Monday, September 24, 2007

Working Hard

Today I will share a couple things.

1) what we did this past weekend
2) Anna update
3) what we are doing as 'work' and
4) how you can help

This ended up being a very long post so via email you are only getting the first lines... read the entire thing here.

Saturday Ryan and I attended a "training your child" workshop put on by Ashraya. While nothing surprised us it was good to have a refresher as Anna is no longer a toddler / baby and becomes a little kid. Then Sunday we spent a relaxing morning as a family, venturing out of the house about 4pm to walk about 3 miles in the neighborhood. Found out Anna likes to be carried when a) there are lots of children around (near slums) b) when there is traffic c) when tired. Dinner was pizza at Pizz'araunt a good place for good food that is a great blend of American but still with the Indian flair (odd toppings like dried split peas.) God has a lot of patience for us.

The Anna update, we are getting Anna into school. I can’t believe they start it here at 2 ½ years old. The girl next door is 5 and reads 3 letter words and can write up to the number 50. We had to let our nanny go because she could only work when Anna was in school. Clara is wonderful. I was able to go in to work the first day, something I did not think would happen. Anna after a few days was happy to see Clara come and wanted me to leave, a mothers blessing. Clara also is a Christian and would read her bible to Anna in Tamil. Clara is a client of GO and a group leader. She also makes saris and sells them from her home. It amazes me that she had the time to work for us from 9 am to 2 pm. I hated to let her go, we both cried. I am grateful for the time they had and I would highly recommend her to others.

I thought that Anna would be starting school this week. Saturday we went for an evaluation and Anna bit the teacher. They want her to wait until I talk with an administrator and then I find out when she might start. I wonder if this is God telling me I need to look into other schools. I pray and I know Anna will do fine in school but I don’t know if this is the right one if they tell me do not worry if my child bites the teacher. I don’t like that and they should not either. Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are older they should not depart from it … good advice and I want whom ever is around my Anna to follow that.

Our work: Ryan’s mom has asked a lot of questions about what we are doing here and I bet others are wondering too. Ryan and I are helping set up the work flow, job descriptions, and procedures to make sure that we are actually impacting our clients lives in the way we want to and in the most efficient way possible. By doing this the workers can spend more time ministering to their groups and also in prayer. Each time a group meets they have prayer where the leader is praying to our Christian God. I got to lead prayer in a couple groups which was so cool. They may not be Christians but when they see our God answer their prayers they see that we have a good and faithful God. They want to know more! Also the weekly lessons are biblically based so they are exposed to the word of God. They see us there and we can tell them that God, our God asked us to be there and we are being obedient. And then the door to talking about our trust and faith in God is opened.

For me, I am looking at loan applications to see if we are collecting the right data about people lives to measure change, are the kids going to school now, do they have better education, is the business making more money, is the health better? The first step is to see where we are now by making a nasty looking Excel sheet, but isn’t that bad to do. God taught me patience with Anna I am using that to read some of these forms. Yep, and a sense of humor is needed here too.

For Ryan this means following around everybody looking at what they do, why they do it, and how long it takes. Then writing it down and suggesting methods for each job description. In the end GO will be able to have a group of paperwork so that when a new branch is started and everyone is new they know the way the people at other branches do what they need to do. Right now Ryan is following around the branch accountants... five people. This takes about 3 days in the field and one in the office organizing notes. Eventually GO will have about 50 to 100 pages called a best practices manual, with 1 to 10 pages for each job title. Ryan’s prior experience at GM is certainly coming into play in writing manuals. God can use an engineer in finance.

Ryan is doing some side work on the GO web page to improve the content. Feel free to click the link above or on the right side of the page. You can support us by clicking on the Interserve link on the right. There is also a link to our pictures. We are so grateful for your support in prayers, advice and financially. We can't be here without all of you :)

God has been good to us here in finding a church that can feed us spiritually. Not many churches do parenting and marriage workshops, even in the States. I am grateful for having Christian neighbors who help me with translations and just all around guidance here in India, like what are the tricks to really getting water delivered and that tomorrow really means some time this week. I am very grateful that we are all healthy and safe. We do need some prayer in Anna going to a good school and the logistics of having her watched so I can work. Pray that we make the right decision on a school. There are 4 to choose from here. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, God does open doors, our maid is willing to take Anna home from school and take care of her until I get home.

We also ask for your prayers for when we have to leave in January out of India and back in due to our visas (we can only stay in 180 days in India at a time). We don’t know yet where to go yet. We need to make some arrangements soon since it is around Christmas and New Years with lots of people going on vacation.

So there you have a long post about what we are up to and what we need. We still have a number of the postcards left so shoot us an email if you would like one. Send us an email and just tell us how your life is too :)