A central principle for making disciples is personal counseling and mentoring, whether one-on-one or in small groups, that enables people to face their weaknesses and step into a new, stronger life of faith.
This is especially true for orphans. In David C Cook’s J127 Orphan Initiative,* the adults who serve as “aunties and uncles” to orphans provide loving relationships for children who never had such experiences. Of course, it can take time for an abandoned child to trust any adult. Yet, through the Orphan Initiative with its gentle, personal adult involvement, young broken hearts often heal, flourish and flower remarkably quickly. Cook provides training, a detailed program and extensive support for the adults who commit to working with broken children whose parents may have committed suicide, died of AIDS, live as lepers or prostitutes or simply abandoned the children on the street.
Recently a group of willing Christians came together in Hyderabad, India to prepare for leading eight new orphan clubs in their area. These new clubs all start during March. They are nothing like educational classes or Sunday schools. Rather, they meet three times weekly in a festive atmosphere to provide spiritual formation and life skills rarely available in their dedicated, yet chronically underfunded, orphanages.
One presenter, Ravi, received his J127 training only two months ago. He shared about the transformations he’s seen among his club’s 30 participants in that short time. In one exercise he asked the children to write down names of people they wanted to forgive. One six-year-old girl wrote down 20 names of older girls who had bullied and even beaten her. Ravi, now aware of how to counsel in such situations, called all the girls together and spoke to them about God’s love and how he forgives us and so we forgive each other. Afterward came confession, forgiveness, tears, smiles and budding new friendships.
Ravi’s wife leads the club with him. He described how she realized, while reading supplemental material Cook provided on Anger Management, that she was still carrying bitterness toward a schoolteacher from years past. Her experience, he added, of working through her personal bitterness now gives her increased love and tenderness for young children overcoming bitterness from their suffering.
A visible “before and after” transformation occurs during these clubs which shows in snapshots of the children’s faces. The picture at the right is in an orphanage where one of the clubs is just forming. Visit them in a few months and you will see different, relaxed and cheerful expressions.
The aunties and uncles from the Hyderabad training will begin work immediately with 382 orphans in the eight new clubs. Eight local churches are also participating with them, an important part of bringing the orphans into healthy communities and normal life outside the institutions where they live.
The picture below is the entire group that received their initial leader training earlier this month. You can be part of this life-giving movement too. Each of these new clubs needs a sponsor. You get to know the kids, the leaders and the progress that comes from this Life on Life ministry. There’s so much in it for you, your family and friends when you get to know these children and witness their journeys. Contact David C Cook to learn how quickly you can join hands with the orphans, the aunties and the uncles as the clubs begin.
*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.