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Impact India 360
Perfect Religion

I am sure when you read the title to this entry many of you, as I would have, shuttered and thought “uh oh, here we go with some fanatical ideology that will be forced down my throat”. This is largely because the word “religion” carries with it several negative connotations and its definition is ambiguous at best. However, it wasn’t always that way and Jesus had a few thoughts of His own as to what “it” should look like. We are also given some food for thought in James 1:27 where the writer tells us that “religion our God considers perfect and faultless is this, to care for orphans and widows in their distress…”. The above picture gives a tangible example of this “religion” in practice.

Many of you are familiar with GCH (grace children’s home) which is a home for children who have been orphaned or in one way or another left to fend for themselves. This home has been providing care for these children for several years and it continues to be blessed and serve as a light in a very dark place, particularly for this people group. There are a few very special, gifted, loving, and serving staff who daily look after all 225 children. This number, while seemingly large, is just a drop in the bucket when considering that recent statistics point to nearly 12 million homeless/marginalized children in the country of India. That number is staggering and could lead a person to say, “what is the point”. The point is that Jesus teaches us in several passages how he feels about children (Mark 9:37, Luke 10:21, Matthew 11:25) and also tells us that in all people groups, including children, “whatever you do unto the least of one of these brothers of mine, you do unto me, (Matthew 25:40). Mother Theresa was also quoted as saying “if you can’t feed a hundred people, feed just one”, and “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop”.

As I have traveled here several times and have gotten to know several of the children quite well, there attitude and gratitude never cease to amaze me, particularly in the midst of what is often personal trauma. I am always a bit suprised when I come back to learn that some of the children I have come to know are no longer living in GCH. Often times they get to an age where some distant family members will come to claim them because they are old enough to work and make money for the family. Other times they will return to a parent that has found work and can afford to feed them. Whatever the circumstance I sometimes feel saddened as though someone has taken one of my children away, and, while they are likely in an environment that will better serve there need for true family, it still tugs at my heart.

The change in the children rostered here has changed more on this trip than any in the past, due largely to the fact that many of the children are getting older. In fact the total number of children who have left the campus since I was here in February is 32! That is a huge number and it came as a big shock to me and to Sal. I talked with Jaya and tried to get as many of the stories as possible but that didn’t ease the pain of missing them. However, I also learned that there are 45 new children now living here with an ever-growing waiting list, currently at 50 children. It goes without saying that the need is endless.

I thought it may be good to share a few specific stories of some newcomers:

This is M. Durga Bhavani Devi and N. Divya Kumari. They have recently joined GCH as they both lost their fathers to disease and there mothers, untrained and with no particular skills, are unable to feed them and keep them clothed. They told Jaya right in front of me that they would go several days without food. The most amazing thing is that they are so gracious, full of smiles, and worship so fervently that I am ashamed of my own apathy. It is funny how we can be motivated to grow by the most unlikely of people.

This is Anjali and B. Siddadha. They are brother and sister and have also recently moved to the campus. There story is a bit different in that their mother recently died from disease and their father, upon her death, disappeared and abandoned them at their home with no warning or explanation. They too have an amazing spirit that can only be explained by God’s grace.

This precious gem is Mounika. I connected with her intensely the very first day I was here. She has such an amazing spirit and the joy she carries with her certainly surpasses understanding. The circumstances that brought her here were a raging alcoholic father and a mother that has been forced to do manual labor and other work in order that the father can drink. Not an ideal environment for such an amazing child with so much potential.

These are just a few of the many stories of the children at GCH which likely represent millions more across the country, and, while it is such a privilege to be able to help in any small way available, there remains the need for dedicated followers of Jesus to be willing and obedient to whatever part they may play in the lives of these people as well as all worldwide who need Him. Please continue to pray for Sal and me as we continue to have amazing encounters and conversations with people like the lunch we had with two Hindu gentlemen where we discussed several options for partnering together to serve this community. What an amazing experience that I will share in an upcoming entry.

Serving,

Jim

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