Our world is filled with lost causes. Fifteen year-old Jaidev used to be one of them. His family’s low caste status in Indian culture kept them poor and oppressed. Then he watched his mother burn to death when her sari caught fire from a kerosene stove.
Jesus specializes in lost causes and the damaged; He is especially fond of hard cases.
Jaidev is a hard case. He never knew his dad, and after his mother died, his grandmother found him too difficult to parent. Dropped off at the orphanage at the age of 7, he joined the ranks of millions of India’s unwanted children.
From the get-go, Jaidev proved challenging. He lived in his own world, oblivious to his physical surroundings. He had a wild look in his eyes and his facial expressions stayed tensed up. His trauma early in life left him mentally and emotionally crippled. He refused to speak and eat; he didn’t realize when he soiled his pants.
For the next several years, the caretakers and the older boys worked tirelessly to help him feed himself. They also cleaned him and tried to teach him to use the bathroom. Trauma had taken its toll on this young soul.
At the age of 13, Jadev became part of the orphanage’s first J127 club*. J127, part of the orphan initiative at David C Cook, is based on the scripture James 1:27,
True religion that God accepts is to care for orphans in their distress…
Our clubs seek to come alongside orphans who suffer from economic and spiritual poverty and the wreckage of traumatic events. We provide kids with a strong faith background, and training in character development and life skills. “Aunties and Uncles,” Christians from local churches, lead the clubs and wrap these kids in a nurturing, safe family environment.
At first Jaidev rarely cared about the club’s praise songs, stories, or games. He’d come and go as he pleased. Over time he began to take an interest in the music. Word spread that Jaidev sang when he was alone! One day he surprised the club leader, Uncle Girish, by asking for crayons. Coloring became a passion. He began to love Bible stories, too.
Now at 15, Jaidev receives special help to make up for lapses in his education. The rest of the day he helps around the orphanage and takes care of the younger boys. He loves to practice talking in English and cheerfully introduces himself to visitors.
Something remarkable happened three months ago. Jaidev gave back in an extraordinary way. He began pouring into the life of another troubled little boy.
Five year-old Tushar came to the orphanage after his father deserted the family, and his mentally ill mother left him unattended. Tushar is physically sound, but he often sits in the corner, eyes closed, repeating words. He wets his bed and is scared to use the bathroom. He is terrified of new people.
One day, Uncle Girish saw Jaidev and Tushar walking hand in hand down the dirt road. When questioned, Jaidev said,
I am taking Tushar to the bathroom. He is very small and also scared to go the bathroom. I remember how others helped me after I soiled myself. After all Tushar is my brother, isn’t he?
Jaidev dotes on the boy, keeping him clean, teaching him to tie his shoes, and helping him learn to use a handkerchief to blow his runny nose.
We may never be able to pinpoint the club lesson, or the acts of kindness, or the amount of love the Lord used to break through and heal Jaidev’s damaged spirit. But there’s no doubt: he’s a different kid.
What a wonder God claims the weakest and most broken among us and says, “You are My children, heirs to My Kingdom, and worthy of wholeness.” Then if we allow Him, He patiently tends to our hearts.
We are honored the Holy Spirit uses J127 clubs and our friends in India to transform orphans. Yet there are many more children to reach. We urge you to consider sponsoring a group so more children like these can find new life.
*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.