From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Volunteers to India accomplish goals despite earthquake

Date 07 Feb 2001 10:11:09

Feb. 7, 2001 News media contact: Thomas S. McAnally·(615)742-5470·Nashville,
Tenn.     10-33-71B{060}

NOTE:  This may be used a sidebar to UMNS story #059.

By United Methodist News Service*

Beyond helping in the India earthquake tragedy, four United Methodist
Volunteers In Mission (VIM) team members from Memphis, Tenn., met their
original goals. 
Before the earthquake,  the team visited Methodist Hospital Mathura which
had an antiquated dental chair. Dr. Solomon Christian, president of the
United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, Southeastern Jurisdiction Medical
Fellowship, donated a brand new dental chair on behalf of the fellowship.
Christian coordinates "Dental Clinics for the World," an effort to open at
least one dental clinic or help renovate an existing clinic on each of the
five continents. The clinics will accommodate volunteer dental personnel
from overseas and the sponsoring local body will hire dental personnel to
work in them.
The team also visited United Mission to Nepal in Katmandu to explore the
possibility of sending American volunteers. 
But the main purpose of the trip, according to Christian, was to receive the
"Hind Rattna" award. The Non-Resident Welfare Society of India gives the
award to non-resident Indians. Tennessee Lt. Gov. John Wilder and others
nominated Christian for the award, citing his meritorious service to
Christian received the award in New Delhi Jan. 25.  The next day, the killer
earthquake shook the ground as the team attended the Republic Day Parade.
The final leg of the journey was in Ahmedabad and Antroli, but the
earthquake disrupted the planned schedule. Yet the team visited churches in
Gujarat and participated in the welcoming ceremony at the Antroli Church.
The repair work of Antroli Church was in progress and the team helped with
the needed funding of $3200.  Antroli is a village of farm laborers in an
area where there has been a long-standing drought.  Repair of the church
will depend on outside contributions. At least $1200 more is needed to
complete the project.
Christian said the people of Antroli village were very kind. "They opened
their homes for us to visit and we had a wonderful time with them." 
Team member, the Rev. Everett Porter,  said, "I will never trade my time
with the Indian people, especially with the people of Antroli, for anything
in the world."

# # #
*Information for this story was provided by Dr. Solomon Christian is a
Memphis dentist and active United Methodist who is president of the United
Methodist Volunteers in Mission Southeastern Jurisdiction Medical

United Methodist News Service
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