A Bridge of Hope

If you know our family, or if you have followed my blog, you know that we are big supporters of child sponsorship. Today, I am giving you another opportunity to sponsor a kiddo! 🙂

I just finished reading No Longer A Slumdog by K.P. Yohannan. What a beautiful, tragic, heart-rending, heartwarming, sobering, encouraging, challenging book about the children of India, and about bringing them hope!

K.P. Yohannan founded Gospel For Asia thirty-plus years ago with the desire to get the good news of Jesus Christ to the lost millions of Asia. Native missionaries receive Bible training and financial support (click here to sponsor a missionary), and they then take the Gospel to remote villages, telling others how Jesus has changed their lives.

God showed K.P. clearly one day that He wanted GFA to reach out to the children of the slums and Dalit villages. Through meeting the needs of these children- giving them an education, food, hope, and, most importantly, the good news about Jesus- a “bridge of hope” would be built to the families and villages.

Dalits. Untouchables. These people are at the bottom of the caste system of Hinduism, the lowest of the low. The slumdogs.

Yohannan writes:
“In India today, there are about 250 million Dalits. That means almost 20 percent of India’s population is considered subhuman and treated like dogs. Seventy percent of Dalits live below the poverty line, and at most 3 percent of Dalit women can read and write.
“Slightly above Dalits on the caste ladder is another huge group of people, an estimated 500 million more. They belong to the Other Backward Castes. They also suffer abuse and injustice at the hands of the upper-caste minority. The two groups combined represent a population that is well over twice that of the United States. In fact, more than one out of every 10 people alive on planet earth today is either a Dalit or an OBC.” (pg. 55-56)

One out of every 10 people alive today is either a Dalit- an untouchable, a dog; or an OBC, or Sudra- considered only good enough to be a slave. These people are not able to afford much food or housing, not allowed to share water with the upper castes, have very few legal rights, and have no hope for education or a decent job. They are told from birth that they are nothing, so they have no hope for anything better for themselves or for their children. They believe they are only slumdogs.

Gospel For Asia is bringing hope to these little kiddos. By getting these children off the streets and into the Bridge of Hope centers, lives are literally being saved from kidnappings, forced child labor and prostitution (average life expectancy 15 years, pg. 37) and lives of hunger and hopelessness. (You really should read this book- click here for a free copy!)

Want to be a part of this lifesaving, life changing work? For $35 a month, you can sponsor a child! 100% of the money goes to the child. And what does your money “buy”?

In K.P. Yohannan’s own words:
“A GFA Bridge of Hope center is tailored to meet the specific physical needs of the children in each center. For example, our nutrition specialists determine what food and vitamins are needed at each center and fix a daily meal accordingly. In addition, for each student, GFA Bridge of Hope provides a uniform, a backpack and school supplies like pencils and books. Furthermore, as the staff observes the children, they can learn what other items the children need- things like toothpaste and towels that many of the children have either never heard of or never even considered using before.” (pg. 101-102)
“Part of the curriculum taught at the centers is on health and hygiene. We teach children the importance of washing their hands after using the facilities and before they eat, as well as taking a bath regularly. Every year they get a medical checkup. This is the first time many of these children have seen a doctor.” (pg. 103-104)
“Year after year, the children from GFA Bridge of Hope consistently get high marks in their classes. There are GFA Bridge of Hope students who achieve first rank and first class. GFA Bridge of Hope students are regularly among the highest-scoring children in the state of Nepal and throughout India. How does this happen?
“The students at our GFA Bridge of Hope centers learn good study habits from the teachers who work with them. They have adequate time to ask questions, get tutoring and learn how to think creatively. Children are encouraged to pray to the Lord for wisdom and understanding in their schooling. Thus they improve in school and receive higher marks on their exams. This boosts their confidence and encourages them to keep attending.” (pg. 105)
“In addition to the lessons about discipline and study, the children also learn biblical moral values such as the importance of respecting parents and elders, of telling the truth and of not being willfully disobedient. This transformation in attitude and behavior is quickly noticed by parents.” (pg. 105-106)
“One of the most amazing things to hear about is how God is revealing Himself to these children. As they hear the Word of the Lord and encounter His love at the centers, the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of these young ones, showing them God’s faithfulness. It is beautiful to see children offer up their prayers to the Lord and to witness their joy at His amazing responses.” (pg. 107)
“Our trained staff is able to help villagers struggling with issues such as alcoholism and family strife. Through prayer and counsel, entire villages have been transformed. No longer places of hopelessness, these villages are filled with joyful, caring people who finally have a reason for living.
“We work hard to bless the community in numerous ways…” (pg. 113)

Take a leap of faith and let God work through you to save a child today. You will never regret it.

I will leave you with one last passage from the book. A father shares how the Bridge of Hope center has changed their family:

“After attending the Bridge of Hope center, my son used to come home and say, ‘This is what my sir said, and this is what our teacher taught us.’ Regarding spiritual life, regarding our way of living and regarding our health and hygiene, he would come and tell us. It was kind of exciting! So, when my son says something to me, for example, about hygiene, I am changing.
“Some of the things he says about prayer and about Jesus really touch me. Slowly by slowly, I am changing according to what he says to us.
“The Bridge of Hope really brought a kind of revival in me spiritually. Basically I’m an illiterate person. I do not know how to read and write. Many times my son would come and say words he learned at the Bridge of Hope center. ‘This is what the Word of God says.’ So many times when we would do wrong things, the Word of God would speak to us. And because it was the Word of God speaking, we changed a lot.
“We have prayer every day in our home for 15 to 20 minutes. My son reads the Bible, and we sing some songs. Now Jesus is the main focus of our life. We cannot leave Jesus and go anywhere, because Jesus is with us and He guides us every day. This kind of spiritual awareness, through my son, I got through Bridge of Hope.” (pg. 111)

Praise be to our Lord Jesus Christ, and to our Father in heaven! 🙂

“Blessed [be] God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;” ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3 (KJV)

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This entry was posted in Family, Giving, God, Gospel For Asia, Hope, India, Jesus, Love one another, May 2012, Others. Bookmark the permalink.

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