A group of a dozen local folks will be visiting India in February.
They will be traveling the almost 9,000 miles to visit and spend time with the children at the Mary Diana Samuel Children’s Home in Polivakkam, Thiruvallur, India. It was founded by Dr. Aaron Samuel, a retired local vascular surgeon, and his wife, Nalini, in memory of his daughter who was tragically killed in a car accident. The orphanage is named after her and her memory and her desire to help other children.
“We’re going on this trip to interact with the children and become more familiar with the operations of the orphanage,” said Bill Adams, chairman of the board of the orphanage and a member of Tyner United Methodist Church in Chattanooga. The group will preach the word of God, and help teach and read to the children, as well as bring Bibles and some other needed items as well. “And we’ll also do some repair work — painting and general housekeeping.”
After going on the first of such mission trips last year, initially organized by the Rev. Dr. Robert Haskins of First United Methodist Church in Cleveland, Adams said his heart was touched so deeply by the children.
“The orphanage is doing such a fantastic job for the kids,” Adams said. A dedication and passion were lit for Adams and he wants to see this success continue. “And to do service for the Lord and the ministry through the orphanage and the children.”
Around 60 children, mostly young girls, currently live at the orphanage. It takes $65 a month to feed, house, clothe and educate one child at the orphanage.
“If we could get 100 churches to commit to $1,000 a year, the orphanage would be in top condition,” Adams said.
Both Samuel and Adams hope to see two mission trips a year from the Cleveland area, but also expand these mission trips to include groups from Knoxville and Chattanooga. In addition to working in the classrooms and visiting with the children, the group plans to visit one of the largest international ashrams in the town of Pondicherry, as well as having special permission to visit a Hindu temple. They will also visit Scots Kirk Church, where some members of the group will conduct a service and also lead the group in song. Another day, they also will visit the Assembly of God Church close to the orphanage.
“This trip helps to spread the word of God,” Samuel said. Samuel said he would like others to know three things about these mission trips: There is a great need for people to become involved with these “unwanted” girls in India; these travelers are going to India for their own growth in the Christian faith; and this is, above all, the work of Christ. “This is just the beginning,” he said.
If anyone wants to help, donations can be sent to: The Mary Diana Samuel Trust, 3178 Chestnut Circle, Cleveland, TN 37342.
For more information about helping the orphanage or going on one of these mission trips, call Samuel at 339-3524 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call Adams at 280-4930 or e-mail him at email@example.com.