Tuesday, April 1, 2014

India Village Update!

Back in May 2013, my family visited a little village in India called Bendigeri, it was actually the place my dad grew up as child. The children there stole my heart and changed it. They helped me see how truly beautiful this world is because of the people who fill it. I left wanting to make a difference in their lives since they had made such a drastic difference in mine.

November and December of 2013 I reached out to friends, family, my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group, church, and co workers sharing my experience and hoping we could rally together to send over $1,500 to this little village filled with children who had nothing and whose only building used for school and church had just recently been destroyed by a flood. Because of the wonderful people in my life, we raised $4,151.95. This wasn't through any organization, these children aren't accustomed to receiving so much, this was purely out of the generous hearts and donations of the people in my life.

With this money, 39 children were blessed with an array of new items including: Clothes, backpacks, watches, books, pens/pencils, geometric school supplies, lunchboxes, water bottles, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, and sweets. On behalf of the village, sports equipment for the kids were purchased including bats and balls to play cricket. They had previously only used sticks as their bats. For the school/church, a keyboard was purchased so they could continue to learn to play music and have something to sing along to. Additionally, there was some money left over to help with the rebuild of the school/church as well.

The children were overwhelmed by your generosity. Some cried, others were speechless, all were filled with gratitude. For some, it was the first time they felt special and loved. We received letters from the children who could write. Here are a few things they had to say:

I am Anil Gaikwad, age 9, 4th grade. I am from a very poor family. God is so good to provide these things through you all--He is love. I am grateful to you for loving us when we feel unlovable.

My name is Akash, 14 years old, 7th grade. My parents are laborers. If they work for that day we have food on the table, if not we wait for the next day for my parents to get hired and bring home money so we can get food. We survive day by day not knowing what the future holds. Thank you for the school supplies, new clothes, backpack, etc. I know these things were all packaged with love and generosity. My heartfelt love to the USA.

I am Jayashree Hulikari, age 9, 3rd grade. I am a daughter of labor workers. Thank you to each and everyone of you for providing my school supplies, backpack, geometric gadgets, and new clothes. You are making a huge difference in my life with your love, kindness, and generosity. Thank you to everyone in MOPS and the USA who contributed. I love you all.

My heart is swelling with gratitude for everyone who supported this dream, whether through money, prayers, or words of encouragement and affirmation. When I first blogged about this, sharing my heart and my hopes for raising $1,500, I felt vulnerable, scared, and like I had just set myself and these children up for failure. But, I learned through this process that if the Lord wants to accomplish something, He will. We can allow our insecurities to keep us in the shadows as silent observers, or we can trust that still small voice that allows us the privilege to be a part of the beautiful, sacred work He is already doing.

Those of you who were a part of this were a part of His plans. I am so very grateful for you and I know 39 children in a tiny village on the other side of the world who are grateful for you, too. 

You have left your mark on them--

a gesture they'll remember for the rest of their lives.

Children holding the bricks that will be used for the rebuild of the school/church

Some of the children in their brand new, clean clothes!

Some of the items the children were given

Another picture of them getting ready for the rebuild


These are just a few of the kids in their new clothes with their new backpacks

"Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ " (Matthew 25:37, 38, 40 ESV)

--Lisa Barton

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