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Longing for Living Water

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.

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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, CHILDRENdomviol

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 desperate-for-more-than-clean-water-2hands 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.desperate_for_more_than_clean_water_3

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.

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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.

If this story has stirred your heart, please donate to Jesus Wells today!



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WHAT DOES THIS MOTHER WANT?

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?

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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.

WaitingHopeAll the while, they know that they, as mothers, can do nothing to change their children’s fate. They are “untouchable.” But today, you can touch them with the love of Christ.

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.

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To find out how you can sponsor a child today, visit www.gfa.org/bridge.


MothersDay

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.




FROM PRAISE TO SLAVERY TO PRAISE

NADISH was just like any other nine-year-old boy who didn’t take his schoolwork seriously. After his father died from cancer, Nadish was enrolled in a Bridge of Hope center in India, being loved by the staff there and given an education. One day, however, his mother scolded him for not devoting enough effort to school.

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Nadish Sabharwal, before his abduction, in his official Bridge of Hope profile photo from 2007.

Not sure what else to do, Nadish ran away from home and found himself living in a large city railway station in India. There he met an elderly man who befriended him and took Nadish to his home village.

Forced into slavery, Nadish spent the next two years living as a prisoner and cleaning up animal waste all day. Every day after finishing his work, Nadish was locked in a room near the animals he cleaned up after and was given very little food to eat.

His mother grieved deeply.

She had already lost her husband to cancer, and now she had also lost one of her sons. Praise God that the Bridge of Hope center prayed diligently for little Nadish.

Nadish found hope in possible escape.

And then two years after Nadish was captured, a new boy was placed in the same room, and the landlord forgot to lock the door. Thirteen days after Nadish’s 12th birthday, he and his roommate escaped. Running to the nearest police station, the boys testified against their captor.

Back home and healing.

Nadish is now back home with his family, and participating in Bridge of Hope again. Please pray for Nadish. He is struggling mentally as a result of his lengthy captivity and ill treatment. Pray that he will be able to concentrate on his studies and catch up from what he missed.

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Nadish and his mother Gopika, just a few days after his escape.


There are many more like Nadish

In India alone there are reports of 45,000 children missing each year.¹  This is a sad reality that children throughout South Asia face every day.

They go missing for many reasons.

Some are abducted by strangers and placed into forced labor, like Nadish. Others are trafficked and exploited in the sex trade. Still others are sold to families to work as domestic help. Some 44 million orphans and runaways are living on the streets, not aware of the danger that awaits them.²

India is not the only place

  • India has close to 13 million children younger than 15 in its workforce — more than any other country in the world. Some estimate the real number is closer to 100 million.3 That’s five times the population of the state of New York.
  • In Thailand, almost 1 out of every 10 children between the ages 10 and 14 are working rather than going to school.4
  • In Bangladesh, an estimated 27 percent of children ages 10-14 are working in a variety of hazardous occupations.5
  • In Sri Lanka, one of the most physically punishing forms of child labor is the fishing industry, which keeps the children in slave-like conditions and far from the public eye.6
  • UNICEF estimates that 4,500 children from Bangladesh are trafficked to Pakistan each year. Thousands more are sent to India and the Middle East.


How can we stop this?

Gospel for Asia is working among South Asia’s most endangered children. Click HERE to help an abandoned child. Go HERE if you’d like to sponsor a child in the Bridge of Hope Program.


Delhi Street Children’s Home

You can give toward rescuing children on the streets, teaching them about Jesus and His love and reuniting them with their families.

You can give toward rescuing children on the streets, teaching them about Jesus and His love and reuniting them with their families.


Bridge of Hope

You can sponsor a child in Asia and provide an education, the love of Christ, clean clothes, food and medical care.

You can sponsor a child in Asia and provide an education, the love of Christ, clean clothes, food and medical care.

 

Prayer

  • Pray for children to be rescued, reunited and accepted back into their families.
  • Pray for the physical needs of the children. Most do not get enough to eat, and the physical labor they are forced to do can cripple their bodies. Pray for the Lord to provide for them and protect them from harm.
  • Pray for the girls — and boys — forced to work in the sex trade. Ask the Lord to bring the brothel owners’ and customers’ misdeeds into the light and for the love of Jesus to permeate those dark places.
  • Pray for a radical attitude shift in South Asian society so citizens of these countries will demand an end to the exploitation of children.




Notes
1 National Human Rights Commission, http://nhrc.nic.in/
2 ChildLine India, www.childlineindia.org.in
3 ChildLine India, www.childlineindia.org.in
4 U.S. Department of Labor, International Labor Affairs report.
5 U.S. Department of Labor report.
6 U.S. Department of Labor, International Labor Affairs report.




Empower Women with the Ability to Read


The Facts

Millions of South Asian women are illiterate. More than half the women in Bangladesh cannot read at all. In India alone, there are an estimated 242 million women who are unable to read—that’s about half the adult women in the country.

Teaching women to read and write opens doors of opportunity and gives them the joy of being able to study God’s Word for themselves. These women are eager to learn; they just need a teacher and a few simple materials.

By Learning to Read – They Stand Firm

But now, through Gospel for Asia’s Women’s Literacy Program, the written world is opening up for the first time. Women learn by reading the Bible, which is the foundational text for the classes, so they gain a knowledge of Scripture even before they’ve completed the course.

Pastors’ wives and women missionaries serve as teachers, so students have the opportunity to grow spiritually under their mentors. The ability to read and understand for themselves also gives these women the confidence to refuse unfair contracts, whether they’re from loan officers or abusive employers.

Many women in GFA-supported churches struggle because they cannot read God’s Word. Help them know the Lord more by giving to Gospel for Asia’s Women’s Literacy Program.

More than one in three women in Asia are illiterate—and the statistic holds true for women in Gospel for Asia-supported churches. Their inability to read leaves them vulnerable to those wanting to take advantage of their ignorance, and without reading the Bible, it’s a challenge to deepen their knowledge of their Savior.

YOU Can Make a Difference!

Illiterate women in Asia face great difficulties. They fail to keep their children safe because they can’t read warning labels. Debt piles up because they can’t understand the bad contracts they sign. They’re cheated in the marketplace because they can’t do basic math. Even if they want to read, there is no way to learn.

With your help, women in Asia can learn to read and will be equipped to tackle life’s hurdles. Click on the link below to find out how you can change someone’s life forever.

More than 250 million women in Asia are illiterate

WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE HURT & ANGRY ONES?

THORNS by Big Methusaleh

Is it possible that brothers and sisters are hurt and angry because Christians have offended them in some way – judged them, mistreated them, scorned them because of the way they look or because of their politics? Or because they challenged the authority that abused its position?

Oh yes – I’ve seen it, experienced it, and have witnessed the wreckage that we Christians can produce on those who don’t fit our Christian mold. Shame on us, and shame on anyone who can’t see this or won’t admit it.

Our “formulaic” belief system is not what God designed for us to pass along to the world. We’ve got to really love people, like Jesus did, and apply salve – not salt – to people’s wounds.

Have you offended anyone, or caused them to question their faith in God or in Christianity?

Who’s right here? Who is the greatest?

Matthew 18

The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven

1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

2He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

5“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. 6But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

7“Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! 8If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. 9And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

10“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.[a]

12“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.

So what do we do now?

Shepherd Rescuing Lamb

PREACHING, POLITICS, POWER & PASSION

I’ve been a Christian all my life, and a committed one since 1974. Raised by Godly, Roman Catholic parents and educated in parochial schools, I’ve always had a sense of God’s love and always accepted that Jesus died for me, paying the price for my sins. I thank the IHM nuns and Jesuit priests for instilling that in me, even if by “forceful” means occasionally!

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Since joining the ranks of evangelical, pentecostal, conservative Christianity, however, I’ve been immersed in a hypnotic state of “Christian culture” that I now see as a Grand Diversion from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Christian leaders in the western world have by and large, through the centuries, embraced the ways of the world and used its methods to gain power, prestige, respect and financial security. Many prominent Christians – and you would know them if I named them – have looked to church and national politics as a pretense to influence the world for Jesus, while building constituencies, churches, denominations, legalistic doctrines and fortunes.

We need to be very careful here, because the Word of God says that “The love of money is the root of all evil.” That’s an incredible statement, isn’t it?

ALL Evil. All evil comes from the love of money. That’s heavy.

I take that to mean that if a person loves money – if gathering financial resources to himself is his chief concern – then evil has a foothold in his heart. But what if seeking money is one’s second aim in life, or third, fourth or even fifth?

30 Pieces of Silver

30 Pieces of Silver

Can you place your love for money in fifth place and say that it has no hold on you? I think not. No matter where that lust is placed, it is still lust. Lust after money, mammon, wealth and riches is still a stronghold that Satan uses to entice us away from God’s plan for our lives. And it’s one that divides Christians, often causing leaders to control people so that resources can continue to flow their way.

We’ve all seen it. Remember Jim and Tammy Bakker? Jim Bakker would be the first one to tell you that he used people and their money to build a kingdom here on earth. Then it collapsed and he went to prison for it. What a disgrace to the name of Jesus.

What kind of witness is that?

As Christians, our witness must be unassailable and without guile. When we build relationships with others, especially the unsaved, we must not have any ulterior motives other than to “love them as ourselves.”

If a minister, “prophet” or any Christian leader aims to add people to his business team so he can achieve “seven streams of revenue” to defeat the “spirit of poverty,” watch out!

Is that how Jesus acted? Is that how He wants us to act? I’m not saying we shouldn’t make a decent living and provide for our families – far from it. But was Jesus a capitalist?

dominionAnd why do western Christians think we should “take a city for God” or a nation? Why are we always on a war footing, when the two commandments Jesus gave us are to love God with all of our hearts, minds, bodies and souls; and to love our neighbors as ourselves?

I’ve seen more passion for politics in the Body of Christ than I’ve seen for unreached people – by far. Whether the issue is abortion, Muslim domination of the world, single-payer health care or selections for the U.S. Supreme Court, it’s amazing how much energy, preaching, money and sheer spiritual force is directed at this stuff by Christians.

And none of it is ever going to bear fruit for the Kingdom of God anyway, so what the hell are we doing with what God has given us?

I can’t begin to tell you the number of emails I get on a regular basis, warning me of the imminent danger of Islam, or the evils of homosexuality or the depravity of abortion. “We must rise together to fight this menace!”

No – we must not. That is just so much smoke from arrogant people trying to build their base of power by uniting us against a common enemy, a favorite tactic of tyrants through the centuries. How about we stop passing these emails around and see if the world falls apart! That will prove that they do no good anyway – all they accomplish is to engender fear in the Body of Christ, and to create a sense in us that other human beings – like Muslims and homosexuals – are evil and worthy of our hatred, not our love.

If we think that our weapons are carnal, worldly and of this earthly realm, we are sadly mistaken. There is no way we will ever stop abortion until people’s hearts are changed and they just don’t want to get an abortion because it’s evil. There’s no way we will ever ensure justice by fighting for “conservative” judges on the Supreme Court. There is no way that we will stop the spread of Islam until we show people a better way. And we will never see homosexuals gracing the doors of our churches until we begin to love them.

MenKissingThat means we must stop alienating them and acting like we’re better than they are. Have we forgotten that Jesus died for us too? Yeah, while we were dead in our sins.

So what makes us any different than Chuck and Stephen who live together a few doors down the street – as lovers? In fact, now that we’ve been forgiven, we have a mandate to love them, not judge them.

How do we win the Muslim world – or even one Muslim – for Jesus Christ?

Not by bombing nuclear facilities in Iran!! Yet that’s what many American Christians propose today, in order to protect Israel. That’s the justification.

Since when did a temporal, worldly goal supersede a Godly, eternal one?

Do we think that by killing people we will win them for Christ? Are we crazy? We have got to think about these things and reorient ourselves to what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about. Is it about being a Republican or Democrat? Are Republicans good and Democrats evil? Why?

C’mon, you know this is how most of us feel or have been told to believe. How many times from the pulpit have we heard: “I can’t legally tell you who to vote for, but remember to vote for the platform that’s closer to what we believe.” Wink-wink. What? What kind of Godly instruction is that?

Why should we align ourselves with any worldly system?

Take a good look at yourself and ask yourself this: Am I a follower of Jesus or of conservative principles?

Look, all I’m trying to do here is get us all to think differently than what we’ve been trained to do as good, submissive Christian followers for our entire born-again lives. Yes, we should follow humble men and women of God into spiritual battle, and for eternal purposes.

But the day is coming when Christians around the world will unite in a spirit of sacrificial love to reach those who have never heard the Gospel. There are still two billion people on this planet that need to hear the Good News for the very first time. How do we justify spending most of our time “fellowshipping” when people are dying and going to Hell? Are we sipping spiritual cocktails while millions are drowning all around us?

Who cares?

How do we justify NOT going to the hard places in the world, to places no evangelist has gone before? What exempts us from that Call?

Nothing but our spiritual laziness and fear. And it’s sin. It’s so much sin.

“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”

ASLEEP IN THE LIGHT by Keith Green

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