Albella

Albella Autumn Update

Autumn is now well and truly upon us and the lovely warm September has changed into a damp and grey October but the colours of the trees are amazing.  The monsoon rains in Kalimpong are coming to the end and Heshron will soon be able to make repairs to the secton of banking at Albella that had suffered the landslip. The clear days in Kalimpong are allowing some beautiful views of the Himalaya range and Kanchenjunga . Heshron sent me a photo of one of the older boys taken in the Albella grounds with the Himalaya mountains in the background; a stunning backdrop.

The main road to Siliguri remains partially blocked by landslides and work has commenced to repair the damaged sections. This main supply route to Kalimpong is still affected but Heshron has a plentiful supply of dried foods, and local vegetables are still available in the market. The repair work to the road is a major undertaking as there is so little ground between the mountains and the river ravine. We need to bear the situation in our prayers that the rains will finally stop, allowing the road repair work to progress . Also pray that the peoples in the region will be able to source adequate supplies of food without the need of the six hour diverted road journey to Siliguri. 

Heshron emailed to say that they had almost 20 children who were down with chickenpox & measles and these were all admitted in the Albella Infirmary. Some were severely affected but all are fine now. They had to join all the beds together due to the paucity of space but managed somehow. Right now the Infirmary is empty, so we thank God. Ebi had a busy time attending to the sick children but enjoyed seeing them responding to medicines. Roshan & Samuel (Two of the older boys) were a great help to Ebi.

- Alan Pickett

Albella: May Update

The earthquake in Nepal this week was felt at the Albella Boy's home but thankfully no one was hurt.  This is an excerpt from the latest newsletter:

'Following the large earthquake in Nepal, Heshron has contacted me and let me know that apart from a few very minor cracks in the buildings at Albella no major damage occurred. In Siliguri it is reported that a building has collapsed and in Sikkim there are reports of large landslides. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of the region and we pray that aftershocks will not cause further damage.'

You can read more here.

- Alan Pickett

Albella: Update 6

We took the day off yesterday and went for a trip to a local tea farm and then up the mountain to the local viewpoint. It was a great place for photos and and to see the views. 

On the final morning the clouds cleared completely - they had been obstructing the true view from the school for the entire time and we were able to truly see the INCREDIBLE views! We could see snow capped mountains in the far distance that reached out into China and Nepal! We looked at how we were 'fearfully and wonderfully made' with the boys before some very emotional goodbyes. 

We've all had a fantastic time and are so excited to see what God does next in Albella. Keep them in your prayers and close to your hearts. 

We are now in Kolkata airport and can't wait to see everyone on Sunday!

- Jacob & team

Albella: Update 5

Day five in Albella, was my favourite day yet! We started the day with a lie in, waking up at around half six in the morning. After another fantastic breakfast, we had an amazing time praying with each other and for one another where there was a very tangible sense of God's presence.

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We then went along to the main event of the day, a presentation talent show to say thank you to us for coming to visit. As we entered the room we received a standing ovation from the boys and we were presented with scarves to honour us. Many of the boys sang songs, danced traditional and freestyle dances as well as acting out skits for us. The highlight of the event however was the boys acting out a drama that recreated the journey of the boys coming to Albella from their past lives and how they transition into men. We were all profoundly moved.

After spending time with the boys in the afternoon, we gathered for a church service led by the team. We sang all the songs we had learnt this week together and even learnt a new one. We then blessed the boys and shared with them how they had each touched us this week. Finally Chris shared a message encouraging the boys to continue loving each other and thanking them for teaching us so much about how to live like Jesus.

- Amy & team

Albella: Update 4

We began day four with another prayer session, but this time we prayed and worshipped on the flat roof of one of the buildings. Chris shared the truth that we are all able to be used by God and we need to break the lies that stop us from this. 

Shortly after breakfast, we all took a walk into the town because it was market day in Kalimpong; many of us brought trendy pairs of trousers, scarfs, tea and other goods! We then took a bumpy taxi ride back up the mountain where we are staying.

The afternoon involved an exciting football tournament led by Paul (due to his skills in refereeing!). The tournament was split into two, with the older and younger boys playing separately. Even though the games started slowly with not many goals, it got exciting and ended with a penalty shootout won by the yellow team. To finish, John, Jacob and myself joined the Albella boys and played a long match against some other boys who were hanging around. The 45 minute game ended in the Albella boys winning 2-0 in a downpour of rain; we all had great fun watching and participating in the game! 

- Tom & team

Albella: Update 3

Day three started with a fantastic gift from God in our team worship time. By way of several accounts of some doors, too large to open alone but collectively with the children and team we could move them - then unveiling the light of the Lord breaking through the opening. Combined with the passage from Psalms: "Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in." (‭Psalm‬ ‭24‬:‭7‬ ESV) A blessed start to the day.

A beautiful sunny day enticed a trip into Kalimpong town. The reactions of passers by was an interesting mix as some were clearly not accustomed to tourists - unlike the excited shrieks of "hello" as the school's teachers' van rushed passed us!

Today's sense was hearing. An amalgamation of games including Musical Statues and Indian Whispers kicked the children's work off with a lot of fun. Bigger games saw the opening of the parachute with much excitement following (pictures to evidence) so much so that the older boys couldn't wait to join in later on! 

Taking the opportunity to share his testimony with the older boys Tom stepped out and explained how the love of God changed his life and how the same love was on offer for them. Another evening of games in the sun and delicious dinner has been a superb end to the day. 

- John & team

Albella: Update 2

We'd been hoping to publish updates daily but due to sporadic internet access this plan was thwarted - like the mozzies in our rooms!  

Day one in the big Albella house.  Our day was started with the children singing a Nepali song to us as they waited for class to start, followed by lots of games.

After a night in accommodation (that was far beyond our hopes) we started our day in prayer that we might really connect with the children and help them encounter Jesus.  

A favourite activity was the strawberry lace challenge.  In this game you hang a strawberry lace from your mouth and race to eat it all without using your hands - it's surprisingly tough.  We got Heshron, Alan and Paul to have a go, with Paul coming out on top (even though Heshron had all the student cheering his name at the top of their lungs).  The boys all had a go and much fun was had.

Later in the evening we played volleyball and card games with the older boys before joining in with their Bible study.  They sang some Nepali songs before treating us to some in English which they'd learnt.  Lots of the boys were taking little glances round to excitedly see if we were joining in.  

Day two was all about seeing, and specifically, learning about the Light of the World.  We played lots of light themed games and made lanterns that the children took back with them to their dorms.

Finally in the evening Chris had a wonderful opportunity to share the Gospel with the older boys and we had a fantastic time of worship.  

We would love prayer for continued good health, energy and the strengthening of relationship with the teachers and boys.  

- Jacob & team

Albella: Update 1

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After four airports, three planes, two buses and one night in Mumbai airport we have finally made it to Albella! Our flights all left earlier than scheduled which was great for us and we have watched many, many films. Once we landed in Bagdogra on our final flight we had a crazy journey darting in and out of the typical Indian traffic on our way to the foothills. Once we reached them the exciting part began with us weaving along a narrow mountain pass for two hours - narrowly avoiding the other drivers tearing it past us down the mountain! 

We were made very welcome as we arrived and have just sat down for a desperately needed cup of tea with Heshron (the Principal of Albella) and his wife. 

- Jacob & team

Albella Mission Trip

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Albella Boys Home was started back in the late 1950’s by a missionary couple from England. It is a Christian run home with  local Christian staff that provides a home for 140 resident boys aged between 4 ½ and normally 19 but there are two 23 year old boys doing BA courses. Albella also owns and operates a primary school that provides education for our boys plus over 100 local day scholars from needy families in the area.

Around 20 girls are sponsored as day scholars in Kalimpong schools, these girls are from families whose parent(s) previously suffered from Leprosy and are unable to work. Thankfully leprosy is now a disease of the past in the Darjeeling district.

I am the Administrator for the UK based fund raising charity - Friends of Albella Boys Home Darjeeling (FABHD) and has been involved with the home for over 35 years.

A team us from or connected to FBC, led by me are visiting the home this April to run an after school club for the boys, a football tournament, to assist in the school during lesson time, to run a Sunday service for the boys and to cement the relationship between FBC and ABH. It is also expected that Christopher will make contact with local church leaders in Kalimpong.

This is the first time in the homes existence that a team will have visited! There have been many visits but these have only been by individuals and couples. Heshron, Rahmi and his staff are welcoming our visit.

- Alan Pickett