This week on my Let’s Parent on Purpose Podcast I interview Dr. Samuel Thomas of Hopegivers.  Even if you’ve never listened to any of the podcast before, I urge you, please listen to this one.

I’m not going to relay what Dr. Thomas and I talked about.  Instead I want to share how this ministry has changed my family’s life, and why I think you really should consider supporting Hopegivers (and if not, supporting another ministry on the front lines of reading the world’s most impoverished).

I’ve been involved with Hopegivers since 1999 when my home church started taking trips to India to provide medical relief to the orphans.  I began making visits during that time, and I’ve been at least seven times by now.  I’ve seen Hope Homes that number over 1,000.  I’ve been to homes that have just eight children.  Here’s what I’ve encountered:

  • Nengboi – a small girl with a blank stare in her eyes. She watched her mother and father be murdered before her eye because of a separatist movement in eastern India.  She came to the Hope Home malnourished, full of parasites, covered in scabies and lice.  The next year I visit again and find a blossoming, mischevious little girl who knows she’s loved and has found friends, food, and safety.
  • Jangboi- a teenage boy of about 15 years old, sent to live in the home years earlier because his parents were destitute and he would have starved if he stayed home.  I first met Jangboi about 14 years ago.  Now he’s one of the head leaders of the largest Hope Homes, serving as the father and protector of more than 300 boys.
  • Veer- a Bible college student who served as a translator on our trips.  Veer came to Hopegivers (Called Emmanuel Ministries in India) as a child.  Upon graduation from Bible College Veer got married and moved his family to a city in North India of over a million with virtually no established Christian presence.  He has since planted multiple churches, started a Christian School that educates Hindu, Muslim, and orphan children, and has begun his own orphanage to repeat the cycle.

What changes their lives?  They go from being outcasts to wanted.  They wake up around 5AM and spend the first hour of the day in prayer (even the children).  They sing worship songs celebrating what Jesus has done in their lives, and also singing about the joys of getting to suffer for the sake of Christ, even to the point of death.  They look at persecution as the seed of the gospel.  They are convinced that this world is not our home.

I began visiting India with Hopegivers so that I could help orphans and pastors.  What I found is that they helped me.  When you spend time with children who’s parents have been killed, who have been transformed by the grace of Jesus, you’re no longer allowed to wallow in your own self pity and misery.  When you see God meeting the needs of an impossible ministry, you stop fretting that He might not come through for you.

Over the next several months I will be working on an initiative with Hopegivers that I’m calling the Full Quiver Project.  Hopegivers looks at each orphan as an arrow that God gives them for the sake of the gospel.  They gather, sharpen, and launch them into the unreached cities and villages of India.  The Full Quiver Project is going to help Hopegivers provide homes that are fully supported, to do the best job they can.  Please pray for God to move in the hearts and wallets of those who could help.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. 

James 1:27

This is a striking verse.  It tells us that the widow and orphan are the closest people to the heart of God.  It also says that God doesn’t just want our money, he wants our lives.  We don’t just send money to help the afflicted.  We visit them in their distress.

You might not be able to go to India (yet).  But there are scores of children in need in our own community.  Adopt.  Foster.  Become a big brother/big sister.  Volunteer at the Boys and Girls club.  Pray, ask God to open your eyes to what you can do.

You may not be able to change the world.  But you can change one.  And if you change one, God will change you.

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Thank you!