Being away from India for over a year I had forgotten how noisy and smelly it is. Horns blared—shouts of street vendors—roars of lorries—motorcycles and scooters clog the road like flies on dead meat. Then comes the realization that driving in India is not for the faint at heart. Many times cars are missing our car by bare inches. Also, the noxious fumes assaulted our nostrils. Hey, I have smelled my wrist more than a little since arriving. (For those of you who don’t know me, I wear perfume on my wrists, just in case the need arises to obscure putrid orders.)
Due the fact that Loren is on a special diet we have had to make more than our usual umpteen trips to town. This has turned out to be a good thing. Never in the history of our travels to India have we met so many Prakash Alumni while doing our daily activities.
Loren was coming out of the State Bank of India and a young man stopped him and said, “Sir, do you recognize me? I was at Prakash for studies.” He is now manager of a restaurant and is married and attending church.
Then we went to a house-church where three former students bombarded us after the service wanting us to know how successful they had become since leaving Prakash.
One had a brand new motorcycle he wanted Loren to ride (This is when you wish you had an International driver’s licenses.) He also said, “Sir, I remember you very well?” His face was familiar, but to be honest we did not remember him. He said, “You, sir, disciplined me for playing the keyboard in Heritage Hall when I was not suppose to be in there.” We all had a good laugh.
These young men have their jobs because a Prakash Alumni, Anil, (with baby) works in a managerial position and was able to hire them. They are all working in the trade for which they were trained. Normally, positions would be given only to family members, but Anil has learned the vision of Prakash and given these jobs to well-trained young men, but not family members.
The head of Compassion International for India is also a Prakash alumnus.
Then, this morning, a newly graduated student came to campus bringing “sweets” in order to get his Government certificate. Joy Anand, graduated in July 2011, and already has a job at Airport Centerpoint as an electrician. His wages are good and include a room, that he shares with 5 other young men, and board—a very good thing to have board because he doesn’t know how to cook.
He looked so young so I asked, “How old are you?” “17 running, he replied.” We would say 16.
Loren always likes to ask a lot of questions when talking with students, like—“How did you hear about Prakash?” “The Pastor in my church told me about the school and arranged for my papers.” “What was your emotion upon leaving your village?” — “Some fear and what people will say and no friends.” “Did you feel welcomed when you first arrived at Prakash?”—“It was so calm and peaceful I had joy when I entered campus.” “Did Starting Point help you?” —“I had confusion about the Bible and this was answered by the course. I had a relationship with the Lord, but still had confusion so Starting Point showed me how to grow in my personal relationship.” “What changes in your personal life are due to attending Prakash?”—“I had some bad habits that I began to understand were not OK.” “Did you like the discipline?”—“Too be successful I found out, life has rules and regulations that are important. It is mandatory for me to be disciplined.” (He was one of the students that helped clean the sewers here at Prakash.)
The idea that you can change a culture by giving its boys the tools to grow up educated and with a trade so they can be self-reliant. It was amazing to see the idea in action, working so well.