Ann Edmunds writes:

Links International have a longstanding partnership with Sanga and Nimri Miller. They are the founders of New Life Ministries (NLM) and Sanga is the Pastor of City Church, Shillong (Meghalaya).

NLM extend their relationships and ministry beyond the city and one connection has been made into the small rural village of Langkarcha (Assam) - about a 5-hour drive, north-west of Shillong. The population are of the Sakachep tribe, one of the smallest ethnic groups in Northeast India. There is no school or trading place. The nearest clinic is about 2 hours away and the nearest hospital around 3 hours away. Farming is their only means of subsistence and this visit coincided with the planting season, before the monsoon rains arrive. 

Links had been invited to give an introduction to the SHINE Community Healthcare (CHC) programme. We had only one day in which to do this, as the villagers needed to be working on their land. Nevertheless, thirty-six people attended the day. We started with singing and prayer and hearing something of the joys and celebrations, the challenges and disappointments of life in Langkarcha, over the past year. We performed a drama illustrating a snapshot of life in the village and used this as a starting point for discussion around hygiene and sanitation practices. Finally, there was a handwashing demonstration and then a number of people went on to take part in this for themselves.

Time went by quickly and all too soon the day had to come to an end. Progress was slow, mainly due to the fact that the majority are uneducated and also do not speak English. You’d be forgiven if you thought that surely very little could have been achieved - as this thought crossed my mind too. However, during the day, it became evident that asking the people to share something about their lives with people from outside, and having an opportunity to discuss things together, was very new for them but had a positive impact. They enjoyed the drama and a lot of valuable feedback arose from their discussions, as well as opportunity to draw out their own answers. It was good to end the day having taught them a skill and getting them involved in doing this for themselves.

This village is visited on a regular basis by members of the NLM team, so we hope to receive some realistic feedback about the training day from the people who attended, and discover whether there would be a desire for further input.

We stayed in Langkarcha for two nights and, on both evenings, there were church gatherings at which Joe and John spoke and ministered. We headed back to Shillong for the remaining days where Joe and John spoke and ministered at various other church gatherings over the weekend. In between all of this we shared time with Sanga and Nimri, catching up on various projects that have been funded through Links donors and hearing of future community development plans. It was a privilege to meet Sanga and Nimri and to see the amazing things God is doing in them and through their ministry.