 had already arrived on the Pravaham campus with 17 more yet to come!

DSCN5388Each BEAUTIFUL, ECO-FRIENDLY pink bag contains a gorgeous mirror, fun pencils and cool erasers, besides of course the precious letters.

Thank you, Shanti, and everybody at IPC, for sharing God’s love and gifts to us so generously and for your passion to help bring social justice even to places and people thousands of miles and half a world away. Pictures, taken by enterprising Jr. Highers of their friends writing the letters, are at IPC’s Asia Missions Photo Album website.  One little girl’s comment touched me deeply. She said “spoiled” is how she felt when she saw how little these girls have and against what odds they struggle.

Keep up the good work at Pravaham, Lucy! The love of Jesus that you show through your work with these girls in Pravaham is felt in sunny California too.

To God be the glory, now and forever. Alleluia, Amen.

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July 2009
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