Wednesday, June 29, 2016

First day in Pune

Our first day in Pune has been full of wonderful surprises! After breakfast, we took care of some necessary documentation  and then headed down to the Kline Memorial School - which is the 1200 student K-10 primary school UBS also runs. 

We were surprised to find ourselves honorary guests at an all-school ceremony celebrating the school's newly elected Prefects, House Captains, and Head Boy and Girl. It was a wonderful celebration of leadership amongst the school and was a good opportunity to learn more about what they do. We will spend the next two mornings working there. 

After lunch, we were off to help with some tasks around the library - this included preparing some completed theses for archiving and reshelving books. 

This evening we able to join the community worship service, which happens each Wednesday night. There was singing, scripture, and a message given. The sermon, given from the letter to the 7th church in Rev. 3, was quite fitting for our group. In a short summary, the speaker encouraged everyone to open the door and let Jesus in, because with Jesus we are given a new perspective that helps us to more fully engage in the work God is doing around us. This has been my prayer for our group, that this trip gives us new eyes to see, experience, and join in the work that God is doing, everyday, in the world around us. 

This evening as we reflect on the day and look ahead to our plans for Saturday, Kate Cherveny offered the following reflection - A wonderful way to end this entry...

Life is too short. And more specifically, this trip is too short. 

As a first time traveler abroad, I inevitably get the feeling of missing home and being out of place here. But as we finally begin to feel the sense of settling in, we have to pick up and move on. Leaving Chiluvuru yesterday was especially hard, because we were just starting to form relationships with some of the village people. Coming to UBS was a bit unsettling for most of us since none of us knew what this place would be like or what we'd be doing here (and we still sort of don't know all the details). 

But since life is short and this trip is short, we must make the most of the time we have in each place. Four days in Chiluvuru flew by way too fast, and before we know it, the next three days here in Pune at UBS will be over and we will be heading home. So as we spent today meeting students and staff at the K-10 school, helping shelve books in the seminary's library, and attending the on-campus worship service, I kept reminding myself to make the most of the time we have left in India. Three days to strengthen these bonds that have been formed between all the members of the Youth Venture team, three days to learn and serve at UBS, three days to just soak up as much of India as possible. 

I hope we all can make these last three days count. And more than anything, my prayer for the six of us is that we can figure out how to channel this experience into our daily lives when we go back home. I pray that we let it reshape our perspectives and views of the ever-changing world around us. 

- Kate Cherveny

Amen, Kate.