Nagercoil already in the rear-view mirror
by John Murray
It’s hard to believe that our trip to Nagercoil is already in the rear-view mirror and as I write we’re sitting in a Jet Airways plane getting ready to depart for Mumbai. Permit me to share a few observations about this wonderful area.
The topography in the area is not at all what I expected. There are rugged mountains with rich green hillsides and valleys dotted with wind farms. And there are banana plantations and rice fields everywhere. About 20 kms from Nagercoil is Kanyakumari (Cape of Comonin) where the Indian and Arabian Seas meet the Bay of Bengal - it's 'Land's End'. The traffic in the city is best described as organised chaos as tuk-tuks (little yellow three-wheeled taxis) criss-cross the streets dodging cars, trucks and motorcycles and the air is filled with the ever-present sounds of vehicle horns.
The Salvation Army has a strong presence in the India South Eastern Territory. I was impressed with the sincerity of the people I met and some of them minister in very challenging circumstances. I enjoyed meeting colleague officers at territorial headquarters where I shared devotions and met the staff. We also visited a local divisional headquarters and several corps in the region.
A highlight of our visit was the time spent at the Catherine Booth Memorial Hospital, which opened in 1894. It is the oldest Salvation Army healthcare facility in the world. We spent several hours on site filming and interviewing staff, officers and student nurses. The hospital is home to a School and College of Nursing with the programmes offering diploma and degree courses. The hospital is also preparing for a significant rebuild and retrofit, which is being coordinated in partnership with IHQ Health Services. It was good to see the property and learn first-hand about the plans from the executive director.
The Community Development and Health Services programmes is impressive having established 350 self help support groups in communities across the region. We attended a meeting late Tuesday afternoon and found more than 25 women in attendance. We also interviewed a women living with HIV who is supported by the community health initiative. These are exciting and important ministries reaching deep into the heart of communities. The programmes offer support, hope and teaching which helps to strengthen families and communities.
So now, we’re on to Mumbai. We’re excited to see the bustling financial capital of India and The Salvation Army’s ministry.
Thanks for reading and for your prayerful support.
With every blessing,
JohnTags: India, South Western