29 Grant Ave.
Endicott, NY 13760
In 2008, a group from FPC:E went to Orissa, India for the first time through our partnership with Grace and Peace Mission to Orissa (http://gpmoindia.org/). Six hours from the capital of Orissa (now called Odisha), the remote district of Kandhamal lies hidden in the mountainous jungle terrain. The tribal people there face poverty, persecution, a lack of education, and a shortage of medical care. But there are bright spots even in the midst of great hardship.
The Nanda Hostel
135 children call Nanda home. Here on this 7-acre compound, they have food, shelter, safety, education, and basic medication care. Just as important, they are taught the gospel and raised up in the Christian faith, even when the cost of following Christ is high.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
In 2008-2009, a wave of persecution against Christians swept through the region. People were injured, some lost their lives, homes and churches were burned, people fled to the jungle to escape. The tribal pastors and congregations suffered, but they kept the faith and continue to bear witness to Jesus Christ as they rebuild their lives and churches.
Sharing the Gospel with the Unreached
Over the years, leaders from Nanda have been patiently building relationships with a remote tribe of animists who have no written language and had never heard the gospel. Building trust by first showing human compassion and care, they are now able to share the gospel story of the God of compassion. We celebrate with joy and thanksgiving the first baptisms in these villages!
Since 2003, FPC:E groups have traveled to Kenya six times through our partnership with The Outreach Foundation (http://www.theoutreachfoundation.org/). While there, we have the privilege of witnessing what God is doing in an area of great physical need and great spiritual hunger, where the gospel is spreading and the Church of Jesus Christ is growing rapidly.
Working Side by Side
We work with Kenyan Christians on projects that will further the mission and ministry of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa:
- church buildings so that congregations do not have to meet under the Acacia trees
- schools to provide children with an education
- rescue centers to house and educate young girls before they are married off in arranged marriages
- bore holes to provide clean water for a community
Worship Bridges Cultures
We worship together, as the language barrier is bridged by the faith that makes us one. We share fellowship in worship, work, and play. We learn about, and from, one another as first world and third world Christians meet at the foot of the cross.
After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb… saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Revelation 7:9-10
God’s Incredible Creativity
We spend our last 2 days on safari in the Maasai Mara, marveling at God’s creative power.
And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so.
In recent years, a new international partnership has been forming between FPC:E and local church and community leaders in the Samana Peninsula of the Dominican Republic. There are advantages to having a partnership closer to home: the cost and timeframe are significantly reduced, there is less wear and tear from travel and jet lag, and the language barrier is minimized. While still providing a great opportunity to learn, grow and share, it has proved to be a safer and easier international experience for both students and adults.
Building Homes and Churches
Fifteen local pastors in neighboring communities work together to select 3 or 4 projects each time a group goes down. Projects include building or repairing homes for local church members, or helping to build and/or repair churches.
If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? James 2:15-16
Lidia, a local community advocate, helps promote relationships between the team and neighbors through home visits, time with the children, and the annual Three Kings Day (Epiphany) celebration when over 100 children gather for a party, entertainment, and gifts.