Stories from the Mission Field

February 2019

Encounters in a Fishing Village

EBM INTERNATIONAL supports 16 partner organizations in India with more than 60 projects. Every year in January there is a partner conference under the leadership of the regional representative Dr. Judson Pothuraju to promote exchange and peer learning. We were a group of five people from Germany who joined this conference this year and we were able to visit almost 20 projects before and after the conference. Here are a few highlights from a week filled with numerous and deep impressions:

Our partner CREAM in Tallarevu/Andra Pradesh is running an orphanage, six sewing schools, a computer class, a primary school, and furthermore, they are promoting six young women in their training to become nurses. Part of the work founded by pastor Vasantharao is a church work with far more than 2000 members at six different locations. In the meantime, his son pastor Samuel Sagar has taken over the leadership for the projects. The day we visited was a fabulous party: we were greeted with a warm welcome, we had a great meal, and we saw great dancing. Children, youth, and young women kept telling us impressive stories about how the work of CREAM has changed their lives in a lasting way. At the end, we were able to present 70 women “their” sewing machines that they receive toward the end of their training and as a start into their independence.

Somehow, the partner visit with CREAM happened like all the other partner visits: unbelievably impressive and moving. Still I will remember this one the most. Maybe it has something to do with the fishing village that we visited at the end. In India, these fishermen belong to the poorest people in society. The ones we visited are living with their families on the boats and they do not own anything. CREAM is working exactly for these communities and they are bringing hope into their lives. Pastor Sagar tells us that many parents are asking if they could take their children into the orphanage because the parents are not able to care for them. At that moment, a man walks by who greets us in a friendly manner. One of his children is in the orphanage of CREAM, and he is so grateful for the possibility and that his child can go to school now and is receiving good care.

A few seconds later, there is another family with their little daughter. While they are approaching us, we realize that there is also a personal contact with them. Their hut burned down completely. Three other families and this one lost everything they owned in that fire. With the emergency aid of CREAM, these families received the most necessary things and some emergency shelters. Confused we continued our travels to the next two partners.

I am very impressed with how diverse the help is of just one partner of EBM INTERNATIONAL in India. At the same time, all the pain and the numerous individual fates that we have experienced these days move me. People like pastor Sagar and his family that are so close to these people are great examples to me. Just like Jesus, they start with the fishermen.

Matthias Dichristin