My trip to Chennai
It was 17 years ago that I visited Chennai as an employee of World Vision and Nadiya was only 5 yrs old at the time. This time the trip was a totally different one, it was a church retreat and it was a gift to me by a lady whom I introduced the Lord to.
It was not easy to leave my family and my girls for 11 whole days. I had a lot of planning and never ending lists that I had to keep tracking and ticking off once the job was complete. On the 9th I had my last class at the orphanage and the girls were so sad that I was leaving them but I assured them I would come back soon. I also had chat with Ranjan and Nadiya and handed over a complete schedule of Things to do while I was away.
I was looked after well by the King Fisher crew on my way up and 3 gentlemen from my church accompanied me and I didn’t have a problem carrying any luggage and I was so glad. We were welcomed by the Indian church pastors who were awaiting us at Chennai airport and was whisked away in an Ambassador car.
When we arrived at the church premises I was astonished at the 30 acres of land and how they had decorated it with beautiful lights and the huge tents they had put up to accommodate a minimum of 200,000 people who would attend the meetings and services for the next 5 days. It was truly a beautiful experience.
We used to rise up at 4 in the morning to a sound of a bell daily and run for prayers and by 5 we were back in bed and 6.30 we were served bed coffee or tea by the church sisters, they were such a remarkable lot, I was overwhelmed by the love they had for us. At 7 it was Bible study time and there after we were served breakfast. All the Indian food like Idly, Thosai and Chapattis were served with dhal curry and sambar, it was such a treat to eat the food of a different culture so authentically prepared.
We had two services daily that went on 4 hours at least and the sermons and the singing and the prayers were so uplifting that we didn’t feel the time pass. The most significant part I experienced was this one Indian woman who used to be on her bare knees praying and she used to jump up and down to the music and she never stopped till the service was over. I tried it for a minute and I was unable to, I really do not know how she did it. The lunches and dinners we had something special always like chicken, beef, mutton, prawns or fish lusciously made and served by the church sisters. This was done in batches for all foreign delegates who had come from all over the world for e.g. from the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, and all the Asian countries. I was truly amazed how well organized everything was, this project had been planed for a year, a fasting prayer round the clock for the past one and a half years and approximately 9 million rupees has been spent to organize this programme.
On the last day there was a healing service where Cancers, deaf /dumb, lame people were healed; it was a rare occasion to experience a service as such. The next 5 days was exciting I traveled by train and the bus on my shopping sprees, every time I visited the shops I used to think of my girls and I managed to buy them plastic and glass bangles in many colours and I also bought them candy. I met my Indian friend whom I knew for the past 17 yrs and she took me to some exclusive shops and I was glad I spent time with her and her family, she made me feel at home and treated me so well.
There were times I used to want to break free and run out of the room to catch the plane to come back to my family and the girls, however I consider it all an EXPERIENCE and I am truly glad I had 11 amazing days which was different to the other. The most sensational experience I had was that when I was returning home I had 52 kgs of baggage and the airline waived it off and in SL the customs guy just told me to pass on which was an experience by itself. I would also like to share my daughter Nadiya’s thoughts on my trip and how she missed me which was also a very touching experience, you could check it on the following link.