We recently welcomed back Taylor Maute, Josh Nava and Corey Streeter from a highly productive time in India. While on the ground just outside Delhi, they worked diligently to outfit our organization’s office space and turn it into a hospitable and serviceable place for our ministerial efforts.
When the India regional team began leasing the building, it was newly constructed and completely empty. We started to equip and decorate the space in an economical way, eager to have a place to offer services for our neighbors. Manohar Paul, who serves with us full time in India, spoke with great faith of his hope for the building, "The encouragement I've been getting lately has been that people keep praying for me and they are saying that we see this place as a lighthouse, a great place of shelter and peace for people in the neighborhood."
Furthering the outfitting of this building has been important for our team, and one which required the unique skills of this particular team. Josh Nava is an artisan woodworker. On this trip he carefully researched local options for furniture, and determined by creating his own designs, particularly for lighting units, that he could save the organization significant funds. He worked with many of the same resources there, that he does here during the year; finding and recycling wooden pallets and transforming them into attractive and functional pieces of furniture.
Taylor Maute headed up the team’s logistical efforts, and in addition to his wiring and electric skills, he implemented his uncanny ability to drive a hard bargain! Sneha Paul, (GOD India employee) jokingly commented that “Taylor’s bargaining skills are too good, which even I lack in doing!” His negotiations were done from a desire to keep project costs low, avoiding excessive or unwise expenditures. This is challenging to do because one needs to balance both their budget and avoid exploiting the desperate situations many vendors in India experience, due to the nature of the economy.
While these efforts were underway, Corey Streeter was meeting and working with the teachers at our partner school, Aquatic Primary. After a day on the campus with students, and hearing the teacher’s comments over lunch, Corey prepared a seminar for them on a topic in which he is uniquely skilled: Teaching by Stories. Corey is a lead actor with The Arts at Center Street, and has brought his performer’s personality to the classroom at The Academy for G.O.D. for the last couple of years. He is able to transform a simple math lesson by creating hands-on games and getting students involved with their entire bodies: singing, dancing, and even using rhythmic patterns to teach a concept.
After sharing these things in idea form to the Aquatic educators, they did not believe it was possible to present a subject like math in such a way. “Show us! We want to see for ourselves!” They requested that Corey teach a second seminar, one where they could experience such games for themselves. Corey was happy to oblige, and set up an entire room at our office building with game manipulatives and puzzle stations. When Taylor Maute described being outside the door during that second seminar, he raised his eyebrows high and said, “Let me tell you at first we did not know what was happening in that room! There was so much laughter and shouting and so many questions. They were really engaged.”
At the end of their long work days, the team sat down together to fellowship over the study of God’s Word. These times of in-depth study were particularly encouraging to Manohar and Sneha, who have a hunger for the careful study of God’s Word. We are grateful for a good trip, and praise the Lord for the opportunities he’s given us to be a blessing to our neighbors in India.