India: The Children

"Sister, one photo please!!" was a phrase I heard quite a bit when visiting the kids at Vision Nationals.  They were so sweet, welcoming and respectful, and absolutely loved having their pictures taken.  If you pay attention, you may even notice a few faces that seemed to pop up in just about every shot.  Some were shy, some were show-offs, but all were eager to tell us about their studies, teach us their name, and share with us their dreams about becoming doctors, police officers, teachers and engineers.

The VN campus is home to the Master's Home for Children, providing spiritual, physical, emotional and educational needs for over 140 children who live there, many of which are either orphans or come from very poor families that are unable to meet their needs.  The children attend the Master's School, where the following photos were taken, along with hundreds of other children from the surrounding area.  When the children living in the Master's Home complete their High School education in the 10th grade, Vision Nationals continues to support them through college as well.  With a college degree, the cycle of poverty for these kids is essentially broken. If you haven't already, please take a few minutes to read more about the mission of Vision Nationals.

Information on how to sponsor one of the Master's Home children can be found here.  

Previous India posts can be found here, here and here.

India: The Vision Nationals Campus

These pictures were taken in and around the campus of Vision Nationals.  The VN campus is home to the Master's Home for Children, Master's School for Children, and Master's College of Theology, as well as the meeting place for the week-long Pastor's Conference that takes place three times a year.  

Each day Keiran, our driver for the week, would pick us up for the 25 minute journey from our hotel.  We rode down crowded city streets that gave way to red dirt roads, muddied by the previous days' torrential rains.  Cramped city quarters became spacious grounds where chickens roamed freely and children ran barefoot.  The quick and somewhat chaotic pace of the city was forgotten, replaced with slowness and serenity.  We were welcomed as honored guests and humbled by the generous servitude we were shown.  Each day we drank our share of Chai {tea} made with fresh milk from VN's own water buffaloes and feasted on home-cooked curries, chutneys and rice.  

The work and ministry of Vision Nationals is profound.  The Lord is being honored and made much of on that campus.  Men, women and children are coming to know Christ and being sent out to  faithfully proclaim truth to a lost and dying culture.  Hundreds of churches are being planted, widows are being cared for, and generations of poverty are being broken by the work of VN. Like all non-profit organizations, donations and monthly support are needed to continue the work there.  More information on how to sponsor a child or pastor can be found on the Vision Nationals website here.

Next, I'll be posting pictures of the sweet children Andea and I got to spend time with while our husbands were teaching.  

If you missed the previous two India posts, you can see them here and here.

India: Around Town

Before leaving on our trip, I read someone describe India as simply 'more'--more colorful, more crowded, more spicy, more humid, etc.  I agree.  It is certainly a place for which photographs simply can't paint an accurate picture, especially to those who have never seen or experienced such a place.  For every picture I took, there were 1000 more I didn't take; there was simply too much to see. I tried to photograph enough so that years from now, when the tastes, smells, and sounds are hard to remember, I'll have plenty to look back at, but not so much that I didn't take time to just sit back and experience

A Few Facts about India

  • India is the second most populous country with over 1.21 billion people (2011 census), more than one sixth of the entire world's population.
  • Mumbai is the largest city with 12.5 million people.  New York, the largest city in the US has 8.2 million.
  • In total, there are 1,652 languages and dialects spoken, with 22 being official languages.
  • Hinduism makes up roughly 80.5% of the nation's religion, followed by 13.4% Muslim, 2.3% Christian, 1.87% Sikh, and .77% Buddhist.  There are several other religions practiced as well.
  • The preamble to the Constitution of India mandates equal and tolerant treatment of all religions.  It does not have an official state religion.  
  • Almost one-third of Indians practice lacto-vegetarianism.
  • Field Hockey is the official national sport, but Cricket is the most popular sport.
  • The divorce rate is roughly 1%, compared to about 40% in the US.  

The following photographs were taken around the city of Visakhapatnam.  The city is home to 1.7 million people and sits on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. 

In my next post, I'll share photos of the Vision Nationals campus.

See the first post about our trip to India here.