Thursday, January 8, 2009


Hey, guys!  We're back!  However, i have a bunch of fun little videos that i'm going to upload that i couldn't (due to Internet speed) while i was on the field.  Hope to conclude the blog with a couple of other postst that i couldn't post while we were in transit.  Enjoy, and thanks for your interaction, comments and prayers while we were on the field!  -jack

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Jimminy Cricket!

We were introduced to the Indian game of Cricket (sort of like baseball… but…uh… not really), and they graciously tolerated our awkwardness as we tried to figure out the various rules. Basically, as nearly as any of us can tell, you “bowl” the ball toward the batter, deliberately intending to bounce it before they hit it. The batter more “bunts” the ball than swings it baseball style, and can bat it in any direction (even behind him). You score “runs” by running back and forth between “wickets” (kind of like bases), and you carry the bat with you as you run rather than tossing it aside. Finally, you can score as many runs as you can rather than just being able to score one per bat. As it turns out, Marty and Ben both had mean bowls, and Ben even struck one of the Indian teens “out”.

Justice Team… Assemble!!!

I wanted to sort of apologize that I don’t have more to report on the Justice Team. They’ve been hard at work for the past two days in Vellavedu with our Super Pastor Anbuannan, and have been working with bonded slave laborers in that area. Most of the slaves work in brick factories, and the team has been going over a Justice-oriented Bible Study with them, as well as curriculum from International Justice Mission. I don’t have photos because we haven’t been proximal enough to them to get any, but to my knowledge, they are doing well. We will come back together with them tonight in Chennai as we begin our long trek home, and I will hope to have a couple of posts about them before we leave if I can manage it.


I had the privilege of teaching the 301 Core Class to our next batch of 50 church planters over two days, and am really enjoying this current wave. I taught 201 in July/August, and really connected with the group, and it was fun to get back together with them again, laugh, tell more stories, and enjoy what they’ve been learning as they have both implemented 201 successfully as well as start in on 301.

301 is always just a little bit tricky because of the massive diversity of opinion on the issue of Spiritual Gifts (particularly gifts such as Tongues, Interpretation and Prophecy), but this group enjoyed the back and forth from each other as members from all camps (cessationists (those who believe that those gifts ceased with the apostolic age), “conventional” charismatics, and even some Word-Faithers).

All in all, however, it was a fun class, Anandraj (one of our Life Mission International staff members, a great interpreter, and a good friend) and I actually finished on time and according to schedule, and everyone seemed to enjoy the time. This batch will now go back to their villages and implement CORE class 301 training in their churches. It’s awesome to help train these kinds of “leadership multipliers” for ministry!

Friday, January 2, 2009


After working all day on New Year's Eve Day, the teams converged (minus the Justice Team, who were still farther away in Ranipet) at the Construction Team site for a bonfire to celebrate the coming of the new year. It was absolutely awesome (and hilarious) to watch as Raj gradually coaxed more and more of us to join him in various dances and songs around the campfire.

As soon as the air began to split with laughs and shouts, some of the villagers came to join us. Some of the younger girls especially twirled and spun to the tunes of old Tamil traditional songs hammered out by deft fingers on goat-skin drums or overturned aluminum pots. In addition to the pulsing blaze of the fire, the effect was both timeless and mesmerizing. Staring up at the crystal-clear sky at a blackness that was dotted with an unbelievable view of what must have been literally thousands upon thousands of visible stars, i was suddenly struck with the notion that we could have been doing this in 2008... or 2008 BC without much difference in overall effect or feeling. It was amazing!

Finally, one of the things that Americans learn very quickly when visiting here is that Indian culture has a massive and rich tradition of history and lore that is kept and "bottled" (if you will) through the medium of song and dance. Some of the songs that i've heard sung in these types of performances date back hundreds of years (or farther), and have a weight and "flavor" of the passage of time that contemporary pop will just never touch. I mean... can you picture Americans singing Katie Perry songs in two thousand years? I can't.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Construction Team: Villa De La Constructcione

This is the Construction and Media Team “tent village”. Because Dan Blacketor is leading them, and a good many of the team members are seasoned India Team veterans, they planned ahead well (notice the portable pooper stand behind the second tent from the right), and have been relatively comfortable sleeping in their little vinyl shelters each night. Except for the fact that the Hindu worship music starts loud at about 3 am, Muslim call to prayer starts at about 5 am, and the teams have been working HARD till just up to dusk, making each of them pretty battle-weary, though still in great spirits. They have been real troopers, have navigated some interesting challenges, and have done a fantastic job throughout. Way to go!!!

Water Team: Don “Journey to the Center of the Earth” Wolfram and Cleaning the Well…(Contributed by Jen Price)

Hello, from the Padu Colony in Kalavia, Tamil Nadu India! The water team officially began our work! Yesterday we cleared brush, grass, and weeds from around the village well. This is much more difficult without the assistance of lawn mowers and weed eaters! However, this team is ready for anything, so with shovel trowels in hand, we cleared a 3-5 foot border around the well. Our plan is to clean the well, inside and out, hopefully teaching the community to take care of it after we are gone. While the well will not be completely clean by safe drinking water standards, we will then install Hydraid Biosand Water Filters in their homes to purify the water.

Without this well, the people have very little access to water. This contaminated well supplies water to the “untouchables,” the members of the lowest caste called the dalits. Because these people are in this caste, no one else will help them. The government only provides 2 buckets of water per family, once every 5 days. The water is turned on from a small pipe at 3am! The villagers wait anxiously, and call for everyone when the water starts pumping.

We had the opportunity to meet many of the villagers. While we heard many stories of struggles and pain, we also were blessed by the smiles and joy within the people. They were so excited to see us! We offered prayer and a promise to return!

The remaining water in the well was pumped out during the night by using a motor and tapping in to the local electricity supply. We returned today to discover that the well was much deeper than expected. But in true GCC “can do” spirit, a few locals and a water team member, Don Wolfram, were lowered into the well to remove trash and the settled slime and grime from the surface of the water. While Don was busy at the bottom of the well, the rest of us met more of the villagers. While we hope to improve their health through safe drinking water, we also hope to relay to them that they matter to us, and most importantly, they matter to God. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to have your entire country tell you that not only do you not matter, but that you are the lowest of the low, and that you do not even deserve the basic needs of life. We’re here to change that!

Our next steps will include installing the filters and providing health and hygiene education during a village meeting. Go team! We’ll keep you posted!