I think the best way to tackle all of the topics surrounding our new adventure in India is to write short blogs about each one. Since many of you have asked how we first found out about Hebron, I'll start by telling the story.
As you may already know, Ryan's dad was the Field Strategy Coordinator with the Church of the Nazarene in South Asia from 2004-2007. During that time, they met a young women named Stuti. She was the daughter of the district superintendent in Mumbai, and she was one of the first women in India to be ordained with the Church of the Nazarene. Stuti was working in Mumbai with International Justice Mission - rescuing young girls out of prostitution. In order to continue her work with the girls, the Indian government mandated that she be licensed as a social worker. She had done her undergraduate studies in religion, but she really needed to get her master's in social work. Ryan's parents encouraged her to attend Northwest Nazarene University here in Nampa. We met Stuti in January 2007, just after she moved to campus.
One night in early February, Stuti and I (Angie) began talking about India and the work that Stuti had done with IJM. She told me about her former director and his wife, Greg and Mala Malstead, who were currently living in a beautiful town called Ooty. They had started their own organization, Freedom Firm, and were continuing to rescue and rehabilitate girls who had been involved in prostitution.
When I searched the internet to find more information about the work of Freedom Firm, I came across a blog of a family that had recently moved to Ooty to join FF with the Malsteads. Their names were the Parks, and they had just moved with their four children from Nebraska. In that blog was a link to Hebron School, the school in Ooty that both the Malstead and Parks children were attending.
On the Hebron website was a listing of the staff openings for the 2007-08 school year. One of the postings was for a resident expatriate nurse. After looking up what 'expatriate' meant, I figured out that they were looking for a nurse from a western country to come and live on the school campus. As it turns out, Hebron employs three staff nurses - one western and two Indian, to care for their very diverse community of staff and students.
At that time, I knew that we were not ready to leave Nampa. We were still very deep in debt, and we didn't feel released (at all) from our ministries at our church, schools, or NNU. So, Hebron was put on the back burner, but God really began to work in us. We felt deeply called to get our lives (finances included) in order so that if God called us to minister overseas we would be ready.