Written by Helen Meredith.

“Hallelujah, praise the Lord!” is a phrase we have heard many times a day throughout our time here, spoken by our Indian friends. It is also the most appropriate phrase for me to use at the end of this day to begin this blog!

Today was our last day with the people from Odissa.

We began the day joining the prayer time with the pastors. It was an emotional time and our friends gave thanks for the time the team had spent with them helping to understand the Bible. They spoke of what they had learnt and how grateful they were that we had come. All the participants had travelled long distances to attend and we chuckled at one pastor who told us that in coming to this city he was nervous about what the food would be like- fearing it would be different to what he was familiar with!

Elyse shared her testimony and Ross presented a devotion, before Mike taught the final session.

Adele and I have together led a discussion group this week. Today we felt elated that the women really worked hard together for a great outcome. The teaching was about how to interpret the Bible and the women were helped by working through Exodus 2:1-10 and carefully thinking about the context and application.  Adele and I formed lovely relationships with these women despite the language difficulties, and we are sad to say farewell.

The exam was next, followed by a presentation of certificates, more prayer, speeches, singing and dancing, handshaking and hugs. A lovely way to finish up.

After a very late lunch we headed to the beach. The Bay of Bengal, in fact. It was a great experience and we were often the centre of attraction for the locals. They were so keen to take photos of us! It feels so strange to be the foreigners!

There were many people out and about, but the locals don’t swim or venture far into the water for fear of being swept out.

Adele thought a camel ride on the beach looked like fun. I’m not sure she had thought through what it would be like with me cuddled up behind her. We were in fits of laughter despite our discomfort and concern for our safety!

Tomorrow a long train trip is on the agenda so an early night is planned!

In your prayers, please give thanks for our fabulous week, for the friendships we made and our delight in seeing the pastors growing in their knowledge and understanding of our great God.

Please pray for our continued safety and good health as we prepare for week 2 of our mission. Pray for the pastors who we will meet next week.

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