By PAOC Global Worker Frank Juelich in India
This update is long overdue – a worn out cliché - which makes it no less true – the update is overdue!
I have a number of reasonable reasons/excuses of which sloth takes the first place, followed by minor ailments, one which led me for a brief spell into a hospital with diarrhea and vomiting; nothing serious. The serious part was the hospital bed which apparently was made for pigmies. Lying there, twisting and turning to get comfortable (the more I twisted and turned the more uncomfortable I got), to mind came the legend of the pigmies. Apparently, once upon a time people were warned not to venture into the African jungle between 2 pm and 4 pm as then the Elephants jumped out of the trees. Apparently not everybody heeded that advice and thus the race of pigmies was born. A shipment of beds meant for them somehow found its way to India, where a smart entrepreneur sold them to a hospital where space is at a premium. The pillow was from an archeological dig – the stone that Jacob used for that purpose ... after all, what was good enough for Jacob should be good enough for Frank – it wasn’t... The hospital made a fortune on Tylenol. But the medical treatment was good.
A few weeks later I had a cataract operation on my right eye. “Nothing serious” I was told. What I wasn’t told is that I would be a month to 6 weeks or so out of circulation i.e. would not be able to work on the computer or any other device like iPad or iPhone. When I thought it was ok to do work the ophthalmologist suggested another 3 weeks rest for the eye – to make for a “speedy healing”... A few days ago I asked him again if I could work at least for brief spells on the computer. "Sure,” he replied, “no problem,” then after a pause -- - “if you can see anything." Anyhow, now I can see something...
Bapu constantly worries about me now and so do some of the other staff considering I am nearing 82; but God promised to look after me, and that promise didn’t specify a location – nor the color of my hair.
The debilitating heat, going up to 45 Celsius - though kept at bay in my room by my valiant aging air conditioner, still affected my thinking “apparatus”, which in ordinary parlance is called a brain... and reduced it to two operating speeds – slow and stop...
Yet finally, sloth vanquished, minor ailments, plus a successful cataract operation overcome, and the debilitating heat ignored, my fingers start dipping into my “digital ink pot” commonly known as a “keyboard”– to produce this update. I trust my heroism impresses you...
By now you are probably ready to call me “a broken vessel” -- with the euphemism part left out – also true... too true...
Life is actually never dull here. A group of youngsters, about 14 of them from Pacific Academy, from Surrey BC, with their teachers and Errol Desouza, from the Heronbrook foundation, spent two weeks here blessing the kids and being blessed by them. This was the fifth year in succession we had youngsters here from the academy.
On April 9th our academic year ended and our kids started their exodus back to their homes, not all willingly or happily, some actually dreading the minute their train or bus stops to disgorge them, praying that their memories actually deceive them, and they are at a place resembling home... What contrast to my coming home from the hospital that Sunday morning ... I received a royal welcome from kids, staff and guests! Home! I am loved!
Now some newsy news... This coming June we will start an English medium school. We had been thinking about it for the past 2-3 years and now finally put our plan into action. We will start with Nursery I and II this year and then add a class each year. We have the infrastructure: the land, the building and people. There should be no shortage of students in the area. Unlike everything else we did so far, the students will be charged; it will provide an income for the home in the coming years. Bapu is planning this very carefully. Throwing all humility to the wind, the school will be called “Frank Juelich Academy”.
Bapu is doing a great job guiding the affairs of the society through a very difficult time, but he is not on his own. He has a good board and Errol Desouza, a director of Heronbrook Foundation, staunch supporter of many years, is on the board. He also enjoys the support of SundayLine. Then we have some great Canadian volunteers and Ethan who Bapu has in charge of ChildCare Plus, the childcare sponsorship program. It is a very important aspect of our work. He told me the following story, which shows how much it means to our kids to be sponsored. The sad part is we have comparatively few kids sponsored.
“A little boy, age 9, lost his sponsor in September and was disconsolate. When his other friends received letters from their sponsors, he received none. A member of the Pacific Academy heard of this and decided to sponsor him. When Ethan took the boy to his new sponsor the boy was overjoyed. He held on to him, hugged him and didn’t let him go.”
Then for the last two years we had Ben and Carli Albrecht here from the Greely Pentecostal Church. Ben produced the brief video most of you received and – no doubt - enjoyed. They want to come back for a whole year; with them may come another young couple. God is hedging Bapu about with trustworthy companions who, should the need arise, will even accompany him on fundraising trips to Canada.
Well, besides being ill, I joined an online Bible college that offers 70 courses; I will not get either a degree or diploma but a lot of knowledge and tons of joy. Each course has 12-16 lessons and each lesson takes about 45 minutes (30 minutes of those are a video presentation). I completed 29 courses so far, 350+ lessons. I already discovered that Billy Graham didn’t start the church and the Dark Ages didn’t end at the birth of Edison. But seriously, it is a treasure trove of Biblical knowledge. I didn’t know that there is so much about our faith that I didn’t know, and some stuff that I thought I knew – isn’t so. And in this age there is no excuse for not knowing or wrongly knowing. Though it is not just the mind that is being fed – it is the heart too. Sometimes while listening to a lecturer I recall the words of the two disciples on the Emmaus road, “didn’t our hearts burn ...?” And frequently mine does burn. Lest you think that Frank has gone among the scholars, far be it from me; these are comparatively easy to understand courses. But you don’t need a Ph.D. to grasp God’s immense love for us. Yet I praise God that I still have all my marbles to study -- even if some are chipped...
You might wonder what happened to the Mawchi work - all that effort and cost. I believe there are not many minority groups like the Mawchis that have so much literature in their language. The question, as a friend in translation work posed is, “Will people read them?” And he is not the only one among those who toil to bring literacy and the Word of God to people. Still I will not give up, to the contrary, I will compile a small booklet on the “fear not” and healing verses of the Bible and add them to the pile of literacy already there. This month our pastor is in the Mawchi area, and with another pastor seeks to set up a Mawchi reading contest. Who knows what God will do? If I will not cling on to hope, despair will cling on to me.
This month two of my grandsons get married. I already have a great granddaughter – though not from one of these two.
The other day, while sitting there facing each other, the news came through that my staying permit is granted, Bapu said, “God is so good to us.” Indeed he is. It is your prayers through which God blesses us.
- Please pray for Bapu, for wisdom to deal with the multifaceted problems that face our society.
- Please pray for us, that the English medium school will have a good start.
- Please pray that Ethan, Ben and Carli will get their volunteer visas.
- Please pray that there will be an increase in the number of sponsored children.