Today is a day that I have been looking forward to – going to The Light of Hope Center Retreat and Learning Center. It is such a blessing for the young people who get to come here and learn about the Lord. Each year Viji selectes young men from the surrounding villages who show a desire to know about the Lord, and puts them in the program; it is free to these students. They complete the school in 1 year. I believe the school is sponsored by mostly Americans, and TEM is blessed to be a part of this work. When the students graduate they will go back to their villages; Viji has said that 70% of them continue in the ministry – what an awesome achievement!
We started session with the young men about 9:30 a.m. I talked with them about my life and ministry, and about how ministry isn’t easy but the rewards are great. I have always said that my walk with the Lord is an adventure – He has taken me to places that I never dreamed of, including India. I showed them where Haiti is on the map, and then I showed them a DVD of the Rocky Bayou Christian School youth mission trip from last year, students from Niceville FL. They loved it. Afterward they asked many questions about ministry and how you start one, and both Viji and I told them that neither of us ever wanted to or thought of starting a ministry. That was God’s idea.
When we finished I walked around the campus while Viji attended to some business. Several new buildings have been built since I was here 3 years ago. Someone donated money for a dormitory, which you will see in the photos, for a youth camp they have each year in January. Girls and boys will come from all the churches here for several days to have fun and learn about the Lord. There is also a questhouse that has been built for people to stay in when they come to work on the campus. God is so good to His servants who endure the trials of the world. Viji talked about when they didn’t even have land for this project, and then when he bought it there was nothing but a big hole in the ground where someone had dug a well, and it was full of snakes and all the land was full of bush. Now look at the photos and see how God has made this a little paradise.
After my tour was over and Viji was finished, we headed back to Madurai . We didn’t get here until after 2 p.m., and we both were exhausted. It was another 105-degree day – the breeze was even hot. I came in and went to the restaurant and ate some ice cream to cool me off, and then took a little nap.
Viji and his family came by to take me to dinner. I had no idea where we would go, but it was a nice surprise – we went to Domino’s Pizza. Yes, they have one here in Madurai! I’m sure my body was saying, ‘finally, something familiar.’ I think Nesha, Viji’s daughter, had been craving pizza. She is pregnant and expecting next month, so I was happy she was craving some American food.
Tomorrow I will take one of the little rickshaws to Meenakshi Amman Temple. This very large temple was built in 1560 AD. I have been there before, but I want to take some photos to put on the website to show how many gods the people here worship.
To learn more about Light of Hope, please go to their website, www.lightofhopemission.org, and see if the Lord leads you to support this ministry.