Remembering God's Faithfulness

Psalm 143:5 says, "I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done." This verse came to light in a special way a couple of days ago. After an early morning flight to a remote airport in NE India, we proceeded by car 2-2.5 hours over bumpy roads (some with some pretty deep ruts), past rice paddies, past soldiers dedicated to keeping the peace, past men and women
who lazily meandered here and there doing whatever it was they were doing, to finally arrive at our destination: the Canaan Children Home.

It was a hot and humid day, but it was great to see some of our dear friends again. Henry, and his wife Seisang, are the leaders of this small orphanage and have been on a remarkable journey of faith these last few years. In early 2010, they resigned their job in order to fulfill a calling that God had placed in their hearts to start an orphanage and care for abandoned and unwanted kids, to raise them up in a godly way, and to prepare them to be His witnesses to their own communities. With no promise of support, no land or buildings, nothing but God's promise to be faithful, Henry and Seisang stepped out onto the water and began to walk.

They moved to a small community, whose local church welcomed them with open arms, offering moral support, much-needed encouragement, and spiritual covering. Then, they found a small place they could rent, consisting of bamboo structures and a small play-yard. Then, God began to bring children to them. These are the kids no one else wants, kids that have no one. Life was tough at first, for not only were Henry and Seisang scraping to make ends meet, but they also were struggling with a communication gap...you see, these kids are from various tribes and spoke different languages. So, for several months, it was hard to communicate with them. (Moms and dads out there: imagine one day its just you and your spouse. The next day you have 10 kids. Not only do you now have ten kids, but they can't understand you when you speak to them...think you'd be pretty stressed?)

But God was faithful to this new family. He smoothed out the language barrier, brought some of you readers to the fore with financial support via Kidstown, and about a year ago He made it possible for them to move to a permanent location. Things are still basic, but improving. Buildings are made of bamboo, but tin roofs
help keep things dry during the monsoon rains. Electricity, although sporadic, is non-the-less there and powers ceiling fans which brings relief from the heat. A water well has been dug and another, deeper well, will soon be dug for procuring clean drinking water. The kids, with the exception of two newcomers, all speak English and the family can now communicate with each other. Kidstown is able to send a continuum of support to the Canaan Children Home each month, thanks to faithful giving on the part of the sponsors.

Do Henry and Seisang have work yet to do? Yes. Do they have dreams and aspirations and goals they'd like to see accomplished? Yes. But, as I sat and discussed with Henry, we together looked back and remembered what God had done (see again Psalm 143:5 above). God has been faithful to them, God is faithful to them, and God will be faithful to them...just like he is to me, and to each of you reading this update.

Maybe a lesson we can take from my visit to Henry and the Canaan Children Home is from time-to-time to slow down, look back, and remember what God has done for us, how He has been faithful to us, how He has been active in our lives. This will encourage us, will strengthen our faith, and will give us hope for tomorrow - for the great things God has yet to do!


A Painful Journey

As I sat in the living room of a small orphanage in north India, I had a front-row seat to a child’s painful journey into her past.

Kajal is 10 years old and was rescued out of the slums of an industrial hub on the outskirts of Delhi. Innumerable people from all over India, in hopes of a better life, have moved to this area in search of work. Many find none and are forced to live in slum areas in desperate poverty. The slums are devoid of water and electricity. Violence, alchol, and illness are rampant. And children are the ones most often at risk.

It is with this backdrop that Kajal took center stage, recounting to me her story. Ironically, I didn’t really hear much of her story. I can’t remember much of what she said of her parents, or of how desperate her situation was, or of how she came to the orphanage. The reason I can’t remember these things is because I was observing her face and her eyes; I was listening to her voice; I watched as she slipped into the darkness of her past. As her story progressed, I could see her struggle for composure. She desperately tried to maintain a smile but soon it disappeared. Her voice became uneven. Her eyes began to water over with emotion. She began to cry as she relived a past that would most likely make most of us cringe. Having a daughter of my own of similar age, my heart went out to Kajal in a special way. I could sense my fatherly protective nature begin to rise within me. This little girl was suffering, and I wanted to protect her from it. I wanted to call the whole thing off!

And then, there was a shift. It was as if she had hit the bottom of her story and was now ascending towards the light. As she spoke of being rescued and of the love and care she received at the orphanage, her eyes once again began to sparkle, and her endearing smile returned.

I sat there marvelling at what I had just experienced. Her actual story is not the important thing, as it is akin to the story of thousands of other children who have likewise experienced hardship and heartbreak. The amazing thing was watching this dear child go through that experience, to witness her descend into the darkness of what was her reality and then ascend into the light of her new life! In five minutes this 10-year-old painted a graphic picture for me of what was…and now what is.

In my 12 years of orphan ministry I have never come upon a greater testimony to the powerful effect of what can happen when Christians reach out in love to abandoned children.

Written by Dr. Matthew Smith, Executive Director