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Saturday, July 9 We left LAX with a big crowd of parents and friends seeing us off and changed planes in Dubai. We arrived in Bangalore at about 9 AM local time, 22 hours after leaving LA, including a 2 hour layover in Dubai. All our luggage also made it, and we cleared immigration and customs with no difficulty, although one of Gentle's bag was selected to be X-rayed and opened, but thanks to all your petition to dad, nothing was stopped. But Calida did not make it! When she went to the airport in Hong Kong, she was told her passport looked like it was water damaged and could not be read by the computer so she was not allowed to board. She will try to obtain a new visa with her other passport, but at this time, we do know when she can join us. Pray for her.

We were met at the airport by Tim and Kloe, Pastor Joel and his wife, Pastor Jacob, a full time working layman, our 20 rented passenger bus (for the next two weeks we are here), and a cargo truck to haul our thirty pieces of luggage to the hotel. We arrived at the Keys Hotel at noon, only to find out we could not check in yet as our rooms were not ready, so we went to the Phoenix Marketplace where we ate a piece of KFC and a traditional Indian fast food of Dai, nan, basmati rice, curry sauce and yogurt. It was exotic and spicy. Although the venue was less than three miles away, it took us over two hours to drive there, eat, and drive back. We then checked in, did our daily devos, small group, signed our "give up my rights" commitment form, and prayed the armor of God protection prayer from Eph. 6. Though we are tired, we are de-termined to stay up and not nap so we can adjust to the time change.

Vision send-off at LAX

Vision at Dubai


  Sunday, July 10After a wonderful night's sleep, we were awaken at 6 AM (that is our scheduled wake-up time each day) and rushed to eat breakfast at the hotel so we could leave at 7 to attend at 7:30 Eng-lish service at Pastor Joel's church, Full Gospel, Christ the Light Church (FGCLC). Even though there were only about as many people worshipping as those of us singing, we could sense God's presence. We sang This Is the Day and Majesty and Glory before Tim Kim preached. The Tam-il service followed right at 8:30. This service was much better attended with over a hundred people, although because of local festivals, not as many came as on a normal Sunday. They worshipped enthusiastically for almost an hour. Again, we sang (Jesus, Namr Above All Names, Keepin' in Touch, and Yes, Lord, Yes) before Tim preached, this time translated to Tamil. A lady then gave her testimony about how God preserved her problem pregnancy and how she did not even have to see a doctor for the last five months of her pregnancy, and her baby boy, born soon after Easter, was dedicated (her husband led the Tamil worship) by Tim. We left for lunch at about noon to a Chinese-Indian restaurant where we ate fried rice with a curried chicken sauce, returning back to our hotel at two. One interesting thing we noticed during the worship and our singing at the Tamil service was this loud music coming from across the street. We later found out this neighbor of Pastor Joel (he lives below the church) was a powerful Hindu leader who would frequently try to disrupt services at the church.

Bangalore, also known as the Garden City, is a beautiful place with green plants and trees grow-ing everywhere. It has been growing at a tremendous rate with high rises going up everywhere due to the electronics semiconductor industry so that land is extremely expensive here. The weather is wonderful. It was 72 when we landed, cooling breezes, and it has been cloudy, with light drizzles, and very comfortable, not hot at all. Our hotel is newly completed, so the rooms are clean, very pleasant, soft yet firm beds, nothing like we thought we would face coming here, PTL.

We met at 2:30 to practice our skit, the sin chair, for tonight, leaving at 3 to our venue for the out-reach. We stopped at Pastor Joel's home for snacks, cookies and fresh coconut milk from just cut young coconuts. We arrived at the venue for the outreach. It turns out it was not exactly an outreach since it was held in a rented public meeting room (so even the local pastors were not allowed to ask for decisions), but more of a musical worship meeting. The first hour or so was worship led by teams from five different local churches, some solo or group singing, and even a children dance which they learned from Tim's children camp he led in April. We were amazed at the passion of so many of the worship leaders. We sang six songs for about a half hour including salvation testimonies from Katie and Jada and our skit. Tim then gave a message about Lazarus being raised from the dead from John 11. After this, one of the local pastors asked each worship team to send a representative and Josh represented us. He said how remarkable it was to have such a gathering of different churches in Bangalore to worship together and challenged each church represented to come pray together for the city and reach the millions here who don't know our Lord. We were so blessed to witness what could be the start of something wonderful here in Bangalore, so pray for this. We then returned to Pastor Jo-el's home to quickly debrief the day and eat a home cooked dinner of curried chicken dal and Indian tortillas. Exhausted and still fighting jet lag, we returned to crash at our hotel.

Sunday night outreach & worship meeting

Jada giving her testimony

Monday, July 11 - So far, no one has any serious stomach problems although Rachel and Kayla are fighting sore throats and sores since before leaving LA. We also just received word this morning that Calida has received her tourist visa from India and she has cashed in some frequent flyer miles so she is set to leave Hong Kong and should arrive in Bangalore just after midnight tonight (about noon Monday, July 11 LA time). Tim will sacrifice his sleep to go pick her up at the airport. PTL.

After breakfast, we loaded up our 15 suitcases on our bus and headed out to the orphanage at about 8:30, arriving a little after 9. We set up for VBS in the middle of a power outage. At ten, the twenty or so orphans living here left their classrooms to begin VBS while Kloe took the teachers to train them. As soon as the last child stepped into the chapel, the lights came back on, so symbolic of Jesus bringing light to the world. This is one of the problems facing Serving Foundation, as the landlord at the orphanage did not want Knoble Academy to teach any of the non-resident students or allow them to come in to the facility. Tim is now deciding what is next step should be, move to a new location he has located but needs a couple of months of renova-tion or pray for the landlord to change his mind. Pray for discernment for Tim. Pray also for Pastor Joel's daughter's (Shiney) husband's brother. He has just been admitted to the hospital after blood test shows his platelet at a very dangerously low level of 18 (not unlike Pastor Hsiung's wife, Grace's aplastic anemia levels when she was severely sick). We prayed for his healing and for Shiney before she left to go to the hospital to minister to him.

The VBS program begins with Sing and Play and continues to games, Bible adven-tures, kidvid cinema, and crafts that supported our daily lesson that "Jesus gives us hope!" We will be doing this for the next three days, so we have condensed the five days of VBS into four days. Each day's session takes up four to five hours a day, so including lunch break, we stay at Knoble Academy and the orphanage until about 2:45 PM before returning to the hotel to rest and debrief. We then went to the Calvary Baptist Church, one of the oldest churches in Bangalore to present our program. The service started about 45 minutes late, giving us time to warm up and practice the puppet skit. The room is about the size of a very large living room with great acous-tics, seating 60-70 and there were perhaps 50 in the audience. Their choir, consisting of one man and three women sang two songs. Their music was very interesting, sounding quite exotic with half tone tonality and sung with great passion and worship. We only recognized a few words like Jesu. We sang mostly acapella songs, including the Victoria Sanctus and Jordan and Rachel volunteered to give their testimonies. Both testimonies were about being raised in Christian homes and how each found God to be real for them, through a mentor and learning how God heals when she prayed, respectively. It turns out this was exactly the situation most of the congregants found themselves in, as we found out some followed their parents or grandpar-ents to church. After Tim's powerful message, many came to ask for prayer. Among those Tim and Kloe prayed for, several felt "slain" by the power of the Holy Spirit and fell or had to sit down. Even though we were asked not to do an invitation, an elderly couple came up and asked to re-ceive the Lord (they were among those who fell during prayer). PTL, this was clearly only some-thing only God could do! Tim and Kloe also prayed for the young assistant pastor of the church and his wife, who have been childless for ten years since their marriage. (Note, we found out 2-1/2 months later that this couple was 6 weeks pregnant! PTL!) We ate a quick dinner prepared by Pastor Joel's sister and returned home tired after another long day while Tim took a cab to pick up Calida. By the way, we saw Shiney and found out her brother in law's the blood levels had doubled, PTL, but keep praying. Thank you for upholding all of us so that we have been able to endure these long busy days and still stay reasonably healthy.

Sing & Play at VBS

Jordan giving her testimony


Tuesday, July 12 - We met a sleepy Calida at breakfast (buffet breakfast at the hotel is easily our best meal of the day, eggs, chicken sausage, cooked to order omelet, sautéed mixed veggies, melons and papa-ya - really our veggies and fruit for the whole day - lots of Indian goodies, fresh squeezed grape juice grown locally, and several other breads, yogurt, cereal, etc.). We moved our small group devotion to after breakfast, so we can start the day fresh with the Lord rather than at the end of the day when we are too tired and rushed to spend quality time with Him and our devo time has been much better. This meant leaving a half hour later to the orphanage but our time there is fairly flexible. Our VBS program had to be modified from our original plans because we found out there are frequent random rolling blackouts throughout the day, so we eliminated the kidvid cinema aspect of VBS, but the children here are so thrilled with their time they couldn't care less there was no video. Before we left the orphanage today, we stopped and dedicated the computer room (we had carried 13 laptops Tim had bought at last November's Black Friday sale) and sang the Lord blessing for the place.

While the team went back to the hotel to rest up and practice the puppet skit, Marshall and Me-iring went with Tim and Pastor Joel to visit a house they had rented located about 20 minutes from the orphanage site. Not he plan is to house the boys here by the end of the month and keep the girls further away as some of the boys are reaching adolescence. Because of the landlord problems at the orphanage, a new location might also be needed for the girls as mentioned in the last report. Due to traffic, the three of us did not return to the hotel until 5. We left at six to a "Gypsy" church, so called because it ministers to migrant workers. It is a very poor church, and the worship even more exotic to our western ears but tremendous. How God will be pleased when all the ethne (nations, ethnic groups) worship together. There were no pianos or keyboard here as over a hundred gathered so we sang only acapella pieces, failing to take ad-vantages of Calida's skills. Kayla and Ethan gave wonderful testimonies of trusting in Jesus and Tim preached powerfully. But a strange thing happened at the end of the service, as a couple brought a birthday cake to celebrate their son's second birthday. This broke the spiritual atmos-phere so even though many came for prayer, it just felt oddly different. Tim said we quenched the Spirit because of the bad timing. Pray for restoration and more spiritual covering for us as well as the pastor and this Gypsy church. Clearly, there is ongoing spiritual warfare.

Dedicating computers at orphanage

"Gypsy" church visit


Wednesday, July 13 - Tim and Marshall left at 4:30 AM to catch a flight for Bagdogra so they could visit Abbu Pradhan and Mission Himalayas in Siliguri. We (Tim and Marshall) made the close connection at Delhi and were minutes from landing when the pilot announced that due to unspecified mechanical problems, the plane was being diverted to Calcutta. After about two hours of sitting in the plane, the repairs were completed and we took off at 3:15 PM. We had originally hoped to conduct our visit in a couple of hours and catch a return flight to Bangalore at 4, but obviously, God wanted us to stay longer in Siliguri (a fifteen minute drive from Bagdogra). While waiting on the plane, we did have a pleasant chat with a gentleman from New Zealand sitting behind us and Marshall found out he loved choral music and sang in a boys choir for years until his voice changed so Marshall gave him a set of the VisionSings CD. We landed in Bagdogra about 4:30 and met up with Abbu. We checked into a hotel and had a good time talking to Abbu during dinner, getting ideas how Serving Foundation can help Mission Himalayas (MH) and visa versa. Clean water through the water filtration system is an example as well as other BAM (business as mission) models.

The rest of the team woke up at the usual time, had breakfast, and did out devotionals this morn-ing. We prayed for Rachel for continued health and for the day's program. Our team left for Knoble Academy at 8:15 AM and proceeded to spend time with the children singing and dancing.

Our VBS program today consisted of the lesson that "Jesus gives us direction!" We incorporated many bat crafts to match our Bible buddy, Radar. Our team was able to spend more time playing with the children as our program allowed for more room for interaction. Allison began to feel sick this afternoon. Her stomach felt uneasy and she rested for the next few hours. She is already beginning to recover and feel better, praise God!

Near the end of our VBS program, we heard news that Marshall and Tim's flight was emergency diverted to Calcutta with no news of the next available flight. Our team gathered and prayed for God's hand in the situation. We also prayed for the evening program, Allison, and Calida's preaching. Once we got onto the bus to come back to the hotel to rest, Kloe received a call from Tim saying that they would be boarding in the next 10 minutes, praise the Lord!

This evening we met downstairs at 5 PM to leave for our evening program. After waiting an hour, Pastor Joel and our translator arrived from being stuck in traffic. We drove for about an hour and a half, arriving at about 7:15 PM at Sharon Baptist Church. Our program was directed by Calida who preached on Exodus 3 and the name of God. Joshua shared his testimony about how his life has been influenced by his 94 year old grandfather. At the end of the service Calida offered to pray for those who wanted to know God, to draw closer to Him, and to return to God. By the end of the invitation, about 30 people had their hands raised to be prayed for, HALLELUJAH!

At the end of the evening, we were given hot milk tea and curry filled puffs. We arrived back home at 10:30 PM and had Indian fast food burritos for dinner. It's been an eventful day.

Calida leading the program and preaching

Prayer ministry at Baptist church


Thursday, July 14 - After a fairly good night's sleep, Tim and I (Marshall) woke up before six to hear the rain come pouring down in Siliguri. Hopefully, it will cool down a bit as it has been quite warm (in the nine-ties) and very humid, nothing like the wonderful weather we have been having in Bangalore. We scouted around but couldn't find a restaurant open to cook or serve us breakfast so we ate the granola bars and beef jerky we packed. Abbu came about 9, we checked out and drove to the MH office located on the outskirts of Siliguri on the road to Darjeeling. We worshipped with Abbu and two of the staff, Tim and BJ, and Pastor Tim led devotions from the first 8 verses of Judges 7. We then sent the next almost two hours reviewing MH's work by looking at photos stored on BJ's computer. What stood out was the art work drawn by local high schoolers about the effects of HIV/AIDS, the vast devastation caused by the Nepal earthquake and all the training going on in the retreat center in Namchi. We then went to Abbu's apartment a short distance away and met his wife, Smitee, and their two absolutely adorable daughters, Avinna and Annorah. We all ate lunch at the KFC in the nearby mall and drove to the airport in plenty of time to check in and clear security. But the flight left Bagdogra late, so even though we did everything in our power to catch the next flight (like checking in on the internet early to get a seat in the front of the econo-my section, and asking the gate attendant for a special escort to take us up to departure without walking half a mile back to security (which she promised they can do), when we arrived in Delhi, the attendant said no such thing, so we ran to security, passed through in minimum time and even caught a passenger cart, but alas, we were too late and the boarding gate was closed. So we had to walk all the way back to the ticket counter, get escorted by security back out to where the ticket agents are and get re-booked for a leaving almost two hours later, but thank God, we were able to get seats (the last two seats in the rear of the plane). We landed in Bangalore at midnight, it took us half an hour before Uber showed up, then he got stuck in a logjam for at least 15 minutes to a half hour before finally backing up. When we left the airport, there was a line of cars a mile log trying to get in. We finally arrived back at our hotel at 2 AM, a trip I hope I don't have to duplicate again, between the plane diversion, missed flights, and Uber although we had a great time in Sikkim.

Meanwhile, back at the farm, the team woke up and had breakfast at 6:30am, did our devotion-als and prepared to leave for our last day with Knoble Academy, where we have been teaching and playing with the children all week.

Our last day of VBS consisted of the lesson that "Jesus gives us love." We incorporated owl crafts to match our Bible buddy, Olivia, who reinforces the theme of love. Our team spent more time interacting with the children knowing that we would not be seeing them again. There was a nostalgic air to the day and many tears shed on both sides of goodbye. Our team has grown to love these children who have stolen our hearts and it was sad to see them left be-hind. On the bright side it was beautiful to see the children singing and dancing for Jesus, they already know all the hand motions and lyrics to the songs! They can make song requests using song phrases and hand motions and sing/shout the songs as they dance. It's wonderful to see how God has been working with these children this week.

This evening we met downstairs at 5:30 PM to leave for our evening program. Again, due to In-dian traffic, we waited an hour for Pastor Joel and our translator to meet us at the hotel. While we waited, we watched the construction/maintenance being done outside our hotel. These men were working with the most minimal safety and a lack of materials and tools, one was barefoot, others were not safety clipped to the equipment, and the group of 8 or 9 of them only had one wrench and one hammer. They were an excellent example of teamwork and trust.

Once in the bus, we drove for about two hours and a half, arriving at about 8:15pm at Bethel Tel-ugu Baptist Church. Our program was again directed by Calida who led us in 5 or 6 songs and then preached on Ephesians 6 and the name of God. Gentle shared his testimony about how his life has been changed by God saving his little brother. Katherine shared about how God has changed her life and what the name of God means to her, sharing about God lifting the weight of the world from our shoulders. At the end of the service Calida offered to pray for those who wanted to know God, to draw closer to Him, and to return to God. By the end of the invitation, about 5 people had their hands raised to pray together, praise God! Later we were told that this church has been a significant presence in the small village and that all could hear what was go-ing on, the church has a speaker outside blasting to the village, very interesting.

At the end of the evening, we were given cola and local potato chips. We arrived back home around 11:00 PM and had Indian fast food burritos again for dinner. Today has been a whirlwind.

Last day of VBS at the orphanaage


Thursday, July 15
- This morning, Vision woke at our usual time and had breakfast together at 6:30am to 7:30am. Marshall and Tim arrived back at the hotel late last night from Sikkim. We proceeded with devo-tions and prayed in small groups for the day. Today, our schedule was much simpler than running after the children at Knoble Academy. In-stead we visited and sang for Swanthana, a mentally and physically disabled facility for girls run by nuns. We had a tour of each of the rooms and sang songs of blessing and praise for each. Our team really enjoyed visiting the girls. Afterwards we visited Vathsalya, meaning "love" in Hindi. Formerly focused in adoption, Vathsal-ya has turned their focus in educating the children of India, including the children of migrant workers. Our team enjoyed singing with and for the children. We spent a small amount of time playing and speaking with them before the last hour. It was beautiful to see all the work the school has been perpetuating. We returned to the hotel for a small break and rest. To close our day, we left at 5:30 PM for Kutumba, meaning "family" in Hindi. This is a facility that helps care for and train women who are physically and/or mentally disabled, many are deaf while others have various other ailments. We were able to sing a handful of Vision songs and because many were deaf, we then sang a few more VBS songs with action and dances with the girls there. Afterwards we had the opportunity to pray for each of the girls individually for a variety of requests all while battling the multitude of mosquitoes in the outdoor courtyard. It was a rewarding experience that reminded us of past tours filled with individual prayer ministry, such an awesome day!

Overall, today was filled with many small visits where we were able to be blessed and be a blessing to various people. What a great day! Tomorrow will be a travel day as we are busing down south to Madurai, a smaller city 6 to 8 hours south where we will minister for the better part of a week.

Girls at Swanthana

Adoption agency

Visiting Kutumba

Saturday, July 16
- Today is a week since we landed. Our health has been pretty good. Rachel and Kayla had sore throats when they came. Allison and Marshall had minor bad stomach, and today, Katherine and Kayla have slight sore throat and stuffy nose, a few of the girls are not sleeping enough, staying up late to talk so they are catching up their sleep on the bus. Of all the food we ate in Bangalore, our favorite was briyana, a fried rice cooked with chunks of beef at the orphanage on Tuesday. The beef was tender, cooked just right, that most of us had seconds or more. But one of the teachers at the orphanage was Hindi, and even the smell of the beef caused her to put her veil over her nose. So while we enjoyed the food, we still have much to learn. As Paul reminds us in Romans 14:20-21, "Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble."

After breakfast and devotions where we read some verses from John 10 about hearing the Shepard's voice, we spent a few minutes practicing listening prayer. After checking out and packing up the bus, we learned that Pastor Joel and his daughter Shiney are both sick with the flu and so he and his wife will not be traveling down with us. We learned a bit about the orphan-age and school we will be visiting in Madurai. Twenty-seven years ago, a middle aged couple felt called of the Lord to come to Madurai. With no idea what they were to do, they prayed, and soon learned of a practice where parents would abandon their infant girls in front of the temples, because the dowry they would have to pay for their daughter's future marriage was exorbitant (the order of $5000), much much higher than typical in the rest of India, so they gave them up basically to die. This couple started rescuing these baby girls and that is how the orphanage started. As the children grew, a school was started. These young ladies (totaling 200 before the Indian government changed the law stopping such practices) soon became well known through-out Madurai as smart, intelligent, well-mannered and the most beautiful girls in Madurai which every family wanted their sons to marry, with no dowry required, a wonderful example of re-demption: from unwanted waifs to sought after treasures. The school now has about 750 stu-dents including vocational training for nurses, school teachers, seamstresses, auto mechanics and electricians. Another ministry this couple started is ministry to people dying with HIV/AIDS (India denied then they have a serious problem with this disease and so did not provide medica-tion to ill patients nor care that these "non-entities" {like handicapped persons} become believers; this practice has changed somewhat). These ill patients soon found Jesus and died peacefully, so the reputation soon spread that instead of dying miserably, believers in Jesus died peacefully so many came to faith.

The 450 km drive to Madurai is mostly on a nice two to three lane toll road where we can speed along at 80-100 kph (50-60 mph). The Indian country side is verdant and lush and beautiful. It has gotten progressively warmer as we drove south, from the high sixties when we left Bangalore to the mid-eighties with accompanying high humidity. After about three hours, we stopped for lunch at 12:30 in a veggie restaurant by the road side and ate paper dosa, a paper-thin crepe, and utabang, a rice pancake with an onion topping. The dosa is a two foot diameter pancake, fried, and folded into a roll. Utabang looks like an 8" pizza and like dosa, is made of rice flour. After this light meal, we continued our drive to Madurai. It started to rain when we got within about 60 km of Madurai which also caused the temperature to steadily drop to the low seventies, PTL. But the heavy rain also caused extensive flooding slowing our progress. Tim's GPS also took us to a route with a low underpass which our bus could not get through so we had to detour around, traversing flooded zones at least a foot deep in sewer con-taminated water. We finally arrived at our hotel at 7:30, called Poppys, with beautiful and nicely appointed rooms. We were met by Paulus and his wife, Rosie. Paulus is the son of the couple (now home with the Lord) who started the ministry here. We ate a buffet dinner at the hotel and turned in early since we have another early start tomorrow, Sunday.

Highway to Madurai

Rachel at the veggie restaurant


Sunday, July 17 - We woke up at six, met for breakfast at 6:30 consisting of fruit and veggie sandwiches and dashed off at 6:45 to get to a Church of South India (CSI) English service which began at 7:30. This church was started almost 90 years ago by the Brits for the Indian equivalent of "hapas", mixed British and Indian descendants. So their worship style is derived from the Angli-can (Episcopal) Church, very formal liturgy, much like the Catholic mass. Everything is formal-ized reading and response. We sang God Is My Refuge and Just a Closer Walk with Thee played on an inadequate keyboard (we would have been better off singing acapella) and Tim preached a short message taken from Jesus first miracle of turning water to wine. We then ob-served the communion service but did not want to participate and share the wine cup since some of us may have colds. The church then served a breakfast consisting of stuff we could not identify - fried bread kind of like doughnut, and maybe a variation of dosa with different sauces. We then led the youth worship with seven or eight teens and young adults, all about our age. Josh led two worship songs on the guitar, having learned our lessons, we sang only acapel-la songs with Allison and Michael sharing their testimonies and Calida sharing for ten minutes about becoming living sacrifices. We then gathered in twos and threes to pray for each youth before returning to our hotel at 11 AM. The only meeting room we could find at this hotel was a room off the bar. It was dark and we also sensed a lot of darkness in this place. Indeed, Tim tells us that Madurai is also known as Temple City, because there are more temples here than any other place in India. We prayed for spiritual protection, had our small group devotions and de-briefed this morning, so the team members who only grew up in FEC can understand more about liturgical services and how God is honored at this kind of service too. We also prayed for Katherine who appears to have a bad cold or maybe flu and Allison, whose bad stomach resur-faced after being completely well yesterday. Marshall too has a bit of bad stomach, which he attributes to the spicy food alone and says what he needs is simple nutritious foods like ice cream and down home fried chicken (both vetoed). We ate some granola bars for lunch and took the rest of the afternoon off to rest before meeting at 4 PM to have dinner and go to the or-phanage for a short time to visit with these girls.

Paulus and Rosie met us about 4 to guide us to dinner and the orphanage. Apparently, the rest did us all good as Kat and Allison both seemed fully recovered. We ate at a restaurant serving briyana, fried rice cooked with chunks of mutton, good, but nothing like the dish with beef we had last Tuesday. There were only 13 girls there at this time, with a few more currently living at this orphanage; sixty something living in schools, almost twenty now married, and a good num-ber working, and some even reunited with her biological family, for a total of about 200 rescued girls, all of whom consider this place their permanent home where they grew up. All of them came as infants, the youngest 5 hours old, all abandoned, originally in front of the temple where they were either taken in to be raised as temple prostitutes or sold or left to die, now abandoned at hospitals. We met the "mother" of the house and her small staff of ladies. She proudly talked about her girls, how some even though handicapped are now holding down good jobs and showed wedding albums of some of the recent weddings. The place is clean and homey. The girls sang several praise songs for us, some in Hindi, some in English. We sang a few songs back to them including a couple of VBS songs complete with dance motions which they all enjoyed. We then gave the girls the clothes which Jennifer Kuo's sewing group made, enjoyed eating cookies and drinking chilled mango nectar, before returning back to our hotel by 7:30, sans Meiring and Kloe. They had gone with Rosie to go shop for cloth with which to make chutithar (Indian dress) for the girls and kurtha (Indian shirts) for the guys, custom tailored by the students learning to become seamstresses at the school where we will start our VBS to-morrow - this is kind of their graduating exam project. We will of course pay the seamstresses for their work, so they will actually be making their first product of their future career, giving them a sense of accomplishment. For us, we will be getting a custom tailored product at a fraction of what it would cost us if we went shopping for it, a win-win situation for everyone, except maybe for the retail clothiers. These dresses and shirts should be completed by Thursday, a day before we leave Madurai to return to Bangalore. We will be showing off our Vision Indian uniforms at Home Concert of August 20 so please come. Incidentally, lest you think Vision is loosely spend-ing money staying at three star hotels, we are paying less than $23 a person a night including breakfast but the main reason is security and safety, since the cheaper hotels are located in a worse neighborhood and does not provide security guards for the property.

Church South India

Madurai orphan girls home

Clothes from Jennifer Kuo's group

Monday, July 18 – We woke up at six to eat breakfast at 6:30 but they not only do not open until 7, but really did not get ready to serve until 7:15, so we met to have our daily devotions while waiting. Kat is proba-bly the sickest among us, but Marshall, because he did not eat anything spicy, seems completely recovered from his stomach problem (even without ice cream and fried chicken). We decided Kat was healthy enough to go with us to the Peniel Campus located in Vemparali, about 45 minutes from town. During the bus ride, we played our new favorite morning game - killing at least a dozen mosquitoes which somehow found their way into the bus every night. In this kill or be eaten (bitten) exercise game, we appear to be the winners, as few of us have been bitten.

Located among green trees, far away from the noise and pollution of the city, the Peniel schools consists of separate buildings housing pre-kindergarten/kindergarten/primary (1st grade to 5th grade, 6th grade to 10th grade, 11-12 grade, the Peniel Rural College of Education to train teachers who have already graduated from college, nursing school vocational schools (it seems these are located off campus) for auto mechanics, electricians, sewing and maybe more, a planned College of Arts and Sciences, a dorm for a few college stu-dents, all located on 32 acres of land purchased and built up from empty forested land by Pau-lus' parents, a few acres at a time over a period of ten years. The site abounds with greenery, including fruit trees, primary mangos and coconut trees. Originally planned for educating the orphans rescued from death, the school now serves the community and villages all around the campus, while the orphans, now much fewer in number, attend schools in the city. Because of the poverty level in the villages, only a small percentage lays tuition while a larger majority are on partial or full scholarship. SFI has helped fund these students since Tim connected up with Pau-lus a year ago. We were met by the correspondent, Dulcy, of the entire campus, who escorted the adults around while Vision started the VBS. We were also individual measured for our chut-ithar and kurtha by the head seamstress teacher, so there would be no mistakes in size.

Meanwhile, the school decided that our VBS program will focus on only the fifth grade class, 44 students in all, rather than select a few students from each grade. The English language skills of these older kids should be better and we would have an easier time not having to deal with a wide age range of students. We started the VBS about 10, took a lunch break at 12:30 while the students took their lunch break. We resumed at 1:20 and continue the program until 2:30. We then debriefed the day, relaxed with tea and/or soft drinks after the teaching ses-sions and decided the language level is not as high as we expected and better translation is needed. It rained slightly, lowering the temperature from the low eighties to a comfortable mid seventies. We returned to the hotel to rest before leaving at five for our evening program.

Our program this evening is to sing and testify at the evening chapel service at Lady Doaks College. This college, founded in 1948 by a British missionary, Wilcox, is the first all girls' college in Madurai (the school is named for the generous donation to start the school by Wilcox's friend, Lady Doaks). We were met by the chaplain and college VP who welcomed us and were served tea (but no crumpets) at Wilcox Chapel. Promptly at 5:50 PM, the chapel bell rang is first warn-ing and again at 6. People began coming in after the first bell so by six, the chapel was about half full. The chaplain started with a prayer and someone led a hymn (It Is Well) and after a short introduction, we took over. Using the chapel full sized keyboard was a joy (even though three notes did not work) after using pint sized keyboards at all the other venues we have been in, so we sang a lot of our songs with accompaniment. Soon after we started, almost every available empty seat seemed to be filled so there must have been almost 200 there. Terry and Eric gave strong testimonies about their personal experience finding out how God is real. Be-tween the two testimonies and songs, we performed the puppet skit. Calida preached from Psalm 68, ending promptly at 7 (it was nice to be at a meeting in India that started and ended exactly on time). She then asked whoever wanted to come up for prayer. Tim repeated her re-quest when no one responded. Then one came, and a second. Pretty soon, we were all busy praying for many, probably more than 30 ladies. We each prayed for at least one person, some as many as five. Many tears were shed as they asked for healing for themselves or some friend or family member. Two asked to be closer to God. One asked that her alcoholic father would be set free as depicted by the puppet skit. We were so thankful to God for this overwhelming response. We may never know his God will answer these prayers, but we know He heard each petition and will answer them in the best possible way to bring Himself glory. The leaders led us to a dorm cafeteria where they served us dinner. We returned a little after 8 to the hotel where we debriefed our experience at the chapel and retired for the night at a little after 9 PM. What a great day we had again!

In talking to Tim and various locals, I have come to learn that the Church of India, both of north India, CNI and south, CSI, hold enormous wealth since they received huge chunks of land when the British gave India its independence in (I think) 1947. But instead of using this wealth to bless the poor and serve the people, the church has become big business, neglecting the heart of mis-sions even to her own people. CNI has already experienced tremendous attacks by the locals who forcibly confiscate their land. It is as our Lord taught in Matt. 10:39, "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it," or in this case, the church that seeks to hold on to itself will lose it, etc. May we learn the lesson of how to give generously and graciously. As I see some (actually only a very small part) of what SFI is doing and learn that many supporters in FECG have stopped giving after only one year, may I urge you instead to double your efforts instead. God is no debtor and will richly reward you (Mal. 3:10).

Nursing students at Peniel

Dedication plaque at Peniel

VBS with the 5th grade class at Peniel

Lady Doaks College ministry

Dinner with leaders at Lady Doaks

Tuesday, July 19 - Starting our new routine, we met for devotions at 6:30 AM and went to eat breakfast at 7:15-ish, leaving our hotel at 8:30 and arriving at Peniel a little after 9. We set up for VBS and the children came about 9:45. Kat and Gentle, who is having stomach problems stayed at the office to rest. During VBS, the Kim's and Huang's had the privilege to attend the graduation ceremony of the seamstress students. They had actually finished last week and today is graduation (so the clothes they are sewing for Vision is not really their final exam but one of their first earnings). Some shared how learning to sew has transformed their lives and given them self worth. In a week, one lady said she made 1000 rupees ($15) with her husband taking her product to a store and another saying she charges 60 rupees for a dress top and 100 rupees if it is lined. The teacher who took our measurements yesterday travels weekly to the villages these ladies come from to teach the one year class. We looked at the very impressive curriculum, over 30 differ-ent types of outfits have to be completed by the students. In visiting the villages, this teacher al-so brings the love of Jesus and some have come to believe. 28 students were able to come to today's ceremony. After graduation, we then had the honor to learn about their village HIV/AIDS program. Six ladies came along with the nurse who is their coordinator. They shared inspiring stories of how given two to three years to live after being tested positive, they are still going strong ten, and one lady, twenty years later. One lady shared her thanks for how her husband came to believe before he passed on. These ladies who live in different villages reach out in their communities to the children of adults who have tested positive and also children who have come down with HIV/AIDS. Many of the children of HIV parents have not tested positive. All together, they care for almost 800 children of which about 120 test positive. Several of these ladies asserted their intention to serve these children and follow Jesus until they go home. They are real heroes of the faith impacting their own communities and bring light in their little corner of the world. We joined Vision for lunch served by the school (a genuine non-spicy and delicious lunch), finished up VBS by 2 to do a one hour program from 2:30 to 3:30 for all their high school and older students in their auditorium.

When we walked to the auditorium located above the high school classes, all the students were already seated on the ground neatly in rows, girls on the left facing the front, and guys on the right, youngest in front, with the class teachers seated on chairs at the sides leaving a nice aisle in the middle and the dignitaries (that's us with some school officials) sitting on chairs at the rear. There were about 400 there. After a quick introduction and welcome, we were given the time. Singing almost our entire repertoire of acapella songs and one VBS song, we mixed in powerful testimonies from Katie, Gentle, and Michael, plus the puppet and heart skits. No ser-mon or invitation were given but the message was clearly transmitted and seemed very well re-ceived by all the students. The heart skit was probably their favorite once they figured out the plot and were surprised by the twists which they had not anticipated, with a clear non-verbal invi-tation given at the end, while the puppet skit resonated with many of the student who have alco-holic fathers who squander his wife's meager earnings on drink. We were both saddened and happy when it was over: sad because we could not spend time ministering to those who may have wanted prayer, and happy to go to a cooler room downstairs and sit a spell. We returned to our hotel before 5 PM with Nehi, Paulus' son, while Tim and Kloe went with Paulus and Rosie to visit a tutorial center in a nearby village supported by SFI. Because many of the students' par-ents were illiterate, the tutorial center is another opportunity to minister to the family of these stu-dents while helping the children with their studies. Tim said he was amazed at how well organized the tutoring was, reaching over 1800 kids at 72, soon to be 75 centers. Kloe said one of the tu-tors, pregnant with her own children, tutored 60 kids at the same time. Another lady was back tutoring only 2 weeks after having a baby. These tutors are paid by SFI 800 rupees ($12) a month, teaching two hours a day. With more support, Tim would like to raise their pay.

We left at 6:30 to go to dinner at a Chinese restaurant, And after 45 minutes, arrived at a place which is now a tandoori restaurant, so we went to another place, Chopstix where we met Tim and Paulus (Kloe returned earlier to the hotel) for a simple and definitely not gourmet Chinese food. Returning to the hotel, we debriefed the day, praising God for another good day.

High school and older assembly at Peniel

Wednesday, July 20
- We followed our now standard morning routine, devotions and breakfast, finally arriving at Peniel a few minutes after 9. At VBS today, we are going to experiment with not having the fifth grade teachers in the room with their students as they have been doing the first two days. At lunch break, we all agreed that the children were much more responsive (maybe it is because they know us by now) and spontaneous without the teachers there and VBS proceeded much better than the first two days. Soon after VBS started, Rosie took Tim, Kloe, Meiring, and Calida to visit a few AIDS/HIV child's home. They did not return until almost 2:30 so they ate a late lunch while we debriefed today's activities to date. Three different HIV positive families were visited. What was good was how this illness caused many in these families to come to faith. We also heard the story of this nurse who leads the AIDS project. Seventeen years ago, this young lady brought her dying brother to Paulus' father. Helping him find the Lord enabled him to pass away peacefully, this young lady subsequently joined the ministry and she recruited some of the AIDS victims to reach out to others (these are the people we met yesterday). Before returning, they stopped at the vocational school. One good thing this school does is to train the car me-chanics as interns of specific car models so they learn hands-on and are valued mechanics when they complete their training and can go to work immediately. Before returning, we stopped to pay respect at the memorial graves of Paulus' parents, and were rewarded by also seeing several monkeys living in the trees nearby. We returned for an hour's rest before leaving at 5 PM for the CSI nursing school chapel.

Arriving at 5:45, we found about 200 worshippers, both men and women, seated and waiting, maybe a third of the student body. Precisely at six, one of them led an opening pray-er and they sang two Indian worship songs in the local language. Calida led and directed all our singing and we performed both the distracted and puppet skits with Jordan and Terry sharing their testimonies. As we neared the end of our singing, Tim was nowhere to be found as he was to preach. It turned out he and Paulus were off behind the bushes talking to this pomp-ous lady who was the head of the school. She came very late, and said she had to leave to take care of her son's activities. While put off at first, we came to realize this was God's plan to re-move her from the premise so we would be free to minster. After the message, Tim invited the students to come up for prayer. No one moved as this was an experience many of these stu-dents with CSI church background was not familiar with. So Paulus came up and asked all the students to bow their heads to pray and for those who wanted prayer to lift their hands. Soon, we were all over the hall praying. Many tears were shed as these students felt the love of God washing over them. One girl had to sit while being prayed for. One lady shared she had problems praying, something was hindering her. When asked if she was a believer, she said no, but wanted to be freed so she came to receive the Lord. After prayer, her countenance changed to one of peace and joy. We went to eat a light dinner of mutton briyana and debriefed the evening's activity in the restaurant. We then returned to the hotel, full of gratitude and praise, to clean up and sleep.

VBS at Peniel
Paulus' parents' memorial at Peniel
CSI Nursing School chapel
Calida directing our program
Ministering prayer at CSI Nursing School


Thursday, July 21
- Today is our last day at Madurai so while we followed our morning routine, once we got to Peniel, we first did a short music program for the kindergarten through primary students, about 350 of them, sitting on the dirt ground under the mango trees. Marshall talked to them about Western music , the concept of melody and harmony, with Vision demonstrating by singing the chorus of Do Lord. We then sang the orchestra song, so they could here the different sections singing their own part, yet harmonizing. Finally, we sang the Victoria "Sanctus" so they could hear the interweaving of parts in polyphonic music. We than sang and danced three of the VBS songs. The children seemed to enjoy every bit of it. We then started VBS at about 9:45 while the adults had devotions with the leaders and staff of Peniel, about ten of them. Both Tim and Paulus shared how God had brought these two organizations together, beautifully answering prayer requests of Peniel,with capabilities of SFI and visa versa. For example, Paulus explained how their previous Correspondent of ten years wanted to retire in 2014 (I don't know why they use the title of Correspondent, but she is apparently the head manager of Peniel) and after pray-er, God brought in Dulcy, a Godly woman who had retired after being Principal of a 4500 mem-ber school, eminently qualified. So Paulus has a vision of doing a choir music training (similar to what we did in Sikkim) so this choir can minister to the churches in Madurai. The graduating teachers from Peniel could meet the needs of teachers SFI needs in Nigeria as well as in Banga-lore. The drinking water filters could provide clean water in the villages. The sewing skills of the trained seamstress could help produce more jute bags for SFI. The synergism and complimen-tary needs seem like God-orchestrated. After a tea break, we (adults) met up with with about have of the tutors from the tutoring centers (they call it Tuition Center instead of tutoring but that term is confusing to us in the US). Tim and Kloe encouraged these tutors, many of them believ-ers but some still on the way, and we prayed and blessed these ladies. Tim then talked detail plans and business with Paulus.

We had lunch together about 12:45. We then finished up VBS with the children. Unlike the chil-dren at the orphanage who really felt the need to be loved and held, these village children were much better adjusted and none of us shed any tears on departing. Meanwhile, Tim and Kloe had an opportunity to talk to the professors who teach the teachers about the need for teachers in Nigeria and challenged them to either go themselves for a year or encourage their students to go. We tried out the tailored chutithar and kurtha. Most fitted very well, but some of the girls wanted a looser fit so they are being altered and were done before we left at 3:30. Done with VBS, most of the girls had washable tattoos drawn on their arms by three girls from the nursing school. As they dried, the guys had to clean up the VBS room as the girls were rendered useless by the drying paint. We arrived back at the hotel about 4:15 to rest up before we left at 5. We stopped at Paulus' home to celebrate his 51st birthday today, had cake and homemade ice cream, and left at 5:45 to sing our last program in Madurai at the Pentecostal Zion Church.

Because of traffic, we arrived a few minutes late at 6:37 and could hear the worship from the loud speakers a couple of hundred feet from the church. Because the keyboard was in reason-able shape, we sang a lot of songs we had not sung the whole trip (and it showed in lapses of text), songs like "If This Is not a Place" and "O That Will Be Glory". Josh gave a terrific testimo-ny, almost sermon-like, and Rachel's testimony about miraculous healing just fit the needs of the church as many asked for healing prayers afterwards. We did not perform any skits as it seemed out of place in a church setting and Calida message about the power in the name of Je-sus to heal, citing the healing of the beggar from Acts 3 seemed to fit the theme for the evening. She then asked for people to come forward for prayer but the pastor took an offering first. Nev-ertheless, at least twenty people from an audience of about fifty came up for prayer, including some children. Jada had a most interesting experience of listening prayer as she prayed for a lady with her son. With no foreknowledge, Jada got a thought about Hannah and Samuel and prayed that this lady's son would grow up to be used by the Lord like Samuel. After praying, this lady was in tears, explaining that her older daughter had died of cancer, her second child killed himself, and becoming a believer recently, she wanted her third child to be dedicated to the Lord, and Jada's prayer was exactly what her heart desired. We then ate dinner at the church cooked by the pastor's wife, debriefed during the bus ride back and went to bed after do-ing some preliminary packing.

Elementary assembly at Peniel

Music lesson for assembly

Ministry at Zion Church

Friday, July 22
We did our usual routine of devotions and breakfast. Then we checked out and loaded the bus and left Madurai by 8:45. Paulus and Rosie drove by just to say goodbye to us. In just a few days, we have grown to really appreciate them and their example of living for Jesus. We learned that one reason the church we sang in last night, Zion Church, is growing is because they have been ministering AIDS victims, many who live in the neighborhood. On our part, we have been learning to listen for His voice on what and who should share and what songs to sing, last night's program being an example of God orchestrating the whole evening. We also learned that Pastor Joel's whole family is still slowly recovering from the flu, and Shiney's little boy, Kevin is the last to come down with it and currently the sickest. We stopped for lunch around 1 PM but the place we stopped did not serve dosa until 4 PM so we just ate veggie fried rice and butter paneer (a deep fried cheese sauce). The drive back to Bangalore was uneventful (that is not to say any driving in India is anything but a nerve wracking adventure) except for seeng scores of red-faced and red-bottom monkeys by the side of the road shortly after lunch. We made fairly good time until the last 30 km, taking almost 2 hours, finally arriving back at our hotel, Keys Whitefield, at 6:50.

We ate dinner at the hotel and met Joseph, Tim's friend and key contact in India. It was Joseph who connected Tim with all the people and ministry in Madurai. We sang a couple of songs for Joseph and gave him a set of Vision CD's, then went to sleep. Tomorrow will be a whole day of debriefing to process what we learned on this trip, for us, probably the most important day of the trip so pray for us.


Saturday, July 23 - We started with breakfast at 7 AM and devotions at 7:45 before starting our debriefing at 9. Kat is feeling sick so she slept in until lunch time, but joined us for lunch and in the afternoon session. Some deep sharing and tears were shed as some made profession of being bolder in sharing their faith back home, of building deeper friendships and becoming more vulnerable so Christ can be seen in their lives and of being called to ministry. We finished a little before 6, ate chick-en rolls which Tim had purchased from a local fast food place at about 6:30, and spent about an hour worshipping; then got ready at 8:30 to sleep since tomorrow is another early day.

Looking back on the two weeks here' we are so grateful for all your intercession for us. None of us caught the flu that plagued Pastor Joel's family and we only had minor coughs and stomach problems (not even clear if it most of it wasn't due to pollution and allergies and spices). We saw much that touched us deeply and we saw so many examples of redemptive work done for and by AIDS victims, orphans, and the handicapped. We learned to pray listening prayers which powerfully blessed those who then realized there is a God who knows what they were going through. Thank you for supporting us as we wind down our time here.


Sunday, July 24
– Those of us who woke up early enough grabbed a quick breakfast and tried to leave at 7 for the English service at Pastor Joel's church at 7:30. We wore our Indian outfits. Worship was already going on when we got there and as two weeks ago, only a handful of worshippers were there. Tim preached about the resurrected life. At 8:30, the Tamil service started. At about 9:45, we sang "If This Is Not a Place" and Tim preached on Gal. 2:20-21 about living a crucified life so Christ can live through us. At the close of the service, we had a chance to pray for their members (close to 200 were there today). Each of us prayed for at least a dozen people: men, women, and children, listening to what God was directing us to pray. Many did specifically ask for prayer for their family, some for specific pain and illness. We ate lunch at Pastor Joel's downstairs from the church, then returned to our hotel and rested for an hour before our last group devotions.

After devotions, we all got on the bus at 3:45 to take Allison, Terry and Calida to the airport as they are leaving tonight; Calida to Hong Kong leaving after midnight, and the Kuo's to Japan via Delhi to meet the rest of their family and vacation. The rest of us returned to Pastor Joel's church. Because his whole family has been sick all week, the outreach originally planned for tonight was cancelled but the youth still had a fellowship service at church, so we joined them, sang three songs, did the Heart Skit, and Eric shared. Their youth also did a skit about prayer, we watched a segment of the movie War Games, and Tim spoke from Jeremiah 29:11-13. We ate dinner - a delicious non-spicy beef stew over rice which they said was tasteless, returned to the hotel to rest and get ready to leave early Monday morning.

New Indian outfits


Monday, July 25
– We loaded up the bus with all 13 of us plus Tim and Kloe and left the hotel at 6:35, just 5 minutes after our planned departure and due to light morning traffic, arrived at the airport at 7:30. We said good bye to Tim and Kloe who are staying here another day before they leave for Korea and not returning to LA until Sunday. We had no problems clearing security, getting our boarding passes and got to the gate waiting to board by 9:30, an hour before our scheduled de-parture to Dubai. We ate the fruit and breakfast the hotel packed for us while we waited. The airport is new, beautiful, and clean. One would never know they are in India sitting here. We arrived in Dubai about 12:30 PM local time. By the time we cleared security again, boarded the train, etc. to get to our departing gate, it was 1:30, about 45 minutes before boarding time and over an hour before departure time. We left the gate a few minutes late and arrived in LA at 8:15 PM, about 15 minutes late, got through immigration, found all our luggage and got to meet up with all the welcoming families at 9:30. Praise the Lord for journey mercies. Calida is back in Hong Kong and Terry and Allison arrived in Japan just about the same time as their parents and Samantha landed from the U.S. to vacation with their family.

Leaving Bangalore

Epilogue – After returning home and having Home Concert on Aug. 20 as well as having a few weeks to reflect and receive news of what is happening in India, we are so grateful to God for some unex-pected fruit, a peek as it were into some deeper work God is doing that we are so privileged to share.

  • Orphans at Knoble Academy Institute (KAI) in Bangalore - There seems to be some profound changes in the lives of many of these children. They keep singing the VBS songs they learned and playing some of the games from VBS, but modified their own way, actually contextualized into their Indian style. They had a good Indian Independence Day celebration on Aug. 15.
  • Impact on the fifth grade class at Peniel School - Even though we did no direct evangelism with the forty plus children at the school in Madurai, many of the parents are asking when Vi-sion will be back, because they said they see their children change so much just from the four days of VBS we had with them.
  • Prayer and fasting at Pastor Joel's church in Bangalore - Instead of a mid week prayer meet-ing, the Full Gospel, Christ the Light Church has set aside a day of fasting and prayer every Friday. Prior to our coming and spending two Sunday's with them, they used to get one or two members come to pray for a short time. The two weeks after we left, Pastor Joel reports that forty to fifty members are coming to the prayer meeting on Friday. Some even took leave from their work to fast and pray all day. Others would return after work to join to pray. We are not sure what caused the change, but some attribute it to Vision's tireless service with no com-plaint as an example while serving at the church. But whatever it is, to God be the glory.
  • Hindu neighbor interference - As reported on July 10, there was loud music blaring from Pastor Joel's neighbor across the street every time Sunday service was going on. This music stopped the second time we were at the church on July 24, and apparently has not been heard since we left. Instead, FGCLC is praying for God to touch this neighbor and something seems to be happening.
  • Pastor Joel's church has put together an evangelism team. Once a month they will do street evangelism with their youth. They have been practicing some Vision team skits and they want to copy Vision style of program, and will be doing their first program on Aug. 27. Tim Kim will be attending the program and will keep us updated. They were very challenged and they want to do more evangelism to share the gospel.
  • Paulus has put together a team to visit the CSI Nursing School to follow up with the work that was started. Students from the Lady Doaks College are joining the team to visit different schools for evangelism. Some students from the college choir has expressed interest to join