Hope for redemption and a relationship with God became possible through the birth of Jesus. It offered human beings not just the promise of eternity but abundant life on earth. This Christmas in India a growing number of orphans share in this joy and celebrate these promises with believers the world over.
In the last two years we’ve spoken about J127 Clubs*, David C Cook’s outreach to orphans and children in distress, through our blog. Based on the Scripture, James 1:27 – True religion that God accepts is to care for orphans in their distress… – this three-year program cares for the hearts of children who’ve faced extreme trauma. Christmas, and the story of Jesus’ birth, fills the kids with renewed hope.
For the Christ follower, Christmastime is ripe for sharing the Good News both through word and acts of service.
A group of 12 orphans from The Grace Club in Dehradun, India, recently did just that. Our Indian staff shared their story. By virtue of parents or family who’ve passed away from the disease or through infection, all of the girls are scarred by HIV/AIDS. They understand disability in a country where poverty, discrimination, and upheaval often trump the welfare of human beings.
In late November the Club leaders took a week to help the girls understand the blind and deaf culture. Through songs, lessons and games developed by David C Cook staff with input from specialists in the field and believers in India, the girls spent a week learning about this group of people.
The Club leader, Aunt Minima, took them on a field trip, a 45-minute drive to a blind residential school. She says:
The girls soon understood the blind children’s way of life. Not only did they feel compassion, they also learned about the struggle this group of kids face. The girls sang for 65 children at the school and shared Bible stories.
The experience changed the girls’ hearts and through a brand new passion for the disabled, they’ve planned a Christmas program for their neighborhood to share the challenges of the blind. Along with this play, they are practicing a skit featuring King David as a shepherd. They’re also talking about a public performance about the Apostle Paul’s arrest and subsequent miraculous escape as described in The Action Bible.
We stand in amazement by how the Holy Spirit moves when He gets a hold of a person’s life. The girls’ infectious faith compels them to share the Gospel with neighbors, friends, strangers, and the world. And their compassion stems from knowing what suffering is firsthand and what it’s like to live in darkness (and now in the light!).
It’s no coincidence that Jesus was born into this world to give sight to the blind. He is moved by the plight of men and women living in darkness. The Lord tells us the healing of a particular man “…happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9: 1-4). And after two blind men, destitute and sitting by the side of the road, cried out for mercy, Jesus called to them, “’…what do you want me to do for you?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.’ Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him” (Matthew 20:33-34).
Through the birth of King Jesus and His death on a rugged Cross, we who were once blind now see. Like the Apostle Paul, the scales fell from our eyes and we began a journey to share the hope that lies within us. We join The Grace Club and believers around the world in rejoicing over this Baby’s world-changing birth.
On a related note, Monica is one of the girls in The Grace Club. We reported on her testimony last January 2012. You can read her story here.
As we approach 2013, please consider sponsoring a club for the New Year.* The more clubs adopted, the more clubs we can plant in orphanages across India. Thank you for your consideration. And a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!
*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.