"So here I am today, eighty five years old! I am still as strong today…I am just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then ” Joshua 14:10 -11.
These are the words of Caleb – a man who refused to allow age to dim either his passion for God or his willingness to stand in the forefront of battle. Thousands of years later, a growing band of disciples (60 years and above) are gaining a new identity. Not just Senior Citizens, they are now Caleb's Group.
In Chennai, for the very first time last year, our beloved older Uncles and Aunties were taken for an outing. There were initial fears when the idea was first put forward. Getting together the elderly and spending a night out seemed daunting at first but it ultimately turned out to be an outstanding success. So this year on November 24 th it was time once again for this stout-hearted group to board the bus and head to Scripture Union for a Retreat. Brother Dilli Babu and his wife Preethi, who organized the event, gave us a report of what happened there.
The bus started from Ambattur picking up a few of the Calebs enroute to St Georges. At 5 p.m., after a word of prayer, the group of 29 uncles and aunts (along with 3 volunteers) started for Scripture Union. Though the weather had been unusually cold in Chennai, it was heartwarming to see them cheerful as they reminisced about the last trip and talked about health and family. Some even took time to read their bibles while traveling.
We reached SU by 7:15 tat night and sat down to dinner after freshening up. Later, it was Introduction time as each Caleb introduced him/herself. Soon everyone knew how long the others had been disciples and which of their family members were in the church. The ice thus broken, these brothers and sisters throw themselves into the spirit of things by sportingly playing games. It was inspiring to see some of them came forward to not only sing but to dance as well! No surprise then that it was 10:30pm before everyone went to bed. What made things extra special was that we had Uncle Karunanidhi and his wife Chithrakala from the Trichy Church as Guests of Honour.
The morning found most of them singing, praying and reading their bibles in groups. Breakfast done, it was time for the Sunday Worship Service to start at 9:30am. It was a Caleb's Worship Service through and through. Uncle Magimairaj (85yrs) and his wife Queenie (71yrs) prayed at the very beginning of the Service after which Uncle Albert (76) led the congregation in Communion. Finally, Uncle Karunanidhi stood up to preach from the Word of God.
At 11.15 the second session began. Ten Calebs came forward to share about miracles which God wrought in their lives. They were also very grateful to the Church. Immediately after this, we prayed in groups of three for different needs of the Church. We also have some photographs from this time together.
After having lunch we left Scripture Union at 2:30pm and went to Mahabalipuram which is quite close to where we stayed. Being parents and grandparents, no one could resist buying a little something for children and grandchildren back home. The time together was drawing to a close and so we started from there at 3:30pm and reached the city at 5:30pm. Every one was very grateful to the Church. They shared that this trip made them feel very young and energetic and also encouraged in their hearts.
We definitely miss some of the Calebs who passed away this year – Aunt Kantha, Aunt Jane, Aunt Rani and Uncle Jacob. Please do keep all the Calebs in your prayers, brothers and sisters. They greatly need our love and our prayers.
Special mention is made of the 3 volunteers (Sugi, Laxmi and Antony ) who were willing to take leave from their regular job to come and help the Calebs. We truly appreciate their hearts. Dilli and Preethi are very grateful to God and feel that it is a great privilege for have spent time with these amazing Uncles and Aunties. They feel that they have learnt from the Calebs how to be giving and how to remain faithful to Christ in all circumstances.