We arrived in Chennai having experienced one of the most international places in the world: Dubai airport in the middle of the night, people from everywhere flying everywhere! Laurence spent the flight from Dubai to Chennal witnessing and comparing different religions (when he should have been asleep!) and then was amused by whole families travelling on one motorbike on the way to our accommodation.
After we had a rest we were shown around the church building and then taken through the slum. It is really smelly, especially when you walk over the sewer/river; you can imagine how bad it gets when it rains for two days and it seeps into people's houses. The houses (one room each) are no bigger than a cell in a prison, and they accommodate entire families and all their belongings in one room.
We met and prayed with quite a few families, yet even in the midst of severe pain and hardship there is tremendous hope, faith and love. Lakshmi's sister has TB, her brother and brother-in-law are drinkers and so she looks after 7 children (in these two families) in one of these rooms. It was spotless (other than the muck we walked in from the street), with her own stencilled art on the walls.
Another lady, whose children have now all grown up hosts prayer meetings in one of these houses (cells) and cooks for 35 people.
Kevin and Deborah, the leaders of the work here, are really praying for more sponsors. They have a great team, who look really happy and full of joy whilst volunteering. They also have plans in place for more space to accommodate the children from the slum who come every day after school to do homework and eat a hot tasty filling meal. There is clearly the need in this area. If you are not already a sponsor (or even if you are) please consider £8 a month to sponsor an individual child and help this vital work.
Interviewing the children starts tomorrow.