entering the land of the gods

a study abroad journey

Archive for the tag “faith”

Kids helping Kids

Many of you may recall my experiences with Bowl of Compassion in Bodh Gaya, India (read here if you need a refresher).

After spending two days meeting and interacting with the children, I was left with a heart for these children and the people who put their heart and soul into this ministry.

Upon returning to Sioux Falls and my job at First Presbyterian Church (FPC), Bowl of Compassion continued to weigh on my heart. As the Children’s Director and I began preparing for Vacation Bible School in June, the topic of mission came up. For those of you who are not familiar with Vacation Bible School (VBS), it is an exciting week where kids are invited to the church to take part in games, crafts, bible stories, and songs to learn about the Christian God and his Son, Christ Jesus. Everyday the children are encouraged to bring a monetary offering in order to teach them about tithing and helping others. Therefore, every year, the church chooses a new mission to support. Generally, FPC has chosen to support a local mission in the community of Sioux Falls, but with my experiences in India, the team decided it would be neat to support an organization I was able to work with, allowing me to elaborate on my personal experiences.

I worked with 3 different organizations during my stay in India. We had preliminarily chosen one organization due to its Christian emphasis…but Bowl of Compassion continued to weigh on my heart. A few days later I let my team know where my heart was and where the needs of Bowl of Compassion were. Not only did they enthusiastically support the decision to give to Bowl of Compassion but they decided that the Children’s Offering for the entire month of July would go to Bowl of Compassion! Wow what a blessing!

The past few weeks I have been collecting details from Murari, the owner of Bowl of Compassion. There greatest need is a new floor for their children to sit and eat lunch on. After researching the costs, Murari let me know that tiling the floor would cost 17,200 rupees…$320. I was confident that we could raise this amount during the week at VBS!

Each day the kids at FPC learned a little bit about the ‘far away land’ of India. Our kids were able to see pictures of the kids there. We also took a picture of each one of our kids to send over there! I was impressed by the way the kids responded.

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On Wednesday, Day 3, our total was $350!!! Wow! I called Murari that night through Skype to tell him the good news. But the week wasn’t over, by Friday our grand total was $802…44,110 rupees! What generosity!

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The plan is that all of the extra money we raised beyond the costs for the tile floor will go towards building an art building at Bowl of Compassion. This project is much larger- about $2000 (or 110,000 rupees) to construct a building. We will keep collecting funds each Sunday throughout the month of July. Even if we can’t make the total amount, it is a good starting point for Bowl of Compassion!

Words cannot describe the joy in my heart! I am so proud of the kids at VBS and thankful for the generosity of FPC. God is working in many hearts.

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I will leave you with the lyrics to one of my newest favorite songs: “Kings & Queens” -Audio Adrenaline  Listen to the link. This is what our mission has been, kids helping kids!

To donate to Bowl of Compassion please see this link: http://www.bowlofcompassion.org/en/donations.html

 

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Sharing the Gift of Dance

As the summer rolls along, my time spent in India feels like a dream. It is so easy to settle into “normal” life- living at home, seeing friends, working, etc.

I am working at First Presbyterian Church this summer for my second year as their Children’s Ministry Intern. Basically, I help plan and coordinate summer activities for elementary aged children to keep them engaged in the Word of God throughout the summer months. It is a delight to be among encouraging people, energetic children, and a community of faith!

One of the ministries I began last summer was Liturgical Dance and it was high on my list of things to do again this year. Well, two weeks ago we had camp- 4 days of learning dances, bonding as sisters in Christ, and discovering what it means to praise the Lord through dance- it was incredible! I had 12 elementary girls in the mornings and then 5 middle schoolers in the afternoon. I was amazed by how open they all were to the Lord and didn’t hesitate to dance with full body and soul.

On our last day of camp I decided to add a worldly focus to devotions.The day before, Pastor Carolyn elaborated on the various scriptures in the Bible that describe people singing and dancing for the Lord. But did you know people were dancing even before Christ and in other religions? I decided to give the girls a taste of my experiences by describing Hinduism, bringing in pictures of the gods to elaborate. The girls were amazed by how interesting Ganesh and Krishna looked, not having encountered these concepts before. However my main point was that dance in India is used to worship and tell stories about their gods just like we worship our God through dance.

With my bells strapped to my ankles, I explained how the dance form of Kuchipudi uses many hand gestures to convey the meaning of the dance, just like we use certain poses or moves to show a particular mood. They loved the way my bells jingled as I performed a bit of Kuchipudi dance. As I practiced the night before, I was amazed at how well I could remember it all. My body was sore doing the movements, but it was still there inside of me!

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I hope that through telling the girls about cultural dance, that they are more open to other religions and other beliefs in general. I appreciated their questions about India and hope that this week will stick with them, encouraging them to explore the world like I have!

I am so blessed to be able to share these experiences and hope that the opportunities to do so will continue to present themselves.

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The middle school dancers!
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And here are the elementary girls!

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