Prayer Requests from India

  • Please pray that the children do well in their upcoming math exam. Some of the children are struggling to study and remember things. Please pray that they will be able to do well and have peace in their exams.
  • Please pray for protection over the children as the dengue fever is spreading.
  • Please pray for the provision of bunk beds for a few of our homes that need them.
  • Please pray for all of the renovations happening at the various homes as they need funds and various other things.
  • Please pray for one of the homes that is searching for a water source for their well.
  • One of our homes is looking for a van to purchase.

 


Prayer Requests from India

  • Praise! In an area that has been going through a drought, it has finally rained! The children now have enough water!
  • One of the homes is needing funds to replace their broken water filter.
  • The older boys are receiving special coaching and equipment to help ensure good marks in their exams. But, they still need prayer for their studies!

Prayer Requests for August

  • Please pray for the homes of India, Romania, and Nepal as they are in need of clean water.
  • Please pray for the children who leave the homes due to government regulations, and reasons that are out of our hands.
  • Please pray for all of the workers and home leaders who dedicate their lives to the children.
  • Please pray for continued government approved registration so the homes can continue to receive support.
  • Please pray for the leaders in the Darjeeling region of India where the government is shut down and there is a high rise in crime and protests.

Staying Focused

If you're like me, there are times when life seems to weigh heavy, when the valleys seem more than the peaks, when discouragement seems to eclipse joy. It's during these times that we can lose focus. Focus of what's important. Focus of who we are and what we are to be about. Sometimes, like David exemplified in Psalm 77:11, we need to stop and remember - remember who God is, what He has done, and what He has given us to do! This can get us back on track.

Helping orphans. That's the essence of Kidstown. Reaching out to kids with practical help such as food, clothing, shelter, clean water, and beds. Sponsoring children, writing letters, sending money for Christmas gifts, and pitching in to buy them pigs or chickens...any of this ring a bell? This is the compassionate side of who we are and what we are about!

God made these kids. He loves them, and wants a relationship with them. Each of them has a choice to make: will they engage that relationship or reject it? Our prayers can influence that outcome as we ask God to move on their behalf. We are concerned about the salvation of these kids. This is the evangelistic side of who we are and what we are about!

Life exists outside the walls of the 50 orphanages we support. But its characterized by spiritual darkness due to the many people who are waiting to hear the Good News. Our orphans have heard it, and God now wants to deploy them outside to share the Light-giving message that Jesus saves. This is the missional side of who we are and what we are about!

Compassionate. Evangelistic. Missional. This is what God has called us to be and to do here at Kidstown. Easy to forget sometimes, but critical to remind ourselves of. We want to stay on-track, in-focus, and in-synch with His purposes for us!

Putting it into practice:

1. Been thinking about sponsoring an orphan but keep putting it off? Why not select one today and begin the journey of helping a needy child? (Meet the kids at www.kidstown.org/children)

2. How about scribbling a letter, card, or postcard to your sponsored orphan? No need to write much, just a few lines conveying your love and concern (and perhaps including a family photograph) will go a long ways!

3. Committing to praying for your orphan (or for all the orphans), that God will draw them into relationship with Him and then launch them out as His witnesses will surely bear fruit!

Thanks for taking the time to join me in refocusing. Good to do that from time to time!


Praying for our Kids

Dear Kidstown Friends,

We have the opportunity not only to help our orphans in practical ways, but also to
pray for them. God can do far more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20) and
He beckons us to engage on our knees for the sake of these little ones that He
created, loves, and has such great plans for. A few key requests to pass along
today:

1. Pray for our orphans' physical, mental, and emotional development and health.
Especially during the summer season it can be very hot and, in India and Nepal, very
wet due to the monsoon rains.

2. Pray that each child will discover Jesus in a real and personal way, that they
will grow in their faith, and that they will move forward in accordance with God's
plan for their lives.

3. Pray for the orphanage leaders: that God will give them strength and
encouragement, that He will provide for all their needs, that He will give them
wisdom and love, and that He will sustain their zeal and passion for this ministry
that He has entrusted to them.

4. Pray for our orphanages in India and Nepal, some of which are beginning to feel
heightened levels of negative pressure, from the surrounding society, due to their
Christian faith. This is due in part to a right-wing Hindu movement that is
currently underway.

5. In a special way, please pray for one of our orphans which has been hospitalized
due to unknown severe abdominal pain and vomiting. Pray that God will give the
doctors wisdom, and that He will bring this young lady back to full health soon.

Thanks for praying!


Saved by a Ladder

Dear Kidstown Friends,

It was about 11:00 pm. I had just fallen asleep after travelling from the Middle-East to Nepal when I was roused from my slumber by a magnitude 5.0 tremor which had set my room to rocking. I grabbed my shoes, glasses, and passport and bolted for the door...what a great welcome to Nepal!

This tremor, however, was only one of over 270 aftershocks* that have plagued this small Himalayan country since the big 7.8 Gorkha earthquake hit on April 25th. Most of you have read the reports and seen the news coverage and know that the damage was extensive and the impact on the people traumatic.

P1000430 Yesterday we had the opportunity to visit two areas in Kathmandu which were especially affected by the quake. Old buildings and shoddy construction seem to be common denominators. Newer buildings which have been built with rebar and cement seem to have held up far better.

As we strolled through one of these areas, snapping photos of the rubble, a man stopped and informed us that THAT pile of rubble was his house. He was inside, up on the third floor, when the big shaker occurred.
P1000425 The age of his home and its substandard construction was bad enough up against such a large earthquake. But what made things worse was the seven-story building next door that kept banging up his home as it swayed to and fro with the quake. Finally his home gave way, a place where likely he grew up, where his parents lived, and maybe even his grandparents lived. It simply collapsed into a pile of rubble.

P1000543 Remember that I told you the owner was inside, up on the third floor? He recounted how it felt like he was in an elevator. As the building collapsed he dropped 20 feet straight down with it! He surely would have been crushed to death save a strong wooden ladder under which somehow he managed to squirm as the building moved and swayed. That ladder took the brunt of the falling bricks and timber, and although temporarily buried alive, this man lives today because of that ladder.

This is only one story among the thousands of incredible, heart-wrenching, or extremely sad stories. Questions abound. Why did this happen? What do these people do now? Many have lost their homes, some have lost family or friends, others have lost part or all of their means to earn a living. Few have home-owners insurance, or a robust savings account from which to begin again. What do they do?

Another man we met pointed out his house...a ruined, unfixable mess of brick, wood, and rubble. It was only afternoon, yet he had already begun drinking, perhaps unable to cope with the memory of what was, the reality of what now is, and what in the world he is supposed to do now.

P1000552 And then there is fear. Just as lethal as the swaying and bumping of an earthquake is the trauma it causes and the fear it instills. The real culprit behind the fear that is running rampant in Kathmandu was not the 26th of April quake, but the 7.3 earthquake which hit on the 12th of May. It is that 2nd quake that has instilled fear deep inside, so much so that people have (and continue to) live in tents outside their homes or in open fields, some with what appears no real desire to move back inside even though their building stood up fine to the quakes. How do you combat fear? My little taste of the 5.0 tremor the other night was enough to validate that the emotion of fear is a very real thing!

So - what is our response to this foundation-shaking event here in Nepal? I think that the best, most effective, and greatest way we can help the Nepali people is to continue to pray for them. God reveals Himself as a rock, as a fortress. He is unshakable, even if the ground here in Nepal is not. May the Nepali people turn to Him and find in Him the safety and peace they so desperately seek.

Thanks to all for praying and for caring.

*http://www.seismonepal.gov.np/


Headed to Nepal

Dear Kidstown Friends,

Many of you have followed the recent tragic events in Nepal, have expressed concern, have lifted this country and its people up in prayer, and have generously given so that we can assist in the relief and reconstruction efforts. Sincerest thanks to each of you.

I am writing to you from seat 22A on a KLM flight headed to Amsterdam, then Dubai, with final destination Kathmandu. The visit in Nepal will be brief. The primary objectives: assess structural damage to the orphanage facilities, and encourage the orphanage leaders. Kidstown is partnering with seven orphanages that were affected by the earthquakes, and even now, according to a report received yesterday from one of the orphanage leaders, the kids are sleeping in tents outside the building due to the on-going after-shocks that continue to ripple through the Kathmandu valley.

Thanks to you, we have already sent a financial relief package to all of our partner Nepal orphanages as a way of helping them to compensate for increased costs of food and fuel caused by the earthquake. We also will be distributing water filters and medical supplies to help in the present as well as in readiness for any future tremors. And, as we gain a better idea these next few days of damages to facilities, we will aim to dial in relief funds to assist in the reconstruction efforts.

God has given all of us the opportunity to play a part in the Nepal earthquake story. Our part may be small, but let’s just be faithful and do our part well.

Will try to send an update from Nepal soon. Please continue to pray for Nepal, its leaders, the general population, the orphanages, and all the aid workers. Thanks.

Sincerely,

Matthew


7.3 Aftershock Hits Nepal

According to news sources as well as our on-the-ground source in Kathmandu, this
small Himalayan country is once again scurrying into the streets in a state of panic
after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal at about 12pm local (Nepal) time today (12 May)
(means about 3am EDT). The epicenter was about 50 miles east of Kathmandu (whereas
the April 25th quake was about 50 miles west).

According to the BBC at least 54 people in Nepal and India have died and 1,000 have
been injured; a four-story building also reportedly collapsed in Kathmandu (likely
due to having been structurally weakened by the April 25th tremor).

No reports from any of our orphanages.

Will you please pray for Nepal?

1. For God's presence and peace for the Nepali people.
2. For a settling of the seismic movement that has plagued this country over the
last few weeks.
3. For protection for our orphanages.
4. For God's purposes to be advanced amidst this difficult time.

To read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-32701385

Thanks for your interest and for praying.


Nepal after 12 days

Dear Kidstown Friends,

Ashish Home relief tent It has been nearly 12 days since the devastating earthquake rocked the small Himalayan nation of Nepal. Its effects have been widespread and have greatly affected life, and will continue to do so for months (and even years) to come. According to one source, the death-toll has now surpassed 9,000 and another 16,000 injured. 200,000 homes have been fully destroyed and another 200,000 have sustained significant structural damage and must be rebuilt. About 35% of Nepal's population have been affected, either directly or indirectly. Many lost family members, homes, properties, businesses, and savings. Some remote villages have yet to receive food, water, and medical help.

April 25th was truly an epic disaster that none of us can fully comprehend.

Ashish Home Support for Nepal in the immediate wake was impressive. Media coverage as well as international and local relief efforts displayed a solidarity of concern and purpose. Nepal's Army and Police are to be given much credit, having mobilized most (if not all) of their units to assist their people.

But as the dust settles and the rest of the world begins to forget about Nepal, what does Nepal do to get back on its feet again?

Nepal had a weak economy before the earthquake (Nepal's GDP-per capita ranked 197 out of 230 countries, according to The World Factbook) and struggled with its economic development, infrastructure, and communications. This earthquake has added injury to insult, dealing an economic blow that may take decades from which to recover. The tourism sector, for example, has taken a big hit with visitors cancelling travel plans as far out as October and November. And Kathmandu, Nepal's hub of commerce and industry, experienced a mass-exodus of up to 50% of its inhabitants due to fears of recurring earthquakes, health hazards, and due to folks simply having no other place to live.

Socially, Nepal also will suffer. Already we have received reports of hundreds of children that have been left without parents due to the quake. Malnutrition, waterborne illnesses, and exposure (a special concern with the oncoming monsoon season) are (and will) take their toll.

Seems overwhelming. And it is. But we aren't called to respond to all of these needs; we are called to respond to some of them. And that's what all of us here at Kidstown (including you) are trying to do. Many of you have been faithfully praying and faithfully giving.

Navigating these troubled waters, our plan is three-fold:

1. Near-term relief: we plan to give to each orphanage affected by the earthquake a basic relief package including finances (to help offset increased cost of food and commodities), water filters, and some other basic relief supplies.

2. Long-term reconstruction: we aim to help in the reconstruction effort of orphanages which have sustained significant structural damage. A Kidstown team will be on-site later this month to do a damage assessment of each orphanage affected by the earthquake.

3. On-going prayer for the orphanage leaders, our kids, and the Nepali people in-general.

May not seem like alot, but its something. And if we all do something, then it adds up to alot.

So - we thank all of you for your interest and concern for Nepal, its people, and our orphanages. For those who have prayed: thanks, and please keep it up. For those who have given financially: thanks, and we will try to apply those funds in strategic and wise ways which will help our Nepali orphanages. For those who have not yet engaged in some way: I encourage you to do so. Just because CNN is not showing the dust and rubble anymore does not mean that everything is back to normal over there. You can pray. You can give (www.kidstown.org/donate - "Nepal relief"), or you can engage in some other way. The main thing is that each of us do our part to help our family in Nepal that at this hour needs our help. Who knows, next year it might be us needing their help.


Nepal Quake: "Now what?"

Dear Kidstown Friends,

Most of us cannot identify with a natural disaster which literally and figuratively rocks our entire world. It's likely that most Nepalis, before last Saturday, didn't either. But today they woke up once again to the grim reality of what was, and now what is. The question that surely looms in their mind's eye is: now what? Now what?

Nepal - marginalized peoples 3 Nepal, this beautiful and somewhat romanticized Himalayan country, has more than its share of struggles. A civil war that tore the nation to shreds, and from which it has yet to recover. Ongoing political infighting. Economic stagnation. Widespread poverty. Harsh living conditions and high mortality rates among children in outlying areas. An underdeveloped infrastructure, including roads, medical facilities, and communication. Not to mention the laundry list of social needs: child trafficking, abandoned & destitute children, prevalent sickness caused by contaminated water, and literal starvation in some of the remote mountain regions of the far West. Add to this social, political, and economic melee the hopelessness experinced by most Nepalis due to the widely embraced Hindu worldview and one can see why a 7.8 earthquake can (in almost a realistic sense) be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

According to BBC, the latest figures are over 5,500 dead, 11,000 injured, 70,000 homes destroyed, and 8 million affected (this means that almost 30% of Nepal's population has been impacted by this quake). These numbers are significant, especially when placed into the context of Nepal's already-challenging existence.

Chitwan home So, what do we do with all of this? Is there a way that we can help Nepal during this time, or will we just raise our eyebrows, shake our heads, and move on to reading the next news article? From our vantage point, I would encourage us to do (continue to do) the following:

1. PRAY - This is the greatest way we can help Nepal. God is there already: in Kathmandu, under the rubble, in the remote villages which have yet to see a rescue vehicle, with the children who have lost a parent, with the family which has lost their home. God is there: actively working FOR the Nepali people, endeavoring to bring them practical help and hope through the compassion of others. God is there: actively working IN the Nepali people, urging them to ask the right questions that ultimately will lead them to Him, the source of hope and true life. God is there: actively working THROUGH the Nepali people that are called by His Name - sending them out as His ambassadors of love, care, and concern to those who are at the end of their rope. Back to us: since God is there, why not join Him in what He is already doing? When we pray, we do just that, and our prayers increase His involvement on behalf of the Nepali people.

2. GIVE - Helping others in practical ways is a way to substantiate our concern. Its a long way to Nepal and chances are if you did fly over there you'd probably get stuck in holding pattern over the airport due to the logjam of planes on the ground. But, we have an infrastructure of people already on the ground. People that are already engaged in helping some of the neediest of Nepal's people: its orphans. We are committed to supporting and helping those particular endeavors and now, in the wake of this earthquake, surely these orphanages will need a helping hand to get up & get going again. We have not yet received in-depth damage assessments from the orphanages, but as the dust settles a bit we hope to. Having some financial resources in the wings, however, will enable us to respond quickly when the needs to become apparent. Will you join us in this? For those who have already done so, many thanks.

If you would like to give: www.kidstown.org/donate. Please designate "Nepal earthquake".

On a GREAT note: this morning I received word in regards to the last and final orphanage, and according to our regional director "the kids are absolutely well". This means that of our seven orphanages in the quake zone, ALL seven (except for some structural damage to the facilities) came through the earthquake unscathed! No kids were injured, no leaders were injured! Thank you, Lord.

So, to all the Kidstown family: thanks for your great concern for Nepal and our orphanages. Thanks for praying. Thanks for giving. Thanks for being a family to our family in Nepal.