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India Trip

Week 1 - 2 - 3 - 4  
January 27, 2009

Week 3 ~ Jean & Jim in India

It's hard to know where to start this week. We have been so busy, I'm having trouble remembering whathappened at the beginning of last week. Honestly, this was the hardest week - in terms of our work. The pictureswill match our schedule, so I'll try to do a brief sketch of what we did, and put the pictures in the text. Maybe Jimwill add philosophy at the end.

I left the last blog saying we needed to write a sermon - We DID preach at the hospital chapel last Sunday (Jan.19) and worked with a wonderful choir for that service. That was Sunday evening in the CMC hospital chapel -before we got to that, we led music in the morning at St. John's Church (of Anglican origins, but now part of theChurch of South India) It is located in the old fort. We'll start with the pictures of the fort and St. John's and it'sSunday school, then go to the evening choir and one of Ezra, our tabla player.

Tuesday we led school assembly at Vidyalayam elementary school - the school has around 300 students. Veryenthusiastic - hard to believe they fit in the space in that room.

In addition to 7 choir rehearsals, and many wonderful visits in homes, being fed food that is beyond description,we have led a chaplaincy retreat on "Music and it's role in healing" and then a Family Retreat for all ages. TheFamily Retreat was held at a retreat center outside of Vellore on Saturday. One of the goals of CMC at this timeis to strengthen family life. The people who work here are so dedicated to serving and caring for the peoplearound them, sometimes it is difficult to make space and time for their families. We had a beautiful time with ourparticipants ranging in age from 1 to 80 years.

Then, on Sunday, Jan. 25 we directed the combined adult choir (from the hospital and the college) for theopening worship of the International Consultation. There are people here from all over the world. There areoutside meeting areas set up for discussion groups - the main plenary sessions (like the worship and speakers,and daily morning prayer - that we help lead with songs) are in Scudder auditorium which seats 1000 people.We've been too busy to get shots of the plenary sessions. So, these shots are the decorations for the event(statue of Ida Scudder in foyer, outside meeting area, and Hamilton (pastor in palliative care AND choir director atthe college) with his harmonium, then shots of Jim in the entrance to the college chapel.

Today, Tuesday we went with the CHAD (rural health care unit from CMC) public health nurses to a village nearVellore, and visited in homes where care was needed, were welcomed at the adult day care center for theelderly, and visited two coops where CMC has developed industries and trained the local women in skills thatenable them to earn salaries and be productive. The villages are more agricultural (it was nice to see cows infields rather than in the middle of the highways).

This is Jim ~ I am very grateful to Jeanie for looking after this blog. She hinted that I might add something to theend of this. One thing that is so amazing about this place is the steady stream of visitors, medical professionalsand volunteers that have come to help and to learn. We have met people from all over India, the US, Canada,the UK, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Kuwait. These seem to be willing andadventuresome folks, many of whom we've had the privilege to share meals and conversation with and to heartheir remarkable stories. One such person is Dr. Prabhakara Choudary, an India born geneticist who is currentlyworking at UC Davis, 11 miles from our house. He was here at CMC to deliver a paper on his work which is,along with his colleagues, to isolate the genes that cause schizophrenia, clinical depression and bipolardisorder. There is a high incidence of suicide in this area due to social disorders and mental illness and this is agreat concern of CMC.

Prabhakara has a very good track record in that he has found the genes that cause three serious illnesses in veryisolated populations around the world. I am putting my money on him for this project, too. Because, as many of you know, our family carries the bipolar gene, we will participate in his study. Imagine our surprise to be sittingwith this guy one night at dinner and hearing his story unfold and intertwine with ours. CMC is that kind of aplace. ~ Jim

Jeanie ~ A final thought and picture - this stain glass picture is in the director's office at the CMC hospital. Somehow it reflects the beauty of how Christ is present in the lives and the very being of the people who arecommitted to doing the healing work of the gospel.

Our love to you all - so hard to believe that we leave here in aweek. ~ Blessings, J&J

Jan. 12 - Week 1 in India

Jan. 17 - Week 2 in India

Feb. 4 - Week 4 in India