Well, our last month of the World Race has finally arrived and we’re in India working with Covenant Children’s Home (CCH)! CCH is a branch of a larger ministry, India Christian Ministries, that places malnourished and impoverished orphans, formerly living in the villages, with pastor’s families in order to provide them with a loving family, good education, and basic needs. Throughout the month, we have had the opportunity to live with five of these wonderful families and bless them by building a fence around their properties.

So far, we have visited three properties and fallen in love with the 30 children that live there. We’ve spent the days clearing the properties of weeds, garbage, and branches and building the fence. In the evenings, the children come home from school and we spend the evenings dancing, playing games, and braiding each other’s hair. The pastor’s wife cooks every meal for us and works extra hard to make the food with no spices so we don’t cry at every meal.

We have been extremely blessed to finish a wonderful year with these amazing, servant-hearted people.

Just recently, we spent three days at the SN Padu home during the festival with the cutest girls ever! During the days, we pulled weeds, watched a chicken take its final breathe shortly following a snakebite, freaked out because a snake was obviously waiting around to eat us, watched a short marshal arts kung-fu movie with our translator and friend, Isaac, and eventually completed the fence.

But, my favorite part of being in the villages is always when the children get home from school. The girls at SN Padu are the cutest little girls I’ve seen! The only way to explain is to walk you through a day in the life. So, here’s my attempt:

The girls arrive home shortly before dark and immediately start handing out hugs yelling “Sistaaa, sistaaa!!” You have just finished working on the fence all day, so your hands are blistered and you’re tired, but the girls are so cute that you just HAVE to hang out with them. Then they take showers and sit at your feet with a comb and hair-ties while motioning for their hair to look exactly like the gross, French braid that you’ve been rocking all day. When you finish the hairstyle to the best of your ability, they jump up and yell “Thank you, sista!!” and give you a big hug and kiss on the cheek.

(Throughout the entire night, it sounds like bombs are going off in the front yard due to the neighbors celebrating the festival, Diwali. You jump out of your seat in panic mode at the sound of every single firework.)

Then it’s time for dinner that you will eat with your hands while all the children laugh at your “technique”. Then its time for the girls to show off their dance moves. They will put on their three favorite songs and perform the choreographed dance for each song as a group. It’s the cutest thing you’ve ever seen! Then the pastor goes outside saying something in Telegu and the girls run after him in excitement. You have no idea what is going on as usual, so you follow. Well, it turns out the pastor bought sparklers so the girls can participate in the firework massacre surrounding the house. The girls spend the evening swirling the sparking sticks around, jumping and running, shrieking and laughing. Once, all the fireworks are done, the girls surround you with hugs and kisses. Then you go up stairs, climb into your sleeping bag, and fall asleep with a big smile.

We have had a wonderful time with these sweet children. I am amazed with the blessings God has given us this year, and I am humbly reminded every month that God’s blessings never cease! I am going to have a tough time leaving this place and all the sweet faces I’ve fallen in love with!

– Erica Shappie

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