International Ministries

View from the Mussoorie hills

May 18, 2008 Journal

It is evening here and the sun has just set on a beautiful day. As I look out over the hills to the plains below lights are coming on and beginning to twinkle in the valley about 30 miles away.

In a little less than two weeks, school ends and closes for the summer break. Many are looking forward to going home. This is also a time to say good-bye not only to seniors who will be graduating, but also others, both staff and students, who will be moving on to other places to serve or new schools next year. I find this time difficult as people who you have worked along side or students you get to know well move on. We trust all lives are richer and relationships strong for having spent this time in the same place. Change is constant here as we say farewell now and by mid July we say welcome to new staff members coming to the community and in early August about 100 new students who will be joining us for the start of the school year.

It was a Monday morning almost a month ago now that the mother of a staff couple passed away. She had been ill for some time. As is the custom here the funeral and burial was the same day. The funeral was scheduled for about 4:40 at the local church in town. Transport was offered for staff who planned to attend. I went as did a good number of others both from the school and the community. The lady and her husband had served in India for a long time. Their three children had all been educated at Woodstock. After retirement thy chose to live here near their daughter and family.

India was home for them. Her husband passed away about two years ago. The number of students who came for the funeral was amazing! They walked 30 minutes, after school, to get to the church – Christian and non Christians – many of whom did not actually know the lady, but know the staff members. They heard a powerful message and witnessed the celebration of the life of a person who was special to someone they knew.

After the service they walked 30 minutes to get back in time for the next thing scheduled in their day. Relationships are so important – the little things that are done and the unspoken speak so loudly. Is it important for American Baptist International Ministries to have people here? The relationships and witness are so incredible.

Please pray for the students here – those who are preparing to graduate and go on to further education in many parts of the world, those who are going home for the summer that they will have a good reunion with their families. Please also pray for the new staff who will be coming – as they prepare to come to a new place. Pray for the new principal as he prepares to come from New York in mid-July to lead the school.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support.