Waterworks in South India

I continued to find areas of South India to be very different than North India. Since signs of Christianity were rare in North India, you can imagine how surprised I was to see cars with Christian bumper stickers in South India!  One car had “JESUS” written in great big letters on the rear view window. I was told that there is still much resistance to Christianity there, but it is not as severe. There are more Christians living in South India because of that. I want to share about a fun visit I had to one of the Hope Homes. This particular Hope Home houses 42 children – 32 girls and 10 boys. The girls live in the larger building and the boys in the smaller one. Pastor T. and his wife started this Hope Home in 1999 with 29 children. They care for children ranging in age from six to 18. Neither the pastor nor his wife grew up as orphans. His family was farmers and probably considered to be in the lower middle class. Pastor T. said: “We ate regularly – unlike the children I rescue. But while growing up I saw hundreds of kids living on the streets. They were thin, dirty and restless. Even as a young person, I recognized the look of despair on their faces. I decided that I wanted to do something to help them one day!” Pastor T. sat with me as I interviewed several of the children. All of their stories were sad, but the kids telling the stories were not. Anisha was one of the stories I heard. She is now 18. Her father died of a heart attack when she was very young. Her mother had no choice but to take jobs as a day laborer whenever she could get one. Unfortunately, the work was not consistent so neither was more than one meal a day. They did not even have a home; they lived on the streets or under some tree that would provide shade from the hot Indian sun. The streets are a dangerous place for a child – especially a five year old girl. Anisha’s mother was terrified every time she left her small daughter to go work in the fields. Sharing the Gospel among some of the street people, Pastor T. met Anisha’s mother. That’s when she heard about his orphanage. She pleaded with him to take her daughter…

 That was 12 years ago!

Today, Anisha is praying that the Lord will open a way for her to attend a local nursing school. She is a beautiful, happy, healthy, grateful young woman who loves God with all her heart. She says, “He protected me from so many bad things by letting me come here to live!” When I asked the pastor if there was money for Anisha to attend nursing school, he said, “No, but God always shows a way!” He wasn’t worried and neither was Anisha! Oh how I envy such trust! What a gift! While I was interviewing some of the other orphans, it began to rain buckets outside. Within minutes, the electricity went out. I must tell you though, losing electricity at least twice a day in India is a common occurrence.  Without the ceiling fan going – there is no air conditioning over there – it was uncomfortably warm in that tiny office. I said something about how warm it was and the next thing I know they opened the door to the outside. That’s when literally buckets of water started pouring into the Hope Home! I was the only one surprised though. The pastor and his wife were quite nonchalant and the kids loved it. When I asked if this was normal, they said “Oh yes. Don’t worry Auntie. Once the rain stops the water will drain out of the house. We are all very fine!” I’m thinking to myself,

“You have got to be kidding! We need a construction crew in here!”

 I remained a little anxious simply because the water continued to get higher. It was about three inches when one of the older girls grabbed my hand and said, “Come Auntie, see the rest of the house!” Now remember, there is no electricity and I am wading in three inches of water. I have maybe 15 girls all giggling and watching me because I clearly had never experienced this before. We “waded” from one room to the other with a gaggle of giggling girls following me and enjoying the many facial expressions I must have had. Lol! By the time I got to the kitchen, I realized that they experienced “indoor waterworks” on something of a regular basis during the rainy season.  All appliances and anything that could be damaged by water were sitting on top of wood crates at least 18 inches from the floor. In the dorms, all the cots had legs that kept the beds at least 12 to 14 inches above the floor. The girls finally dragged me to a room that had large windows so the light was better. They had all kinds of questions about my hair, my family and the US. Then they ganged up on me and insisted that I sing for them. They refused to stop until I did. So, I sang “Amazing Grace” and they reciprocated with “How Great Thou Art”. Oh my! The angels in heaven could not possibly sound any more beautiful or worshipful! When it came time to leave, they didn't want me to go and I didn't want to leave either! I had water above my ankles, it was hot and sticky now that the rain had stopped, but I would NOT have traded my place with anyone anywhere else in the world. As I made my way toward the door I had 15 girls all trying to get hugs before I left. These children who have nothing have everything in my opinion. They have the joy of the Lord and they awakened the joy of the Lord in me that day! Even as I write this I am still overwhelmed by the blessing these children left on my heart!          
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