Posts Tagged ‘Hyderabad’

Hot and Cold, by Back2Back India

March 11, 2010

In February, when we left Cincinnati for our trip to India it was cold and snowy. We arrived in Hyderabad where it was hot and sunny. A pretty dramatic difference!

We spent the night at one of the orphanages served by Back2Back India. They do not have a water heater or geyser. Since the water is stored in a tank on the roof, it varies with the outside temperature. The water can be pretty cold on winter mornings and extremely hot on summer afternoons.

Although the daytime temperature was above 90 degrees during our visit, my morning shower was a quite chilly.

The children living at the hostel have adapted to this and during the winter, they bathe in the afternoon after school when the water is warmer.

But typical American, I longed for my warm morning shower. That’s where I’m comfortable – lazily, mindlessly soaking in the warmth. In the cold shower, I was breathing rapidly and loudly, my heart was racing and I was focused on the reason I was there. True Christianity is not about being comfortable.

Revelation 3:15-17 (New International Version)

15I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

Serving with Back2Back in India is definitely out of my comfort zone – and not just the water temperature! The comforts of home that make me “warm” (lukewarm?) can keep me from giving God my wholehearted love and obedience. When I am warm and comfortable, I don’t realize how much I need Him. I miss out on the grace and riches He has to offer.

Serving in India provides me the opportunity to really experience God in the heat of it! To not just pray for the abused, abandoned and needy children of India, but to pray with them. To see God’s promise to provide for orphans and widows as they depend on Him for their everyday needs, things that I often take for granted.

There’s nothing like a cold shower to wake you up to the truth! Are you hot or cold?

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Feeding Center Blessings, by Back2Back India

January 18, 2010

Recently, Back2Back India partnered with a Feeding Center to provide clean drinking water to poor children. The Feeding Center is run by a husband and wife who live near a slum in Hyderabad. During the day, some children attend school and receive a hot meal provided by the government. However, many of the children in the slum do not attend school during the day but instead work menial jobs or help care for younger children while their parents are working. So after they come home from their jobs, this couple opens their home to about 150 children to come have a meal and study.

Several days a week, the Feeding Center purchases drinking water pumped from large tanker trucks. They fill various vessels with the water and carry them from the street to the house.

When a group from our church visited the Feeding Center, they learned of the need for tanks to store the water in a clean and hygienic manner. Back2Back India committed to this project.  The day we went to install the tanks, we had several construction challenges. The plan was to stack pre-made concrete rings together as a base for the water tanks. However, as the video demonstrates, the quality of the concrete was not very good.

So, we went to plan B – cement blocks, arranged and mortared together. Our pastor, the director of the Feeding Center and several volunteers worked together to build the project. For several of the men, this was their first hands-on experience with a small construction project.

They caught on quickly and enjoyed working toward a goal. We worked hard all day, finishing by the light of cell phones. When we were done, there were two new water tanks and multiple faucets for the children to draw clean drinking water.

Shortly after the installation, we received this encouraging email message from the directors of the Feeding Center:

Dear sister and brother,

Greetings to you in the matchless name of our lord and savior Jesus Christ. We appreciate your hard work and dedication in donating the water tanks to our children in the center. They are really very helpful to the children. We don’t have to carry drums of water everyday. A big thank you to both of you and may God bless you.

We were very much encouraged seeing you working and doing things on your own, putting in the tanks. After seeing you, we are trying to do small repairs in our home without anybody’s help.

We would like to send some pictures of our center. We have conducted competitions for children on Children’s Day on 14 November. We gave them certificates and medals for the winners. It was an exciting moment for the kids.  We also had our Christmas eve on 22 December.  We gave kids yummy plum cake and the children enjoyed Christmas meal.

Once again, we thank you both for all the support you have done to our feeding center

Thank you

Chipping Away, by Back2Back India

December 30, 2009

Hyderabad is located in the Deccan Plateau region of India where there are ancient granite stones shaped into spectacular sometimes bizarre formations of rock, reminiscent of southwest United States like Arizona.

These are awesome and enormous rocks. Entire neighborhoods exist in these rocky areas. First the rocks must be cleared to allow construction of these homes and buildings. When out for my morning walks, I often see a group of laborers working on a job site. They chisel all the rocks by hand.

A huge sheet of granite is slowly and patiently split into smaller and smaller pieces until there is room for a foundation. Then the small square bricks of granite are used in building the walls of the home.  What a huge job for these workers and what terrible carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms they must have!

Many days, I feel like one of those workers. Back2Back is here to help provide for orphans in India. And this is an enormous task. There are over 1 billion people in India including 400 million children. India has more children than the entire US population and it is estimated that 9% of them are orphans which mean that there are about 35 million orphan children in this country. There are many ministries and organizations here trying to help these children. Some of these organizations focus on street children; some on abolishing child labor; others support education or vocational training for girls. With so many needs and so many children, sometimes it is difficult to know where to start. So, we take each day and each opportunity to chip away at this gigantic challenge.

Thank you for you prayers and support of the Back2Back India program. Together we can break the hard challenges into building blocks for the future of the needy children in India.

Pray for Rain, by Back2Back India staff

June 30, 2009

Before coming to serve in India, I had lots of questions. Many centered around monsoon season. When would it rain?  How much rain?  Does it rain all day?  Everyday?  No one was really able to answer those questions. “We’ll just see,” said my Indian friend.

Monsoon Rain Clouds

Monsoon Rain Clouds

I like warm sunny days. We had plenty of those. I don’t really like rain so I anxiously awaited the monsoon. It was predicted to arrive May 26. But as with most things in India, the monsoon was late. Then I was told that the rains would start around the first of June. It is now the end of June and the rains have yet to come. It might be an El Nino year. Who knew that El Nino would follow me to India! No rain – lucky me or so I thought.

With the lack of monsoon rain, India is on the verge of a drought. The water reservoirs are drying up. Power outages are becoming more frequent. Farmers are struggling to grow crops. The cost of vegetables has increased by 50%.  This has put a huge strain on the already meager budgets of the children’s homes trying to feed over 200 children daily.

The government programs are ill equipped to handle such crisis. A recent headline read: Chief Minister Calls for Prayers as Government Woos gods for Rain Desperate to protect its people and country from economic harm, the government is calling on all religions to offer special prayers for rain. Most Indians are Hindu, some are Muslim and a small percentage (2-3%) are Christian.

A verse from the Back2Back summer theme of Shelter comes to mind. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:11).

We need to turn to our God for His shelter. In contrast to the idea of a physical shelter to protect us from the rain, in this case rain is the shelter we seek. Rain that will fill the reservoirs and water the crops. Rain that is vital to India and essential to the survival of so many poverty stricken people. Please pray with us for God’s shelter –  the monsoon rains to come to India.

Shelter in Telugu, the native language

Shelter in Telugu, the native language

Reflections on a Weekend with Back2Back India, by Todd Kutzke

June 29, 2009

Todd Kutzke recently served at an Indian orphanage alongside the Back2Back India staff. He shared thoughts from the experience on his company blog, which I’ve reposted below.

Over the weekend, I had an opportunity to visit a few orphanages around Hyderabad. It’s an incredibly humbling experience. A little while back, I read a fantastic book titled “Three Cups of Tea” which really gets you thinking about the importance of education in fighting poverty. There is little secret to the fact that India has a large population in extreme poverty that can’t even get access to basic necessities such as clean drinking water. But beyond the basic necessities, I’m a firm believer that investment in education is needed to sustain a level of life above the poverty line.

On a personal level, I feel it’s important to capitalize on opportunity to give back to the community in any way possible. Not only is it humbling, but it helps reinforce how fortunate many of us are (especially in the first world countries) and what an incredible opportunity we have to give back to society. Even on a team level, I’ve looked to set at least one event a quarter where the team gets together to give back to the community through some volunteering activity; a great opportunity to give back and build morale at the same time. And when I see things like the Microsoft Unlimited Potential work, it makes me incredibly proud to be part of a larger organization with long term commitment to enhancing way of life for so many.

Here’s a video of some incredible kids from one of the orphanages with which Back2Back partners in India:
Video: Ghatkaser Kids

Where in the world are we?

June 3, 2009

Back2Back Ministries serves in four areas:

Monterrey, Mexico

Jos, Nigeria

Hyderabad, India

Mason, Ohio (the Back2Back home offices)