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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Gifts to go a long way

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Once orphaned, these three boys no longer have to beg for their meals. Here, they enjoy a hot lunch of rice and curried chicken.
(Submitted photo)
Just before a season of thanksgiving gives way to a season of giving, the church family at Fair Haven Baptist Church is encouraging its members to give -- "We're going to encourage our people to give and give to others at the same time," said Mike Cobb, the church pastor.

The church's mission project is part of OneLife, an International Missions Board initiative that develops advocates in support of global causes. The churches focus is on building and supporting an orphanage in India.

Sabita Kumar, 11, is one of the residents of Compassion Children's Home.
(Submitted photo)
Intense need

The world's second-largest country, India is home to more than 1.2 billion people in a state the size of Georgia. According to UNICEF, more than 31 million of those are orphans. Without support from world-relief organizations, these children are abandoned by their parents, used as laborers and are known to partake in use of drugs and alcohol as young as age six.

At a time when the cost of feeding a child for a month is as little as $25, even a small amount of financial support from a church 8,000 miles away can multiply exponentially.

Hinduism prevails in India, but schools like Compassion Children's Home, led by Mukesh Soren, and sponsored in part by Christian recording artist Matt Papa help share the love of Christ.

A new direction

"The thing that has always struck me about India is the combination and culmination of spiritual and physical poverty," Papa said. "A lot of these children are condemned forever to beg for money. That's all they can do and that is all they will ever be able to do."

"There is no one to hug them. There is no one to show them the right direction," said Mukesh.

"Jesus has a purpose and a plan for their lives," Mukesh explains. "They have to know that Jesus is the Way, Truth and the Life ... that through Jesus only, we have salvation."

Mukesh knows that following Jesus is a decision the orphans must make in their own time and of their own free will, a decision that he says is independent of their opportunity to call the orphanage home. But they will hear the Gospel, he says. And if they accept Christ's free gift, they will be discipled to share that gift with others.

Brighter outlook

But with seven children, the orphanage is already near capacity. Construction of a new orphanage is in the works, and when complete will house 30 more orphans, and their caretakers. It's a drop in the bucket when weighed against the total number of orphaned in the country, but it's a start.

On their Day of Giving, Sunday, November 18, Fair Haven Baptist Church is hoping to develop resources to build this orphanage, while also feeding over a thousand people in Bedford County at the same time.

If you'd like to help with either project, contact Cobb at (931) 619-8232.

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