2014 was a challenging year for our ministry as we made the difficult decision to temporarily close our children’s home. Concerned about the well-being of children in institutional settings, the Indian government mandated that completely separate dormitories be built for boys and girls. Both genders could no longer live in the same building, under the same roof, even if they live on different floors, which was the arrangement we had at Master’s Home for Children.
In order to comply with the new law we needed three things that were in short supply: money, time, and space to build. Obviously, there’s a significant cost associated with building two new dormitories ($150,000 minimum), and the time allotted to begin and finish a construction project of that magnitude just wasn’t enough. On top of that, our current campus is maxed out. In order to build more buildings, we need more land. So we made the painful decision to send the majority of our kids back to their guardians or extended families. It wasn’t easy. There were lots of tears shed. But we had no other choice.
As difficult as all of this has been — and at times it’s been excruciating — our response has not been one of resignation. We are still caring for kids. And the sponsorship dollars we receive are still making a tremendous difference. Some of the children’s names and faces may be different, but we are as committed as we have ever been to transforming the lives of children. Here’s how:
- Last June we opened a new children’s home in Srikakulam District — 19 kids are being loved and cared for in a safe, familial environment.
- Last September we entered into a formal partnership with Lalitha Children’s Home, an orphanage that was on the brink of closure due to insufficient funding. Fifty-seven orphans call Lalitha home, and now that things have stabilized financially they are not at risk of being displaced.
- In addition, we are actively supporting at-risk children in Visakhapatnam, each of whom struggles under the burden of material poverty.
- And we continue to support many of the children who became family to us the minute they walked through the doors of Master’s Home.
It’s the generosity of our sponsors that makes all of this possible. A few months ago, we could have never imagined that the temporary closure of our children’s home would result in more kids being helped, but that is exactly what has happened.
Finally, you may be wondering if Master’s Home for Children will reopen. It most certainly will. As we prepare, by faith, for our next season of ministry in India, we are thinking and praying a lot about what it means for us to impact future generations, and the establishment of a new children’s home is our first priority. We’re still working out all the details, including what this new home will look like, but we believe that over the coming decades it will change the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of children.
We are genuinely excited about what lies ahead. By God’s grace, the next iteration of Master’s Home will be better than the first, and our sponsorship program, which is fueled by the faithful support of so many, will continue to be a lifeline for the vulnerable, abandoned, and orphaned children we are called to love and care for.
One of the great privileges of being a follower of Jesus is that we’re called to participate in God’s work in the world. As we join our King in caring for those who do not have the means to care for themselves, not only is God glorified, but we are aligning ourselves with an agenda that is sustained by the One David described as the “father of the fatherless and protector of widows.”
Jesus’ half-brother, James, insisted that “religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” The stain of the world is the inability to give and live in sacrificial ways so that others might be reconciled to their Creator. But for those of us who are in Christ, that stain has been removed, and we have been set free to walk in love.
Empowered by the Holy Spirit and compelled by the love of a God who has sided with the weak and helpless, may we become resolute in our commitment to become practitioners of the kind of religion James describes, and in the process may those we’re called to serve see our good works and “give glory to [our] Father who is in heaven.”
Vision Nationals is committed to caring for India’s most vulnerable. Your prayers and financial gifts make this possible.
Thank you for partnering with us in this life-changing work.