February 2019 we organised a church trip to Kolkata, India. Fourteen people set off from Heathrow, young and old alike to see some of the great work which BMS and other charitable organisations are doing out there to enhance the lives of some of the poorest people in the world.
We visited, Freeset, which was originally started by some New Zealand missionaries to offer the street workers alternative employment. They have expanded over the years but there are still 1000 women on their waiting list looking for employment.
We spent a day in Serampore where William Carey in the eighteenth century landed in Kolkata with a vision to spread the word of God and therefore bring the light to many other people. He is credited as the founder of the modern missionary society. He was joined by John Ward, as well as Joshua and Hannah Marshman. Together they translated and printed the Bible in many different languages spreading the word of God. We visited the grave of William Carey and his family, toured Serampore College, which he founded and learnt a great deal about William Carey and BMS.
Another day we visited a Leprosy Mission run by the brothers of Mother Teresa, a whole community offering housing, work, banking, farming and a hospital to care for people who have been affected by leprosy. A safe place where people can re build their lives and their self esteem again, and in doing so, can regain their worth and place in society.
We spent a couple of days with GNCEM (Good News Christian Education Mission), a charity set up by a missionary couple Subir and Eunok Roy 20 years ago to help educate the street children of Kolkata. We helped at the schools, we played with the children, we talked with the staff and had an amazing time just having fun. The children then have the opportunity to go on to a girls hostel or a boys hostel for further education.
We visited coffee shops, eating places, tourist attractions, some people had Henna on their hands, others bought saris, sarongs, souvenirs and gifts.
We met some amazing people, some of whom are working tirelessly to enhance the lives of those who have nothing but would like more, and those who are benefiting from this charity work.
Kolkata breathes life, the colours, noise, smells but most of al generous loving people, they have nothing but would give you anything they did have, they certainly ooze love.
We consider ourselves very fortunate that we were able to make this trip and if you would like to experience some of the things we did and saw, look out for the next planned trip.