3rd February 2019

Yep, we are back this week. Coming in with full force and a PL loaded with photos to help make up for what we missed last week. Thanks to everyone who wrote in on Sunday asking where the PL was. It's always nice to know that there are people out there actually reading these things.

Before we get to the boys motorbike trip up into the mountains, let's start with some news from here on the farm. Life has been peaceful these last few weeks; we've had a rare chance to sit back and watch life just roll on by. Apart from our Staff Accommodation project, most other projects have been paused allowing some time to breathe in the fresh winter air and just for a short moment, relax. At least until Rick grabbed his chainsaw and started sawing up an old log that has been lying on the ground since PL634 (July 2016).

Rick using our old chainsaw to chop up the log.
He may be 67 years old, but Rick's still got it.

As we already mentioned, the Staff Accommodation project is still on track. The building team has begun to frame up the beams and the first floor which we should be pouring in the next couple of weeks. Having the frames in place really helps to give shape to the building.

The framework for the first floor being installed.
Plywood boxing works to create the mold for the concrete floor and beams.
Rick dumping the first of many reinforcing iron loads.
The new building from above.
Our kids are all doing well. Currently our Grade 1 to 8 children are undergoing important test at school. These tests equate to 20% of their final results, so it is important they do well. With this in mind our regular afternoon homework/study time has been taken a little more seriously this last week...but you can always take a moment to smile for the camera.
Study time in preparation for tests in school.
Lisa sharing her beautiful eyes with the camera.
Rajesh striking a pose for his PL admirers.
Hindi script is a beautiful and poetic language.
Raymond and Manisha comparing notes.
Roshni taking a quick break before hitting the books again.
Ruhani keeping an eye on Niyati.
Niyati practicing her "A to Z".
Auntie Sarah Poxon helping Lisa prepare for her test.

We were also excited to welcome back April on Thursday night for a visit. April, who was a mission girl herself, joined us on staff and helped look after around 20 of our younger girls. After attending Bible college on the other side of India and then working in Dubai for a short period of time, it is wonderful to have her back here, even if it is only temporary.

April in the middle back (in black) along with some of 'her girls'.

Aunty Elsie turned another year older this week,  and we celebrated with a little morning tea party and a dinner with all of our staff. Elsie helps her sister Violet to run our Small Boys Hostel, together caring for 13 of our youngest boys. It is always great to have an excuse like a birthday to bring our staff families together for a meal!

Elsie preparing to blow out her cupcake birthday cake!
Freshly made pakoras and a cup of tea make for a great snack!
Special birthday dinner with the staff.
There was plenty of food to go around.
For those who pray we ask that you keep Auntie Josie in your thoughts. Aches and pains have been ailing her the last few months and she would really love some relief. Most days she can be found sitting out on her chair near the dairy, keeping an eye on her cows and soaking up the warm winter sun, She also enjoys sitting by the fire at the back of the kitchen while Riva cooks the chapatis. These last few days our new little dog Princess has been keeping her company, much to Auntie Josie's amusement.
Aunty Josie could use your prayers this week.
Princess sitting by Josie's side.
Riva flipping chapatis.
These unleavened flat bread are eaten by all of us with every night's meal.
And that pretty much sums up the week. Of course there are always plenty of other things that go on here: food to be prepared, bread to be baked, clothes to be washed, fields to be watered, vehicles to be serviced, furniture to be fixed, gardens to be weeded and on and on. But we'll save all that to take you on a grand adventure. 
If you missed it, Dtour is a little project started by Clifton and Eugene to combine their passions for motorbike riding, mountains and adventure with making a difference in the lives of our kids. The premise of Dtour is that clients come from all over the world for a 10-12 day Himalayan adventure, and a new Royal Enfield motorcycle is purchased for them to use. At the end of the trip, clients donate their bikes to the mission and the bikes are sold as a mission fundraiser. This first ride saw 5 clients, all friends of Clifton's from Australia, who came to help launch our new company. 
The official opening included a first aid session, riding safety demo and more.
Luggage tags, route booklets, USB flash drives, sticker sets and posters.
Sam, an old friend of Clifton's, signing the Indemnity Bond.

After a quick burn in the jungle on the new 411cc Royal Enfield Himalayan's, the group headed straight up into the mountains for a stay at the old mission property in Abbot Mount. From there they wound their way though mountain roads, over rivers, deep into dark bamboo forests, climbed through snowy mountain passes and took in sights that photos fail to give the appropriate respect. Here are just a few of the amazing experiences they captured on the way:

Clifton gives the Day 1 briefing before heading off into the mountains.
Sam having a little fun on the Himalayan.
Through fields of mustard.
Crossing the Jugbora River.
The team was backed up by their own support vehicle, contained within: all the groups luggage, spare parts, a mechanic and a backup rider.
Through the pines on the way to Abbot Mount.
The first leg of the journey was on newly cut out roads, thick with mud.
The team helped a local car that got stuck in the mud.
The stickers on the side of the support vehicle say it all.
Through the mud and slurry the group carved their way up the mountain to Abbot Mount. As the afternoon light began to fade the heavens opened and snow gently wafted down covering the mountain with a brilliant coat of white. It was truly breathtaking, though a little hard to ride through. For the next 5 days the team met with patches of snow, bringing much excitement (and a few minor slides/falls) to the tour.
Snowfall on the way up to Abbot Mount.
The ride up the mountain was surreal.
Who needs a snow plow.
The morning sun coming up over Abbot Mount.
Jayden taking in the beauty of it all.
Rolling on, through mud, ice, sleet, snow and rain.
Snow coated bikes in the morning.
The old Abbot Mount church.
Road conditions got a whole lot better on Day 2 and the team was really able to get moving.
Spending a moment on the roadside to take in some sights...
Richard looking for some reception.
A spot of cricket on the side of the road with some local kids was a real highlight.
The accommodation wasn't bad either. This was the best of the lot.
The team was amazed how the scenery changed from day to day, sometimes multiple times each day. From dry mountain passes, to deep rich oak forests, from bamboo to snow to plains to lush jungle to pine covered hills. It was impossible to not be swept up in the beauty of the Himalayas.
Eugene was the lead rider, setting the pace but also ensuring there were plenty of stops to take in the sights.
Breathtaking views of the snowy mountains were around each bend.
Deep, dark and almost haunting bamboo forests.
Richard rolling through the hills with Sunny and Anish behind.
A quick stop for a group shot among the pines.
Each day brought new experiences, and it wasn't all on the bikes: they visited a local cave in Patal Bhuvneshwar, climbing deep underground to see incredible rock formations, smoked Cuban cigars on the hotel balcony in Mukteshwar looking out at the Eternal Snows, scaled up the sides of huge boulders to overlook breathtaking views in Binsar, walked through snow covered forests in Chaukori or soared above it all, paragliding in Bhimtal. It was an adventure of a lifetime.
The perfect place to spend a morning.
The climb down into the deep caverns of the Patal Bhuvneshwar caves.
A moment by the lake in Naukuchiatal.
There were plenty of amazing locals to meet along the way, like this old gentleman who asked to have his picture taken.
"Can you get it working Sam?"
The view from Chaukori was incredible...
...but so was the view from Mukteshwar...
In fact the views were amazing EVERYWHERE!
Clifton taking it all in.
The peak of the fun came while parasailing in Bhimtal. The group overcame their fears and took to the skies for some serious fun. Not everyone made the weight limit of 100kg, but for those who did, the views were epic!
To say Sam Haberle was a little nervous about taking to the skies strapped to the front of a tiny little Indian man would be an understatement.
But he went anyway!
What a way to see the world!
Sunny screamed all the way down the mountain, especially when his pilot (on Eugene's suggestion) almost flipped him a couple of times.
But if you ask the clients, the best part of the trip was the arrival home. Dozens of kids awaited the groups return with hugs that meant more than a thousand bamboo forests, with a love and a joy that overshadowed even the highest of mountain passes. This ride was about making a Difference; that's what the 'D' stands for. And with nearly $13,000 raised for the mission through this first ride, Dtour is sure to bring about some major changes in the lives of our kids.
Handing the keys over to the 4 bikes.

If you are interested in being a part of the next Dtour adventure, send Clifton and Eugene a message through their website. The black button below will take you there. You don't even have to ride a motorbike to get involved. They can arrange for you to travel in a 4WD vehicle. Come explore the Himalayas with them while making some real change in the lives of some beautiful kids. 

Contact Dtour
Blessing on you,
Rick, Clifton, Eugene & Priscilla
Copyright © 2019 The Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission
The Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission is a registered non-profit and society in Uttarakhand, India that undertakes the care of around 75 orphan and destitute children. The Mission works to be as self-supporting as possible through income generated internally by it's farm and school. For more information see our website.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Our mailing address is:

The G.S.A.M
Strong Farm
PO Banbasa
Dist. Champawat
Uttarakhand, INDIA, 262310

Our email address is: