In the coming month, nearly 200 more kids will join new J127 clubs, among them the children shown in this photo. How different they look compared to the smiles and bright eyes usually seen on the faces of children already in the clubs. They will develop the same spark once they are caught up in the life-changing sessions of the club program expanding currently near Delhi, the nation’s capitol. The Orphan Initiative is designed to lead orphans from hopelessness to new life in Christ.
Establishing new clubs begins with identifying potential leaders from nearby churches and training them in the tender art of working with damaged kids. These initial training sessions are often quite moving as the new leaders tell one another why they chose to become involved. Following the training sessions and while waiting for his return flight home, Vijay Kumar, Director of the Orphan Initiative for David C Cook in India, journaled about what he had just witnessed during the training:
“The training was successful, very emotional for some of the participants. Word had spread and several people come to attend the training braving thick fog and cold weather. Looks like I have to come back soon to do a second training with yet another group. Met with a Brazilian woman who attended the training, (loved her Latin accent), she wants to start the programme in Brazil. Heard a story of a girl who was sexually abused by her father since the age 6. Ended up in an orphanage, stayed a while, ran away from the orphanage and become a prostitute, serving 8 to 10 clients a day; returned to the orphanage, diseased and very sick. She is just 16.
“Two days of traveling within Delhi, visiting orphanages, met with children whose past was ravaged, abused and un-loved. Then, two full days of standing and teaching-preaching-training-sharing-talking. Loved every bit of it although it was tiring. Yogita is one of the teachers who will lead a club. She lost her mother, brother and sister to HIV. She was lucky to be born before her father infected her mother with the virus. She said she was not afraid of death; she had seen enough of it and saw it again and again. She lives in an orphanage; and pursues a degree in law at Delhi University. She came to the front, picked up the small crumpled ball of paper, which I had tossed away to define ‘rejection’. She gently picked up that ball of paper and with her thin fingers, un-crumpled it; tried to smooth the creases and said, ‘This is me!’ And she began to cry. I went up and took her in my arms. There were tears all over in the room. The room fell silent for several minutes.”
Two weeks from now, Vijay will be training another group of new leaders for J127 clubs that will be starting in orphanages near Hyderabad. David C Cook aims to add another 1,000 orphans to the program in India in the next six months. The program is also getting underway in several other countries. The rate of expansion is limited only by how many people sign up to sponsor clubs for these orphan groups.
Earlier we called attention to the faces of the children who are just now joining these life-giving clubs inside orphanages. They were somber and cautious. Quite a contrast to the photo above, where another set of faces tells a different story. These are the new leaders for the J127 clubs in the Delhi region. Their passion shows. They are full of life and eager to share that life with sad children. They become family to kids who have no family. They have the heart, personal insight, and now the know-how to be loving mentors to hurting children.
Update: In 2018, David C Cook transferred oversight of the J127 clubs to an in-country partner which continues to shepherd and grow this program. By supporting David C Cook’s Life on Life curriculum, you will be helping support this program as well.