January 30, 2005


After attending a church service where Ravi gave the sermon, we took a ride and then a stroll down the beach. We could almost see the waves hitting! The seashore was devoid of the houses and trees that once lined it. A graveyard was burried by sand and some graves had apparently been thrown open (we discovered a skull). At the seashore we met Veerasingham (literally translated to 'Brave Lion'). His house was or rather had been at the seaside. On the 26th of December, he sat to watch a TV serial and looked out to see his grandchild play. A few minutes later he looked out to see his grandchild running away and then saw the wave coming. He ran out but after a few hundred meters, he got breathless and sat down to rest. The waves lifted him and took him to the trees where he was tossed between treetops till he manged to hold onto one. The wave came in and out and after almost an hour the water receded. He survived and so did the rest of his family but there was nothing left of his house. I wonder how he'd get back to life again. Just introduced to the many problems the people faced. I know the next 7 days will be filled with several more stories. ...

January 29, 2005

Starting off the health camps

After lunch we started off with the health camps. Lots of people. The health needs were mostly simple and none were seriously sick. What they needed was someone to speak to - with their stories of loss, bereavement..... maybe I'll compile some stories together and put them online. A lot are very moving . It's impossible to try and understand the depth of their loss. God's comfort is needed... lots of it.

Mr. Raja ound a cheap place to stay for us. Felt relieved. A family agreed to having Mona staying with them. So that sorted out most of the arrangements.

Dr. James!

We reached a guesthouse and after a quick shower and change we had breakfast together. Over breakfast is when we had this amazing conversation with Dr. James. He's a 64-year old Forensic Head-of-Department who is one of the most sought after and famous one in South Africa. We would have expected him to keep a distance from us - but no! He enthralled us with stories about his life - wondrous stories of faith and miracles and trust and a heart for God and people! He put across so simply that his faith amazed us! Our tiredness flew away and we felt encouraged!

January 28, 2005

Sleeping in the van

We reached Colombo around 4 PM pretty tired. Mr. Raja John and Dr. James met us. We loaded our stuff onto the van and we set off immediately on the 12 hour drive to kalmunai. After brief stops for food we reached a standstill at 11 PM - a bridge was closed and would open only at 5 AM. Yaaawn... so we parked our van on the side under a tree (with jungle all around) and dozed off in the van. Our driver kept vigil - we were touched by his refusal to sleep! God kept us safe - no mosquitoes, rain or wild elephants. 3:30 AM the bridge was opened and we were on our way again - we had slept fitfully!

Perfect timing!

Did you read the schedule I needed to accomplish for today in order to catch my flight to Sri Lanka. Well this is what happened to me today
6 AM : We left Vellore
9 AM : We reached Chennai Airport where the others got off as normally required to board
9.30 AM: I reached the Emigration Office
10.15 AM: Jet Airways called to let me know that I had to be there by 11AM .. max 11: 15, else the counter will close
10.20 AM: The EO opened
10.25 AM: The peon at the counter was rude and said that nothing could be done. I ended up being third in the queue. I hurriedly fill the forms and the trave agent rushes to the bank 2 KM away to make the payment with the challan
10.30 AM: My name is called!! - the authorities have been waiting and they take me out of the queue to process my ECNR
10.45 AM: I left the office, informing Jet Airways
11:00 AM : I reached the airport
12:00 PM : The plane left... with me!
Isn't it amazing!! I thought it was impossible. What normally takes 3 hours got over in 15 minutes. We couldn't help but thank God for that!!

January 27, 2005

Obstacles... even before starting!

Today we had to sort out the official plans, the supplies, the finances etc etc. And I ran straight into a wal.. or so it seems. My passport did not have an ECNR stamp on it (Emigration Clearance Not Required). And it was too late to take the 3 hour trip to Chennai's Emigration office today. After a series of tense phonecalls, we came up with a plan that is well... difficult. This is what has to happen tomorrow if I need to make it!
6 AM : We leave Vellore
9 AM : We reach Chennai Airport where the others get in as normally required to board
9.30 AM: I reach the Emigration Office
10.15 AM: The EO opens and I produce my passport for getting stamped
10.45 AM: The paperwork is done and I scramble back to the airport
11:15 AM : I (hopefully) reach the airport
11:30 AM: The Airways will keep the counter open for me till this time... then it's curtains
12:00 PM : The plane leaves... with or without me!

The timetable ius too tight. I've placed it in God's hands. I'm sure He'll be in control!
Please do pray for me.

Right now I'm still packing (It's 1 AM) - 5 hours to start off! It was a busy, busy day and I'm sleep deprived. Just drank a large cup of coffee and hope that keeps me awake.
God ... Help!!!

January 26, 2005

Preparing to goto Sri Lanka for Tsunami relief work

After a lot of posponements, the 'planned' trip to East Sri Lanka for medical help in the Tsunami Relief program suddenly was confirmed today. There are four of us from our hospital (in India) who will be flying to Sri Lanka- two doctors and two nurses. That's given us 48 hours to prepare for the trip - a 3 hour drive to the airport, one hour flight and then a 10 hour bus drive! I went on a massive clothes-washing spree now and then discovered I have to bags for the journey -ouch! Borrowed a backback from a friend. Have to get a suitcase from someone tomorrow. Got to sort out the paper work and finances tomorrow morning with our Director's office, do a little shopping, iron clothes, pack etc etc etc tomorrow! I spoke to the contact person in Sri Lanka (Dr. Arun Anketel) a couple of hours ago. Looks like we'll rough it out a little. We will be going to the Eastern area and join a SOuth African team and then scout the area and do some medical work. We'll go further in once we find areas of need.
I know the responsibility is great and I feel a little epprehensive. But God has promised to go there before us and I know He'll keep us safe.
Do pray for us- especially safety as it's not a very safe place.
Will keep you updated after 10 days.... or earlier if I have internet access!

January 1, 2005

New Year at Church

Entered into the New Year at Church. Trust me.. there isn't a better way to enter the New Year. I led worship and again God moved wondrously. We felt His presence. Looking forward to this year - God is in control