Outreach/Missions

Becky Ahlberg Sends Pictures and Email from India

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Photos
Left: Shampa, me Suchona

Above: View of the children's gardens
from our roof
 

Photos
Left: Heather and I in the rice stack
with the kids

Above: View from our roof of the smokestack where the make bricks
Photos
Left: The older girls in their sarees


To send an email to Becky, click here.
 

Dear Family n Frienz,

I just want to thank you for the encouraging emails that some of you have taken the time to write. Along with your prayers, they means a lot. They have been one of the things that helps keep me going when I’m feeling discouraged.  I’m sure only in heaven will we fully know the effects of kind and encouraging words spoken in “due season to him that is weary”. Is.50:4.

Since most of you have never been here, I thought I would give you a bit of a description…

The Springs of Life Orphanage and school where I am is located is about 45 minutes out of Calcutta.  We are surrounded by rice fields and there are many small villages nearby. 

Most people here are so unhappy and it shows all over their faces.  It is rare to see someone on the street smiling.  At night sometimes we go to bed with the pounding beat of the drums and the eerie wail of the music coming from the nearby villages.  It comes so loud that it seems like it is next door. 

The people are so steeped in the darkness of Hinduism here.  They are constantly having holidays or festivals, and the music and drinking and dancing will go on into the wee hours of the morning. Twice I have seen a procession going past on the road in front.  They are carrying their god to put it in the pond and they do it with great ceremony.  They put the god on a cart and follow, walking behind it playing their drums and music.  Yesterday they went past beating a drum and carrying a litter that was covered with a white sheet.  It must be the 3rd person that has died and been carried past us in the last 2 weeks. 

This part of India, West Bengal, is known for the most dishonesty and corruption in the whole country.  These people need Jesus so much.  Sometimes it is discouraging to think how so many people can ever come to know God when so few are even trying to tell them.  But with God all things are possible and our orphanage and school is one thing that is making a big difference in the lives of these children. 

In some of the surrounding villages in this area, you will find no girls between the ages of 11-18 in the village. They have all either been kidnapped or sold into prostitution by their parents.  This is a huge problem here and we don’t let any of our girls go anywhere without someone to keep an eye on them.   

It is rumored that in many of the villages around here, even in the Hindu temple across the field from us, there are human sacrifices still performed from time to time, usually a child. Many of our children come from homes where they have seen many of these things going on.  --Things that people in western countries probably have no idea about.  Most of the kids here have at least one parent, but some of them are true orphans. Others have been rejected by their parents; which is almost worse, I think.  We have one boy here whose mother murdered his father, and he has nowhere to go now.

Prasanto, the man who teaches Hindi at our school, who is a Hindu, invited all of the teachers to his wedding the other night. Quite a few of us were able to go. He is from a more well-to-do family and the wedding was very nice.  It was an interesting experience.  I was happy, though, because I met a girl there named Etie. She is also Hindu, --such a nice person. She smiled and came up to me and was trying to talk to me.  She took me to meet her cousins and even though we could hardly talk to each other. She knows very little English and I was trying to mix my small amount of Hindi and even less Bengali!  But anyway we made friends and she and her 2 cousins came here the other day to see me. She is going to try to teach me Bengali, so I am happy about that. More than that, I hope this can be a way to eventually share Jesus with her.  Please keep her in your prayers.

We have only one child with measles right now and 2 more have almost recovered. Two boys got strange fevers yesterday, and today and we are suspecting malaria.  I just got back from getting blood tests for them at the hospital in Calcutta this morning. 

To conclude my afternoon I fell down a whole flight of stairs in my rush to check on one boy who had a fever. I survived with many bruises :-).  Yesterday Jacob, (Elizabeth’s father and the financial guy here) accidently split his head open with a sledge hammer while he was out working with the boys. It was not too bad; --a wound about an inch and a half by an 8th of an inch wide though, and bled alot. Fortunately, it was not too serious.  No concussion, --for which we thank God. He is recovering fine.  Sometimes the only thing left for us to to do is laugh at some of the situations we have gone through lately.
 
It is my prayer that this weekend we will consider again the sacrifice that Christ has made for us individually, and the love that caused Him to do it. There is nothing in this world worth more than that, and He would have done it if you were the only one. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

What will you do for Him? 

Love you all!
Becky
 
Recent Email Update:
Dear Family and Frienz,

Here we are halfway through April already, so much has happened lately.  This last week  I made 3 trips to the hospital for blood tests and began treating one boy for Malaria, Heather was sick with a high fever for the last 3 days but she is ok now.  And also another boy here has been having fevers and other malaria-like symptoms so we got his blood test and
found that he has typhoid, which is extremely contagious and we are just praying that no one else will get it, one of the girls is sick with fever too and we hope it ‘s not Typhoid but we took her for a blood test today to make sure.  I have been in town every day for the last few for the bloods tests or to get medicine or test results.

Today we got a new girl who is probably 13 or 14, her name is Manoshi and she is a beautiful girl.  She was kidnapped a year ago but somehow escaped from the people who had bought her about a month ago, and now we are going to keep her here since it is much safer here and her parents are quite poor.  So many kidnappings happen in this area.  The things they go thru at their age are quite incomprehensible to most Western minds.   

Last Sabbath Uncle Bill spent the whole of Sabbath lunch and after telling us the story of how he got started working in India and how God lead him here.  None of us had heard it before and it was SO inspiring how God provide time and time again when he had nothing, and humanly the way seemed impossible.  The faith that he has in God is so inspiring to me, it’s 
almost like knowing a modern day Hudson Taylor of David Livingstone.  After he finished we were all so amazed and touched at the way that God has lead in his life and encouraged to remember that He will lead in ours as well.  It was a high Sabbath for us.

Of course God does not strengthen our faith but then the Devil tries it, that  night Uncle Bill left to go up to Ranchi on the train someone stole his laptop which had all his info and
records.  It was a big blow for him.  Then the next am we were awakened by a phone call from the seminary in the north, to find out that the wife of one of the seminary students had just died in childbirth and the baby died as well.  It was a sad thing for all of us because they had been here working on his break when we had arrived and actually he had planned to let his wife stay here and have the baby here.  He is left with two small girls age 9 and 4.  Death spares no one in this land…last night as I was walking thru the nearest large town, in the press of people I was going thru I almost brushed something and I saw with horror that I was right next to a corpse they were carrying on a litter thru the streets beating the drums and
wailing behind it. So many things here make me just wish that Jesus would come soon.  There is so much pain and agony that some people go thru that you wonder ,“Oh Lord Jesus how long?”  He has to come soon.  Just pray that we will all bring as many people as possible with us to that great day.

The man who lost his wife and baby just arrived here today after days on the train, he brought his 2 little girls down here to stay at the orphanage while he tries to finish up his last 3 months at the seminary, As I saw his now motherless little girl sitting on the roof, looking out at the field the my heart was breaking for her…then my mind turned to that beloved
choir song… “The Blessed Hope” and  as it was ringing through my mind it brought tears to my eyes to think of what a hope we have, and how different the lives of these people here would be if they also could have that hope…Pray that we can share it… This passage came to my mind and every time I read it fills me with hope.  If any of you are overwhelmed right now or struggling with some problem in your life, I hope you will read this and let it sink in…it’s a promise for YOU. 

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make
all things new.  And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

Revelation 21:1-6

Love you all!

Becky