Papa’s India Memorial Service
I know this is a VERY LONG journal, but if you want to be delighted to hear first-hand some of the impact Papa (and Mama too) made on the people of India, just read on…
On the 4th of April, our Wednesday prayer service was conducted in the RGI auditorium in memory of our beloved Papa Hart. It was a wonderful time of prayer and recalling. Many staff members and alumni shared their memories and experiences about Papa and Mama Hart.
The service began with a prayer by Joy. After which we sang a Hindi song Neele aasma ke par jayenge, which mean that we will go beyond the blue sky where Jesus lives. After the song Joy shared that “Mr. Hart who was the founder of Prakash has left for his heavenly abode last week. He sacrificed everything for Prakash.
Students of Prakash are all over the world now and have commented to the news of his departure. Each one sharing the intense contribution that Papa has made in their lives. Papa set a very high level of standard at Prakash, which made Prakash stand out among many institutes in India. One of the ex-students, Bereel said, “Papa has taught me principles in life that I am using even today in my life.” He is working in New Zealand.
After this we sang a song sion desh hamara hai desh, in Hindi meaning that Zion is our country. Moses prayed after this.
Padmakar read Psalms 89 and 90. After that he shared, “We have gathered here in a memorial service for Mr. Hart not to be sorrowful but to remember what he has done. We are celebrating today. No one born on this earth can live forever. We all will be going away. Today I am wearing a shirt that Papa had given me it’s a Royal shirt from Philippines. Papa was a royal man.
He was always clean and up to date; shoes polished, and always presentable. He was born on 14 June 1920 and lived for 91 years. I feel sad that he missed the century mark by 9 years. He lived in California in a small house. Papa and Mama lived there till the end of their life. They attended the same church even though it was a small church. Papa and Mama did everything for others. About them we could say His mercy endures forever and ever. They saw three generations and Mama was present at the wedding of her great granddaughter.
There is a saying in Marathi that says, ‘If you live for yourself you die but if you live for others you live!’ Papa was in the business of furniture, he loved to work with his own hands. He had good relationship with many pastors and mission leaders in United States and many of them came forward to support Papa in his ministry. Cleanliness, punctuality were his attributes. Papa was a decision maker he never postponed any decisions he took. They were firm decisions even though some decisions he had to make were tough and undesirable for some people. Papa and Mama made it possible for some staff members to own their own houses by starting World light Development fund. I will never forget him ever in my life. I worked with him; I lived with him in his house for a few months. He was a true father to me. Papa and Mama lived a self-dependent life as far as possible. They never expected any one to clean, cook or do any work for them. I am proud that Papa Hart, who was a great grandfather for them, dedicated my granddaughters. Papa’s favorite quote was ‘Best is yet to come.’ He gave everyone a hope for the future.”
Mr. Jangle: a former staff (over 20 years) of Prakash was also present for the service. He said, “Self sacrifice and adventure were the two qualities I remember about Papa and Mama Hart. They were loving, caring and giving people. They stood by my side when my wife went through open-heart surgery. Papa was a responsible father and he always treated everyone equally.”
Mrs. Mangala: who works as part of the cleaning staff shared, “When my husband Vinayak started working for Prakash in 1986 we started living in the lineup. (Converted storage sheds) Mrs. Hart used to come to our house to meet my young children. Papa was gracious and loved everyone equally. My daughter Rita had failed in the 10th grade, Mama and Papa had come to my house for dinner. Mama asked my daughter about what she wanted to in the future and my daughter could not express her desire, but, Mama looked in my daughter’s eyes and she understood her unexpressed feelings and next day they gave 3000 rupees and said, “Let your daughter that computer training.” After doing this training my daughter got a job and starting earning. Mama loved the blond hair that my son had and adored him very much. I pray that I will also live a sacrificing and servants life like them.”
Sahebrao: Chairman of CBCA and alumnus. All the CBCA pastors were also present for this prayer service. Sahebrao said,” Papa was a dashing leader. He played a big role in my life. I lived in his house for three months. He taught me dining manners, and all kinds of antiquates. Whatever we do is open before the Lord. When I talked to Mama on the phone she said, ‘Sahebrao be a good boy don’t get into trouble.’ Papa and Mama loved my family and CBCA. They started this ministry and now it is our responsibility to carry it forward. I am sure that when Papa went home to be with the Lord angels welcomed him saying. ‘Well done my faithful servant.’ We all have to leave this earth one day, let us be prepared like Papa Hart to meet our father.”
Nagesh: “Whatever I am today is because of Mama and Papa Hart. I am shocked by his departure. I didn’t know enough English when I came to Prakash, but still I used to run and say good morning to both of them. I was sometimes scared to even wish them because if Papa got angry no one could stand before him. I met Mama one day and told her that after finishing my studies at Prakash I would like to go to Bible College and just then Papa entered the room and Mama told him that he wants to go to Bible College and Papa looked at me in his own style and said, ‘Let us see later.’ I used to express my desire to them every time I saw them. During Christmas time most of the students went home since I was an orphan I had no place to go to. I was sweeping the porch Mama and Papa used to be here for Christmas they saw me from the balcony of their room and called, ‘Hey boy!’ Then threw something towards me when I saw what it was I saw 500 rupees I had never seen this amount with my eyes before. They said, ‘Go have fun and buy something for yourself.’ I bought nice clothes for myself with that money. Papa and Mama always bought me chocolates from America and wrote on it Love, from Mama and Papa. I still have those empty boxes with me. When I completed my Bible College I was serving as an assistant in one of the churches. I lived in a rented small room with a roommate. One day we decided to call Papa to our house for tea. Mama and Papa both came and had tea with us. He observed our room and took out a dairy and noted something in it. We thought that he has noted that our room is unclean and now he will tell us about it later. But when he left the room he straightaway went to the town and bought a new mirror, (because we had a broken mirror in our room) brought it back to our room and hung it on the wall for us. He could see people’s needs very well. Whenever I saw that Papa is busy in some kind of
Work. I used to sneak to talk to Mama and shared many of my problems with her and she helped me solve them. Papa called me ‘terrible disease’ as fun. He was not my biological father but I praise God that he became a father for hundreds of people in India.”
Mrs. Damodare: One of the student cook ladies. “When I heard that Papa and Mama were sick I prayed that the Lord will relieve them from their pain. I am working in Prakash for the last 22 years. I got Prakash, light in my life. My life was dark before coming to Prakash but now it is lightened. Papa helped me in my daughter marriage. Once when I was working on a Saturday Papa saw a boy working in the field while other boys were playing. He asked why the boy was working and he was told that the boy cannot pay his fees and therefore he is working against it. Papa gave the money to this boy to pay his fees and helped the poor boy. Whenever they came to Prakash the very next day both Papa and Mama came to the boy’s kitchen to meet us and ask how we were doing. They always showed concern for everybody and treated everyone equally. One day I had Women’s Fellowship in my house I arranged for a chair for Mama, but when she came she sat on the floor just like everyone else. Papa and Mama came to my house and fellowshipped with us; they showed love and took part in every situation that we faced. I will never forget their love and service for other. I am praying for their family.”
Suresh: Director of Vet-Med Ministries and alumnus. “When I went to America I attended many missions’ conferences with Papa, Mama, Nani and Papi. I saw them work hard for Prakash. Papa picked up big boxes that he used to carry to put on stall for Prakash. He shared about the ministry of Prakash with every person that came in contact with him. He helped me start my ministry and personally came to the village with me on the motorcycle. He bought my first motorcycle for me, which helped me to reach the poor people in the villages. Papa’s contribution in my life is immense. He touched all the lives around him with the love of Jesus. There is a saying in Marathi that means, ‘Sometimes along with the flower the soil also becomes fragrant.’ So was it with Papa and Mama they brought sweet fragrance in the lives of unworthy people around them.”
Moses: Director of Students PBI and alumni. “I came to Prakash and took my refrigeration training at Prakash after that I went to Bible College with Papa’s help. I remember many things about Papa. He was very particular about time. Once I had an appointment with Papa at 11 am but since I had come from another town to meet him I got late. I reached at 12:30 pm with my father. When I knocked the door Papa just peeped out of the door and asked, ‘who are you?’ I was surprised that he asked me this question. I told him, ‘I am Moses. I came to meet you.’ And Papa said, ‘I know only the Moses that was supposed to come at 11 not at 12:30.’ After that he opened the door for me and talked to me. I was about to graduate that year and Papa asked me what everyone wore for graduation. I told him everyone would be wearing a coat. He asked me do you have one and I said no I do not have a coat. ‘How much does it cost?’ he asked. ‘I told him 2000 rupees.’ Papa went inside and bought back some money and gave it to me and said, ‘Take this.’ It was 4000 rupees. He said, ‘Listen boy everyone will be wearing a 2000 rupees coat I want you to buy a 4000 rupees coat because I want you to look different from everyone else.’ He was a man of high standards.”
Premdas: Premdas who drove for Mama and Papa for many years shared. “There was a joy in working for Mama and Papa Hart. They were strict and at the same time they were very loving. Papa helped find a wife for me. He personally came with me when we went to see girls. When we reached the girls house he used to take out his comb from his pocket and comb my hair with his hands. He loved to give to others whenever we came home late Papa used to give me a 100 rupee note to make up for the extra time. He was a perfectionist. He wanted everything to be pakka (first class) at any cost. He would make us redo a job when he did not like something that we did and it was not perfect. While driving if I drove fast and jerky he used to put his hands firmly on my shoulders from behind. But when we got down from the car he used to pull me in his arms and tell me my mistakes. I got my wife because of Papa he was with me in my wedding.”
Mrs. Suvarta: One of the student cook ladies. ” I remember Papa and Mama’s love and graciousness. When I started working for Prakash I lived in a small hut. I had very low family income. But when I invited Papa and Mama to my house they came and had tea with us without any hesitation. My younger son was able to go to English medium school because of the schooling policy that Papa started. They invested their hard earned money in the education of the staff children. Papa helped me to build a toilet in my house since I had a daughter and that really meant a great help to me. I was able to pay him back a small amount every month for his help.”
Joy: Our general director said,” Mr. Hart was acquainted with my father ever since my father worked in Kothara Lepers’ Hospital. When my father had to leave his position at BCH for some reasons my father was very sad. Mr. Hart stood behind him and founded the Sam and Hart foundation. He helped my father come out of the depression and showed him hope. He always wanted me to get connected with Prakash. He asked Padmakar to write to me and ask if I would become a board member of Prakash. He kept prodding me and asked me if I would work for Prakash for two years. It was a difficult decision for me to take I was very hesitant to take this decision. Papa Hart saw the good in me and I came to Prakash at the age of 34. He taught me how to be a good leader. He taught me what tough love is. Once when I came to the Christmas program in a casual dress Papa sent be back home to get dressed. He wanted everyone to look the best. One of our former staff lived in a small hut he was a trouble maker but still Papa and Mama went to his house and tried to show him the love of Jesus.
Many of our staff that worked with Papa have learned some techniques that Papa had and now work perfectly like him. I asked him what was the secret of their happy married life and Papa looked into my eyes and said, ‘I always took care for purity in marriage.’ They were very close to each other. They could speak with their eyes. And take decisions in harmony just by looking at each other. When they stopped coming to India because of health issues we were sad but we knew their heart was with us. I praise God for his life that has left good memories for us that will be an ideal for us in our lives. Lets us follow the example of the Lord’s faithful servant that is set before us.
I am sure if we had continued every staff would have shared something, but keeping in mind the time we ended the program with a word of prayer for the family by Pramod.
Cold drinks were served to the staff and the people who had come from outside to be a part of this memorial prayer service at RGI.