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Yesterday, January 28, Christie, Marilyn and I decorated the big bulletin board in our church with Pravaham – see pictures attached. A week or so ago, IPC missions team had invited me to put up a display of Pravaham for the month of February. The bulletin board, about 96 inches wide (length) and 40 inches tall (height) is located in the hallway of our Jenny Hart Education Building. There’s a lot of traffic during the week from parents of the children going to pre-school. On Sunday there’s the children and adult Sunday school classes. A lot of people will see these pictures of Pravaham. I’m very grateful to our Missions Team for inviting us to share about Pravaham via this board for the second year. I was truly blessed to have Marilyn and Christie’s artistic talents. I’ve attached a few pictures of the display we put together and hope you will enjoy them.
We divided the board into three themes and the first (green background) features the art activities of the girls. We were also able to add the most recent picture of Dr. Vivian Churness, Anne and Pr. Devadoss with the current Class taken just this past weekend during their visit (Vivian and Anne were guests from San Pedro who visited Pravaham – their story was blogged separately and I will be printing a copy of their letter describing the visit and adding it to the display board). The middle panel (background yellow) showcases the success story of Priya, the gold medallist. The final panel shows pictures of the 2012 graduation, girls rehearsing for the ceremony, etc..
All photos (except one) were taken and contributed by Christie. Thanks, Christie! If you look closely enough you will even see that Uncle Samuel made it into the display; Bishop Ananda Rao Samuel was the founder of Pravaham. The title display “Where in the Word is Pravaham?” is part of a poster that Jon made for their family presentation at IPC last year. On Jan 6, 2012 Jon who is the Irvine Pres. missions team chair and his beautiful family – Jennifer, Trisha, and Christina – shared about their visit to Pravaham in November 2011.
While we were doing the display and close to when we were getting finished I started to look around and noticed that there was another display right across from ours. Guess what it was titled? “Where in the world is Flat Stanley?” Now, how cool is that? Is our God awesome or what?
By Christie Van Vugt about her trip to Pravaham last year; we thought it would be good to share as Christie prepares for another visit.
Pravaham is beautiful anytime of year and October 2011 was no exception. The weather was unseasonably warm and the annual monsoon was late arriving but the campus was lush with greenery and flowers were in bloom everywhere.
On my first day there we had morning service in the chapel, followed by breakfast and delicious Indian chai (tea). I was in the classroom getting to know the thirty new students who were enrolled for the 2011/2012 year’s nursing program. Suddenly there was a lot of excitement. I was summoned to follow the staff back to the office to meet two new “kids”. The female goat I had been petting an hour earlier decided it was time to give birth and out came the twins! Below are some other brief highlights of my 2011 trip.
The first week was spent getting to know the new students and reuniting with the soon-to-be-graduates. The 7th batch girls had been home for a break and were returning to take a final practical exam before the official graduation ceremony. The baby goats were a constant source of entertainment. In addition to the goats, there are chickens, pigeons, parakeets, three small “turkeys” (they’re actually guinea hens) and two dogs. There have been monkeys on campus, but happily none while I was there! One evening we had an impromptu talent show in the chapel with singing and dancing. There’s video footage of me singing and dancing… but I’m pretty sure it won’t be released for public viewing!
Week two was busy preparing the campus for graduation. The new girls were fitted for their official pink uniforms that they will start wearing on graduation day. The graduating students each prepared a white sari to wear for the ceremony. Pastor Devadoss spent hours practicing a special song with the girls. So much time was spent singing that song that I actually learned to sing it too! One night we had a fun time stringing together “vidi malagai” (loose jasmine) flowers. The girls wear the finished strands in their hair. For a couple of days the girls practiced for the ceremony. In addition to their regular duties they spent their free time tending to the garden areas and making sure everything was extra clean. On graduation morning there was a flurry of activity before the guests arrived. This year I was lucky enough to watch the work that goes into designing the beautiful traditional welcome designs known as “kolom”. It is artwork created freehand on the ground with a powdered white marble and then filled in with colored kolom powder. All I can really say about the graduation is that even though very little of it is in English, it was a beautiful and meaningful ceremony. (The video footage is on DVD if anyone would like to watch it.)
The third week started with the annual old student reunion. There were seven 6th batch students who returned to attend this event, plus several girls from earlier years. I spent the rest of the week working on art projects with the 8th batch and taking photos of the girls. Before I knew it the students were all heading home for a holiday known as Diwali (the festival of light). Just before I left we had a little more excitement when a cobra was discovered in the classroom. My yelling “snake, snake!” didn’t bring a fast response at first, so I’m thinking “snake” might be a good word to learn in Tamil! And with that, the monsoon rains arrived and I said goodbye to Pravaham. It always feels like a final farewell… but just last week I started thinking about “on next year’s trip…..” Shhhh! Best to let John recover from 2011 before he starts to worry about 2012! LATE BREAKING NEWS: two more baby goats were born the weekend before Thanksgiving!
Christie can be contacted at cvanvugt at cox dot com.
Donations of succulent dish gardens, eco-friendly jute bags, and Indian handicrafts helped us to raise funds for Pravaham at the Irvine Pres. Church’s Ladies Spring Cafe on April 17. We had a cool speaker (Angie Horn-Andreu), inspiring music (Chris Kernutt), wonderful food (Heidi, Linda & Julia), and restful fellowship. Our speaker’s challenge for us: change from “collectors” of information, knowledge, wounds, and things and become “serial repenters.” Folks who are continuously turning to Christ and are changing, becoming more like him, making a difference in our world and always using the abundant gifts we’re given (not just collecting and storing them away like the man in Jesus’ parable of the talents in the Gospel of Matthew). Thanks, everybody, for your heart for the ministries at Pravaham. As the letters from the girls and Lucy constantly remind us, we are helping to change many lives, and make a difference.
Read about the activities of Angie D’Aleo, a San Pedro, CA member of Team Pravaham USA, in the form of a letter she wrote to the Editor of her local newspaper. Naturally, Pravaham is featured in it – you figure out how and you’ll get the BIG picture :).
I had an experience with the local SP Girl Scouts which warmed my heart, as well as made me proud to have been a former Scout. But, this is only PART of an amazing story!
This last month and a half I’ve been seeking out sponsors for my own submission in the ‘decorated bra’ project that the SP Soroptomist group is hostessing as a fundraiser for low-income/not-insured women’s breast health and women’s health issues. OVER $10,000.00 have been raised and donated by them, with their yearly gala, “What a Pair,” as the main venue. Monies go to the hospital’s imaging center [for low/no cost mammograms & screening], as well as to a tuition-free, lowest-caste girls’ school for nursing assistants in Vellore, India. My own ‘arty’ bra is honoring numerous women, all battlers of breast cancer–both survivors and those passed on– and many are my sponsors.
While at the LCMSP hospital for breakfast with my husband Pete last Friday, I saw a powder-pink hoodie on display along with the flyers for “What a Pair” in a glass case. I asked in the gift shop if they had them for sale. A “sorry, no” answer sent me to the administrative office of Anne, yet another breast cancer survivor AND WAP entrant. She shared so very much information about their program for women’s breast health, as well as showing me the Comfort Bags another local ‘sorority’ of concerned women sew and assemble for those undergoing radiation or chemotherapy treatment. Included in the bag is a pink crystal bracelet with a “Love” heart charm. NONE of this–including the hoodies–was for sale. ALL are gifted to the women undergoing treatment. Their pink jackets ‘red flag’ them for TLC/VIP treatment, and the bags’ contents ease them physically: Baby powder, lotion, and gentle soap, as dictated by their doctors.
I left the hospital without a hoody, but very revved up for HOPE!
Back to the Girl Scouts: While grocery shopping Saturday at Vons on Gaffey, I found Girl Scouts had set up tables at both doors–no escaping them! I explained that I, thankfully, had been a Scout, had ALREADY purchased cookies from a little girl at my church, and wished them luck. While shopping, I decided to ‘loosen up’ and buy a box…and at the table I made small talk with the troop leader. She shared, ultimately, that it was HER troop of girls who’d made the bracelets–what’re the chances?–and that they are super-supportive of the LCMSP program and health for all women.
So, I emailed Soroptomist President Marta Valladolid [of Bringelson’s Jewelers] and told her this serendipitious vignette. She seemed really pleased in her response, with, “I’ve always said we are greater in numbers.” As if Providence put all these puzzle pieces together for me to become ‘enlightened’ by seeing ‘the big picture,’ or something.
It feels really right, the creative work so many are doing to combat the scourge of breast cancer. I applaud Vons for allowing the Girl Scouts to do their fundraising on their property; the personalized care and concern of hospital employees and concerned groups [such as the Scouts] amaze me; and the kind-hearted philanthropy of the Soroptomists inspires ME to be more and do more.
I will be at the Croation Cultural Center [7th & Pacific] Friday night to share MY bra, “I, Deux,” as well as see other artists–mostly women–proudly share THEIR bras and art pieces at this gala fundraising and pro-life happening. Out of the ashes of despair rises the phoenix of hope and wellness.
We ARE greater in numbers. This synergy WILL bring about comfort , hope, and a cure, if we join our efforts and our hearts together to finally conquer breast cancer once and for all. We stand by our stricken sisters and offer them our support and love. I am proud to be in their numbers.
Alma Angeline D’Aleo
The thank you card is for the Hygiene Kits prepared by IPC’s Third Saturday Service project and for the Welcome to School kits prepared by IPC’s Jr. High VBS students. Thanks to Angie & Snobia for carrying these kits and gifting them – you can see Angie handing the gifts to the girls (Lucy who runs Pravaham is seated next to her). Thanks to Christie for capturing all these photos – you can view the entire gifting ceremony album online. The Graduation & Invocation pictures are online too! Thanks to IPC’s wholehearted support of Pravaham.