Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Changing - Kati's thoughts

I'm just realizing that it's been like 4 days since my last post. The last three days have flown by as I've been with part of our team in Mumbai on a side trip. Plans for these three days got dramatically changed due to some circumstances completely out of our control, so it was interesting to see how things took shape while we were there. (My natural "fly by the seat of my pants" tendencies have served me pretty well in India.) We had opportunities to spend time with people doing great ministry in Mumbai, continuing with our pattern of meeting some amazing Indian brothers and sisters. As Vince said earlier today, "I'm just waiting for us to meet someone who is notfantastic," because literally everyone we meet is just an amazing child of God pursuing effective ministry. I am so inspired by these people.

I need to keep this post short because it's late and we have an early morning tomorrow as we head to the Taj Mahal. I did want to share with you all though, that as the trip winds down, I'm starting to think a lot about the "so what?" My heart has been wrenched every which way in the last week and a half. I've seen things I couldn't have imagined. I have literally visited the homes of prostitutes and leppers and been humbled by their hospitality. I have worshipped with orphans and been put to shame by my own lack of faith. I have played and cried and everything in between, it seems. I meant it when I said earlier that this place is changing me. I can feel it in my spirit. But what does it mean when I leave this place? How is it changing me? What will really be different when I get home to my predictable, priviledged life? How will the stories I've learned and lived these two weeks in India impact my coming and going in my "normal" life? For me, the answers to these questions will be everything. This trip has blessed me beyond belief and I know that already people are connecting to the stories we've shared and the people we've met. But I know that there is so much more. Being changed, really changed, will mean so much more. But what that will look like, I do not yet know. I realize that God reveals these things all in good time. I'm not worried about God's timing or about his faithfulness in bringing to light the ways that my "normal" life will look different when I get home. In fact, I'm not "worried" at all. What I feel I guess is a certain sense of awareness and alertness...I want to make the most of the brokenness that God has brought to my heart. I want the sounds of children's voices and the looks on people's faces as vividly as they are in my mind right now to take full effect on my spirit and my heart so that the fruit is as great as it can be.

I hope that you will pray for me and the rest of the team here now as we finish up our last couple days in India. Please pray for each of our "so what" stories...that we would each have open and obedient hearts for God to use us to the fullest as we process our experiences and allow ourselves to be truly, richly changed.

I'm so thankful for each of you who are reading, praying, following the details of our trip. Though we have 10 team members in India, I feel like we have soooo many more as a part of our team...people who have been walking right alongside us in prayer and know who you are...if you feel like part of your heart is in India even though you've never been here (or even if you have :)), you really are a part of this team. God has shown an outpouring of love and support through each of you as we have been here and I thank you in advance for the ways I know you will continue to let him use you as we return to our homes in the states, changed (and changing) people.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Amazed and Dazed ~ Kati's Thoughts

Before I came to India, I couldn't have even imagined what the inside of a brothel would look like. As of right now, I've been inside 3 of them, face to face with the women who work there. Tonight, I even held one of their babies. Yes, you read that right. One of the sweetest babies I've seen in India (and I've seen some sweet ones), living in a brothel. Sadly, that baby wasn't even the only little one in the brothel we visited tonight. Does anyone know what I should even say about that? Because I really don't. How does this happen? And what can be done to stop it? Almost every woman we've talked to has basically said that she could leave, but she won't. Some say they want to (few, very few), but even they really just don't have an option that is compelling enough to break the bonds of of the emotional bondage they are under after years of living this life - even raising children in these brothels. In processing some of what we saw tonight, one of my teammates and I just discussed how nearly hopeless the situation seems. And yet, it's just so hard for me to accept that. I just have to believe that there is a way. I have to believe that some of these women can be freed. In the natural world, it seems crazy and impossible. But I have to believe that Light can overcome the darkness we've seen in the red light district...and in red light districts everywhere. I don't know how. I just know I have to bring these women and their children before the God who created all the world and believe that there is hope.

In juxtiposition of the scenario we witnessed tonight, I have to share with you the joy of the first part of this day (in my brokenness last night, I failed to mention that this is also where we began the day yesterday). Some of the women who work in the brothels have children who are living under the care of an amazing couple who run an orphanage of 28 sweet children. It's a remarkably beautiful home - not because of the structure of the building itself or because of the decor. It's actually way to small and quite minimal for a family of 30. But the love in this home, the joy, the hope, the is tremendous. We have had the opportunity to spend time with these kiddos and their [foster] parents the last two days and I'm so very excited to get to spend more time with them tomorrow. This has been an opportunity to build relationships and to see a ministry that brings so much hope into the lives of children who otherwise would be living in brothels or on the street. I have learned new games, tought new songs, laughed, watch dances, learned dances, gotten hugs, been clobbered, and shared so much love for such a short period of time. When we left today, many of the girls were on the roof having their baths...I came halfway up the steps - just enough to see their many shampooed heads peak over when I called out to tell them that we were leaving for the day. "Bye-bye, didi...we love you, didi! See you tomorrow, Kati didi!" (pronounced "dee-dee"...this means "sister" - they call me "Kati didi" or just "didi") My heart just brims with joy spending time with these kiddos. Their company is quite possibly the only reason that I'm not an inconsolable mess after these last two evenings in the red light district. God is at work...he is using ordinary people to create a beautiful, loving home for these 28 precious ones. For some of them, perhaps there was a time when their situations seemed hopeless. Now, they are happy and healthy and learning about the Lord and about loving their brothers and sisters. This is true beauty. My heart is so blessed to be going to bed knowing that in the morning, I'll head back to their home to have church with them in the 11x11 room where they weekly gather as a family for worship. I can't wait to sing with them and sit them on my lap while we listen to Vince share a message. I'll be missing The River tomorrow, but I know that time back in this joy-filled home will continue to minister to my spirit and remind me of God's continued goodness and faithfulness.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pain, isolation, emptiness, hopelessness, shame, worthlessness - as I walk through the dark streets of the red light district of Delhi, my emotions overcome me.

I see pain - I feel pain.
I see isolation - I feel isolation.
I see emptiness - I feel emptiness.
I see hopelessness - I feel hopelessness.
I see shame - I feel shame.
I see worthlessness - I feel worthless.

My hands are empty and I have nothing to give and I pray for God to show me what to give and what words to say - nothing is coming. It is so dark. As crippled beggars line the filthy streets, I see the wealth of our churches in America in my mind. I think of conversations that I will have with friends and churches when I come back who I will beg for the crumbs that have fallen from their table. I will have to fight for their attention and justify and explain the need and hope that they understand and that the story grips them. People will want to walk away and avoid me because I will want to talk about the pain, shame, suffering and hopelessness I saw in India and they will become annoyed.

As I walk in and out of brothels and meet the mothers, sisters, daughters and their children selling their bodies and souls because they have no worth and no other way to survive. I am struggling with how to explain that to my american friends who are busy and are already doing "a lot."

I think of the lives we live in America. All of us do it - myself included. We live lives of extravagant waste. Think of how much food we throw away. Think of the last time you had friends over to cook or the last church picnic you had and how much was wasted...I am not talking about what was eaten but what was thrown away. Think about the times when we over eat and spend money on things like ice cream, and lawn care, and art to decorate the boxes that we live in. I am not trying to judge because I am part of the problem.

Where I am right now, I have met some people who are our neighbors. Jesus asks a question, who is your neighbor? I am asking you, who is your neighbor?

As we stood in worship at a school, a boy fell from weakness from malnutrition. When have our children fallen from weakness do to malnutrition?

I know what you are thinking - I help already, it's too much, stop trying to manipulate me, I can't help every child.

I don't want you to help every child but as long as you have the capacity to act I want you (and me) to continue to help more and more. For most of us, we could become more disciplined and help them purely out of our waste and excess.

If you were going to chick fil and I said if no one in your family "up-sizes" we can use that money for food - would that help? If you are going to Starbucks and I said, get a tall instead of a venti - would that help?

I am not trying to play on your emotions but I am trying to help us understand that from our waste we can change live and help the hurting. Would you consider how you can make a difference by giving from your excess?



Friday, June 25, 2010

Beautiful Slave

We thought you might enjoy this song / video. Go to to download it for free.

God Give Us Strength - post by Kati

I've been procrastinating blogging tonight. It's just been such a long and intense day, I'm not really sure that I can find the words.

So today, day 4, had a bit of a different tone. And this is the thing that has been causing my procrastination. I just don't know how to really begin to describe what I saw and felt today. A group of us went to the red light district today. We visited a brothel. We talked to and prayed with the landlady and some of the women who work in the brothel. This situation was unlike anything I've ever seen, heard of, or imagined. The system in this particular area is very different from what you might imagine when you think of a brothel. The landlady we spoke with doesn't actully own these women in the sense you would normally think. She simply owns the flat where they work. They essentially rent space from her (giving her a cut of what they earn.) The woman actually told us she is a Christian. And we sat and prayed with her and learned about her family and her arthritis. I don't think I have to tell you how much this interaction confused me. A Christian woman running a brothel? Sort of? But not really? In theory, these women are actually free to walk out of this place any time they want. I say, "in theory," because despite the fact that these women are, for lack of a better term, independent contractors, they are in just as much bondage as any woman who is indentured to a pimp. Many of them, after years (some of which were spent indentured to a pimp) of working in this industry are so broken down in their spirits and self-worth that they truly believe it's all they can do. They've resigned themselves to this life. They actually don't even desire to leave. Some of them do have the desire to leave, but simply have no place to go. They feel that they have no other options (and they don't seem to be all together wrong). I just kept thinking, "There has to be a way." I don't know what it is. There just has to be, though.

I keep thinking about a comment that one of my teammates made about Jesus' visiting the homes of prostitutes. He was commenting about the looks we were getting when we emmerged onto the street, a co-ed group of white people, having obviously come from this brothel. We drew quite a crowd. People were completely disoriented (and no less than irritated) with Jesus for the company he kept. I can't help but wonder what his demeanor was when he visited with those women. I have to head into tomorrow (when we will return for a 2nd day in another part of the red light district) praying for His heart. I am humbled by the fact that until I actually set foot in this place today, I really just had no context whatsoever for relating to Jesus in this way. Theories are out the window. We're on the ground, in the homes of prostitutes, desiring to love them and to know them in a way that is right and pure and so very different from what they've known for most of their lives. God give us strength.


I went to hell today

Today a part of our team went to the red light district in Delhi. We spent the day with three amazing people who took us into a brothel in the heart of old Delhi.
I think it is safe for me to say without any embellishment that I was in Hell. As we made our way threw the heavily trafficked streets of Delhi, we turned onto the main road of the red light district. We could see women through the bars of the three and four stories buildings beckoning men to come into the brothels and the men standing down on the street looking and calling up to the women.
Our guide took us down the street and we came to the doorway of a dark and musty building. He went up and a few minutes later motioned our team to join him. When our team made their way up the stairs for the first time, I was unable to continue and so I had to turn around and head back out. Our guide came back down and asked to please come in so I did.
Upon entering the brothel, we immediately were given a tour of the "entertainment" rooms. The conditions were shockingly abhorrent. Just a plywood platform stained from years of use. Kati and Chelsey spent their time with the "landlord" of the building and I will let them share their story in another blog.
Our guide sat us down with one of the women who works in the brothel and she began to share her story. At age 13, she was tricked into coming to the brothel by being promised work as a seamstress. When she was young, she was kept at the brothel under lock and key and had no way to escape. Now, as an adult, she is "locked in" because of the bondage of years of sexual slavery. She could leave today if she wanted but she has nowhere to go and she feels she is worthless. While we were there, she pulled out some of her money to buy us a cold Pepsi. We sat in amazement as the women tried to serve us by buying us a pepsi. It was clear to me that this 30 year old women had lost all sense of dignity, identity and self worth. I asked her if she had any hope. She said at this point all she cares about is her children. As she finished her story, I asked if I could pray for her. I look into her eyes and told her that she is beautiful to God. I felt helpless and a sense of despair trying to explain to a women that has spent her entire life as a sexual slave against her will that she is loved and has value. But, we prayed for her and touched her and my guess is that it was the first touch from a man with pure motives she may have felt in many years. We walked away and she sat on the bench waiting to service her next customer.
While we were there we actually had the chance to see several "customers" walk in and get locked in the room with their girl - it was surreal.
Then our guide took us to talk to two other women. One was 28 and had been in the brothel for 14 years. She was brought there by her husband who was much older than her and she still had a fire in her eyes and light in her heart. She said she wants to leave. But, there is no where for her to go. There is no place for her to live. The other woman was 36 and had been in the brothel for 15 years and she said she does not want to leave. She said she has lost hope and sees herself as a prostitute for life. We prayed for both of them and encouraged them and I was able to hug them both. I had a helpless feeling.
Our guide and his wife have been working in rescue of these women and have no support. They are not compensated for the work they do. Our other guide runs an orphanage and they house 6 of the children of these woman.
Please ask God if He would have any way for you to help these desperate women. They need housing far outside the city and our guides who work on the front lines need to be supported. If you want more details please contact me. I will be back in the states July 3.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day One - Kati's thoughts

I've discovered that the wee hours of the morning (I woke up at about 3:30 Delhi time) is a good time to get connected to the internet, so I thought I'd take advantage and share some thoughts from yesterday - our first full day in India.

As we rode back to our flat for the final time yesterday evening, I couldn't help but marvel at all we experienced in just one day. We visited the school and got to go into several classrooms to meet the kids. They are all so excited to meet us. I wonder if they know how excited we are to meet them too. Several classes sang us a song when we came to their classrooms..."If you're happy and you know it..." "Light of the world" much fun to be able to sing with them! I can't wait to spend more time with them and get to know individual kids. They are all completely precious, clearly brilliant, and beautiful. The school itself is incredible. It's huge...and state of the art, really. The school has soooo much potential, but right now it's just not being used to it's capacity.

We had the opportunity to hear from the woman who started the school, Ananthi. She shared the story of how it all began with one little boy from the slums coming to her home asking for food. She fed him on a regular basis and then began to teach him a 1/2 hour a day. Soon he brought 25 friends with him. The Lord led Ananthi to teach them all, starting in her garage, and then moving to a toilet complex (yes, you read that right), and eventually seeing Him provide this big, amazing school. I was in awe of her thankfulness to Him, even for the facility that was flithy and rank with the smells you'd expect from a toilet complex. As we toured the school, she just kept saying, "This is a great gift from the Father. It's completely a gift from Him." What an inspiring woman!

In the afternoon, we went to a slum where we had the opportunity to meet a few families of children from the school and pray for them. I've
never been so happy to be somewhere so miserable. The temperature outside has been about 110 degrees, give or take, but that goes up by a good 15-20 degrees inside these tiny homes...literally every inch of my skin was soaked with sweat within 3 seconds upon entering one of these homes. But I have to tell you that the privelege of being invited into people's homes to hear about their lives and to pray with them, was completely worth it. In a place so impoverished, with such an obvious presence of pain, and injustice, I saw an incredible representation of faith in those homes. One little girl in particular, Dolsi (not sure on the spelling there), left me with the greatest impression...

I first noticed her when we were in the first home praying. She was standing on the bed, in her dirty, blue dress with white polka-dots, her half-inch long hair soaked with sweat. As one of my teammates prayed (in English) for the family in this home, Dolsi stood with her eyes closed, a smile on her face, and her little hands cupped toward heaven. She even chimed in a couple times, “Yes!” I don’t believe she knows much more English than “hello” and “bye bye,” but she knew the Father we were praying too, it seemed. The next house was Dolsi’s house, where she lives with her grandmother, her aunt, and her cousins. Dolsi has no parents – both have passed away – and her grandmother has the sole responsibility of providing for her. When we went into this home, her grandmother did most of the talking at first. But then, the interpreter told us that Dolsi had a testimony. She proceeded to tell us (in Hindi, with an interpreter) her testimony of how she came to know the Him and trust in him fully. I can truly tell you that I’ve never seen a child who was so clearly full of the Spirit. This is not the faith of her parents, just passed down – something she inherited like a recessive gene – she has no parents. This was a genuine knowledge of the Fathe. And he has given her a joy that I rarely see on the face of an American child. It’s hard to describe what I saw in this little girl. But what I can tell you is that it was real. I've never seen so apparently the Spirit in a child. It wasn't like "child-like faith" - it was like adult faith in a child. I'll not soon forget this little girl.

(Thanks to Jackie Sue for her technical assistance in getting my picture to show at the bottom of this posting. :))

First thoughts about India - Vince

**note: In the picture of me and the little girl, you will see smudges under her eyes. Her parents put that on to ward off evil spirits. They serve the goddess of death, Kali.

India is a country that is rich in history but marred with poverty in almost every other way. Many of us focus on the orphan crisis in Africa, and rightly so with 45 million orphans according to Unicef. However, India is a single country with 25 million orphans

As our team walked through a slum in Delhi today, I was confronted with the reality of hundreds of years of poverty and bondage. The filth is unprecedented for me. As I walked through the slums of Delhi, I saw the hurting and the broken, I saw the diseased and the anguish of those who are unable to provide for their basic needs.

As we went from alleyway to alleyway, visiting homes and meeting the people, I was amazed to find something else present in the slum - it was ubiquitous. I could see it in the eyes of the children and in the smiles.

It was the Spirit working in the hearts and lives of those who are living there. Many people may walk through a slum in Delhi and question the very idea of God. For me, I saw the evidence of His heart and love at every turn in a community that was broken, hurting and desperate for more. I saw the loving team from our group as well as the teachers at the Friends of the Good Samaritan School spreading love in a community that has a gaping wound both spiritually and physically.

What is remarkable in most settings like this is not that He is so present and strong and active, but that His people are no where to be seen most of the time.

It reminds me of two of my favorites quotes - "preach the gospel always, if necessary, use words." St Francis and Mother Theresa who said "why do you allow such suffering in the world?" to which He replied "why do you?"

We are His plan to the poor - YOU are His plan to the poor and suffering.

Will you help?

From Jackie Sue! Blog and PICTURES!!!

The Beautiful People of the Madanpur Khadar Slum Community

Day 1

It is my first day in Delhi. The flat where we are staying is quite nice. We have running water and air conditioning. On my list of things I am thankful for today, air conditioning was the top of the list! It is so hot that it is difficult for me to breath. I am drinking lots of water so I think I will be fine. Sweating a ton! I slept pretty well and woke before the alarm at 5:30. That’s the best thing about the time change is that I wake early in the morning.

We visited the school today for the first time. When I first walked in my eyes filled with tears. I saw the children and my heart overflowed with compassion. I am going to try to convey what it means for them to be in school and the amazing ministry this school has here. Ananthi is the lady that started this school. She gave her testimony and the story of the school this morning. Amazing! I feel like I am with a holy woman when I am in her presence. Like a Mother Teresa I guess. I am deeply moved by her story and compassion for the the children of the slums. She is a well educated woman with a doctorate degree in linguistics who began the school because of one child and the Lord’s call on her life. You can read her entire story here.

This afternoon we went to visit the slums. Picture “slum dog millionaire” and you have the idea. The children are amazingly beautiful and LOVED having their pictures taken. Their favorite question to ask is, “Ma’am, what is your favorite sport?” And I answer, “In India, it is Cricket!” While in Rome… We went into several homes to pray with families of the children who attend “The Good Samaritan School”. They were so sweet and honored to have us in their home. By home I mean 2 rooms with cement floors, no bathroom or bathing facility, one bed or pallet for numerous family members. The have no furniture to speak of, but still these were the better of the slums we will visit. At least they have permanent structures to live in. It is a huge community of over 200,000 people.

We attracted quite the crowd of followers. Most were children, but many adults also. The longer we were there the bolder they became. By the end of our visit even the adults were asking to have their pictures taken with me. Hopefully the internet will co-operate and let me post them.

It is impossible to adequately describe the heat accept to say that I have never sweated so much just standing still. Not complaining, just stating a fact. It is also extremely dusty. My feet are so swollen you would think I was pregnant….but I am certainly not…just the swollen feet. Even with all that, God has accomplished what I asked of Him. I have a deep compassion and love for the people. I believe part of the hope He offers is through Anatha’s school. The school has the capacity to educate 4500 students, but because of funding the enrollment now is just under 1000. That is where you, my blog readers, can help. If you feel led, you could sponsor a child for just $34 a month. You could give a child hope and a future because in India education is everything and education is only available for the wealthy. Without The Good Samaritan School the slum children would have no opportunity to be educated. My goal is to have enough of my blog readers to sponsor an entire classroom at the school. Imagine that you could be used by God to equip a child for their entire lives. Think about it, will you?

On a personal note, I wish you call all be here with me. Seriously, it is amazing. Our team had a great day. We’ve had lots of humor and fun and even visited a divine coffee shop. Not a Starbucks, but so close to one that I could hardly tell the difference. It was like an oasis in the midst of this dusty and dirty city. They even played some western (I don’t mean country) music. The traffic is crazy…just like China. The biggest vehicle wins. The smog is just like China too. The sun is just a big white ball in a sky covered in a think haze. No clouds, no blue sky, just a very thick grey. Today we had traditional Indian food. It is very spicy, but edible. I wouldn’t say I liked it, but I didn’t hate it either. Last night we ate Dominoes pizza at about 11pm and tonight we ordered Chinese. I hope to lose some weight, but that is probably just wishful thinking. A girl can hope though, right? Even in India I can be shallow and vain. Unfortunately that part of me goes everywhere, even so, I will post all my photos even the unflattering ones for my favorite blog readers. I will sacrifice myself so that you don’t miss a thing. Smile.

A big hello to my family. Eddie, I love you. Thank you for being so supportive of this trip. Kids, I love you. You would have loved all the children today and they would have loved you.

With love from India,
Jackie Sue
The morning assembly where they greeted us and sang for us. PRECIOUS!

FB Status Blog

Looks like they haven't had GREAT internet - but they have had a bit. Enough that a few of them have updated their FB. In lieu of a blog, I figured I'd give you a compilation of those!

PS I'm only FB friends with a few of them - I've sent requests to the others! Become friends with me (Brandi Goff McElheny) and Children's HopeChest on FB to get updates throughout the day!

Vince -

Hanging at the school of the Good Samaritans in Delhi.

Hanging out at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in the GK-1 district in Delhi getting ready to go into the slums

India is everything I expected it would be - hot, dirty, impoverished and absolutely amazing.

Jackie Sue -

so happy to be sitting in an air conditioned meeting room talking about what we are going to do with the kids...still can't believe I'm here!

Kati Hultman -

In India...meeting kiddos at the school, getting the lay of the land. Going to visit the slums this afternoon to meet some kids' families. Loving my team and the staff at Friends of the Good Samaritan. Getting ready to sit down to our first "official" Indian meal.

Colleen Rafferty -

The Lord continues to bless me abundantly here in India. I am safely with my new team here in Delhi. We came to the school this AM.

This experience is surprising me beyond my wildest expectations. It's all about stories of children: teenagers experiencing physical pain due to temptation, families in the slums (IN their homes!) to find work and healing.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Landed Safely

We got word in the HopeChest office that the team arrived in India safely and are on their way to their flat.

Thanks for praying for the team, we will keep you updated as we know more! Not sure if the wifi that they had expected at the flat is actually working. If not, I'm sure they will find someway to update us!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Get Involved

Vince will be posting as the trip progresses on ways that you can get involved!

Initially we know this - we are looking for people to step up and get their communities involved in partnering through sponsorship with the Friends of the Good Samaritan. You can check out the HopeChest website for more information on Transform and Connect Communities and how our "community to community" model works. Partnership with the Friends of the Good Samaritan (FotGS) will be done by grade level. You and your church/organization/business/social circle can partner with an entire grade of children (classes range from 40-200 ) by sponsoring children and building personal relationships with them!

India Stats

India has more than 1.2 billion people . It has
the highest rates of poverty, malnutrition, and
disease in the world. India has over 350 million
children under the age of 14 not attending school.
Poverty and overpopulation is such a problem
that the government cannot make progress on
its own. India is in desperate need of change and
its people are in desperate need of love.

The Facts:

  • 75 percent of the population lives on less than $2 per day
  • 40 percent of India’s population is under 14 years of age.
  • India has the highest number of child laborer’s in the world.
  • There are approximately 2 million child commercial sex workers between the age of 5 and 15 years and about 3.3 million between 15 and 18 years old. They form 40% of the total population of prostitutes in India.
  • 500,000 children are forced into prostitution every year
  • 50 percent of India’s children are malnourished and underdeveloped.
  • Parents will break their child’s limbs to make them more appealing beggars.
(taken from the Friends of the Good Samaritan site)

Daily Prayer Guide

This is simply a guide to help you pray more effectively for the team on the ground. We also have a team of people praying and fasting during the trip. They will get more in-depth prayer requests as the trip goes on. If you would like to be a part of this team, please email with the day you would like to fast and she will add you to the list!

Sunday, June 20th
What's Happening: Team leave the US

Prayer Focus: Safety, on time flights, good sleep on planes

Monday, June 21st
What's Happening: Team arrives in India

Prayer Focus: Luggage and customs going smoothly, restful sleep for their first night, hearts of the trip members as they see, hear, feel, experience India for the first time

Tuesday, June 22nd
What's Happening: tour Friends of the Good Samaritan School and hear the testimony of Ananthi (who founded the school), Team planning for work w/kids, Visit Madanpur Khadar Slum Community and hear families stories

Prayer Focus: Excitement for the work that He has laid out for them. Team bonding. Hearts that are ready to break and be inspired all at once. A gentle spirit as they interact with people. First slum visit could be very difficult, pray for their hearts in processing it

Wednesday, June 23rd
What's Happening: lead devotions with school staff, crafts with children, small group bible study with older children, work project at the school

Prayer Focus: Discernment and His leading for what to share in devotions. Pray for each team member to specifically connect with a particular child each day. Pray that each interaction with each child will communicate to them HIS love for them. Pray for jetlag that may be setting in.

Thursday, June 24th
What's Happening: Taj Mahal

Prayer Focus: Processing time for the team members after the first 2 days of ministry. Pray that they take the time to allow the Him to search their hearts and work in them. Team building and connection. Enjoyment and refreshment.

Friday, June 25th
What's Happening: Devotions with teachers. Arts and crafts with children at the Dakshinpuri Center. Time spent in the Dakshinpuri Slum with children and their families. Small group study of the Word again (same children as Wednesday). Work project at school.

Prayer Focus: Team members would connect with children they interact with. that team members who may not typically be comfortable doing crafts and leading groups will do well and enjoy it too! Pray that they will experience Him as they interact with the poor.

Saturday, June 26th
What's Happening: Activities with children. Prayer for teachers. Visit MK community

Prayer Focus: At the halfway point of their trip, pray for homesickness that may be setting in. Pray for the Lord to begin to reveal His direction for each person in why He has brought them there and what He is doing in them.

Sunday, June 27th
What's Happening: Madanpur Khadar Church service. study with the youth group. Lunch at school. Tour of Delhi. Shopping

Prayer Focus: Pray for a new understanding of the Body as they fellowship with other believers. Pray for wisdom and discernment as they pour into the lives of the youth group. Pray for the Father to reveal Himself in a new and fresh way as they study His word together

Monday, June 28th
What's Happening: Devotion with admin staff, various work projects around school. Small group study w/same children. Part of the group leaves for Mumbai to work with Indian Rescue Mission

Prayer Focus: A greater connection with the staff - pray that they learn from each other and connect well. Pray for their work time, that they will feel the pleasure of the father as they work for Him. Pray for safe travels as part of the group flies to Mumbai

Tuesday, June 29th
What's Happening: Part of the team flies from Mumbai to Kolhapur. Rest of the team, activities and classes with school children all day.

Prayer Focus: Safe travels for team in Kolhapur - discernment on how to partner with IRM - that the team would be a blessing and encouragement to the team there. For the team at the school pray that the team members relationships with specific children would deepen. Pray that they would ask the right questions and get to know the children more and that they would respond with His love and healing words.

Wednesday, June 30th
What's Happening: Part of team - ministry with IRM and then return to Delhi. Rest of team - outdoor activities with the children. Go to Madanpur Khadar center for arts and crafts time with children there.

Prayer Focus: For team with IRM - pray for safety and that they would be used greatly in ministry. Pray for our leadership that Vince would see clearly how HopeChest (and all of us!) can partner with IRM. Continued prayer for all team members as their hearts continue to break for what breaks His. Pray for team in Delhi as they are outdoors all day. It is VERY hot in India. Pray against exhaustion - both heat and otherwise.

Thursday, July 1st
What's Happening: Free day with the children and teachers at the school.

Prayer Focus: As they begin to say goodbye to India, pray that the He would confirm in each of them the work He has begun. Pray that they will begin to see clearly their next steps when they arrive home. Pray for their closing time as a team as they debrief together.

Friday, July 2nd
What's Happening: Team departs Delhi

Prayer Focus: Pray for their hearts as they leave a country that the father has undoubtably pressed deeply onto their hearts. Pray for safe travel. Pray for good sleep, rest on the flights as well as time with the father as they continue to process what they have learned and experienced.

Saturday, July 3rd
What's Happening: Team arrives back in the US

Prayer Focus: Pray for the health of team members as they experience jetlag but also want to be fully present with their families who they have missed so much!

Meet the Team

Fearless Leader: Vince Giordano
Vince is the Director of Outreach and Partner Relations for HopeChest. He felt the father lay India on his heart in 1994 and has dreamt of going ever since. He is thrilled that HopeChest is launching
in India and excited to see what He has
planned for this trip and for future ministry throughout India. Feel free to
email him if you TOO want to get involved!
**Follow his blog at

Fearless Leader: Laura Marie Thompson
Executive Director
Friends of The Good Samaritans, Inc.

I first went to India in 2006, after graduating from college. I wanted to volunteer for the summer and teach Arts and Crafts to children. He completely changed my heart and my understanding of missions work. He called me to work as the director of Friends of The Good Samaritans, a non-profit solely established to fund The Good Samaritan Schools in Delhi. I have been working for the children and raising money for three and a half years now and have been to India many times. I am from Kentucky, but recently got married and now work from home in New York City. Every time I go to India the father reveals His love in a new way through the hearts of the children. The children are open vessels that He desires to use. I am so excited to see what He has in store for this trip.

Glenn Binder:
I'm from the New Orleans area (Geaux Saints!) Love my family!! I Like Crusie's and short getaways with my wife. And very importantly, I Love French Bread and Donuts:-)

Richard Clark:
More than anything, I am me. For better or worse, I'm me. I am family man. I have a great wife and little girl. My fathe
r, mother and grandparents have always surrounded me with a great support system and they continue to do so. I have a few friends that I would trust with my life. Quite a few more that I doin't
mind hanging out with. I'm a on five year plan to eliminate the people in my life that are not truly with me. I love to write. I am very impatient. I'm very focused at least six days a week. I trust the big guy upstairs with EVERYTHING!

David Dixon:

Tyler Garnett

Kati Hultman:
In January, I had the opportunity to travel to Kapelebyong, Uganda with my church, The River. We are sponsoring a carepoint there through Children's Hopechest and I was fortunate enough to be one of the "19 best friends that anyone could ever have" - the first team from The River to visit our friends in Uganda. I fell in love. I fell in love with Africa; I fell in love with orphans;. He ignited something in me in Africa...something that motivated me to keep pressing into his heart for the oppressed. I am so honored to be able to see more of the world and to make friends with more of His
cherished ones.
**Follow her blog at
Marshall Nord

Colleen Rafferty
A sinner savedt; that's all there is! I'm a teacher in Colorado Springs and am excited
to be spending time in India!

Chelsey Wiesman
I am a 19 year old who took a year off after high school to work and earn
money for college this fall. As it turns out, He was also
preparing me for this
trip to India. I have been interested in working for the gov't for some time, and I believe that through
this trip the Father is going to increase my passion for defending the fatherless and the oppressed and show me a glimpse of His vision for my future.

Jackie Sue Wimberly:
I've been married for 27 years to David, we have 5 children and 1 son-in-law. I've known the father for 37+ years and this is my first missions trip..."I am thrilled to be going to India and having the opportunity to serve Him by serving the people there. It is a 30 year dream coming true."