Gospel for Asia (www.gfa.org) News Release – For Immediate Release
WILLS POINT, TX (ANS – August 31, 2016) — “These children have no future, and all of their efforts to lead a good life will end up in total failure,” rang out a mocking voice. Instead of being surrounded with support, three children faced scorn for the very cause of their grief: HIV made them orphans.
HIV Devastates Family
Bivan, Dipesh, and their sister, Loli, experienced more sorrow in just a few months than many children encounter in a lifetime. Before their father died of HIV, he diligently cared for them. But his health eventually failed, and the children soon had no father.
Their mother, Lalit, was also diagnosed with HIV and struggled to care for her children alone. Already filled with worry about the future, Lalit was flooded with feelings of depression and helplessness. What would happen to her precious children once she also was gone?
Bridge of Hope Workers Find Despairing Family
Within Lalit’s community, a Gospel for Asia-supported Bridge of Hope center cared for many children. During a regular visit to a Bridge of Hope child’s home, the Bridge of Hope staff learned of Lalit’s plight. Eager to help more families within the community, the staff visited Lalit and recognized her deep sorrow. They encouraged her from God’s Word and invited her to enroll her children in the program.
Soon, Bivan, Dipesh, and Loli joined the thousands of other children across Asia who receive the gifts of education, food, clothing, medical checkups and the knowledge of Jesus’ love through Bridge of Hope. Lalit watched her children growing academically and learning about God’s love, which would build a useful foundation for the rest of their lives.
Bridge of Hope Provides for Orphans
Although the children enjoyed the benefits of Bridge of Hope, they watched their hardworking mother fade away and become too weak to do any work. Then, just six months after the children lost their father, the same disease that took his life—and has taken the lives of 35 million others globally1 — also claimed their dear mother.
When the children needed family the most, their nearest relatives refused to help them because of the disease that had ravaged their family. Others accused the children of lacking potential and being doomed to failure. The abandoned orphans could have ended up on the streets like many other orphans in Asia, but through Bridge of Hope, God demonstrated merciful intervention in their lives.
“If we were not part of Bridge of Hope, we would have ended up as beggars in one of the slums,” Bivan shared.
At the Bridge of Hope center, the children received everything needed for their education. The Gospel for Asia-supported Bridge of Hope staff even took up offerings amongst themselves at least once a month to bless the orphans with groceries and supplement the food kind neighbors shared with the children.
Beyond the physical care, the young children desperately needed guidance and love to fill the void left by their parents. The staff members took special care of the orphans, and the children found comfort knowing they had people to turn to. The staff visited the children at least twice a week to pray with them and encourage them to trust the Lord.
Brothers Spared from Obscurity and Disease
As the oldest sibling, Bivan felt burdened to provide for his family, and he quit school to join the masses of other children in Asia working to survive. While the Bridge of Hope staff encouraged Bivan’s responsibility for his siblings, they also counseled him to continue his education. With their encouragement, he went back to school, and although he did not complete his education, he studied until he became better equipped to support his family.
When Dipesh contracted leprosy and was unable to open his hands, the Bridge of Hope staff took him to the hospital every week for physical therapy. They paid for his treatment and faithfully prayed for one year until Dipesh completely recovered.
Bridge of Hope Impacts Adulthood Life
As the children grew, the love and prayers of the Bridge of Hope staff bore eternal fruit in each child’s life. Dipesh, Bivan and Loli each understood God’s love for them, and they embraced Jesus as their source of everlasting hope.
“When we were gripped in darkness, it was Bridge of Hope that shed the light of life,” Bivan remembers of their early days as orphans, when a bright future seemed impossible.
Instead of working as an illiterate laborer, Bivan, now 21 years old, sells vegetables with a cart he received through Gospel for Asia’s Christmas Gift Catalog and uses his literacy and math skills to support his business. The godly values he learned at the Bridge of Hope center encourage responsibility and guide him away from pleasures of the world.
If Dipesh had gone untreated, he may have joined the thousands of people maimed by leprosy. Yet today, at 18 years old, he works with his hands, installing TVs in homes and supporting his family while waiting on God’s timing to begin studies at Bible college.
As Loli grew, she confided in the Bridge of Hope staff in place of her absent mother. They gave her guidance and taught her practical life skills such as cooking, sewing and keeping house. Loli graduated from Bridge of Hope as a young woman who dreams of becoming a nurse to serve needy people.
Although no longer in the program, the children’s relationships with their Bridge of Hope teachers still hold fast, and they continue meeting together twice a week for prayer and encouragement. They also participate in church services led by a Gospel for Asia-supported pastor, worshiping the Savior who saw them in their sorrow.
Give Hope to Asia’s Children
Because of the love and partnership of believers around the world, these three children found hope and new life in Christ through participating in Bridge of Hope. You can partner with Gospel for Asia’s Bridge of Hope Program today to help more children discover God’s plans for their lives. To do so, just go to: http://www.gfa.org/sponsorachild/filter/#chooseachild.
1World Health Organization, HIV/AIDS Fact Sheet, 2016. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs360/en/
*Names of people and places may have been changed for privacy and security reasons. Images are GFA stock photos used for representation purposes and are not the actual person/location, unless otherwise noted.
Photo captions: 1) Lalit worried for her kids, knowing many boys and girls, like ones pictured here, live in slums or on the street. (GFA). 2) Beaming with joy, these Bridge of Hope children have hope and opportunities that seemed beyond reach before enrolling in the program. (GFA). 3) No longer young children, Bivan, Dipesh and Loli praise God for all He has done in their lives through Bridge of Hope. (GFA). 4) Precious to their parents, these children are learning they are even more precious to their Heavenly Father.
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