Like so many orphans in India, their primary parental provider – their father, Samuel lost his dad to AIDS many years ago. What’s worse is that because of the nature of this sexually transmitted disease, Samuel’s mother also has AIDS and is slowly deteriorating in health.
Samuel is eight years old and has lived without his father for five years and will soon also be without his mother. Samuel was selected by the local pastor of his village, Marturu, located about an hour’s drive north of CCH’s Ongole headquarters, to be in the CCH boys home in this village. Samuel has lived in the home since its opening in 2008 and, though unable to care for Samuel in the way she would like, Samuel’s mother is welcomed into the CCH home as often as she is able to visit. His CCH brothers regularly pray for Samuel’s mom both in her presence and in private prayers.
Barring a medical or supernatural intervention, Samuel’s mother will pass in the next few years, in her mid-20s. And if a widowed mother is dying, what leaves her most anxious about her leaving this world? The dependents she has left behind.
Samuel entered the Marturu CCH home when he was four years old. He was the smallest (and downright cutest) little boy in all of the nine CCH homes at the time. Since then Samuel has grown up a bit, but remains one of the quickest CCH kids to smile and engage with others.
As Samuel’s mother considers her son’s life after she dies, she can be confident that he is getting good food and nutrition, will have all of his health needs taken care of, has a good “second family” around him, will have a strong spiritual foundation based in God’s love and he will be receiving the best private education in the entire village. These are opportunities Samuel would never have had otherwise. In the midst of her sadness, Samuel’s mother knows that her son will not only be taken care of, but will have lifelong possibilities and hope that no one in her family could have ever dreamed.
Samuel and his mother are a good example of the role that CCH can play in serving the local community of believers and even the local village community as a whole.
The evening of November 26, 2013 at 6:06pm Siyon, Jaya Chander’s wife gave birth to a baby girl. Siyon was rushed 1 hour away from Ongole to a nearby city to receive better care for the baby. Siyon was going through labor troubles but through prayer and our Lords power both Siyon and their baby are healthy! Please keep this family in your prayer and we welcome their new girl into this world!
Jyothi lives in our Nelaturu girls CCH home, the youngest of the ten. Jyothi is a “double orphan,” distinct from one who still has one remaining parent. About 25% of our CCH children are double orphans, but all 100% are in at-risk situations where, if there even is a remaining, dedicated parent, this parent is not able to meet the needs of the children in an adequate way for his or her protection, health and future.
After Jyothi’s mother and father had passed, the pastor of the Nelaturu church selected Jyothi to be a part of the home, but Jyothi’s spirit was still one of an orphaned child: downcast, devastated, hopeless, hurting.
During our first summer in Ongole, we took each of the then nine CCH homes to the beach. For most of these children, this was their first and still only time to experience the sand, the water, the waves the fun in the sun of a traditional beach excursion with friends. Most of the children played together, laughed together, eventually sat down in the water together and made this day-trip to the coast a memorable experience for all.
Jyothi, however, still in her first year in the Nelaturu CCH home, spent most of the day at the beach playing on her own. She was not very interested in the water or the waves or playing with the other girls. Her face continually downtrodden, Jyothi played in the sand, isolated and removed from the rest of the group. It was May of 2011.
Over time, Jyothi’s demeanor and expression began to change. As the smallest of the group, Jyothi always had the attention of others, but it took time for the joy of the home, the message of the Gospel and the special experience of living in a CCH home to sink into her heart.
Fast forward to today and Jyothi is noticeably different. We noticed this when Jyothi received her first Christmas clothing gift in late 2011, but even more so one year later for the same Christmas celebration. Jyothi’s heart is one that has experienced the heartbreak to be orphaned or abandoned and only then to receive the redemption that is possible when surrounded by God’s love and the care of His people.
On Tuesday, November 19, 2013, ICM selected 57 children to move from primary school to intermediate studies. On behalf of Indian Christian Ministries, Director James Rebbavarapu, ICM distributed 57 scholarships to the Prakasham district, each worth a value of Rs 3000 each. Every Year ICM is distributing scholarships for the poor children in every district of Andhra Pradesh. This year in Prakasam district, Government Medical Officer J.Nageshwararao, presided over the meeting and addressed the importance of an education – particularly for these poorer regions. He spoke on the importance of the poor needing encouragement, opportunity, and accountability.When closing, he gave praises to ICM for doing just this. Congratulating the ministry for its mission to advance the poor and set up the future generation of India.
When I first arrived here in India, my team and I were taken to Victory Home, a home for abandoned special needs children in India. Sarah’s Covenant Home ministry was in the process of moving 107 special needs kids out of this house into new apartments were the kids could receive more one on one care and attention. Many of the children who had not been moved yet crowded us at the gate and demanded our attention. I took each hand offered to me and gave many hugs and received many sloppy wet kisses on my cheeks and hands as we were given the grand tour of the house. I had a little boy sitting on my foot clinging to my right leg, an older girl clutching and continually kissing my right hand as another boy was pulling me in another direction by my left hand. It was a bit chaotic but as a seasoned camp director I was used to the initial craziness of meeting a large group of children for the first time.
This month has been such an incredible month working and learning from these boys! My daily routine was to go in and say hello to all the boys. If they were asleep, I woke them up (that’s right! I didn’t want to lose one minute I had with them.) Then I intentionally spent one on one time with each boy. This included holding them, kissing their
cheeks, telling them how special and loved they were, singing to them, and praying over them. Then after that day to day activities varied such as: reading books, listening to worship, clipping finger nails and toenails, picking lice out of their hair (and sometimes mine haha), playing with new toys, bathing them, going to the park, and sitting outside.
One of the greatest things that I learned is that Gods purpose for each individual is real! Each person on the earth was created for a specific purpose and just because some seem different than others does not make their purpose here on earth any less significant than any other life!
My time in India was simply amazing! When I left, I left a part of my heart with Sam, Joshua, Jasper, Nathan, and David! These give boys are incredible and they have so much to give to the lives who are privileged enough to come in contact with them. My life and perspective of people will never be the same and I owe it all to them!
Working with ICM was such a blessing. My team served at Sarah’s Covenant Homes and I have never experienced so much joy as I did when spending time with the children at their homes. The staff at ICM are always very helpful. All of our questions were answered and needs we’re met. They are very giving of their time and dedicated to serving The Lord and His people.
In the wake of flooding in Ongole in November, 2013, ICM helped with distribution of food, clothing, and also blankets. Many families lost everything in this flood, which was caused by heavy rain. On November 5th, 2013 ICM continued to help these victims by giving blankets to those who have lost theirs to the heavy rain.
ICM Director Mr. James Rebbavarapu spoke to many residents about the flooding and expressed his concern for those affected. Because of ICM’s concern for those in need, they have distributed rice to the same flood victims. Due to the change in weather since the flood, ICM decided this was a great opportunity to also give blankets to the poor and less fortunate.
This takes care of their physical needs and also helps them to feel that someone loves and cares for them. ICM believes in caring for others, regardless of their religion, the way Jesus cared for people.
The distribution took place at Sriram Colony, Chaitnaya colony, and other colonies. ICM is here for community development, to help those in need and show them love.
Our experience with ICM was a fantastic opportunity for the members of our team to grow. We were all challenged to daily be digging into God’s word and seeking out new ways to show His love to the world, through the messages we brought to the churches. I hope that World Race will continue to partner with ICM, as they can be a priceless asset to people’s spiritual growth in this season of their life.
During our time in India, we had the opportunity to minister to people in the villages, and many times that was praying for something deeper than what was on the surface. I learned to trust the Lord, and pray that He would be doing a work beyond what I could see. The Lord showed up and revealed his compassion for His people, as we saw a blind woman receive new eyes! We went back to visit her, and the new joy on her face was beautiful. Our team is so thankful for our time with ICM!