Saturday, February 16, 2008
In the 25th chapter of the gospel of Matthew, in the parable of the sheep and the goats, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”. This summer I will be a part of a mission team traveling to India for two weeks to serve those who are, in so many ways, the people who Jesus called “the least of these brothers of mine.”
From 22 June through 5 July 2008 I will travel to India with a group of about 12 people from my church. The first week of our trip will be spent in Bangalore, in the south of India, working with a ministry to street children. Bangalore is known as the “Silicon Valley” of India as there is a tremendous amount of computer and technology industry there. It is also estimated that 45,000 children live on the streets of this large city. Some of these children are orphans, others have been abandoned by their families due to economic or other reasons, some have fled abusive situations. Regardless of the reason they are on the streets, Grace House, a non-residential day facility, seeks to serve these children. Run by Bangalore Presbyterian Church and funded by my church, Fort Worth Presbyterian, Grace House is open six days a week and provides these children with a structured, safe environment that provides meals, clothing, help in getting any needed medical attention, schooling and Biblical education. This ministry also is in the process of starting foster homes which will provide a Christian family environment for these children to move into and grow up in with the end goal of transitioning these children into independent living and working situations when they become adults.
For our second week in India, we will travel to the village of Muttom on the southern coast of India. This area was greatly affected by the 26 December 2004 tsunami that devastated much of the Indian Ocean coastline. In the villages surrounding Muttom, we will be working with a ministry of Bangalore Presbyterian Church called Homes of Hope. Homes of Hope is working to build permanent homes for the survivors of the tsunami (pictures can be found here). It is the prayer of this ministry that this work done in the name of Christ will not only provide for the physical needs of these people but also will melt the hearts of those in the area as they witness home after home being built for “the least of these”. It is also the hope that the groundwork laid by this house building work will open the door to church planting and sharing of the gospel to communities that are hardened to the grace of gospel message of Jesus Christ. During our week in this area, we will be physically laboring to help build some of these homes.
I would like to invite you to join with my mission team on this trip in two ways. First, I would ask you to consider becoming a prayer partner. This involves committing to pray for me, the team and our trip weekly prior to our departure and daily during the trip. Without the support of God’s people, mission trips such as these cannot happen and I greatly covet your prayers. Some specific prayer requests that I currently have are:
• Unity for our team.
• Financial support for all team members.
• Specifically preparing each member of the team for the large cultural differences as well as change in time zones that we will encounter during this trip.
• God working in the hearts of each member of the team and each person we will encounter in India in preparation for all that he has planned.
As the preparations continue, I will update all prayer partners on additional prayer requests as well as provide additional information on the team’s preparation here on my blog.
Secondly, I would ask that you consider supporting this trip financially. The cost of this trip is approximately $2500, of which $750 covers all of our costs in India with the remainder paying for airfare. The first payment, for 50% of the total cost of my trip, is due in mid-April with the remainder due in mid-May. Any financial gift you can give would be greatly appreciated and is tax deductible. If you would like to join in our work in India through either prayer support please either leave a comment on this blog or email me at ruthann.francis_at_gmail_dot_com. If you would like to provide financial support please send a check made out to Fort Worth Presbyterian church to:
Fort Worth Presbyterian Church
PO Box 16307
Fort Worth, TX 76162
Please include a note saying that the check is in support of the India mission trip for Ruth Ann Francis. This will ensure that your contribution is credited to my account.