Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Here in Punjab, it is not uncommon to lose power.  It may be a scheduled power cut, or unscheduled.  Personally, I like the scheduled power cuts.  At least, you can plan ahead, and know how long you will be in the dark.  The last month or so we have been getting power cuts up to 8 hours a day.  Usually, it is one or two hours at a time.  Thankfully, we have a battery back up that will run a couple lights and fans, but it will not run any high voltage appliances, like the fridge or washing machine.  Last Thursday, during our weekly prayer meeting, the lights went out for 2 hours (our meetings are long) and the battery eventually failed.  So, we listened to the end of the message by candlelight, and the light from cell phones!
India is still a Third world country, even though politicians try to convince the world that they are not.  The infrastructure is sadly lacking.  So, at 2am Monday morning, when the power went off, we were not surprised.  But...it didn't come back on...the morning water supply comes between 4am and 9am, but without power, there is no water supply.  So, Monday morning came and went, with no clothes washed.  No clothes washed on Monday!  To wash clothes anyway, I have to have light on and water on at the same time, which doesn't always happen. We have a tank that stores water, which is on the roof, but without a morning water supply, we have to be conservative in our water usage, until the next supply in the evening.
A scene from the Delhi metro station..Monday morning rush hour and no trains running.

Waiting at the train station...This is a common sight here.  There are no facilities to speak of in train stations, so if people have to wait for long periods of time, they usually curl up on the ground.  When we are stuck in a train station, we usually find a corner, and use our luggage as makeshift furniture!
We heard that the entire northern sector of India was in blackout, because of some fault in the system. The power was off for 9 hours.  The blackout affected much of North India.  It came in the paper today that this was an unprecedented occurrence, that would surely not happen again.  I am writing this in the dark with the fan off, using battery power.  The light went out again today at 2:00pm.  It is almost 5:00pm now...no light.  I just saw the news, that this is an even more widespread blackout than the first one, affecting 19 states.  ...unprecedented occurrence...hmmmm.  You can read about today's blackout (which is still going on as I write) in this article.  Blackout story

Friday, July 27, 2012

Starting School

Yes, it is that time of year again!  For the Pratt family anyway, time to start a new school year.  Here on our field we homeschool our children.  This is not only because we don't approve of the Indian school system (which we don't), but it is a conviction for us, that we, as parents, are responsible for the training and education of the children God has given us.  Even if we lived in the US, we would be homeschooling.
Ready for the first day of school!

 The school year, here in India, runs from July to April, so we follow the same schedule.  We usually like to start the first full week of July, but because of finances our order was a little late, and then we had to wait for it to ship here from the US.  The last box of books arrived on the 23rd of July, and we started school on the 25th.  I'll throw in a few days of extra work here and there, so that we can still finish by April.
I have found that it works best for us to have a moderately strict schedule for homeschooling.  If you would visit our house on any given day, you would see the many people who come and go, and the number of activities that are always going on.  In the first couple years of homeschooling, it was easy to let school get pushed to the back burner.  I soon realized that this would not work for us.  So I started a schedule for school, that we only deviate from as needed.  Things work out a lot better that way...i.e.  less stress for Mom, and less time playing catch up for the kids! 
We start school between 8:00am and 8:30am in the morning, after devotions, morning chores, and breakfast.
We have a break at around 10:00, and they usually finish up by 12:30.  This year Alyssa is in 8th, Naomi in 7th Melody in 5th, and Ethan in 3rd.  The girls all use Abeka video school, which has worked out pretty well for our family.  They watch the video teacher give the lesson, then I help them with the book work.  I also give and grade quizzes and tests.  Since, we don't have access to good libraries, and not many resources, it has been helpful to stick with one curriculum instead of trying to mix-and-match. 
Since we don't have any extra rooms to make an actual "school room", the kids are kind of scattered throughout the house, wherever we can make room for a desk. :-)
Ethan is still taught by Mom..and doesn't he look happy about it!  I, personally, don't like to put the kids on video until they are in older grades.  I think it is more beneficial for them to have one on one time as much as possible, until they are firmly established in their reading, writing, and math skills.  Ethan's school work usually takes us about 2 hours a day.  He will probably start on videos next year. 
People here think it very strange that we don't send our kids to school.  Being foreigners, they expect us to pay big money to enroll them in a good private school.  Homeschooling is unheard of here, so we usually just get down to the basic facts:  We get curriculum from the US, and Mom's the teacher!
For those of you wondering about "extra-curricular" activities...they also take piano lessons, the older 2 have started flute and guitar, and they take language lessons. Right now they are working on Punjabi.  They all have already learned to read and write in Hindi.  As for socialization...I guess that's a topic for another post! Better yet, come visit me!  If you can make your way through the crowd of kids, teens, and adults that are daily in and out of my house..we'll have a long conversation about socialization! 
So..there you have it..Pratt International Christian Academy is open for the 2012-2013 school year.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!

My parents: Reggie and Valerie Billings
Taking this golden opportunity (since I can), to send a big Happy Birthday to my Mom!  You know I wish I could be there, and bake you a big cake, or take you out to the Olive Garden!  Maybe we would watch a sappy movie, or make a quick trip to the Free Store. (Is that still open?)  I want you (and all those reading this) to know that I realize the sacrifice that you and Dad are making, to have us live on the mission field.  It is a sacrifice and heartache for you, but you have only always supported us and helped us in any way that you can.  How would we ever survive over here without all the packages from Grammie?  How would we survive on furlough without your spare room and living room to crash in? (out in the middle of nowhere BTW)   I could list a thousand ways that you have helped and encouraged us.  You are an awesome Mom and Grandmother.  I love you and miss you every day!  I hope you have a great day on your birthday, because no one deserves it more. 
(OK...better go grab the tissue box now!;-))

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A few prayer requets...

We see and hear of many heartbreaking things, here on our field.  A lady started visiting our church a few months ago.  Her main reason for coming the first time was to ask for prayer for her son.  Her son, 10 or 11 years old, is missing.  They assume he was kidnapped, but there is no trace of him.  Because of their position in society, they won't get any help from the police either.  That's just a fact of life here.   Kidnapping and child trafficking is very common, especially among the poor.  Last week this same lady's 5-year old son drank water from a public well in their village in the morning, he immediately became very sick, and tragically died by that night.  The lady and her two younger daughters were also very critical, because of drinking the same water.  Please pray for this family, that they will learn of the love of Christ, through these tragedies.
Brian was visiting in the college near our home here, last Wednesday, and met a young man named Dhananjay.  He was able to share the Gospel with him, and one student who attends our church loaned him a Bible to read.  He was in church on Sunday, and last night came to our weekly Bible class.  He had a list of questions that he had written down, while reading the Bible.  Brian was able to share the Gospel with him again, and begin answering some of his questions.  Before he left, Brian gave him a Bible.  With tears in his eyes, he said,  "I've been wanting one of these since last week, how did you know?"  Pray for Dhananjay to be saved.  He is from a Hindu background.
On a personal note...we usually begin school the beginning of July.  Because of some financial issues, we were a little late in placing our curriculum order this year, so the girls still have not started.  All of Ethan's books arrived, so I started with him last week.  (BTW...homeschooling only one child...what a breeze! LOL)  The last box of books has been shipped, but has not arrived yet.  Please pray that it will come soon! 
   Thanks for taking the time to pray for us!

Youth Meeting!

The new school year here in Punjab begins in July.  Most schools delayed about a week this year, because of the intense heat wave.  Schools also are open 6 days a weeks here (not the Pratt school!), but the second Saturday of the month is always a holiday.  So, the second Saturday in July we had a "Back-to-school" youth meeting.
We had the meeting at our house.  There were 31 youth that showed up!  There were 6 visitors, a few of our college students, and most of the youth who attend or regularly visit our church.  We were excited to see so many come out.
They heard 3 messages from God's Word, played some games, and had lunch.
Alyssa (standing on the right, in red) ended up being the champion of this game...who knew?
Q-tip war
Open up!
Now for some lunch...
The boy on the left is unsaved and visited a youth meeting for the first time

Sunil (left) is saved, but is succumbing to the pull of the world.  Pray for him to take a stand for Christ.

Pootil (left) raised her hand for salvation, but would not come forward to talk to anyone later.  Pray that the Lord continues to work on her heart.  Her brother has made a profession of faith, but their parents are strict Hindus.

 We have a great burden for our young people.  The pull of the world is very strong.  Many have unsaved parents.  Even those parents who are believers, many are more concerned about the studies, or a good job for their children, than they are about their spiritual life.  Pray that the Lord will draw them and give them strength to stand for His name. 

Friday, July 6, 2012


"Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary." Psalm 68:9
We have been broiling here under an intense heat wave in the Punjab.  The temperature has reached 100, every day for over 2 months.  Some days it went as high as 115!  All of us were weary of the intense heat, and have been looking and praying for rain.  Finally...finally...yesterday some dark clouds rolled in.
I took these pictures from the roof of our house

After so many weeks of scorching heat...we felt a cool breeze.....
"Feel the wind, Mom!"

Then....the rain came!
The children ran out to play, and many of our neighbors were on their roofs, or in their front yards enjoying the rain.
It rained for about 1/2 an hour, and the temperature actually dipped below 90.  Today, it rained harder and longer and the temperature got down to 85! 
Thank you, Lord, for sending the rain, and refreshing us, when we were weary!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Celebrating the 4th

We may be living in this "strange" country, but we love to remember and celebrate our American holidays.  We were not able to see any fireworks on the 4th, but we had a great day!  We had a BBQ with friends, celebrated Kara's birthday, sang some patriotic songs, and ended the day watching "This is the Army" starring Ronald Reagan. 
We started the day with some patriotic scones!

About a year ago, Brian found a small gas grill here, so we enjoy grilling out once in a while.  The small grill is charcoal.
God bless Pastor Dubish and Ethan for venturing into the meat market.  They emerged after about 1/2 hour smelling of dead fish, and carrying a bag with 3 kg of nice pork chops!  A rare find...soooo good!

We also celebrated Kara's birthday on the 4th, since Brian and 3 of the kids were in Mumbai on the 2nd.
Kara with her birthday cake
The inside of the cake

Happy Birthday America!  Hope everyone had a wonderful day, no matter where in the world you spent this American holiday!

Monday, July 2, 2012

3 years ago...

July 2, 2009

After a long day, and a longer night hooked up to monitors, and watching our baby's heart rate shoot up, and then drop...Kara Elizabeth was born by emergency c-section on July 2, 2009 in Punjab, India.  An internationally certified neonatologist had just joined the hospital staff a month before her birth, and was in the operating room to check her over immediately.  She was perfectly healthy.  Thank you Lord for our beautiful baby!
July 2, 2012
Thank you Lord for our beautiful girl!  Happy Birthday Kara!