All posts by Simon Loi

Our Thanks for all your contributions….

On October 27, 2013 at our church 150th anniversary, the mission trip to Bangladesh and India was launched.

Following the announcement, many projects were launched and carried out right until the day that the team left for Bangladesh and India, a total of $9,899.48 were collected.

The first project initiated was the sales of orchids and through the generosity of Peter and Sharon Yeo, a total of $1,280 were raised.  Thanks to Elizabeth, Amanda, Kylie, Donna and LeeLee for the time spent picking and selling. These sales occurred in November 2013 and October 2014.  The Global Mission Team and the trip participants would like to thank Peter and Sharon Yeo for their generous contribution of orchids from their nurseries.

Another project that help us raised funds was due to natural disaster.  One of the oak tree in the church compound fell during a heavy storm and the idea of using that for firewood was thought of.  This raised us a total of $1,531.  Thanks would have to be recorded to Chris and Mike for the idea and the following volunteers like Bradley, Estella, Melanie, Anthony, Tony, Alan, Pricilla, Wendy, Peter, Chris and Mike for their work in cutting the wood into firewood size.  Of course, we have to record a special thanks to Maurice Roos for travelling all the way with his wood splitter to help with the project.

When the restoration work started on 98 and 100 Chester St, there was an opportunity to use the bricks from the two buildings which were dated back to 1890s, and this raised a total of $1,690.  We would like to thank the following volunteers like Bradley & Priscilla Nicholson, Peter Robinson, Anthony Paterson, Andrew Meek, Patricia and Reg, Barbara, Estella, Julie, Joesph, Caitlan, Amanda, Alan, Chris and Mike for taking their time off their Saturday mornings to clean the bricks for sale.  We also like to thank Elizabeth and Wendy for providing refreshments at the morning tea breaks.

We also had contribution from Andrew and Nicola Rowanoski, that in their celebration of Andrew’s 50th birthday, they offered Julie the job of catering, so Julie along with Elizabeth and a few others arranged the food, and the income became a fundraiser for the Bangladesh and India Trip fundraising account.

During the year, we also had contribution of free range eggs for sales donated by Maurice and Osri Roos and this raised a total of $184.70.  Our thanks to the Roos for their contributions.

The GMT and trip participants would also like to thank Mike organising and co-ordinate the Dinner for 6 projects that raised $1,030.  Thank you to those who hosted meals: Estella, Mike, Julie and Chris, Keith and Elizabeth, and for those who went along.

Our thanks also goes to Mike Crudge, who organised the Comedy and Cake night with Peter Majendie that raised $725.71  Thank you Pete for giving us your performing arts skills!  Thanks also to Julie who arranged supper for the night, and her helpers: Elizabeth, Estella, Pricilla and others.

Our highlight for the fundraising must have been the Quiz Night, which Julie Chamberlain had helped to put together that topped our funds by $2,131.99.  Our heartfelt thanks to Julie for bringing this to fruition with the help of the following people like Chris Walker who was the magnificnat Quiz Master from Ilam Baptist.  Our thanks also goes to the many people who have provided prizes for the Quiz Night.

Beside the various projects and events that we have had during the year, there were also many others who have contributed by having other smaller activities such as the jam sale that contributed $21 to the fund raising and the Morning tea Philippa Gordon put on that added $95.40 to our trip funds.

There have also been others, who have not been involved in the various fund raising projects but have chosen to contribute their giving directly to the Bangladesh / India funds via donations and this accounted for $855.30.

We know that in acknowledging the many contributions by the various individuals, we may have missed some people in our acknowledgement and we offer our sincere apologies.

However, above all, we would like to thank our God and Sovereign King, who provided us this opportunity to work together as a church on this fundraising project.  The God that calls our beloved sister, from years ago, Hopestill Pillow to the shores of India to serve in that community, which we now have the privilege to understand a little more about God’s work among these people.

Summary of funds raised

A R’s birthday               $   370.76

Brick Sale                      $1,690.00

Comedy & Cake           $   725.71

Dinner for 6                  $1,030.00

Donations                     $   855.80

Eggs sale                       $   184.70

Firewood sale               $1,531.00

Jam Sale                        $     21.00

Morning Tea                 $     95.40

Orchid Sale                   $1,280.00

Quiz Night                    $2,115.11

Total Amount            $9.899.48

Following the finalisation of the trip accounts, an amount of $1470.48 would be given to two projects equally in India and Bangladesh.

The projects are:-

1.  Purchase of looms in India – $735.24

2. Support of village pastors’ training in Bangladesh – $735.24


Day 7 in India

This morning, we visited the Love Calcutta Arts (LCA), a business unit that produces stationery such as journal book, memo pads, greeting cards and even baby blankets.

In the afternoon, we visited one of the new business unit that produces leather bags, wallets and belts.  This is a fairly new business that have got 4 women doing 3 months part time training, 3 months full time training and are now doing full time work at The Loyal Workshop.

With today’s last two businesses visits, we came to the end of the Bangladesh / India trip where we have spent the last two weeks learning more about God and his work among some of His people, who have been exploited and abused.

As we conclude this journey during this advent season, we need to reflect on what God has been showing us for the past couple of weeks.  I am also reminded of the sermon by the Rev Gus Walker of Carey Baptist Church on Sunday, where he reminded us about our responds to the Christ child at Christmas.

Day 6 in India

The day started with breakfast but we nearly lost Bradley this morning.  It seemed he was in the toilet when we came out of the room and forgot to check if there was anyone left.  In the end, we managed to let him out.

We took 3 taxis to Carey Baptist church but we learned later that Rachel had quite an adventure on the way to church.

We attended service at Carey Baptist church and the pastor preached on the Christmas Story but entitled it as ‘Just 10 Kimometers’.  After service, we had a cup of tea and mingle with the people in the church.  We had a chat with the pastor and learn a little about what the church are doing in the community,


We returned back to BMS guesthouse for a rest before we head out to the cemetery, which was a short walk from the guesthouse.  Along the way, we had some history lesson from Peter, one of the kiwi who had stayed in the area for a while.


IMG_6565Click the picture to view a video of Hopestill Pillow’s Eulogy.


Click the picture to view a video of Peter’s reading from The Baptist

IMAG0444  Click the picture to view a video of Mike’s reading of Hebrews

We returned back to the guesthouse for lunch and a little rest before we headed out to Mother Teresa’s House as they are only opened from 3.00 pm – 6.00 pm in the afternoon.

IMAG0461  IMAG0465

Day 5 in India

Today was another early start, going to the railway station at 6.00am in the morning for a 6.30am train.  As the train stop was midway along the railway network, we had to calculate precisely where the carriage steps would be.  also, the train only stops for a short while, so it was a challenge trying to get on board.

As usual, there were more and more people as the train moved along the rail network.  By the time we arrived at Kolkata, it was about 11.00am and there were swarms of people at the station.


It was so crowded when we got off the train that we nearly lost a team member as he continued to walk on towards the exit when the rest of us were waiting at the platform.  One of the local team members had to run after him to bring him back.   van

We were picked up by the guesthouse van and rested for a while after checking in before we headed out for a meal and some shopping.

We spent the evening together having a quiet meal and reflection.

Day 4 in India

We started out today with a drive out to Freeset new premises now under renovation to accommodate the move of Freeset Fabrics from their current premises.


Currently, there are only 4 looms running and the plan is to have 20 looms running by then end of January 2015.

After a tour of the renovation site, we took a drive through about 7 kilometers of rough roads to visit some of the villages that Freeset recruited their women from.  We also had the opportunity to have look at the way of life of the villages and the going on in the villages.

After traveling through the villages, we were caught in the lunch time traffic and decided to walk a short distance to the local restaurant.


After lunch, we returned to our hotel and we took a walk around the hotel area to get a feel of the area.

In the evening,we had a meal with the team when we had an informal interaction with the team members.

Day 3 in India

It was an early morning start leaving the hotel at 5.45am to catch a 6.50am train to Berhampore.  Another interesting mode of travel on the train with the locals for 4 hours.  We have all sort of hawkers going through the train carriage.  However,  some of us did had a nice cup of char.

We were supposed to be picked up by the hotel transport.  However, the van was unable to take all of us and luckily Ian was at the station and he took some of us back to the hotel.

We had lunch at the hotel but we had to wait for the food and I guess it was to a certain extent not what we had expected.

In the afternoon, we went to the Freeset Business Incubator (FBI) site and was given the history and what was happening with the plans for the project.  We then took a drive to Freeset Fabrics where we were given the history and plans if what they are doing.

We rounded up the evening with some members of the team over dinner at the hotel.

Day 2 in India

We experienced the Kolkata metro today as we make our way to visit Freeset.  We started our time at Freeset by joining in their morning devotion.

After devotion, we were taken around and given a tour of the place by Mairi, showing us the entire operations of how things are organised and work.  We were also given the opportunity to browse through their shop and make purchases of any their products that they have in the shop.

We then had lunch with Dan and Mai and had the opportunity to hear their experiences, joy and challenges.

In the afternoon, we spent some time with John and Susan to hear their experiences and also listened to the history of the work in Kolkata.

We had the evening free to rest and pack for our train ride early in the morning.

Last Day in Bangladesh / Day 1 in India

Before we took our flight to leave Bangladesh behind after spending 6 days there, we got together to gather our thoughts and reflect on what we as a team can assist our church members and others that we know to pray, support or even visit.

We then took a short flight to Kolkata where we begin the next phase of our trip.

The evening was spend in taking a stroll around the area where we will be staying for the next few days and taking in the sights of the city that we will be spending time in.

Day 6 in Bangladesh

I know I am a day or two behind but I thought I will maintain the records.

We started the day by taking a rickshaw to the ferry terminal.  It was an experience to travel by rickshaw in Bangladesh traffic.


Our ferry ride was interesting and we learn a little more of the local life and mode of transport. This is what will be our mode of travel for the 4 hours.


Incidentally, this was our skipper for part of the journey and as you will notice in the video clip.  He likes to blow the horn when he managed to find it.


When we arrived at Dhaka from Chandpur via ferry, we visited the Golgotha English Medium School (GEMS).  We were taken on a tour of the school by members of the student council, who had a very good  knowledge of the school and activities.

We spend a quiet evening relaxing after a hectic 6 days of taking in as much as possible the work and things that God is doing in Bangladesh.