Cozad's Kris Riley Returns From Mission Trip To India
Kris Riley was part of a mission team that traveled to the Gilgal Gospel Mission in Chennai, India February 19 – 26.
Riley went with a mission team led by her son, Dirk Riley through his home church Wheaton Bible Church in West Chicago. Riley and his wife, Lanay had previously taken trips to Chennai in January 2014 and January 2015, but this time he was the mission team leader and his wife stayed back with their infant son, Stone.
Several projects were planned and completed while there with the largest project being the funding of materials and hiring of local carpenters to assist in completing the roof over the damaged seminary building. The team also assisted with the installation of a large reservoir to supply the entire school campus with fresh water and constructed a utility building on the property of the orphanage to store and secure the children’s bicycles and other property. The mission team raised $15,000 locally prior to their departure to fund their trip and projects and was also able to take a four-month supply of vitamins for the children and school supplies who reside in the Children’s Home at the mission.
Money was sent ahead for food and bottled water to be consumed by the mission team prior to their departure. “You cannot drink the tap water there or even get it in your mouth or eyes when you shower,” noted Riley.
According to Kris, the president of the mission, Christobel and her husband Chelliah started the mission 30 years ago. The mission was based on Isaiah 60:22 “The least of them shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation; I am the Lord; in its time I will accomplish it quickly.” The mission and others started by Christobel and Chelliah are located in or close to Hindu villages. Chelliah died in 2009 so Christobel and two other women continue to run the Children’s Home, the church plants, the Bible College Seminary and the church school that is located in the very worst part of the slums. All are funded by gifts.
“The most remarkable part of my trip was meeting and being around Christobel,” commented Riley. “At the age of 63 she doesn’t know how she’ll pay her monthly bills and totally lives dependent on God. She also cares for her 95-year-old dad who isn’t well,” she continued.
“Christobel’s day starts at 4 a.m. for hours of prayers. The students in the children’s home awaken and being praying at 6 a.m.,” Riley explained. The children aren’t orphans but are poor or are in a bad situation such as a broken family or severe illness in their family. Some were living in the streets prior to entering the children’s home in Chennai
“Although Indian women do not receive the same respect as American women, but as president of this organization she is respected by men and women alike,” Riley said. “She leads everything and works with professors and everyone else in Chennai; her accomplishments are a testament to her faith and she is looked up to for her perseverance,” Riley went on to say.
“When you visit with her about obstacles and stories of starting new missions and schools it made me so sad that I cried,” Riley shared.
There are good schools for the children to attend dependent on their age. All but four of the children presently have a sponsor. Christobel gives guidance to the students and insists that they learn English so as to get better jobs.
“Most of the male students are younger and are handsome little stinkers,” Riley quipped. Several of the female students are older,” she continued.
The mission team stayed in the children’s home in Chennai where there was electricity but it was dim. The home presently has 24 children but has had up to 30 at one time. According the Christobel, over 100 children have been raised at the home. “Even the five-year-old are responsible for their own laundry which they do using a washing stone,” Riley explained.
Most of the meals were cooked over wood fires, as kitchens are nothing in the villages. Bread is used instead of silverware in the children’s home to ‘scoop up’ food.
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