In Pictures: Family and Friends in India

Photos by Kelly Jobe
Captions by Kelly Jobe and Rosemary Sherrod 

This past week, we hosted family and friends for a 10-day trip to India. The trip was a time to learn the culture, meet the people, and take part in the work of our organization. The team was especially blessed to be able to teach at a local school, make improvements to the school building, visit families living in an impoverished housing compound close to our property, and connect all they heard and saw during times of Bible study and prayer.

Kevin Maute and Greg Jobe, both fathers to G.O.D. India team members, installed lighting for bathrooms at the local K-10 school. Though a seemingly small addition, inadequate and unsafe restrooms are a leading cause of girls dropping out of school worldwide. It is these small, humanizing actions that produce safer environments and ultimately, ensure better learning. 

Bob Cates has been teaching math for over 30 years. This week, Mr. Cates taught high school math at the local school. He expressed how refreshing it was to teach students who were eager to learn, despite the challenges they face in doing so. 

Linda Jobe (right) leads the kids in a song with Rosemary Sherrod, team facilitator, and Mahima, teacher at Aquatic Public School. Linda utilized skills she's gained over many years of leading worship and teaching children. The kids were delighted to learn new songs and motions and Linda was thankful to meet the students her daughter, Kelly, has been teaching for the past month.

Melissa Firestone got off the plane with more luggage than seemed necessary for a trip of this duration. We soon discovered that her big bag was filled with arts supplies for the 80 children who attend the local school. In addition to all of the art supplies, Melissa brought something the children needed and appreciated—herself and her gift as an artist. In an environment barely conducive to drawing and painting, Melissa was able to bring out the artist in each of the children. “Ma’am, Ma’am” cried one child after another as held up their artwork. They wanted their teacher, Melissa Ma’am, to see what they were able to do. 

Robert Munoz, trip facilitator, lead the team in the song, "Making Melodies in My Heart." This song was a hit everywhere we went - with kids and adults alike! On this day, we visited a church located directly behind our office. Though the church meets in damp, dark basement, it was filled with believers who were passionate and joyful at the opportunity to worship God and learn his Word. 

When we volunteered to help at a church's VBS we found 300+ children sitting on the floor in a non-air conditioned room for over 3 hours. There was no personal space, no accommodating seating, no temperature-controlled environment, and no hands-on activities. But those things did not prevent the children from expressing their love for God during a time of worship and prayer. Responding to the worship songs, some children rose to their feet while others fell to their knees. With eyes closed and hand clasped, the children poured out their prayers and praises to God.

“I can bring you to the place where many of my family lives,” said the security guard who lives outside of our property. We visited several families each living in small one room homes with no running water, minimal and inconsistent electricity, and no in-house bathrooms. “All 25 families share one bathroom,” remarked one of the young mothers. Almost all of the residents in this community migrated from other places in India. I asked several women if they liked living in Delhi. “It doesn’t matter if we like it,” replied one of the women, “we had to come here because there was no work in our home state.” When Jesus healed the man with the withered hand, he enabled him to enter the work force where he would be able to provide for himself and his family. To do the work of Jesus is to create the opportunity for people to find jobs that enable them to meet their most basic needs. That is why job creation is one of the goals of G.O.D. in India. 

Our team was enthusiastically welcomed into home after home. Participant Cheryl Voight reflected, “To see people living in conditions that one believes have been, for the most part, eradicated in the Western world, was humbling. Equally humbling was the hospitality we experienced when we visited with them.”As we sat together, they told us about their families, their villages, and their jobs. Despite their modest accommodations, they offered us chai and cold drinks. Poverty did not prevent them from expressing immense kindness and hospitality to us - a memory that will not be quickly forgotten by any of us.

Manohar works with our organization in India. During the time our team was in India, Manohar accompanied us as we worked with children and visited families. Afterwards, he shared his story. This is part of that story: “It is so amazing for me to see the way this entire trip was planned. Whether we went to the school, to the slum, or to the neighborhood, I was reminded of my childhood and related to the people because I grew up in the same kind of place. We lived in a house with one room for five people. We would get water twice a day between 5 and 7 in the morning and 5 and 7 in the evening. Like the neighborhood we went to yesterday, the place I lived had about 40 or 50 families but we only had one pipe for everyone to get water for your house, to take a shower or wash clothes. Later, as I grew older I thought every person should have a place to take a bath privately. When I was in that neighborhood, it was so easy for me to connect to the families because I know what they must be feeling and what they are going through.” 

For Cheryl Voight, this trip allowed her to visit the place where her daughter, Laura, lived and worked. Laura, a graduate of the Institute of G.O.D. recently completed a one-year internship in India. During her time, Laura taught children at a local school, handled logistics for incoming teams, and focused on Hindi studies. It was a wonderful time to witness mother and daughter as they served the Lord together in India. 

Interested in experiencing a trip like this for yourself? Check out the 2017 Friends and Family Trip page to learn more about our upcoming Spring trip.