Author Archives: dennisup
“The white man says, there is freedom and justice for all. We have had ‘freedom and justice,’ and that is why we have been almost exterminated. We shall not forget this.”
– 1927 Grand Council of American Indians
Grand Council Fire of American Indians
• In 1927, while running for a third term as mayor of Chicago, William Hale Thompson campaigned on the theme of “America First.” Thompson claimed that textbooks used in Chicago schools were biased in favor of the British; he wanted them to be revised to be “100 percent American.” Thompson’s anti-British program was intended to win the votes of immigrants from Ireland and Germany, nations that had troubled relations with England.
• After he won the election, Thompson attacked the city’s superintendent of schools for using pro-British textbooks and demanded that they be replaced with books that recognized the historical contributions of German, Irish, and other European ethnic groups.
• Members of the Grand Council Fire of American Indians used Thompson’s “America First” program as an opportunity to point out that Native Americans were often either overlooked or misrepresented in school textbooks. The president of the Grand Council, Scott H. Peters, a Chippewa Indian, wrote a letter to the mayor asking that textbooks also feature the accomplishments of Native Americans.
The First Americans
The Grand Council Fire of American Indians
December 1, 1927
To the mayor of Chicago:
You tell all white men “America First.” We believe in that. We are the only ones, truly, that are one hundred percent. We therefore ask you, while you are teaching schoolchildren about America First, teach them truth about the First Americans.
We do not know if school histories are pro-British, but we do know that they are unjust to the life of our people – the American Indian. They call all white victories battles and all Indian victories massacres. The battle with Custer has been taught to schoolchildren as a fearful massacre on our part. We ask that this, as well as other incidents, be told fairly. If the Custer battle was a massacre, what was Wounded Knee?
History books teach that Indians were murderers – is it murder to fight in self-defense? Indians killed white men because white men took their lands, ruined their hunting grounds, burned their forests, destroyed their buffalo. White men penned our people on reservations, then took away the reservations. White men who rise to protect their property are called patriots – Indians who do the same are called murderers.
White men call Indians treacherous – but no mention is made of broken treaties on the part of the white man. White men say that Indians were always fighting. It was only our lack of skill in white man’s warfare that led to our defeat. An Indian mother prayed that her boy be a great medicine man rather than a great warrior. It is true that we had our own small battles, but in the main we were peace loving and home loving.
White men called Indians thieves – and yet we lived in frail skin lodges and needed no locks or iron bars. White men call Indians savages. What is civilization? Its marks are a noble religion and philosophy, original arts, stirring music, rich story and legend. We had these. Then we were not savages, but a civilized race.
We made blankets that were beautiful, that the white man with all his machinery has never been able to duplicate. We made baskets that were beautiful. We wove in beads and colored quills designs that were not just decorative motifs but were the outward expression of our very thoughts. We made pottery – pottery that was useful, and beautiful as well. Why not make schoolchildren acquainted with the beautiful handicrafts in which we were skilled? Put in every school Indian blankets, baskets, pottery.
We sang songs that carried in their melodies all the sounds of nature – the running of waters, the sighing of winds, and the calls of the animals. Teach these to your children that they may come to love nature as we love it.
We played games – games that brought good health and sound bodies. Why not put these in your schools? We told stories. Why not teach schoolchildren more of the wholesome proverbs and legends of our people? Tell them how we loved all that was beautiful. That we killed game only for food, not for fun. Indians think white men who kill for fun are murderers.
Tell your children of the friendly acts of Indians to the white people who first settled here. Tell them of our leaders and heroes and their deeds. Tell them of Indians such as Black Partridge, Shabbona, and others who many times saved the people of Chicago at great danger to themselves. Put in your history books the Indian’s part in the World War. Tell how the Indian fought for a country of which he was not a citizen, for a flag to which he had no claim, and for a people that have treated him unjustly.
The Indian has long been hurt by these unfair books. We ask only that our story be told in fairness. We do not ask you to overlook what we did, but we do ask you to understand it. A true program of America First will give a generous place to the culture and history of the American Indian.
We ask this, Chief, to keep sacred the memory of our people.
“Good words will not give my people good health and stop them from dying. Good words will not get my people a home where they can live in peace and take care of themselves. I am tired of talk that comes to nothing. It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and broken promises.”
– Chief Joseph, Nez Perce
“I am tired of fighting,” he said. “Our chiefs are killed. Looking Glass is dead. Toohoolhoolzote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say, ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ He who led the young men [Olikut] is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are—perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”
“You got to be contrary, but there’s a world of pleasure in contrariness.”
– Wendell Berry
Sometimes, being thankful is just a matter of perspective.
Most of us sit down to holiday dinner with family and loved ones, and eat until we can eat no more. Everything is right with the world, and we are SO blessed! God is good.
But many of our families are filled with rascals, miscreants and other “normal” people. We’re thankful that we have each other, though.
Too many others have no idea how they’re going to feed their children, and are far from family and loved ones.
And for true perspective, think of this guy, who’s the guest of honor at most tables this holiday, but would rather be anywhere else.
Whatever your circumstance, remember that you are loved by God above, and hopefully by His followers down below.
“Peace is not stasis; it is not the absence of violence: where there is isolation, separation and indifference between peoples, conflict can break out at any time. Nor is it simply civility and respect for the law, in which the walls of separation remain firm. Peace, rather, is the counter-dynamic to competition, rivalry and the clash of strengths. Peace can only come when the chain of violence is broken and the weaker members of society are fully welcomed, loved and respected.”
– Jean Vanier
“All of God’s people who hear the call [of God] are commissioned by God to answer that call wherever it takes us. There are many places of injustice in our world that are waiting for the Good News of the gospel. It is not necessary to have anyone’s permission for any of us to address these needs.”
– Mary L. Mild
“Too often the price exacted by society for security and respectability is that the Christian movement in its formal expression must be on the side of the strong against the weak. This is a matter of tremendous significance, for it reveals to what extent a religion that was born of a people acquainted with persecution and suffering has become the cornerstone of a civilization and of nations whose very position in modern life too often has been secured by a ruthless use of power applied to defenseless peoples.”
– Howard Thurman
TO THE READER:
Thank you for being a faithful partner, and using your voice for the voiceless! Your partnership is truly making a difference in Asia. I pray that this story will bless and encourage you as you read how God transformed a broken family through the gift of fresh water. The ministry of Gospel for Asia is about changing lives — both for this life and for eternity, and Jesus Wells are simply one way to do that. As people receive the clean water they so desperately need, it opens the door to share about the source of Living Water, the One who is the reason for the well. As you read this story, consider getting involved by praying, giving or starting a MyGFA campaign.
DESPERATE FOR MORE THAN CLEAN WATER
Suprita had to trek through the rocky terrain to get water for her family. But there would be no sweet relief when she and her family drank it. The stagnant pond she drew from was full of mud, discarded bodies of dead animals and even human waste. Suprita had no alternative — she risked the possibility of stomach pain and sickness every day because this was the only water available for miles. And this was only the beginning of her problems.
DRUNKEN HUSBAND BEATS WIFE, CHILDREN
Suprita lived under the constant threat of being beaten by her alcoholic husband Tarosh. Night after night, he came home from his job as a rickshaw driver completely drunk, and harshly mistreated her and her children. None of them could bear the pain and fear much longer.
Suprita knew something had to be done to solve Tarosh’s drinking problem. She begged her gods and goddesses to help her in the hopeless situation she and her family were in, but it did not seem that prayers alone would bring peace to her family. Tarosh continued to drink and hurt Suprita emotionally and physically.
WITCHCRAFT, SORCERY DO NOT SOLVE PROBLEMS
Something more drastic would have to take place if Tarosh was ever going to leave behind his destructive behavior. Suprita decided she would take matters into her own hands by learning the secrets of witchcraft and the art of sorcery. She offered the bodies of a slain hen and goat as sacrifices. In her desperation, she went to sorcerers and began to call on the spirits of the dead, hoping they would come to her aid. In spite of her dedicated efforts, however, her husband did not change.
JESUS WELL BRINGS RELIEF
In the midst of her struggles with Tarosh, Suprita still had the daily needs of her family to meet. At least one of her burdens was lifted when a Gospel for Asia pastor named Makrand had a well installed in their village. It was a welcome sight and a relief to the villagers. No more would they have to worry about stomachaches, illnesses or death because of the contaminated water they had been consuming so regularly.
Something as simple as being able to bathe in fresh water dramatically changed the way the men and women of the village lived. “My children were going to school without taking baths, and my husband went to work without a bath as well,” Suprita recalled. “We were not able to maintain proper cleanliness due to water scarcity, but after this Jesus Well was installed in our village, my children could take baths every day and go to school clean.”
One day at the well, Suprita ran into Pastor Makrand. As she drew the water she needed, the two began talking about life in general, and Pastor Makrand eventually shared about God’s love.
As the conversation continued, Suprita opened up and found herself sharing even the most painful things about her life with the pastor. While she poured out her heart to Makrand, he listened intently and offered to visit Suprita at her home.
Not wasting any time, Pastor Makrand and his wife stopped by Suprita’s house the very next day. Suprita was glad to see her new friends and welcomed them into her home. The couple listened as Suprita thanked the pastor for having the well installed in her community, and continued to share about the turmoil in her life. Pastor Makrand told Suprita that Jesus is the only One who could bring the true joy and peace she was seeking. Hearing about Jesus from Makrand stirred Suprita’s heart and made her eager to learn more.
FAMILY FINDS HOPE
Pastor Makrand continued to regularly visit Suprita and talk about the Good News with her. It all began making sense to Suprita, and one day she fully trusted in the Lord for salvation. Suprita had a new heart for Christ, and a new determination to pray for Tarosh. Although his habits had not changed, Suprita did not stop growing in the Lord and praying for her husband.
Pastor Makrand and his wife prayed with Suprita and her children once a week, and Tarosh always left the house during that time. But the group of praying friends persevered, and slowly Tarosh began to change. His bad habits became less frequent, and he would sometimes attend the prayer meetings in his home and listen to God’s Word being read or talked about.
THANKFUL FOR A NEW LIFE
Eventually, Tarosh’s life changed from the inside out. He, too, trusted in Jesus and began living for Him.
The home that was once filled with scared children, a desperate and weary wife and a careless and violent husband is drastically different today. Tarosh cares very deeply for his family now, and they all worship God together with several other families from the community whose hearts have also been transformed by the Good News.
Suprita did not expect to find more than fresh water at the well the day she met Pastor Makrand. She never would have guessed that a conversation at a well would forever change her life and the lives of her children, her husband and other people in her village.
“I am lucky to get good water from the well,” Suprita says. “Above all, I am so happy that I and my family came to know the Lord through this means.”
Jesus Wells not only give entire communities the clean water that is so desperately needed, but they also provide opportunities for missionaries to build relationships and share the hope of Christ with the people in the village.
“In affliction, then, we do not know what it is right to pray for. Because affliction is difficult, troublesome, and against the grain for us, weak as we are, we do what every human would do. We pray that it may be taken away from us. However, if he does not take it away, we must not imagine that he has forgotten us. In this way, power shines forth more perfectly in weakness.”
Worth Every Minute
Two hours is a small price for Bhima to pay. He’s made this journey countless times, but when you’re feeding the hungry, the joy is worth it all.
Pastor Bhima travels to the surrounding villages of his home, sharing the love of Jesus with many who have never heard Christ’s name. When Bhima came to a town two hours away, he discovered that several people were hungry to learn about God. So he kept returning.
A Village Steeped in Religion
The majority of the villagers believe in karma and are bound in superstition, and most don’t know how to read. But these hard-working farmers will not put up with anyone mocking their faith.
Padma, a quiet young woman in the town, has worshiped and sacrificed to idols since childhood. Her family is often separated, because her father works in a different state, but she works hard to help her mother and brothers take care of their home. A dedicated student, one would never guess from Padma’s smile the difficulties she has to endure to make it through school.
Tormented by Spirits
Why they chose her, Padma didn’t know, but every time she tried to concentrate on her studies, demons attacked. She wanted to learn but frequent headaches prevented her.
Padma and her mother visited many doctors, but no one had answers to free Padma from her misery.
Pastor Bhima happened to visit Padma’s home one day and shared the Gospel with her mother. Padma arrived later, and he got to pray for her. Padma’s mother noticed a difference in her daughter after the prayer, so she asked Bhima to keep coming. He gladly consented and visited often, reading from God’s Word and asking God to heal Padma.
Where Two or More are Gathered
Bhima invited two believers from his hometown to begin a regular prayer meeting in Padma’s home. One day, as the three believers prayed over Padma, she fell down unconscious, but Bhima and his friends continued to intercede for her deliverance and the Lord rescued her. In moments, Padma stood up, fully restored.
Padma and her mother were overjoyed and thanked the believers profusely. From that day on, Padma started to attend prayer meetings, and gradually God convicted her heart of her need for Jesus.
Now, there is a wide-open door in this village to hear the message of Jesus. The people are amazed at what God accomplished in Padma’s life and they see the power Christ has over darkness. Padma also joyfully shares her testimony with others, and no one opposes her witness because they are so happy that she is healed.
Old Friendship Brings New Life
Kaaliya was home from Bible college and eager to share how God was working through his first year, but not everyone shared his enthusiasm. In fact, his old friend Baalaark looked like he was about to burst into tears. When Kaaliya finally asked what was wrong, crying was exactly what Baalaark did.
While the friends had lost touch over the years, Baalaark’s family had fallen apart. His parents fought every day, and his efforts to unite them were traded in for a divorce.
“I don’t know what to do,” Baalaark said. “I did my best to make them understand, but it was worthless. I feel embarrassed, and I don’t want to show my face to anyone out of shame. I just want to finish my life.”
Despite his despair, Baalaark hoped his friend might advise him. Was there a way to save his parents’ marriage? For them to live in dignity and peace?
Kaaliya knew exactly what to tell him.
Friend’s Plea Answered
Kaaliya’s father was a pastor, and over the past semester, Kaaliya had been training to become one, too. He comforted Baalaark, prayed for him and shared the Good News that Jesus has the power to transform lives.
As Baalaark listened, he felt an overwhelming sense of peace and asked Kaaliya to share this message with his parents. That night, the whole family chose to follow Christ.
Over the next two weeks, Kaaliya connected Baalaark’s family with his father’s church, and they began regularly attending Bible studies and meetings. Meanwhile, Kaaliya continued sharing Jesus’ love with everyone he met.
As Baalaark’s family grows in their new faith and others respond to Christ’s call, Kaaliya knows this is only the beginning. With each new year of school, he’s working toward a lifetime of service—a lifetime of seeing families united under the redeeming shelter of God’s grace.
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
“The way to Christ is first through humility, second through humility, third through humility. If humility does not precede and accompany and follow every good work we do, if it is not before us to focus on, if it is not beside us to lean upon, if it is not behind us to fence us in, pride will wrench from our hand any good deed we do at the very moment we do it.”
The First Day of Summer.
The Longest Day of the Year.
The Summer Solstice.
My Birthday – June 21st. Occasionally, it falls on Father’s Day.
In fact, I was born on Father’s Day, 1953.
I have no idea whether my Mom presented me to my Dad as a cross-eyed, little 4th-of-7 gift or not, but the First Day of Summer has always been special to me.
As I awoke this morning, I laid in bed and looked back on some of the things I’ve accomplished in my 60 years, reflected on some regrets, but most of all thought about my children.
I’ve been a stock boy, peach picker, altar boy, corn husker, paper boy, caddy, landscaper, student, delivery boy, car jockey, janitor, salesperson, Fuller Brush man, file clerk, assistant manager of a Circle K, jewelry salesman, handyman, house painter, typesetting machine operator, church founder, proofreader, deacon, teacher, missions director, missionary, researcher, bible smuggler, copy editor, cross-cultural trainer, elder, writer and
… brother, son, friend, nephew, confidant, cousin, boyfriend, uncle, lover, husband, Father and grandfather.
I haven’t made a lot of money or attained any level of fame; I’ve never commanded troops or run a corporation; my name will not go down in history – and that’s okay. Really. Because, you see, I helped create (along with my beautiful, loving wife Sharon) three of the most wondrous human beings that walk the planet.
My heart is full and my life really is complete, because I’m just so damn proud of you, my kids. You have all far exceeded my expectations because each one of you has a loving and compassionate heart.
Sure, you’ve all finished college and gotten degrees. You have traveled the world and taken courageous risks as your futures have unfolded. All of you have experienced daunting pain and hardship – and come through on the other side better, deeper, more understanding human beings.
But most of all, you are my prize. I win. It doesn’t matter what else I’ve done in my life – YOU three are my reward, and I love you very much.
Of course, I don’t want to take anything from your mother, but she understands, because she feels the same way. You have made me proud and continue to do so. Every day, I think about you, miss you, pray for you and rest in the knowledge that you are three rare jewels that make me the richest man in the world.
Happy Birthday to me.
“Colorful demonstrations and weekend marches are vital but alone are not powerful enough to stop wars. Wars will be stopped only when soldiers refuse to fight, when workers refuse to load weapons onto ships and aircraft, when people boycott the economic outposts of Empire that are strung across the globe.”
– Arundhati Roy
My family – like many in the U.S. – has been touched deeply by addiction to drugs and alcohol. I’m sure many of you can relate. At one time or another, most of us took drugs or drank too much, and years of real, vibrant life were lost to the scourge of addiction. However, when one of my brothers was miraculously, instantaneously delivered and healed of addiction to heroin, alcohol and other substances, our entire family was transformed. The miracle we saw in Steve changed us all, and one-by-one we gave ourselves to Jesus.
This dramatic ending (really a beginning for us) doesn’t usually happen, because drugs and alcohol take their toll before a mind and heart addled by narcotics can absorb the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Steve, however, was shown love and freedom by two of the most Godly women I’ve ever met – Ruth Wynne and Betty Adams, of the Jesus House in Oklahoma City. They loved Steve when no one else would, and he responded. Unfortunately, many people die in their addictions, and families are torn apart because they never receive a credible witness of God’s love. If any of you readers would like to share your story – whether it be sad, painful or glorious – you can post it as a Comment below so others can benefit from your experience.
Tragically, addiction is found all over the world, not only in the U.S. and other affluent countries. Below you can read the account of a family in India that found freedom and healing through the love shared by the people of Gospel for Asia. Transformations take place when we boldly and lovingly care for and empathize with others.
Please read this testimony, then respond by praying for the work of Gospel for Asia, and giving financially to support their efforts. Thank you!
Javesh Crosses the Bridge of Hope
SACHI WATCHED HER HUSBAND BECOME MORE AND MORE DEPENDENT ON ALCOHOL to get through each day. She and Javesh had small children to feed, but whatever money he made, he used on his addiction. The situation grew worse, and their food was beginning to run out.
The only glimmer of hope in Sachi’s and Javesh’s lives was that their son Chakor was enrolled in a Gospel for Asia Bridge of Hope center. They knew he was being cared for and given a nutritious meal every day.
While Chakor received the opportunity to learn and grow, things were looking grim for the rest of the family.
One day, during a regular visit to the family’s home, the staff members from the Bridge of Hope center realized how dire Chakor’s family situation truly was. After meeting with the family, they decided to offer Sachi a job as a cook at the center. She was overjoyed at the prospect.
The new job meant income, and an income meant their family wouldn’t have to starve. Sachi was very happy to be able to meet all her children’s needs again.
God Answers Their Prayers
The Bridge of Hope staff continued visiting with and praying for the family, and slowly, Javesh’s life started to change. He stopped drinking alcohol, and he began to use his wages to provide for his family again.
Through the prayers and friendship of the Bridge of Hope staff, Sachi and Javesh saw the love of Jesus and knew that He cared very much for them. The couple and their children embraced the hope that can only be found in Christ.
Today the family attends the local fellowship together, and their home is full of God’s peace. Not only has their outward situation changed drastically, but their inner lives were transformed as well.
Here’s an article that outlines the troubles of alcohol abuse in India.
MOTHER’S DAY IS QUICKLY APPROACHING. What better gift can you give than to sponsor a child for the mom(s) in your life?
Please help us meet our goal of 250 children sponsored for Mother’s Day!
What does this mother want most for Mother’s Day?
Hope for Her Child
In South Asia, Dalits are considered the lowest class of people. They face intense persecution and hatred. Dalit mothers watch as their children:
- Become beggars or daily wage laborers.
- Grow up without any hope for an education.
- Receive beatings from their employers.
- Live without adequate food or proper clothing.
A Mother’s Desperate Longing
Gayana was only 20 when her husband died, leaving her and their young son, Vikranta, alone in the world. Gayana despaired as she wondered how she would provide for Vikranta. She was no longer welcome at her in-laws home, and her elderly parents were unable to support her. Having nowhere else to go, Gayana moved in with one of her sisters. She was so distressed over her situation that she stopped eating and sank into a deep depression. Then a neighbor told her about a nearby Gospel for Asia Bridge of Hope center, a place that offered help to poor children. Gayana visited the center and shared her desperate story with the director. To Gayana’s great joy and relief, Vikranta was enrolled in Bridge of Hope immediately.
Bridge of Hope Has the Answer
Bridge of Hope provided Vikranta with everything he needed to attend and thrive at school. Although Gayana found work as a daily wage laborer, she earns only about a dollar a day. Without Bridge of Hope, she would never have been able to provide her son with the education he’s receiving. Gayana is happy and grateful that her son has been given a chance — a chance that many Asian mothers only dream of their children having.
Thousands Ready to Receive Joy
20,000 children are still waiting to enroll in a Bridge of Hope center. All they’re waiting for is a sponsor. All they are waiting for is you. For just $35 a month, you can provide a mother with the hope she’s longing for. Her child will receive:
- A daily nutritious meal.
- The message of Jesus’ love.
- A quality education.
- A better life than she had.
To find out how you can sponsor a child today, visit www.gfa.org/bridge.
This Mother’s Day, sponsor a child in your mother’s honor, and bring hope to mothers who have no hope. Visit www.gfa.org/bridge to find out more.
RAJI OPENED HER EYES WITH DISAPPOINTMENT as the dark reality set in: Somehow she had survived her latest suicide attempt — and her family would never forgive her for it.
She had made many attempts on her life before. Like a cat with nine lives, though, Raji always managed to raise her mutilated body from the grave. With this latest failure, her family would only despise her more, but what could she do when even death wouldn’t take her?
Girl Grows Up in Poverty
Danger had followed Raji since childhood. Her father, Ednit, had a nice job in the military, but when he came home every night, he and Raji’s mother would drink and fight.
Listening to the drunken arguments, Raji and her five siblings could be happy only for the fact that when Ednit screamed at their mother, he wasn’t screaming at them. The alcohol was costly, however, and soon the family fell into desperate poverty.
After the sixth grade, Raji dropped out of school to support her family and found work at construction sites. After each day of toil, she came home to her father’s abuse, and as the years went by she could only dream of escape.
Marriage was the most likely route: Her new husband might be kind and her in-laws loving.
But when the time came to arrange a marriage, Raji’s father had none of these things in mind. Soon she was forced to marry a man who was anything but her savior.
Marriage Leads to Greater Oppression
It was as if Ednit had sought for his daughter the worst version of himself.
Like Ednit, Aadesh drank often and his physical abuse was even more brutal. He tormented Raji for no apparent reason, and his family did nothing to stop him because they hated Raji just as much. It soon became clear that the new bride had stepped from misery into torture.
Then one day, she made a decision. Without thinking twice, she doused herself in gasoline and set herself on fire.
Like many desperate young women who light themselves on fire, Raji hoped her death would be instantaneous, but she quickly discovered the horrible truth.
As the flames ripped across her body, Raji couldn’t help screaming in pain. Her terrified neighbors ran to her house and put out the fire, but devastating damage was already done. The woman writhing on the ground was disfigured beyond recognition. And her in-laws’ hatred for her only intensified.
Hated by Family after Failed Suicide Attempt
After the fire, Raji’s life was even worse than the one she’d tried to escape.
Throughout her painful recovery, her family demonstrated no sympathy or remorse at the way they had treated her.
They felt justified in their animosity.
Isolated from any form of love, Raji grew more desperate. Between her family’s scorn and her self-doubt, she heard a rough voice whisper in her ear, “Commit suicide and finish yourself.”
She tried to obey the voice once, twice — as many times as she could. Whether by the neighbors or bad planning, she was always thwarted as completely as on the day of the fire.
With each failed attempt on her life, her situation became more hopeless, as if she’d been condemned to live forever. And as long as she lived, Raji was certain, misery would follow.
But one day, one of Raji’s neighbors showed her a strategy she hadn’t tried before.
Finally, a Friend
The neighbor told Raji about Jesus, who loved everyone so greatly that He died for their sins. Raji could see for herself in a film the local pastor was going to show in the village.
The pastor explained even more that night about Jesus, and as Raji watched the movie, she could see the goodness of this Man.
As she watched the crucifixion, she realized how deeply Jesus loved her. And after a lifetime of pain, she was eager to embrace Him.
Soon after Raji chose to follow Christ, she began attending prayer meetings and Bible studies. To her surprise, Aadesh not only encouraged her — he went with her, and listened with an open heart!
With a new joy that seemed incomprehensible, Raji began sharing the Good News with her sister-in-law. Within a week, she, too, decided to follow Jesus. Suddenly, Raji’s worst enemies had become dear friends.
Now the trio regularly attends church together, Raji’s home is filled with harmony, and the life she used to dread has become a sweet gift.
“My burden is rolled away,” she says, “and I feel peace in my heart.”
You can bring peace to lives of turmoil by showing them Jesus’ love on film.
DO YOU KNOW ANYONE WITH HANSEN’S DISEASE? I don’t either.
Hansen’s disease — also known as leprosy — is one of the world’s oldest maladies. Leprosy is a bacterial disease that attacks the nervous system, particularly the nerves of the hands, feet and face. As the body absorbs cartilage into its system, victims of the disease slowly lose their fingers, toes and even limbs. While leprosy has been eradicated in the west, it is still active and greatly feared across Asia because of the disfigurement it can cause, the social stigma it carries, and because it can be transmitted through close contact with a patient.
There are tens of thousands of people suffering from leprosy in more than 1,000 leper colonies throughout South Asia. The social stigma is devastating, perhaps even worse than the disease itself. However, leprosy can be totally cured without permanent damage if medical help is sought immediately. Unfortunately, in remote places and among the poor, diagnosis and treatment often come too late. And sadly, only those among the cured who have no visible deformity will be able to integrate back into society. All others will have to live in leper colonies — alone or with their families — for the rest of their lives.
In the midst of this hopelessness, the light of Jesus Christ is breaking through, bringing hope to those who have been brushed aside by society. Please pray for Gospel for Asia’s leprosy ministry, that many suffering from this terrible disease would embrace the Savior, who is reaching out to them in love. GFA-supported missionaries in the leper colonies show Christ’s love by cleaning wounds and changing bandages, by giving medical care, by making special shoes to protect the people’s feet, by helping with household chores, by providing food, but most importantly by telling the people of and showing Christ’s love for them.
Recently a group of students traveled to Asia and visited a leprosy colony. Click the photo below to watch and share Ashley’s powerful story (but HD seems to short it out).
Here are some web resources:
Thank you for sharing the plight of these unseen, yet precious people!
“Long, blue, spiky-edged shadows crept out across the snow-fields, while a rosy glow, at first scarce discernible, gradually deepened and suffused every mountain-top, flushing the glaciers and the harsh crags above them. This was the alpenglow, to me the most impressive of all the terrestrial manifestations of God. At the touch of this divine light, the mountains seemed to kindle to a rapt, religious consciousness, and stood hushed like devout worshippers waiting to be blessed.”
– John Muir