Tuesday, November 16, 2010

....To Mount Olive with Love...

Godfrey H.I. Rajkumar, me, Gene Hennig, Paramadass

Sunday was sort of an "India" day at my church, Mount Olive Lutheran Church, in Minneapolis. Two visitors - Godfrey Rajkumar, from Mumbai, and Paramadass, from the remote villages of the Upper Hills of Tamil Nadu near Kodaikanal, were there to speak about Bethania Kids (http://www.bethaniakids.org/).

During the night on Friday and on Saturday, we got a heavy snowfall. It was the first time Godfrey and Paramadass had seen snow! Gene and Kristie Hennig hosted a nice gathering at their home in Chanhassen on Saturday night. On Sunday, I played the organ for our two Eucharists and the guys spoke at our education hour about how Bethania serves three categories of children: orphaned, semi-orphaned (one parent), and handicapped or mentally retarded.

In the service we sang the Tamil lyric, "Sangaraparanum," in a translation by missionary Daniel Thambryajah Niles: "Christ is All To Me." (Niles wrote, transcribed and translated many Tamil hymns, many of which are found in the East Asia Christian Conference Hymnal). At the Hennig household the night before, Paramadass sang it in Tamil - a goosebumps moment. As Sunday's postlude, I attempted an improvisation on another Tamil hymn, "Tandanei tuthi pohme," very popular with Christians in the Chennai (Madras) area. After the services, we hosted a large biryani luncheon. Aunt Miriam (nee Naumann) McCreary, Mom's sister who grew up in India and went back as a medical missionary, made ALL of the biryani! About 100 people came, and all were well-fed. With the biryani our wonderful church crew of workers also served pappadams, raita, sweet mango chutney, bananas, yogurt, lemon/lime-ade, chai, cookies, and fennel candy.

It was a great day...We wish Godfrey and Paramadass godspeed, and we hope that they return to India and our Bethania Kids with renewed vigor.
+ + + + + + + + +
Watching me with shepherd-care,
Lovingly my wants attends,
My Companion all the way till
Evening falls and journey ends.