In 1988 when we first met "J", he was half way through a six month missions training course near Mumbai (then known as Bombay). He owned a spare shirt, a bible and the clothes he wore. He was likeable, single (as were we) and easy going.
Although from the south of India, J felt lead to move to the northern state of Bihar, one of the poorest in India. Moving from Kerala to Bihar is like changing countries - the language, food and culture are all different. Starting with nothing but a deep desire to serve God and help the people of Bihar, his work has grown incredibly. J is fluent in Indian languages, as well as speaking excellent English.
I only know a little of what he is involved in - let me share:
He has established and directs several English-Medium schools. New levels are being built on this particular school as finances allow. The room below is unfinished and being prepared for a conference that weekend (a future post).
Experimenting with new and better ways to grow crops to assist local village farmers. Exploring fish farming, coffee growing and much more.
They have just completed a training centre for village farmers, close to the new school which is just beyond the city of Purnia. Our team had the honour of being involved in the official opening.
Within the new school compound another building is taking shape, one debt-free floor at a time. This will be a hostel for students who need to board away from home. There is also a wonderful meeting room on the ground floor. While J and his family continue to rent a modest house for their own use, new projects and plans to bless others are continually in progress.
He has also initiated daily feeding programs and education for hundreds of poor village children, church planting and much more as well as raising his family. J and his lovely wife M, stayed with our family in Australia for three weeks in 2009. M is gracious and caring and a fantastic cook.
A Godly man of tremendous vision and integrity, a natural leader, very intelligent yet selfless. J is hugely inspiring to be around. The way he thinks, acts, delegates and explores ideas is humbling and encouraging, making one want to live each day with purpose and to aim for excellence. Yet at the same time he has a wonderful sense of humour and is very generous. No wonder my husband named our first son after this man.