Prem Dan – Day 4 started early with the team serving the poorest of the poor in the Sisters of Charity home called Prem Dan. Our team started on laundry duty as do most everyone who volunteers in these care homes. The women serve swomen and the men serve men. After laundry is washed, hung to dry on the roof top, and beds are made individual care of patients begins. The women will wash hair, paint fingernails and toe nails, massage knotted muscles and rub moisturizer on dry skin of these women whose world has shrunk to a very small place. The men will shave the men, massage crippled muscles, rub moisturizer, and generally help meet the personal care needs of these men, there are volunteers from all over the world. While the spoken languages are varied among the volunteers the common language of the volunteers is love and service.
After lunch our team had just enough time to clean up and pack for a train ride up to Asansol. Asansol is a large town by our standards a 21/2 hour train ride north of Kolkata. The train arrived after dark and we were met by a local pastor and one of his assistants. If you have not been to India the Baptist Missionary center guest house is not a 4 star hotel. It is clean. Most of the rooms have air conditioning and hot water. There is a grassed courtyard and they serve some meals, all in all a nice place, but nothing fancy. After the hotel in Asansol we now call the BMS “the Ritz”.
However we were not there for the accommodations but to encourage the faithful, help train Christian leaders, and hopefully spread the seed of the gospel. We headed out after a typical breakfast here of a piece of toast and a boiled egg to a church training center that is still under construction. The team shared in a time of praise and worship with the folks present then split into 2 groups. One group stayed there and assisted with biblical Christian life training. The other group headed off to a “swimming event”. Most folks here who work as Ms use what they call secure language to help keep their profile low. Christian persecution is active and folks have been sent home for trying to convert others.
The “swimming event” was amazing. These folks rode 8 people in a car for 5 for about 15 minutes to a river. Then hiked across the deep sand of the river bank for a good 1/4 mile to be dunked in a river. And came up smiling each and every one.
The folks at the training were Blessed to hear a powerful word from 3 team members about the call to Christian living. One man had traveled over 150 kilometers to be there and listen. Realize he traveled 150 kilometers not in his car, but by train, bus, and then by foot for 4 hours to hear the word. It is quite humbling for us to be treated with such honor by these strong Christian men and women who truly live out there faith daily.
The day ended with a home church service of 50 plus people. Many of the team shared a word of encouragement or personal testimony after a beautiful song and several praise songs. Then we hustled to the train station and headed back to Kolkatta arriving at “the ritz” after 10 pm local time fully worn out but exhilarated.
It was a full couple of days. Full of exciting activities, strange food, difficult travel, and over flowing with the Holy Spirit. And these folks, most of whom have little or nothing in the way of material possessions, all they ever ask us to do is pray for them and visit them when we come back.
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 1 Timothy 2:1