Spring 2018 Newsletter
Since we last wrote to you, Tim Martindale, who has been a trustee of Anglo-Indian Concern since it started and Lettie Kearney, have both visited The Vine Charitable Trust. Their reflections are included in this newsletter.
Tim wrote: ‘My overriding impression of VCT was that it is doing a fantastic job in support of some of the poorest and most vulnerable in the community. I hadn’t appreciated, until this visit, the holistic support that VCT gives. The money given is just the tip of the iceberg. Grace and John informed me that VCT is currently supporting 200 people in 160 families financially although they are not just clients but part of the VCT family. I looked at some of the case files at the office, which recorded visits to the clients. John and Grace knew exactly what was happening in the lives of the clients we saw, which was encouraging and inspiring.’
During his time there, Tim also visited several clients in their homes, including the family in the photo (right), whose two boys VCT has been helping with their education for the past 8 years.
Tim also met with the VCT trustees who again underlined the difficulty in recruiting new trustees. This is due to the new law which asks for disclosure of all financial assets, for them and their families. At present it seems that appointing younger people and training them in the responsibilities of the job, is the best way forward. The present trustees are currently happy to continue their work, as custodians of God’s work. AIC’s financial situation was also discussed and VCT are aware that at present AIC is running at a small deficit. Discussions were held surrounding how to raise funds within India. In particular, how better to involve past and future students in this process.
17 college students have been helped over the past year, four of whom will soon graduate, which is a great encouragement to all. Many of these students started out with VCT while they were still at school and then stayed with us to finish their education. Here are some current stories of young people we are supporting.
Priscilla* is 17 years old and attends St Mary’s Girls School. Her mother is Anglo-Indian and only studied to 10th standard; she works at a nursery school for a very small salary. Her Tamil father was a chronic alcoholic and died of TB in 2007. Priscilla’s elder brother failed his 12th standard and now roams around with ‘bad friends’, contributing nothing to the home. Priscilla is a hard working girl and despite the difficulties which surround her, did well in the 10th standard exams. She hopes to be able to finish school and then be the first person in her family to go to university. Her mother is very grateful to VCT for the support with
fees and food VCT gives, which make it possible for to continue to study.
Christine* is 15 and like Pricilla, is carrying the hopes of her family on her shoulders. When the family came to us in 2014, the father had lost his savings and was only employed doing odd jobs, while her mother’s diabetes prevented her from working. She has two older brothers, one of whom left home and doesn’t contribute to the family, the other dropped out of school at 15 and earns very little. Christine’s father now has a steady job as a security officer, but they still need help to keep Christine in school. Christine wants to do well and be able to bring money in for the family in the future. She sees that she has been given a wonderful opportunity and doesn’t want to waste it.
Lastly, meet Susan* (11) and Benjamin* (9). Their father dropped out of school at 4th standard and has had some health problems which have held him back in life, although he now has a security job. The mother left home for a number of years but has recently returned. We first met this family through the grandmother who receives a small allowance from VCT for her upkeep and who for many years lived and cared for the children as if they were her own. They live in a small two-roomed house on the second floor, with a cement sheeting roof which make it unbearably hot in the summer. The children are now in 6th and 4th standard respectively and making progress.
Each of these children is able to stay in school because of the support given by VCT. The children and their parents are grateful for the support they get, particularly in the light of a new 18% tax recently applied to school fees, bus fares and some foods, which increasingly puts pressure on lower income families. We in turn, are very grateful to you for all the support you give AIC, which allows these children to flourish and grow in their skills and knowledge, in the hope that one day they will be able to bring self-sufficiency to their families.
For many years a charity called Calcutta Tiljallah Relief (CTR) has been providing allowances given by VCT to about 65 older people, through a branch of their charity in Perth, Western Australia. That branch has now decided to close after many years of good work. We would like to take the opportunity to offer our thanks to them for their commitment to VCT’s work, which has provided support and brought hope to so many people. Blair Williams, the CEO, assures us that CTR will be able to continue the support they give to VCT in the future, for which we are also very grateful.
While Lettie was in Chennai, the annual outing to the seaside took place. During the gathering at the end, one of the older people we have been supporting for many years and whose grandchildren are supported in school by VCT bravely stood up and testified that in the last year she had committed her life to Jesus Christ as her Saviour. The VCT found this spontaneous declaration of faith very encouraging.
PEOPLE OF THE WAY FELLOWSHIP
Lettie was in Chennai for the whole of February and shares this testimony: ‘On my very first Sunday the Lord did an amazing thing. After the morning service, I was asked by Pastor David and his wife Grace to pray for a young mother from a Hindu background who had been in deep depression, with suicidal thoughts, for 7 months. I prayed for her and the next Sunday she came to church with a huge grin on her face. God had done a miracle and had set her completely free from her depression!’
The construction of the new church building in
Erunkancherri as seen in the picture with David and Grace, is currently on hold. The foundations are laid, and they are currently fundraising for the next stage. A group of people continue to meet on a terrace (flat roof) just across the road from the site and this work is flourishing. The fellowship continue to trust the Lord to supply their need and are very grateful to those who have recently sent gifts.
Lettie was there to celebrate the 21st Birthday of David and Grace’s daughter Abigail who is nearing the end of the academic part of her dentistry degree. She has excelled in her studies and from September she will do a practical year at the college. David rejoices, as his 88 year old mother was baptised in March.
We would value prayer for the Vine Charitable Trust; that more trustees might be found soon, that Grace and John will know the Lord’s wisdom and that more
of those we serve will come to personal faith in Jesus Christ. Thank you for reading this letter; the work could not continue without your support and prayer.
With love from
Rachel Thurley and Lettie Kearney
*Names have been changed