We spent Monday at the Duars Child Development Center, observing the staff, and assisting as much as possible with the programs.  Miracles are happening here - hundreds of children flock each day to the center, as the highlight of their day, because this place is filled with love.  And because of the hundreds of children that hear the gospel here, hundreds of families are hearing the gospel when those children go back to their homes.  Here's a small glimpse of what we've been able to be a part of:

Monday started out with several of the team members being able to go to their sponsored child's home and visit their families!  This was an amazing time of being able to meet them, share love with them, and encourage them.  Children gathered and giggled as we gave the gifts that we had brought for them.  Parents stood tall as they felt the love of these people from around the world.

Andrew and Sarah meeting Sajina's family

As we've written before, the staff here has treated us as honored guests, so we have been recipient of the most amazing Indian feasts for lunch.  One thing is for sure - we have eaten good on this trip!

Next, we began the 3-hour task of preparing dinner for the 350 children that would be coming.  This included cutting up vegetables, peeling boiled eggs, and stirring huge cauldrons on a fire.

The children begin arriving around 2:00 (the program doesn't start until 3:00), all dressed in their center uniforms.  The older children grab water and spread it on the dirt courtyard to help keep the dust down during the day's program.  We got out the frisbees we had brought, and they were an immediate hit with all the children.

The program starts promptly at 3:00, and all the children line up very orderly in straight lines, by age group, each evenly spaced apart.  They say prayers and sing songs together in a large group.

Then, they each split into separate classes, some in "classrooms" (cement-floor rooms, with tin walls and roof), and some on tarps in the dirt courtyard.  Instructors teach them songs (In Bengali or English), reading, writing, drawing, math, and/or geography.  Several team members got to help teach new songs in English!

The last part of the program is dinner.  We had the privilege of serving the children.  We were touched by the hearts with which the older children go through the line with two plates, and go serve the younger children.  When all have been served, only then do the older children eat.  And wow, do they eat!  And eat and eat and eat!  Being that it may be the only meal they get in a day, they eat two - or three - large plates full of rice, vegetables, eggs, a sweet (dessert), and hot milk.

Our faces hurt from smiling.  Our minds spun from a love overdose.  This small, humble center in North-East, rural India, is an amazing place.

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