The teachers for our first module, Daniel and Sylvia Pel, left toward the end of April. During the short interim period between the last week of April and the first two weeks of May, I was able to teach our students from the Northeast to read and write English and also settle them into the school routine. Most of them are from Seventh-day Adventist homes but lack the knowledge of the pillars of our faith. The students, who are mainly from the state of Assam, speak very little English; and most of them do not have a formal education. There were a few who came from English schools. Between modules, we have had the opportunity to hone their English skills.
The state of Assam is a place of unrest and does not have basic amenities like electricity, drainage/sewage, proper sanitation for toilet facilities or bathing rooms, or a water connection system for potable drinking water. Roads are rugged and the transportation system very poor, not to mention the lack of good schools and colleges for higher education for the children and youth. The government has not done very much, so the people lack most basic necessities that other states in India take for granted.
We have realized that for these past two decades of our school, most of these children and youth are either from West Bengal or Assam. They have been flocking to Green Pastures to avail themselves of the benefits of our Christian education program. We have a sprinkling from Tamil Nadu and other states, too. Jesus, who is mindful of each one of us whether we are from the North, South, East or West, has established Green Pastures to fill the need. Our hearts rejoice when we think that the location of this little school in the south of India was basically to cater to the needs of His remnant scattered in the north of India!
Our main objective for starting Green Pastures Home School is to primarily help orphaned/semi-orphaned, abandoned, under-privileged and downtrodden children. Our Christ centered work-study program helps the students to emulate the love of Jesus in service to man, thus preparing them mentally, physically, and spiritually to take God’s Three Angel’s Messages to a perishing world. (See Revelation 14:6-12.) There have been scores of children from the Northeast helped through our home school.
Young minds that are very impressionable are exposed to studying the Bible and the book of nature through the cultivation of soil, which is the A, B and C of the “Back to Eden” principle and lifestyle. Although the school is not affiliated with the prescribed government syllabus, these children do exceptionally well when put to the test in accredited schools.
So the question arises, “What is the point of getting them ready only to let them go back, at a later date, into mainline schools?” After careful study and consideration, we have found that the foundation that has been laid during their early years should, and in most cases will, stand the test of time. Some of our past students have maintained their connection with Jesus and have remained faithful Seventh-day Adventists. Others have not lowered their moral standards and principles inculcated during their formative years and have been a blessing to friends and family through their life and example. If we do our part diligently, the Lord will take care of the rest as promised in 2 Timothy 3:15: “And that from a child thou has known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” When Nebuchanezzar king of Babylon captured Jerusalem, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were selected to be brought into the royal university of Babylon because they had obtained an education which had made them “skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science.” Daniel 1:4. Where did they obtain such an education? They were trained at home and then in the schools of the prophets.
Because of a lack of committed teachers and caregivers, we have had to focus our attention on getting the youth this year. But we have not altogether abandoned our service to the lambs of God. We are hoping to be able to take in orphans if we get dedicated families who will commit some of their time to come up to do the work of the Lord. In fact, we have some twenty orphans who are waiting for our acceptance to be enrolled in the coming year.
Our teacher for the month of May was none other than our son-in-law Brian David Beavers, who was here on a speaking appointment in New Delhi but was able to accommodate us with some of his time. He came to visit us and help our students during the long break between one module and another. He enjoyed his stay with the students and got to know them personally. He enjoyed working with them on the fields in the afternoons, transplanting saplings and working in the garden, harvesting mangoes, coconuts, bananas, etc. Brian, who has a minor in agriculture, is not new to Green Pastures and was here in the year 2003-2004. His contribution and help is greatly appreciated, and we look forward to working with him again.
During the time between Pels’ leaving and Brian’s visit, we experienced a very dry spell in weather conditions. The last half of April and the first half of May were very oppressive. With no sign of rain and heat beating down mercilessly, our plants were wilting away. The water level in the bore wells also went down to very low levels. However, the students continued to sing “There Shall be Showers of Blessing” for almost a week. Lo and Behold! The Lord, who is in charge of the elements, opened the windows of heaven, and it rained for almost a week. This was not the season for such a downpour, but the Lord honored our faith in Him. This brings to my mind the scripture text in Hosea 6:3, “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning, and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” The Lord, who is mindful of our every small need, fulfills His promises when we look to Him for help. As we wait for the latter rain to be poured out upon us, we believe He is even now showing us tokens of His love.
Especially is this true when we look at the students who have arrived from the east and west of India, to follow on to know Him. They speak three different languages, and we were just wondering in what sort of predicament we had put ourselves. Genesis 11:1 reveals that, before the Lord confounded the people of Babel, that the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And to think that we who live in India have this daunting prospect to reach all of our people in the different states in so many languages with the Three Angel’s Messages is quite challenging to say the least. So now we have Assamese students, who speak Assamese and Santali and know little Hindi, as well as students from other states! Even so, the Lord has commissioned us with preaching the Everlasting Gospel to the ends of the earth.
Our teachers from Sweden and the United Sates had the opportunity to present God’s warning message in such a short time to a people who do not understand their tongue, yet this is what has been happening at Green Pastures. An outpouring of the unction of the Holy Spirit is what is needed most. Please be praying for this, as our only two English translators have left to join Spicer Memorial College in Pune, India. As of the writing of this, Brother Joachim is expected the end of this week; therefore, we are praying that someone will come up to the call of the Lord.
It is heartwarming to learn that most of our students, who are between the ages of 15 and 24 are all Seventh-day Adventists, and some are new converts who are babes in the truth. Coming from very poor backgrounds and also against much opposition and hardships within the family, they have braved all to be able to travel long distances to study God’s Word. Some of our young ladies are orphans and semi-orphans. They are truly dependent on us for all things.
We were recently able to visit a Sunday-keeping pastor and befriend him, in order to open the door for future Bible studies and evangelism among the immediate community. Also, we were able to visit and participate in the local church at Salem.
Our young men and ladies rode with Brian in a hired van to church, sixty-five kilometers from our place, to be able to fellowship with our believers. Brother Brian was able to speak during the divine service and communicate God’s love to His people. It was a good experience for our young people to get to know the outside of their school! Our past students have also been visiting and joining in the Sabbath worship services and are doing their jots and tittles to help us win souls.
One of our students has completed his degree course and is going on to do his M.B.A. One other student is doing Occupational Therapy in a well-known Christian Medical College in Vellore. Her sister was here to help out during her short stay with us, and also our youngest student Kaarthika has been a great blessing to one and all. She is like a sunbeam lighting up the lives of all she touches. Recently, while visiting her grandparents, she was able to witness to her grandfather, who is a temple priest (Hindu), about the Creator and Redeemer of this world. The Sanctuary service with which he is familiar was a good platform to begin. Kaarthika was able to talk about the supreme sacrifice of Jesus as opposed to the animal sacrifices, which are still in practice among the Hindus.
Child marriages are very common in rural India, and it is a great wonder that Kaarthika has escaped the trap that most of the young girls fall into. It is only by His grace that she is still able to continue her schooling, even though she is being taught only the Bible. God is good, and we are rejoicing over His love to His children all over the world. Please continue to keep our ministry and school in prayer as we struggle against the forces of evil. We are filled with hope, because we know that when the battle is raging, Jesus is ever near. His comforting words to each of us are, “Lo, I am with you alway.”
By Anita Tharasingh, Green Pastures Project, India. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations can be sent to Pacific Leadership Center, 374 SE Highland Park Dr., College Place, WA 99324. Please earmark for SALUTE Min. School.