My name is Jim.
My beautiful wife and I have been sponsoring children since we first found out about Gospel for Asia’s Bridge of Hope program. We had always wanted to have a large family, perhaps a dozen children, but our hearts were changed as we saw the incredible need of the poor children throughout Asia.
Instead of a dozen, we have had two children. Then, we got four more through GFA Bridge of Hope. They were our little hearts, children whose letters we read over and over again. Their pictures were mounted on our wall, and every day the four of us prayed for them. I considered them to be my children and loved them as my own, although I was sure we would never meet this side of eternity.
But God blew my socks off and sent me to India on a business venture about a year ago. My wife reminded me about Gospel for Asia and said I should give them a call to see if I could visit a GFA Bridge of Hope center while I was there. Amazingly, I could!
My heart was not ready for the sights of India. Still, the images of people, I can only assume they were Dalits, sitting on the roadside without any life in their eyes…everything looked so hopeless! I felt incredibly burdened for these people. It almost brought me to tears to see them and still does to this day.
But when I went to the center, I was simply astonished. The joy! The laughter! The sight of these children, dozens of them, beautiful, laughing, singing! It was so different from everything I saw around them. They were so vibrant and full of life.
This group of over a hundred kids was laughing, studying, and learning about the Lord all at once. It was amazing. But all of this did not prepare me for what was about to happen.
There was one little face in the crowd that I recognized. When I saw him, my little Manu, I just froze. The teacher told him who I was, and he locked eyes with me and he smiled the largest smile I have ever seen. He ran up to me and latched onto me like I was a life raft in the middle of the ocean.
This little 8-year old boy stepped back and looked me straight in the eyes. “Dad,” he said, “thank you for loving me.”
I burst into tears.
After that day, I have never been the same. I left India with a new perspective on life. Anything we could do to help these children, we must do.
Now, my wife and I sponsor two dozen children − twice as many as we ever thought we would have on our own. They are scattered all throughout India and Nepal. I cannot imagine doing anything more worthwhile with my life. This is it. My family and I are dedicated to saving as many people as we can. And Gospel for Asia enables us to do that.
(No Longer a Slumdog, K. P. Yohannan, © 2011 by K. P. Yohannan, GFA Books, pages 131-133)
No Longer a Slumdog is now free at Gospel for Asia. You can check it out here.