October 17th- December 19th
Shunem Home – Report #2
After Vijayawadda Bible Week we returned to Shunem and prepared for the departure of our dear friends from New Zealand, Lydia Manning and Ellese Forbes. We resettled and began to prepare for the next big event on the Shunem calendar, the Christmas Drama. Along with Peter and Julia Gaston we began planning the extravaganza known as “The Greater Shepherd.” Shunem takes it’s Christmas Drama seriously so we got to work, which included writing the script, casting parts, teaching songs, recording background music, choreographing dances, teaching acting skills, designing costumes and the set and working on anything else that came up.
Our daily activities continued as usual. We reorganized our one-on-one reading lists, providing extra help for the few who needed it while the majority of the children moved up at least one reading level. We continued to encourage the older children, stressing the importance of spiritual maturity. Sister Jessica Gelineau and I continued our class with the older girls, addressing subjects like grace and service. One Saturday we met up with the older girls at Moinabad and enjoyed an evening of full of fellowship, games. egg curry and a henna competition.
Baptism – Sis Laxmi
During the last week of November we rejoiced together at the baptism of sister Laxmi. She is a staff member at Shunem who had been studying for baptism during the first few months of our stay. It was such a blessing to be able to witness her baptism and the freedom in Christ that she had found.
Visitors and Study Day
In December we enjoyed a rush of visitors to the Hyderabad ecclesia, including Brother Phil Sweeny from Schooley’s Mountain NJ. During his visit he taught an ecclesial study day on the subject of Jesus. It was a wonderfully attended day and everyone enjoyed the time of study, singing praises, and fellowship.
Leper Colony Visit
While Brother Phil was here, we made the trip out to visit the Christadelphian run leper colony, Darsapally. We toured the grounds, visited with the residents and sat down together for a bible study led by Brother Levi Gelineau. It was such a peaceful and serene experience visiting this rural part of India, home to some amazing people.
When I arrived at Shunem in August, my name was changed to Maggie Akka, because I was to be a big sister to all of these children. As the time to leave drew nearer it became obvious that Shunem had become a home to me and all of these children had become my chellis (little sisters) and thammudus (little brothers). There will always be a place in my heart for my Shunem home and family. What a blessing it will be in the kingdom to be reunited with all of the believers that have grown in my heart.