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Morning Study Club speaker discusses trip to India

Oct. 17, 2013 at 5:17 a.m.


Members of The Morning Study Club welcomed Victoria Advocate faith reporter Jennifer Preyss for a return visit as the speaker recently. Last October, she told us about a trip to India she had been awarded by Victoria Rotarians to attend the Rotary District Conference No. 5930 Group Study Exchange in Kerala, India. She was busily preparing to represent our country in affirming that we are all one people, one mankind loved by God.

Christianity was introduced to India in 52 A.D. by Saint Thomas. Preyss showed slides as she discussed visiting Orthodox and Catholic churches, Hindu temples and Islamic mosques. She visited for two hours with an Orthodox pope and also with an Indian swami, even though he was ill and elderly. He was involved in the movement to remove the caste system in India. The swami presented her with a blessed apple. She had tea with King Maharaja, one of her most impressive events. The formal tea tradition is from the British rule Raj.

Preyss rode elephants, which is a tradition for wedding and war ceremonies. She rode on a houseboat, which she said had the accommodations of a five-star hotel. She visited leprosy camps. She told us that one of the Rotarians' ongoing projects was the eradication of polio in India and that this last year, the country was proclaimed polio free for the first time. She went to Samadra Beach, which National Geographic Magazine rated one of the Top 10 beaches in the world. Indians are forbidden to wear bathing suits but enjoy their beaches, ascribing to traditional dress.

Upon reflecting on how she could make a difference, Preyss decided she would address the issue of India's under educated women. Only 8 percent of Indian women finish school. She is presently working on a book, "I'm Christian, Too: Why Americans Don't Own Jesus." She plans to donate all proceeds from the book to women's education and hopes to be able to help fund building a school for girls. She asked that the club's honorarium be sent to our local United Way.

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