The writing exercise yesterday afternoon was a great success. I told the girls they had to take the character description which they had already written and put that character into a setting of their choice – any place, any time. Then they had to give the character a problem, and then find a way of resolving the problem that was unexpected but not unbelievable. Although they needed a lot of help putting the stories into English, the ideas were all their own, and very dramatic – a rescue at sea, a house fire, a kidnapping, a forced marriage and a girl who fainted and fell off a cliff!
In the evening the girls had a group counselling session on the subject of forgiveness, and I was able to share with them the journey on which God led me a few years ago, from Matthew 1, when I went from struggling to know how to forgive, to seeing it as the cancellation of a debt, and finding real freedom in writing down the cancellation of wrongs and writing them off as if they were a debt that had been paid in full. One of the girls who heard my testimony last time I was here told us afterwards that she found this picture helpful, and that it gave her encouragement in exercising forgiveness towards those who had wronged her. I love the way God takes the hard things that have happened in our lives and turns them into positives for ourselves and lifelines we can throw to others.
This morning we again walked to the church where the girls spent a few hours in study and I prepared some material for later in the week. I’ve been asked to do 2 teacher workshops on assessment for learning – something I’ve had to revise, as I’m a bit rusty after 5 years away from the classroom! However, it’s surprising how soon it comes back once you start to remind yourself what you once knew.
I then walked to the pastor’s house for lunch with his wife. We had an enjoyable time, sharing our experience of God’s faithfulness through life’s ups and downs. After a delicious lunch of goat curry followed by apple cake with chocolate ice cream and – oh joy! – my first cup of coffee since arriving in India, I had the opportunity to go over the material I have prepared for the teachers’ conference with the lady who is organising it. It became apparent that my workshop on disability is pretty much along the right lines, and just needs a little tweaking, whereas my material on teaching ethics is a little too theoretical and needs to focus more on practicalities. So I have some work to do, but two or three free mornings have been written into my schedule to give me time for preparation.
This afternoon a very experienced Australian teacher who is fluent in Hindi came and taught S and E how to go about remedial adult education in Hindi and English literacy and numeracy with the young ladies here who are all over 18 and most of whom, because of their traumatic pasts, have had very little in the way of schooling, but who need enough education and vocational skills to be able to make their own way in the world when they leave here. I was in awe of this lady’s inspirational teaching style and infectious enthusiasm.
I have to say, I’m enjoying myself so much here, and have fallen in love again with the place and the people so much, that I’m already mentally scanning my 2017 diary to see when I could fit in my next visit, at the same time as wondering how practical it is to try and learn some Hindi before I next come! The girls are still enthusiastically working away at their French knitting whenever they have free time, and there is talk of making some of the finished articles into a wall hanging to go on display here.
It’s funny how I can sometimes find it hard work to connect with God at home, but I come here and it’s so easy – I snatch the periods of silence that come my way and feel as if I’m wrapped in His arms – indeed that’s probably the secret; I had rather got out of the habit of silence and contemplation at home, and need to make sure when I return to the UK that I don’t allow busyness and distractions to crowd it out again.