People in Pastor Jabez’s village were finding the life-changing love of Christ, and the congregation was growing. Along with their newfound joy, however, a new struggle arose—a struggle to provide for their basic needs.
No Water for Christians
Seven wells dotted the rural village landscape, but the water in these wells was not fit for drinking. During the rainy season, that water was even worse: muddy and filled with dangerous bacteria. As the villagers drank the contaminated liquid, diseases such as typhoid and malaria caused much suffering.
On top of it all, the believers’ troubles had only just begun. The other villagers announced that Christians weren’t allowed to draw water from the wells. The reason? Their faith. The other villagers despised Christianity and decided to make the believers’ lives more difficult. The believers then had to walk more than a mile to collect water from a nearby river.
For more than two years, Pastor Jabez and his congregation gathered weekly to pray for a Jesus Well to be installed in their village. Then, through the generosity of God’s people, their prayers were answered.
All May Come
Their new Jesus Well provided cleaner water than any of the other wells and Pastor Jabez’s congregation did not bar anyone from drawing water. Everyone—even those who had despised them—were free to come and draw pure, fresh water. The other villagers changed their minds about Christianity when the believers welcomed them to the well with open arms.
Jesus Wells like the one installed in Pastor Jabez’s village improve the health of entire communities and enable them to hear of God’s love. The life-giving water provided through Jesus Well’s offers to meet both spiritual and physical needs. Thank you for helping make stories like these possible!
Protecting Health by Giving Toilets
Gifts can come in many shapes and sizes. In one region of Asia, 500 families received gifts that were especially unique: toilets.
One of the biggest struggles for impoverished families is hygiene. Many have not received instruction on proper sanitation, and most cannot afford to install a toilet. Without these much-needed facilities, people are forced to relieve themselves outdoors, which creates a hazardous and unhygienic situation. Families struggle against disease and sicknesses as human waste contaminates fields and water sources. Nighttime, with its cover of darkness, is often the only time people without a toilet feel comfortable to relieve themselves, but women fear they may be assaulted.
GFA workers installed 500 outdoor toilets, including those pictured here, to provide hygiene and safety for families in need.
Fortunately, GFA workers are helping families find safety, health and hygiene. In one of the most impoverished areas of Asia, GFA workers provided 500 outdoor toilets to families in need. One of the recipients, Prerak, told a story of how his wife fell into a ditch relieving herself at night.
Through a neighbor, Prerak came to hear of a local GFA pastor, who in turn came and prayed for Prerak’s wife. After her healing, the entire family attended services at the local church and were among the families selected to receive an outdoor toilet.
Through the gift of toilets, GFA workers are offering a safe, hygienic solution to many more families like Prerak’s who once struggled to stay safe and healthy.
Moment of Compassion Reveals Eternal Hope
Rani’s life had withered under the shadow of pain and hardship, but one day light penetrated that shadow when three women simply noticed Rani and the sadness lining her face—a sadness that had built up over many years.
From Loneliness to Friendship
Rani received little education growing up, so she had limited options in life. She married, but her marriage proved a painful one as her husband fell prey to alcohol. While enduring her husband’s addiction, Rani suffered an excruciating case of hemorrhoids that sapped her health and strength, although she took medication. Doctors said she needed surgery, but she couldn’t afford it. Then Rani’s husband died. Suddenly, Rani was alone in her pain. She struggled to earn a living by washing clothes and dishes for people.
One day, Rani met three Sisters of Compassion. These GFA workers had received special training to share God’s love with the marginalized and neglected—including people suffering from leprosy, widows and people in poverty—and they were committed to serving Rani’s community.
When the Sisters of Compassion met Rani, they noticed she looked weak and sad. They prayed for her and shared words of comfort about God’s love. They began visiting Rani frequently, and a friendship grew. As Rani heard her new friends talk about Jesus, she felt a fresh sense of peace.
One day, Rani told the Sisters about her physical pain, and they prayed for her. The Sisters also encouraged Rani to believe Jesus could heal her.
A seed of faith germinated in Rani’s heart as the Sisters continued praying for her, and Rani gradually improved. When Rani went for a medical check-up, the doctor told her she no longer had hemorrhoids!
Rani chose to follow the God who healed her. She grew closer to Jesus, faithfully worshipped with the local church each Sunday, and joined in prayer meetings. The Sisters of Compassion, who once noticed Rani’s sadness, continued to visit their friend, whose face now shone with peace and joy.
Cares of the World Choke Boy’s Heart
Once again, Aman walked out of the house, furious. He was tired of hearing the same response from his mother whenever he asked her for something. He just wanted what his friends had.
Materialism Leads to Strife
When Aman was only 11, his father abandoned the family. That forced Aman’s mother, Asha, and one of his older sisters to labor in the nearby tea gardens for the family’s survival. Out of love, they provided for Aman to attend school and gave him freedom to enjoy his childhood. They believed that Aman, as the only son, was their best hope for financial stability. If he could get a good education and a good job, he could take care of them one day.
But as Aman got older, he lost interest in school. He wanted to be like his friends, whose lives revolved around materialism and pleasure. The more Aman spent time with them, the more he wanted a cell phone, expensive clothes and other items the family couldn’t afford. His frequent financial demands created tension in the family. When Aman’s mother or sister explained why they couldn’t buy something for him, Aman complained, argued and stormed out of the house.
Even though Asha and the children attended church, her relationship with Christ functioned mostly as a duty, and she didn’t know how to teach her son contentment. She encouraged Aman to concentrate on his studies, reminding him of the sacrifices she and his sister made for him, but Aman didn’t seem to care. Asha’s hope for the future faded, and disappointment took its place.
Friendship Leads to Curiosity
One day, GFA pastor Rand visited the family. He knew Asha and her children well. As Asha shared about the lack of peace in their family, Pastor Rand listened with concern. Pastor Rand encouraged the distressed mother to cast her worries upon Jesus and to pray for Aman. He also assured Asha he would speak to her son.
From that day on, Pastor Rand intentionally talked with Aman after worship services. Aman had learned little about the Lord, despite the presence of biblical teaching in his life, but Pastor Rand helped the boy understand who Jesus is. Pastor Rand also encouraged Sajiv, a young man who had recently chosen to follow Christ, to befriend Aman and set a positive example for him.
Aman’s friendships with Pastor Rand and Sajiv grew. As their words and lifestyle impacted Aman, he had a fresh curiosity about spiritual things and pondered the state of his spiritual life. A question nagged at Aman’s mind: Where would he go after he died?
Thousands of children in Asia are finding hope and joy as they learn of God’s love through GFA’s ministries and workers in Asia.
Answered Questions Lead to Transformed Life
Aman went to Pastor Rand for answers. The boy listened as Pastor Rand explained what God’s Word says about eternal life. Suddenly, Aman realized he had been running after temporary pleasures instead of running to the Lord of heaven and earth. Aman decided to love and serve Jesus all his days. As the young man welcomed Christ into his life, contentment replaced the cares of the world he once chased after.
Soon, Aman’s mother and sisters noticed changes in Aman’s life, and they longed to serve Jesus wholeheartedly too. Aman and his mother now attended worship services out of gratitude and devotion instead of obligation. Aman, the young man who once brought grief to his family, now serves as an example to them as he faithfully serves the local church.
Thousands of children in Asia are finding hope and joy as they learn of God’s love through GFA’s ministries and workers in Asia.
The concern and friendship of a GFA pastor helped Aman understand his need for a relationship with Christ and impacted an entire family. As you partner with national workers, God is using them to transform many lives.
The Helping Hand for Her Future
Amita swept the floor, scrubbed the dishes and washed clothes, as she did most days. The girl’s faithful labor aided her mother, who struggled to provide for three children. But after her chores, Amita faced a challenge herself, and she had no one to turn to for help.
Too Many Burdens
Amita’s father passed away in 2011. Alone, Amita’s mother, Kriya, carried the burden of providing for Amita and her two brothers. Kriya worked as a daily laborer from morning until night to earn a little money for the family while her daughter helped by performing daily chores and caring for her brothers.
Even with the added responsibilities the girl bore, Amita went to school. An education could give the young girl the chance to one day overcome the poverty that stifled her family, but Amita struggled to complete her homework alone. Her mother, who was uneducated, couldn’t help her.
A Helping Hand
One day, some visitors came to Amita’s house. These visitors, staff from the local GFA Bridge of Hope center, were searching for the children who most needed the help Bridge of Hope could offer: a free education, good food and school supplies. After the staff members talked with Kriya, they invited her to enroll her children at the Bridge of Hope center.
Kriya excitedly registered Amita and one of her younger brothers. At Bridge of Hope, the siblings learned and grew alongside dozens of other children. Amita’s studies quickly improved as the staff helped her with whatever school subject she struggled in. Amita felt so happy attending the center and finally getting the help she needed with her homework.
The encouragement and help Amita received enabled her to excel in her education and in life. Kriya rejoices that Bridge of Hope has given her children the chance to thrive.
“I am very happy to send my children to the Bridge of Hope center,” Kriya says. “The Bridge of Hope staff takes extra time to teach them and [answer their questions] in all subjects. ... Now I don’t worry about their future, because Bridge of Hope will take care of them.”
Turbulent Household Finds Peace
As GFA Sisters of Compassion Raka and Nandali walked through the village they served in, they heard a loud fight erupting from a nearby house. The Sisters rushed to the house and attempted to calm down the occupants, Jinpal and his wife, Pankaja. This only made Jinpal angrier and he demanded the sisters leave.
Instilling Peace Through His Word
Two days later, the sisters walked by Pankaja’s home again. Pankaja, who was outside washing clothes, saw the women and stopped them.
“I am very sorry [that] on that day my husband sent you [away],” Pankaja said. “Now I am alone at home. Please come have a cup of tea.”
As the three women talked, Raka and Nandali saw that Pankaja desperately needed encouragement and peace.
The Sisters of Compassion told Pankaja about the love of God, and how He can heal fractured hearts—and homes. As the days went by, the sisters’ friendship with Pankaja grew, and Raka and Nandali encouraged her and prayed for her. Eventually, Pankaja grew curious to learn more about Jesus. She began reading the Bible and praying on her own.
At first, Jinpal opposed his wife’s new habit of reading the Bible and praying, but Pankaja didn’t stop. Eventually, Jinpal realized his wife’s new habit was changing the atmosphere of their home. His interest piqued, Jinpal began to join his wife’s prayer times.
A Family Transformed
One day, Raka and Nandali received a call from Pankaja, asking them to visit. The sisters, along with the local pastor, went to encourage the family. Jinpal and Pankaja announced they wanted to follow Christ.
After finding Jesus, the entire family lived in harmony. They began worshiping together at the local church and growing in their faith. Through the diligence of Sisters of Compassion, the peace of Christ finally dwelled in Jinpal and Pankaja’s marriage and home.
In the Book of Exodus, we read about the miraculous deliverance of the children of Israel from their slavery and suffering in ancient Egypt.
They were free! The rejoicing with singing and dancing was heard loud and clear.
Soon after their wonderful experience, they were thirsty while traveling through the desert of Shur. For days they had nothing to drink. Then they came upon a body of water—but it was bitter! Then God showed Moses a piece of wood and told him to throw it into the bitter water. Instantly, the waters of Marah became sweet.
This wood is a picture of the cross of our Lord and His suffering and death on the wooden cross. If we allow the cross of Christ—His life of suffering—to enter into our grief, the “bitter waters of Marah” become sweet, and we, too, experience joy in the suffering. When we go through intense loneliness and pain, we can say, “Lord Jesus, I now understand a little of what You suffered for me.” This is a choice we must all make: to relate what we face to our Lord’s life, His cross, death and resurrection. This is what we read in God’s Word concerning St. Paul. He chose to suffer and die for his master, Christ. He didn’t regard his life on earth as dear to himself. Jesus became more precious to him than his very own life. ...
In many of the nations where we serve, suffering has often been faced by new believers. In that regard, I think of the words of St. John of Avila: “Christ tells us that if we wish to join Him, we shall travel the way He took. It is surely not right that the Son of God should go His way on the path of shame while the sons of men walk the way of worldly honor.” ...
Suffering, pain, misunderstandings, gossip and the lies people say about us, fears and anguish and grief—this is all part of being in enemy territory. Jesus set an example for us to follow. We read this in Scripture: “For to this you called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21). ...
I hope you are encouraged by the examples of those who have gone before us and faithfully walked through trials and tribulations—including those in the true stories you have read in these pages. May the Lord continue to bless and guide you!
Some of this material appeared in K.P. Yohannan’s latest book Never Give Up. Visit NeverGiveUpBook.org to order your copy.