Saturday, December 7, 2013

new Christmas video for Harvest India

Cory created a new video, highlighting Harvest India's Mercy Ministries. Happy Christmas and enjoy!! :)

Harvest India Mercy Ministries from Harvest India on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Friends In Tenali :: Nani

Meet Nani:

Nani has worked for Harvest India for a few months now and is a driver for school buses and other programs. He also helps take the other girls and me to the different schools we teach at each week. Talking with Nani in limited Telugu and limited English has been really fun. He is a very nice man with a great heart and an awesome smile. We laugh most of the drives home when trying to have conversations and learn more about one another. 

Last week was an especially fun week driving around with Nani. Last Thursday we taught at Quarry Junior College and were in the middle of a three day torrential rain storm that flooded much of Tenali town center. We had to drive a different route to head out towards Quarry, so we drove through a different part of the market. On the way Nani stopped two times. First, we stopped outside a corner store and met his older brother. We also stopped at the next corner and met his mother-in-law, who was roasting corn for purchase while sitting under an umbrella in the rain. She smiled and waved at us, then took three ears of corn off of the coals and handed them to me through our car window. It was so generous of her. Nani was really happy that we had met some of his family. He talked about them much of the drive afterwards. Before we reached Quarry, we stopped at Harvest India campus to drop off Carli who teaches 10th class (grades 1-10 have been moved from Quarry to campus now). Nani drove straight tot he Ashraya sewing center and called out to a woman to bring Brianca outside. One Brianca came out we were introduced to her as Nani's, "wife and life partner." They are a love marriage. Nani's face shone with love for his wife as he introduced us to her. He said he was very proud of her job at the sewing center. They also now live on campus next to Peter and his family. They have one daughter, Sweety, whom we met as we left campus. She is an adorable four year old.

Nani says that he loves working for Harvest India. He says, "It is because of God's grace that I am here with Harvest India. I am so thankful for this family and job." 

Nani, we are so thankful for you. It is also by God's grace that we all get to work together for his kingdom in Tenali. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Friends In Tenali :: Rama Raj

Meet Rama Raj:

We love this man! His family lives on the top floor of the house we rent from Harvest India. Every morning he is there to say "Good morning before" he leaves for the day and we get to welcome home his kids from school most afternoons. If we hang laundry from the roof, we are usually ushered into his home for chai. Rama Raj and his family are incredibly generous and loving towards us and have welcomed us into their family. Last week, we celebrated Tony's birthday with the family and it was a blast! We love Rama Raj and his family.

Rama Raj is photographer by trade and works for Harvest India, as well as being a freelance wedding and function photographer here in Tenali. He has a very big heart, is great at helping us integrate and navigate Tenali and has a fantastic Mr. Bean impersonation. Anu, his wife, is a preschool teacher and an amazing cook. Her mutton leaf curry, chicken curry and coconut rice are some of our favorite Indian meals in Tenali. The girls on our team have also gone with her for eyebrow threading and sari girls only outings here in town. :) They have two sons. Tony is 13 years old and Funny is 11 years old. We really enjoy playing card games and computer/iPad games with the boys. It is pretty fun meeting their neighborhood friends also. A few weeks ago we watched The Avengers movie with their entire family and it was so fun just being together.

We are grateful for Rama Raj and his family and the way they have welcomed us into their home and how we get to live out a life of ministry together.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Friends In Tenali :: Gopal

Meet Gopal:

Gopal owns a wholesale fabric store in the Gandhi Chowk market area in Tenali. It is a shop where people can shop for personal purchase, as well as a wholesale store for local village store owners to buy material in bulk for their own reselling. Which means Gopal's shop is forever exploding with fabric. It is amazing to sit in his store and be surrounded by shelves and piles and piles of beautiful cloth.  I love being there when he unloads new shipments of saris (girls...this is when you start smiling and imagining how awesome this shop is). 

I first met Gopal during my first time in India on the ROCKHarbor two week trip in December 2011. He partners with Harvest India to provide the fabric and tailoring for women's punjabi dresses and saris. When we moved to India in October 2012, he visited our home with a few selections for dresses and saris also. This helped us a TON since it is important to dress culturally here and we were ready to be out and about, dressed in Indian wear, in a matter of days. Eventually, we found out where his shop was located and have made visiting him a weekly activity. Think of it as Indian window shopping meets our tiny monthly allowance "splurge fest" for the girls. :)

But, visiting Gopal is not just about looking at fabrics and choosing new clothes (which looking at saris is amazing here!! So much creativity and beauty in every cloth). We like to ask Gopal about his family, his children, his workers. He buys us a Sprite or chai from an outside vendor and takes a lot of pride in showing us all his "latest fashion, very comfort, very smooth, high class" cloth at "small, small cost." This really means that we can purchase a sari or complete punjabi outfit, with stictching, for under $6-$10, usually. He has brought over his daughter to our house when he delivered tailored clothing and we sat and chatted with his daughter in English for a while. We have become friends. He especially loves John. Gopal even called John on Christmas morning (a holiday he doesn't celebrate) to wish John a Happy Christmas. When we returned to Tenali in July, he called us a few days later and wished us a happy return. We simply enjoy his company and sharing joy and laughter with him, while being surrounded with beautiful material. 

And what is also neat is that his shop has become a great place to meet other women in Tenali and have small conversations in broken English and Telugu. Shyness and language barriers seem to crack and break when local women and me and the girls are all sitting on the ground, admiring a sari that is draped over all of our laps. Choosing saris and punjabis together is really fun. We learn more about culture and continue to feel more at home in Tenali, a little bit more a part of the community and town.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Friends In Tenali :: Simon the Cobbler

Hi friends! This will be a new weekly post showcasing some of the incredible people we know here in Tenali. Some are Harvest India workers and some are friends we have made along the way while living in town. Each person has a story and has encouraged us in different ways.

Meet Simon:

Simon is a cobbler who works in Gandhi Chouk (aka the market area here in Tenali). Rain or shine he sets up his shop street-side and fixes shoes with a smile. We first met Simon when we were exploring the market last fall. As we walked down the street, we heard someone shout, "Praise the Lord!" When we saw Simon, he raised his hands and shouted, "Praise the Lord!" again and waved at us. His smile is infectious in the best possible way and the joy that the Lord has given him is radiant. Every time we see Simon he is sitting surrounded by his tools, either fixing shoes or reading his Bible. We've never once seen him without it. He does not know much English and we know very little Telugu, but we've struck up a friendship anyways. He is so encouraging to see and his joy is contagious. Visiting Simon is one of our favorite things to do in the market and we always head home with a brighter outlook and a shared smile. So today friends, we are thankful to God for Simon.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Freedom Reigns :: post by Kacie

We have been in Tenali for about three weeks now and have been a part of the English service at Emmanuel Prayer Tower for three Sundays now. This past Sunday was a great evening.

The youth of the church have begun playing volleyball in the church compound during the afternoons so there are quite a few people still lingering around the church building when we arrive. It is really fun having this opportunity to interact with regular Emmanuel Prayer Tower church members, practice a little bit of Telugu (and laugh at our own pronunciation a lot), and spend time with the worship team that has developed for the English service, especially the girls as they spend time inside the church during volleyball. The Indian worship team members are amazing! One young man has naturally taken a leadership role by choosing the songs to sing, setting up the microphone stands and working with another young man for microphone sound check...not to mention rounding up all the team members for team sound check, which can be a bit challenging.

A few new exciting things have happened for the service. First, we have asked that the youth worship team greet the people at beginning of service and to pray before and after the worship set. That is a big step because it can be intimidating speaking in English to such a crowd. Moses gave greetings at the beginning of service and Mounika prayed for our time together. I was really proud of their courage and how they stepped out of their comfort zone for God in those moments. It is just one more way we are trying to encourage and empower the youth leaders of the service. Secondly, there are a few local pastors who attend this English service and and the youth worship team wanted a way to incorporate them more into the Sunday gathering. One opportunity they came up with is for one of the pastors to pray the blessing for the church at the conclusion of service each week. This happened on Sunday night and those few minutes were really powerful. I would love to hear the local pastors preach one Sunday. I know it would bless me immensely, as well as the church congregation.

Lastly, this past Sunday we introduced a new song to the worship set. During offering time, we sang "Freedom Reigns." Cory played guitar and I sang by myself for the first time. I had been listening to this song sung by Jesus Culture on my iPhone for a few weeks and felt really strongly that we should teach it and sing it on Sundays. I was nervous to sing alone, since I don't take great confidence in my voice, but I have to say since moving to India and being asked to lead worship, God has gifted me with a much improved singing voice. To that I am grateful and happy to be used. As I sang, it made me so happy to sing this song to the Lord. After the second verse I felt shivers in my entire body and felt my voice becoming more powerful and at the chorus I began singing like I have never sung before. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and the freedom in the Lord that I was singing about...the freedom to let go of everything and find joy in worshiping Him alone. It was SO COOL. After service a young man approached me in a pretty shy way. He told me that the song blessed him so much and touched his heart. He said that he had never before experienced God the way he did during the offering song and thanked me for singing. I was so touched and gave the glory to God because I knew I sang the way I did because of Him, for Him. The young man's encounter with God was such an amazing ending to a really great night.

So, praise the Lord! More of You, God!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Returns and Changes

We've officially returned to India after a three month sabbatical that has taken each of us to different places around the world, but was mostly spent serving in Bethlehem, Israel. A ton has happened in the last three months and we hope to bring you up to date with this quick little blog post.

One of the big changes for our team is that Kevin and Angela have decided to stay in Bethlehem to continue serving the people of Palestine with their gifts and talents. They are still figuring out all of the details in what that looks like exactly, but you can read more about their story and how they came to this decision by reading their blog HERE. We were really sad to have to say goodbye to them in Israel, but we are excited to see what God has in store for them in the Holy Land.

Renee is also still in Bethlehem working with the Diyar Consortium for a few more weeks. She is choreographing and helping their dance program prepare for a performance that will be traveling to San Francisco in September. She will be joining our team in India in mid-August to continue teaching dance and helping with teaching English at Harvest India's colleges.

The Clanton's are beyond excited to return to Tenali and the work we are doing here with Harvest India. Kacie is really looking forward to diving back into teaching English at both KSK College and the Harvest India Junior College. The HI staff spent the Summer promoting the presence of foreign English teachers which has created an influx of new students at both schools. John is eager to get his feet back on the ground in the community of John Babu's Church and reconnecting with the people he has formed relationships with. He will also begin walking alongside another Harvest India Pastor named Samuel that is working in some really strong Hindu communities here in Tenali.

We have gained a new teammate in the marriage of Cory & Carli Hill! Cory flew home in early June  to get married to Carli, see his brother Taylor get married, and spend a little bit of time with friends and family before heading back to India with his new wife. You can see photos of their wedding by clicking HERE. Carli is jumping right in with both feet teaching English alongside Kacie and Renee, and she will also be helping IPP with communications and production needs. Cory is hoping to get the Aquaponics project off of the ground and running in the next few weeks, and will continue helping Harvest India with logistics, media and communications needs.

The entire team will also continue serving and leading the English Church service that we helped start a few months before we left for Israel. The service continued through the Summer while we were away and has continued to grow and develop as a church body. We are so encouraged by the local people that have stepped in to lead and carry this ministry on in our absence, and it's so exciting to see how God is working in this community!

Below is a new promo video for Harvest India that Kevin and Cory created from footage shot in our first six months here. Enjoy!