We spent our first week in India with a team from an amazing organization called The Hope Venture. After praying for and supporting The Hope Venture’s humanitarian work for years, it was amazing to be able to see several projects up close and personal.
We got to meet kids who are able to go to school because of the supplies they receive through the Back Pack Program: It is AMAZING to see what a difference this program makes, especially knowing it is entirely funded by $10 dollar donations!
We visited a vocational training center, where precious women come daily for courses teaching them to sew. This allows them to sew for their children (fabric is much more affordable than finished clothing), as well as eventually sewing for others and helping to provide for and support their families.
A highlight of our time was visiting a feeding center at a rock quarry. This was one of the bleakest places I have ever been, I can not imagine having a quarry be my workplace and home.
When the Hope Venture partners who run the feeding center arrived, we saw children, faces lit with joy, streaming in from every direction. We participated in the program for the evening (character-based stories and singing), helped to feed the children, and every one of us left a large chunk of our hearts.
But the memory I’ll carry with me from my time in India until I die was at the Home of Hope. Here’s how The Hope Venture describes this beautiful, heart wrenching place:
Imagine walking or driving through the streets of your neighborhood and seeing hundreds of destitute people abandoned on the streets left to die. Raja, a rickshaw driver, decided that he could no longer sit by and watch these people suffer. He had to do something to help them. He began bringing them into his home. He started to mend their wounds, clean their forsaken bodies, and give them their dignity and hope back.
But he needed a place for those he was rescuing and so he began the Home of Hope in Bangaluru, India. The Hope Venture is proud to partner with this trusted man in any way we can. We want to help those that are suffering reclaim dignity and honor. (www.thehopeventure.org/project/home-of-hope)
Of all the things we expected to do and see in India, the Home of Hope made me the most nervous. I am not afraid of much, I can talk to anyone, and I have seen darkness and poverty, but y’all? There is a reason I am not a doctor or nurse. Just being a mom comes with more physical wounds and body fluids than I can handle sometimes. And I have a front row seat to lots of mental health issues, but I have no experience at all with the kind of mental illness that lands people vulnerable and alone on the streets. I’d been asking God to really let me see people, to not turn away, to break my heart for what breaks His. But I was SCARED. Continue reading