These are uncertain times for orphans in India, especially as a new government places restrictions on orphanages run by religious minorities such as Christians.
Boys and girls, most who have come out traumatic circumstances, are once again facing a future filled with danger and heartache. When an orphanage is shut down, children are usually sent to state run juvenile detention centers, which are little more than poorly managed, filthy, overcrowded prisons.
There is an abundance of joy in the Joy J127 Club and the orphanage it’s housed in. The young man who leads the Club also pastors a local church. He is particularly passionate about worship, there’s even a small makeshift recording studio in the orphanage. The 18 children are taught to play instruments—and when they sing, it’s as if all of heaven opens up.
The Children-at-Risk curriculum is the hallmark of David C Cook’s orphan initiative in India (called J127 Clubs). The lessons focus on spiritual formation, character development and life skills. They help children heal from past soul wounds and prepare them for the future, particularly walking with Jesus in the midst of hardship.
A lesson that impacted the Joy Club kids recently dealt with the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. According to Pastor Tony, the leader of the Joy Club, the children asked questions like: “How did Daniel become so brave to come so close to a hungry lion? Did Daniel have power like Superman? Did he talk in the Lion’s language?”
Pastor Tony told them, “God gives us courage and strength to face any challenge in life. If we love God and remain faithful to His Word, we can also become a Daniel and tame a lion or a Dragon!”
“We then ended with reciting a memory verse,” recalls Pastor Tony. “I can all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13. “Afterward the children exclaimed, ‘I too can become a good friend with a lion because Jesus is with me!’”
In response to a related lesson on God’s faithfulness to His children, fourteen year-old Raju, who is HIV-positive and lost his parents to the same illness said, “I am no longer a sad and lonely boy. My Jesus has spoken to me that I am not alone; my future is in his hands. He has a good plan for me.”
The lions are roaring for everyone involved in the Joy Club. Just recently, 14 children were sent to another part of the country to keep them from being taken away by local Hindu officials. After the threat is over for orphanages in the area, Pastor Tony hopes to bring the children back home. Until then, please pray that worship would spring forth from the children’s mouths, and courage like Daniel’s would rise up from their hearts. Pray for the Joy Club.
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.