The Luxury of Reading and Praying to Jesus
June 11, 2016
“Thank you for the books.” I must have heard that at least a thousand times!
The students kept thanking me for the 404 books we had shipped to them last summer, in preparation for setting up a library in rural India. During Thanksgiving, I traveled from southern California to set up the library at the Community for Peace and Justice, nestled in six acres of serene greenery among ancient hills and reserve forests. It rained heavily during most of my visit. But the library was finally open, and 40 students—young women ranging in age from 15 to 22—came in small groups, for an hour of reading. I invited them to select a book, any book they wanted. You’d have thought I was offering Disneyland—that’s how excited they were. They’d never had the luxury of reading for pure pleasure. One of the young women was an orphan. Many had only one parent. All were extremely poor, belonging to historically oppressed groups. At the Community, however, they are being trained as nurses’ aides. Upon completion of their training, they will be placed in jobs caring for the elderly. They will send the money they earn to their families to educate siblings and improve their homes; some will tithe to the community.
During daily worship, the students prayed directly to Yesu Appa, which can be interpreted as Jesus daddy, father, sir. They prayed kneeling on a hard chapel floor, heads covered, boldly claiming Jesus as their all. Thanks to them, reading and praying to Jesus are luxuries I don’t take for granted anymore.
The prayer below is a shortened translation of their most repeated prayers.
Anita Coleman, Volunteer, Presbytery of Los Ranchos
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) mission co-workers in the region: Gary and Marlene van Brocklin
The community’s students, staff, visitors, and all their families
Tom Cramer, Leader for Vision and Mission
Forrest Claassen, Leader for Polity and Administration/Stated Clerk
Bonita Carr, Administrative Coordinator and Assistant to the Leader for Vision and Mission
Kathy Hill Long, Accounting and Business Manager
Elvira Ortez, Executive Secretary
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Jesus, daddy, father, sir, you are everything to us. Thank you for coming to live with us. Thanks for dying on the cross for us. Thank you for helping us. Thank you for protecting us. Please give us patience and courage to live for your glory. Amen.