Featured Student: Monika

Monika is a responsible, self-directed ninth grade student.  Though small in stature, Monika has taken upon herself the big job of teaching weekend classes in values, songs, and stories to the younger Pathway students.  Also gifted in music, Monika learned to play the piano so she can accompany group singing.  A serious young lady, Monika’s favorite subject is English and she would like to continue her studies and possibly become a teacher.  Her older sister graduated from Pathway and is now in the 11th grade and her brother, Naresh, is currently a 6th grade student at Pathway.

Video-Pal Program

My name is Sophia Cohen, and I live near Miami, Florida. Every other Friday night, I stay up until 10:30 PM eastern time and await a Skype call from Chennai, India, where it is 9:00 AM. When I answer this call, I talk to students at Pathway who are eager to increase their conversational English skills.

I am a junior in high school, and it is common in my school to do volunteer work. Many of my classmates volunteer at races or help out teachers, but I wanted to do something internationally. I heard about Pathway from Bryan University and explored the Pathway website. After learning about the school and the great things it is doing, I realized that I wanted to work with the Anchorstudents in some way.

I started working on a project I called the “Video-Pal Program” in October. Using technology (Skype), I am able to talk with students around the school as if I were sitting with them in the same room. My first night, I was impressed at the way the students answered my questions, and how clearly they were able to speak. I asked them simple questions, such as what their favorite color was, or what their favorite food was. They in return asked me questions about American life, and I showed them different aspects of my culture, such as my lacrosse stick (an American sport I play), and my pet dogs. The program has grown; the students now sing songs to me, and sometimes I show them music videos. I have begun to read them picture books.

My favorite part about these sessions is seeing the confidence in these students grow every time they answer a question. During these sessions, I learn that, despite being 9000 miles away from each other, we are very similar. We sing the same songs, and watch the same movies. It does not come as a surprise to me that the students love the movie Frozen, which is very popular in the United States. In these sessions, not only have the children learned about my culture, but I have learned about theirs.

It really is a small world after all, and with the use of technology, we can learn from each other to make our world a better place. All in all, I hope to further expand the program and one day come to visit Pathway and my new friends.

Sophia Cohen

Christmas at Pathway

Pathway celebrated Christmas with heart-filled prayer and great fervour. It was a double bonanza — with two celebrations, one at the Farm and the other at Chennai. As one guest quipped, “It is getting bigger and better each year!” The Pamela Martinez School and the Sabin Centre joined in a grand pageant. The buildings, trees and paths were decked out with twinkling lights, adding to the festivity. There was excitement and joy on the faces of hundreds of children dressed in colourful attire specially gifted to them to celebrate the Christmas season.

The students from Pamela Martinez School presented a beautiful programme that included hymns, choir singing, skits and dramas based on the scriptures. One bright and beautiful feature was the traditional Indian Bharthanatyam dances by children adorned in colorful dresses, singing and dancing. (The backdrop scene on the stage was painted by two young lads, David and G.Pandian.  The boys were congratulated and received special prizes, as their great talent was recognized and encouraged.)

Plays included, “Have You Seen Christmas?” “A Different Kind of Baby,” “Christmas Bell,” and “Deck the Hall.”  The event attracted hundreds of children, parents and invitees. The evening ended with the bestowing gifts to all the children and staff and with a sumptuous dinner, generously provided by our good Judge Sheffield.  Loving messages were received from friends and supporters, including Pamela and Alex Martinez from the U.S., a video from Jean Luc, Carole and BJ Butel from Beirut.  Prasad welcomed the gathering and briefly described the birth and atonement of our Saviour. Chandra Prasad and Sudha Subramaniam conveyed their loving message.

By the miracle of modern technology special messages and blessings were received via Skype from Leeds, England, with our beloved Judge William Sheffield (“Grandpa” to all the children)  giving a wonderful message. The children sang “O Come All Ye Faithful” and wished Judge a Merry Christmas. Our wonderful supporter Gary Sabin from San Diego spoke eloquently about his daughter Jennifer and the deadly disease, cystic fibrosis, that had threatened her life. He explained that she was the  recipient of a double-lung transplant from living donors, from two true friends,  and that her story is a chronicle of courage, faith, and love. Gary Sabin said that we all need each other and we need to give ourselves in love and service. He conveyed his great love and greetings for Christmas.  Everyone assembled sang “Silent Night” and conveyed their love and gratitude.  Dr. David Bryce from Marriott School, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, spoke about his youngest son Joseph, a boy with special needs, saying he was really grateful for the gift of this loving, affectionate and sensitive child.  He recalled his daughter Anna’s visit to Pathway some time ago and conveyed continued support and love.  Everyone sang hymns with devotion and conveyed their love to Anna.

From the Directors

As we welcome the New Year, we are indeed grateful for the many blessings we have received this past year. Of course we had our share of challenges too, but it is heartening to know that we have been blessed with courage, strength, and above all with mercy by God to overcome these trials.

We are delighted to celebrate the second anniversary of this newsletter, “In His Footsteps.” As members of the editorial board, we earnestly hope that you enjoy reading the newsletter. We would be happy to send our mailings to any of your friends and associates who may wish to be informed, if you could provide us with names and addresses.

We pray for God’s blessings and mercy on each one of us. At Pathway we look forward to the upcoming year with renewed zeal, expectation, and optimism. We plan to intensify our efforts and serve more of His children. It is also our desire to magnify our endeavor to serve many more “poorest of the poor” through our outreach program in remote villages. We believe that every child is special and has been especially sent to us to be served. At this marvelous time we convey our continued gratitude to all our partners and benefactors and pray for their continued love, munificence, and association.

Prasad, Chandra Prasad, Sudha Subramaniam