All posts by Peter & Wendy

Another story from calcata

What do your kids look at on the church walls?

I grew up at Oxford Terrace what did I look at. No pictures of Jesus, no stories on stained glass windows, no childrens SS work, noBible verses.

Instead there was a huge board with those who died in WW1 and 2 and amoung the smaller ones a plaque to a missionary sent from our church 1890, about. Hopestill Pillow went out to India, then one country to the area of Bramanbaria in  the present Bangladesh. She went alone on a long boat trip not expecting to come back for 5 years, She worked with another single woman from Dunedin doing work with women and children in the villages.

She never made it home only to Kolkata where she died in hospital.

We stood by her grave. Would we be willing tto go, no medicine, no rapid escape plan.

A seed falls into the ground and dies but then brings forth much fruit.

What will the fruit be?

Wendy

Terrafirma Kiwistyle

Wendy and I, along with Anthony and Rachel, have arrived back in kiwiland.

The flight went well with no hickups going through immigration & customs. Though sleep was a challenge.

First impressions of kiwiland.

No seething crowds of people pishing and shoving to get anywhere.

The roads are orderly and well mannered.

No vehicles blaring horns trying to force there way through traffic.

Atruck stoppong at the pedestrian cross and waiting for us to cross.

Being able to read the signs without any difficulty.

Kiora mata.

Wendy demanding me to communicate out loud!!!

Fresh, salt sea air on the breeze

No smog or haze to the horizon.

In case you may think that we did not like Bungladesh or India, it is not true. We throughly enjoyed ourselves, and enjoyed the great diffences. It has been an exhilarating experience.

Now we have a small flight to Christchurch – only 1 1/2 hours – then Melanie, the children, the dogs, and our own bed tonight.

I also feel a lightness in my spirit…

Then back to work on Monday, such joys and delights!!!!?

Thank you one and all for praying for us.

Shalom,

Peter & Wendy

Walking the streets of Kolata

Hi friends

Some sìghts we have seen

At the water pumps people washing themselves and their washing

Washing hanging to dry

Men getting a hair xcut or shave

People sleeping wrappeď in a blanket

selling from a street sidè shop or a table on the fooþpath

Shoe cleaners and menders

Families of chiildren sitting cllose on a mat

A row òf motor engines

Fruit stalls

Men chatting

Old womeen begging

Crippled people begging

Making up food in huge wocks

Homes for some huddleď on a mat

Tents

People sweeping

Men standing as guards àt doorways or at gated drivewàys

Anď its always noisy horñs go all the time

For many thier life is spent on the foot path

Another comment, our laundry men said he has a family 700km away he will see àfter working for à year.

Off today to see other bunisses where the outcasts can find work, a decent wage, and bè treated well

We take so much for granteď

Peter has been sick but is much better, i am fine

Wendy

There was a soldier..

Some of you may remember this Socttish song from many years ago.

As I was salking down the long foodpath to fins Hopestill’s grave this song came to my mind.

there was a soldier, a Scottish soldier, who wandered far away, and soldiered far away…. but those hillsides are not the hills of home.

sopestill was soldier of reknown in this land.

I was walking through the grave yard I was aware beginning to weep. It was a powerful emotion. Here in the middle of Kolkoto was this quiet place. The noise of the traffic seemed far away. Just the ever present black crows giving out their raucus cries.

Here in this place there a plot of land that will forever be the home of a  courageouss, and intrepid, kiwi lass.

It is a quiet place filled with graves from two centuries ago up until this century. It is a Chrsitian cemetary. You will nò doubt see photos. Some of it is over grown, and the graves are not looked after. We had a kiwi guide with us took to a far  corner of the graveyard, where, nesstled under a  large green tree was Hopestill’s grave. Hidden in the far lefthand courner of the graveyard. Much the worse for ware. But our kiwi guide has arranged for a local to do some maintenance of it. It gladened my heart to hear that.

Mike read from Hebrews 11, and added Hopestills name to the list of saints who looked for a city whose maker and sustainer was God.

Then our kiwi friend told us about her life at OTBC and the work she did here in West Begal. The places we had been to last week, and we witnessed the ongoin work thaf she, and others,  carved out in this land.

I have been deeply touched by this time, and we have video of the time. Some from Simon, and some from myself.

We then took a little time to pray, not for Hopestill, as such, but rather the  next generation who will follow and continue the amazing work that is happening here.

The words from Matt 25 about thd tallents and the feeding, clothing, etc., came to my mind. After the others left I spoke them out, “Well done thou good a d faith servant… enter into the joy of thd Lord”,

It’a hard to imagine we will on a plane leaving here very late tomorrow night. I feel like I could stay here and do “Prayer Walks” and never come to an end.

The needs here seem so great, and the labourers so few – Matt 9:39 on, pray for the Lord of the harvest to send more labourers…

Off course Jesus in John 17 says we are friends now, not servants or slaves…. This changes our approach. We are “fellow-labourers together with God” in the harvesr (some where in Corinthians).

I’ve had a case of the trotts today, but I’m ok, everyone has gone out to tea, whike I’m here doing my blogg.

As I was leaving the graveyard I spied a squirrel on one of the graves. What does that mean???

It will be good to get home and see so many of you. The challenge is then, “What does one say??”.

If we seem to have a farawy look in our eyes it is not to do with you, rather, I suspect we will be thinking of how to convey the spirit of these two lands with words.

Be patient with us, the ‘virus of missions’ is not one you and heal with a pill or potion. Rather only by doing it.

Some years ago I said to the Lord that I do not need to overseas ever again, I had been there, done that, but somehow the “virus” will not go away…. What does one do about Fiji? Let alone Bungladesh and nòw India.

We will see.

The Lord of Glory bless you and keep you…Numbers 6…

Shalom,

Peter &Wendy, or is it, Wendy & Peter

Newmarket

Saturday, only a few more days to go… How can time go so quickly?

This afternoon, after we had arrived back at BMS in KolKota, we went off to Newmarket in several motorised rickshaws (Put-Puts). Off we went defying death, destruction and mayhem ( well would you believe scrapes and bangs) as we sped down narrow congested street to find this place called ‘Newmarket’. It covers quite a few blocks of the city and is jam-packed with traders, little shops, money changers, ice cream and food shops, etc, etc. It was not a nice stroll in the park on a Sunday afternoon. Oh no, it was wall to wall people with cars trying to go through the throng.

What would you like to buy – well there were twenty shops of the same sort all selling the same thing (or so it seemed). We changed some US$ and as we came out Wendy, Anthony, Estella and I were accosted by this man wanting to sell us stuff.

Well we went with him. Down this alley, round that corner, deeper into the bowels of a shopping complex. Round that corner, along this passage then….the door to his shop. About 2 — 3 metres wide and 10 meters long with a set of stairs going upward to another floor.

Then he began to overwhelm our senses with this scarf, that scarf, silk, cotton, fine sheeps wool, in a dozen different colours. Reds, blues, greens, purples…

Never ay time to think, just the next offering…

“Do you like this…that…the other…” never anytime to think and consider.

“You

want this, is it the right colour, I have others… it comes from my factory…”

So after about half an hour we made our choices. The price seemed exhoribant in Indian Rupees, but happily not too many in $NZ. Eventually he brought out bed spreads, with pillows & cushion,.. I said this is enough, we could not use them. So he began to give us smaller scarves as a momento of our stay in India.. don’t ask how much, later Rachel said that it was a good price for all we got. So I am happy about that.

Then the jewellery, I got one piece for wendy for later..

Then back down this passage, round that corner… and into the fresh air on the street. Only to be confronted by this seething mass of humanity. No European faces (later on I did see a couple). Then a trek back to where we arrived and caught a motorised rickshaw and went back to the BMS centre.

Did I mention that we most of this just the 4 of us, adrift in a sea of humanity. And we lived to tell the tail, or is it tale?? Oh yes, the guy spoke good English and had two other ‘relatives’ helping him.

I’m glad I did not have to clean up the mess of maybe 40 or 50 different scalves and things..

We went out to tea this evening. The place was call “One Step Up” great service and great noche ( Kai, food)

Ah well, to bed and to sleep, to dream a little, then off tomorrow to the second item on my ‘bucket list’, afterchurch at the Carey Baptist church in the morning.

God bless you one and all,

Shalom,Peter

Things you see on the road around Berhampour

Wendy has told you where we went today, and others will no doubt show pictures.

As I was thinking about today I was struck (happily not literally) by the many things that were on the roads we travelled.

Yes there were the tricycles- rickshaws, the motor bikes, the others cars and vans/mini buses, the trucks and the buses. But there so many other strange thins there too.

The roads seemed to be used as a warehouse. If there was not enough space on your place then you used the road to store truck loads of sand, shingle, shooks of rice,.. the fact that itimpared the traffic flow was no problem. The other vehicles on the road treaded them like pot-holes, things to be driven round no matter how much traffic was coming the other way.

Then there was rice stalks strewn over the road. This was touse the traffic to ‘thresh’ the grains of rice from the stalks. But not only that, because the road was nice and warm or hot, then the rice was laid out on the road in lines for upto 15 to 20 metres. The rice needed to be dried and the warm seal did a great job of it. That you swept  up dirt later made no difference, all you did was use the breeze to separate the grainby throwing in the air – albeit in a controlled manner.

Then there were the goats eating the rice straw, the odd bullock, oxen or cow, maybe even the calves too. Then too the occassional dog as well. I must say that all the animals I have seen have been quite docile.

There lines of truck, not judt 3 or 4 in a row, but thirty or fourty!! So what did our intrepid driver do? Sit there quietly? No, rather sounding the horn, turned on the wrong side ot the road, born blaring, drove up the line of truck. What haooens when a bus comes the other way? Barrelling towards us at a great rate of knotts!!, well, use squeeeze as tight as you can beside the truck line and pray!! Then the bus slide by tooting its own horn!!

We did get stuck in a real traffic jamb, we were told to get out and walk to the place we were to eat lunch at. Happily it was in Berhampour and only a few mins walka way. We saw the press of vehicles causing the jamb – an intersetion were 4 streams of traffic confronted each other, and no one humbling themselves to allow another driver to go first. I should say that we were in a vehicle somewhat like a ‘Defender Land Rover”. But quite wide and noisy…. Enough of that..

Looking out the back of the vehicle I was able to observe the country side. It was like a patchwork quilt. Endless narrow green path-ways  separated by a myriad different sized rice paddyfields. The rice harvest was in full swing. So there were lots of people tying the cut, dried rice, into shooks. Then piling them up – just like bales or shooks of hay – waiting for others to come and loadthen on to richshaw type flat-decked tricycles or trucks or trailers, or even oxen pulled carts.

Talk about going backin time some 3 or 4 hundred years…

Then too I saw quite a few white Herons, even a Kingfisher or two., as well as the of shag or two…

The countryside was live with people looking like ants gathering fod for the winter. It was a little monochrome in colour due to the haze in the air and the dust that settled on everything. The only real colours I saw was the violet of some lilies and the painted sides of house, and these had mainly political slogans on them I was told.

I did have two things on my “Bucket List”. One was to see a property given to Freeserve – well some buildings and the property. I felt strangely warmed whenwe specially droveto see it and stopped for a few mins. We did not get out, but I felt like I had seen something special, the other will come on Sunday, I’ll tell you about that then.

I haven’t mentioned the road works, the new concrete bridges(about 10 in all) the potholes, the earth moving equipement, the oxen pulling plows, and many other sights, people walking on the roadside the funeral we passed, etc, etc.

Looking out the back window of the van I found it hard to pull into focus the things that were near as we whizzed passed. Only when we slowed could I do that, rather I had to look at the things in the middle to far distance, otherwise it was all a blur. Somehow, this trip is like that. The more I seek to see the immediate, the more blurred it becomes and the more I loose focus on the big picture. Yet what is more important?, the micro or the macro? It is both /and… Lord, help me to see what You see…

Time to finish, only a few more days then back to kiwiland and a ‘normal’ life, if onee can ever be ‘normal again. Somehow the virus of mission, once it is in your blood, never leaves you. There is no cure, only a sort of heart-ache till you see more and follow the ‘Star O Bethlehem’ till you find peace in the mangerof God’s presence……..

Shalom, peace be with your spirits…….

A Fellow Traveller, Peter

Berhampour

Hi everyone

They discovered at Freeset that 40% of the women came from the area around Berhampour They were sold into slavery and prostitution because/of the poverty

So Mission people have/movedup here to provide work so girls arenot sold. Already one business has trained 6 girls on looms weaving scarves each different

Today we went to visit several villages with mud brick walls and thached roofs. We saw many goats, cows, and everywhere they were harvesting and thrashing rice. Lice stalks were even laid out on the road to separte out the rice and the stalk.Also silk cocoons, bright yellow

We were there as a followup visit to a local lady who has worked with Freeset for many years. She has been visiting families who are in danger of selling their girls, One mother had children and her husband had left her and married someone else. She had no income.

she is happy to come and work. Not far from the villages we have leased an old picture theater and are prearing it to have looms and produuce fabrics. We watched the new concrete floor with a smooth surface being laid in strips.

There is land bought not faraway to build n but there are permit problems

It was amazing to see a vision become concrete today

How can families sell their girlsi into prostitution. Hopefully no more.

Timeto sleep we leave the hotel at 5 45am

Wendy

Taking the train to Berhampour

I have recharged to keyboard, so I shouldn’t have any spelling hasstles!!!

This morning we were up at 5.15am to leave the BMS at 5.45. This was accomplished without any great difficult, everyone was there, even the 3 guys who were unwell yesterday. They are all ok now.

3 taxis took us on an uneventful short trip – as there was notmuch traffic at that time of the day.

We arrived at Calcutta railway station in plenty of time for the 650am depart. There were lots of little yellow taxis – somewhat like a Morris Oxford of some years ago (for the petrolheads among you). The station had quite a few peoplesleeping on the ground and lots of people coming and going. Even at 6.15am it was 23C+and quite humid.

We were met by our kiwi friends then eventually moved off to find our seats. The train must have been over 150 metres long, with about 100 people seated  on bench seats of three in each carriage, with rows on each side.  No very comfortable on the isle position – which was me – with wendy on the window and Estella inbetween.

There must have been some 12  to 15 carriages that madeup the train with an electric engine.  with the tracks being of wide guage well over 4  feet wide ,the carriages were much wider and bigger then those in kiwiland. The bench seats were comfortable – well sort of – and enough room for my knees not to touch the seat in front. We had our backs to the engine. The decor was very old and lots of fans hanging down, happily they were not operating. But I could have pulled the emergency cord as it right beside our seat, but I resisted the temptation.

Being in the isle seat I didnot see much of the country side, so I read a book on my tablet. I access ebooks from the Chch library service. I think I have read over 150 books in the last year!!. No overdue fees as it will automatically return the book on teh due date if I don’t finish it and return it before hand.

However, I was assailed by all manner of vendors trying to relieve me of my hard earnt money. I resisted “firm in my faith’. There was alsorts of thiings one could buy – sweettea, mixed grains, fruit of various descriptions. I even saw someone selling scalves.

Then at one stoplots more people got on, so the isle filled up and  it was a challenge to  be squashed, prodded, pushed,poked, as wellas being assailed by a myriad different smells and sounds of pipe playing musicians, singing minstrals and the like.

The trip took about four and a half hours, and passed without incident. It is tirering being amongst so many people, different sounds of the vendors crying out their wares and potions, as well as the smells of food and people.

I could imagine myself doingLDiscovery ChannelL documentary about traving from place toplace on Indian trains.

When we got off and as we exited the station there was this heaving mass of humanity fighting their way down the street on their way home. For us we were met and taken to our hotel. Very nice, but that is another story (like soccer on TV)

Blessing on you all, shalom,

Peter & Wendy

About Freeset

Some things that were new to me

There are about 200 women working here, making bags, tshirts, screen printing abd products from old saris  I was impressed at the work done to help the women, mediical services, councellng, child care, medical insurance, .

Leavingthe

streetsis not just getting a job but a long journey.

We have takenan early train north to seenew businesses being started. Why here you ask. Itsbecausewomen and children are being sold from this area to work in the sex industry in Kolkata

The train ride was all flat through farmland and small towns. Less populated than Bangladesh but still lots of people.

Nearly time to gooff on our nextadventure this time in a van

Wendy

Calcutta again

Here we are in Calcutta. A warm day, no clouds, no rain, a little humid, hazyjust nice.

We left the BMS hostel about 8.30am to walk to the metro some 15 mins away. Weleft three of the guys behind as they were not well enought to come with us. (When we got back this evening – about 5.30pm they were all up and about, rearing to go. )

Daylight revealed a city somewhat like Dhaka – little shops all along the road with the shopkeepers getting their shops ready for the day – getting soups and food prepared for the rest of the day.

Then to dogs – again they were sleeping along the footpath. At one place I saw 3 or 4 dogs asleep on the road itself!!!! They are very pasive, hardly moving for anybody. They do not seem to belong to anyone.

The metro reminded me of the metro in Paris. The steps down, the noise, air presure, ticket-collectors, overhead hand rails – a little tricky for Wendy and the others who are short. However, as the metro was quite empty some of the men gave up their seats for the ladies in the team. Then there was 10mins walk at theother end to Freeset.

Freeset is founf down a short alley then in through a nondescript doorway – just as they want it to be. To be able to blend in with all the other buildings in the narrow street.

There is a :no photos: policy there so we took none – except of the sky directly above to small courtyard, showing all the saris drying.

What did I feel like while there? I felt peaceful, like it was a welcoming place. Somewhere thatyou could find acceptance and encouragement. A place where you could be restored to wha the Lord wanted you to be. A safe place in the midst of a city that semms never to sleep. It was cleanand tidy, even though the floor was messy with offcuts of materiel, and piles of fabric ready to be sewn in to bags or t-shirts, or whatever else was on the agenda that day.

The women where I work in Christchurch would be amazed at the tight working conditions and the small size of the cutting room

The kiwis working there were ordinary people and families, seeking to know the presence og God in all they were doing. Touching the women’s lives in deep and profound ways. Often it took time, rather always takes time to gain trust before the women begin to be restored from some of the deep wounds due to their backgrounds on the street.

The women were all chearful and laughed with each other. Communication was nigh impossible as my Bengali is no -exsitant.

After lunch, at 2.00pm, we went to visit some long term kiwis who gave us some history of Calcutta and its Christian heritage. THen home to BMS, tEa and sleep before gEtting uP very early to cAtch  a tRain just before 7.00am tomorrow morning. MY keyboard is going wierd, sO I’Ll finish. PEter