Stortrum is a greeting used by many Christians in Kerala. It roughly translates as "Hallelujah". It is one of the few Malayalam words that I know.
Another word that I have picked up is "praktika" which means "prayer". Not a very useful word, you might think. But if you do think that, you would be wrong: prayer is an integral part of daily life here in India, far more than in the UK. I have prayed for more people in the last four days here than in the whole of last year in the UK. Everyone wants prayer - Christian, Hindu, Muslim or any of the other religions all appreciate it, and indeed ask for it. In church, in houses, in the restaurant, on the street, wherever we happen to be. India is a great place to be.
We have just had a great visit to Thanal house, our home for destitute women. They have completely transformed their dining area - it is now a bright and airy hall with a nice tiled floor that should be easy to keep clean. Outside was a great pile of tiles for the rest area - the next project, just waiting for the funds for cement and glue to fix the tiles. Originally the money for the tiles was given to Salini to start building a home for her and her family; but they asked the donor if they could buy tiles for the women they look after instead. We were impressed.
The needs are as great as ever. We spent much of Saturday morning distributing medicines to kidney patients. For many of these the future is bleak: after ten years or so their donated kidney has failed, and they are only kept alive by dialysis - twice a week, at 850 Rupees (ten pounds) a time - a day's pay, if not more, for the average Indian - if they are able to find work and are able to do it. We help with the cost, but cannot provide all of it. We have promised two people who were in particular need a cow each - such a gift can transform the life of a family: the milk from one cow is enough to keep a family of four, and even pay for the children's education. Thank you to everyone who makes this possible.