Transforming The Lives of Orphans Around The World

India

TRUE LOVE IS: Taking Your 10 Year Old To Serve In Orphanages In India!

 

Jeff and Tracy are an amazing couple. They have four kids, ages 10, 7, 4 and 8 mos. They’ve traveled to India with Streams of Mercy to minister in orphanages since 2008. These trips have deeply impacted their lives.

About a year ago, Jeff called me with a radical idea. He was headed back to India, and wanted to know my thoughts about him taking his 10 year old son, Peyton on the trip. I was ecstatic! I knew this would change Peyton for the rest of his life. Jeff and Tracy had significant fears for their son, but knew this was the time for him to love and serve orphans.

Jeff and Peyton headed off to India. Most of their time was spent with Freddy and Daisy and the Rescue and Restore Orphanage in Chennai. This home has 32 children who have been rescued from the streets of that massive city. Peyton was immediately accepted as one of the ‘Kids’! He won the hearts of the children in the orphanage, and they won his. They had tons of fun playing soccer, and just being friends.

The highlight of the time with Freddy and Daisy’s kids was when Jeff and Peyton announced at dinner that they were spending the night in the home. The children began to cheer that their friend Peyton was spending the night with them. Peyton had made lifelong friendships in the home and with a young boy named Giva, living in the slums of Chennai. Giva is a boy in the slum church, and he and Peyton became close friends immediately.

When Peyton came home, his mom asked him what the trip meant to him. His response was revealing! He said, “It was beautiful but sad”.

In our self-centered culture, it is easy to think that true love is giving our children everything they want. That’s not true love. True Love is not the latest Play Station or iPhone. True love is allowing our children to care for the widows, orphans and unlovely. It is allowing them to have their heart broken for the needy of this world.

Rescue and Restore is a dynamic orphanage, and outreach to children living on the streets of Chennai, India. Freddy and Daisy Paul lead this wonderful work. There are 32 children in the home and hundreds more who are loved by Freddy and Daisy.

The children living on the streets of Chennai come from many different backgrounds. Some are orphans, while others are run-aways. Others have been dropped off on the street, and abandoned by their families. Many of the children have lived as work slaves or have been trafficked. Freddy and Daisy long to help many more children living on those streets.


Conquering AIDS in Orphans – The Santvana Comforter AIDS Orphanage

Dr. Edwards and the Kids of Santvana

Dr. Edwards and the Kids of Santvana

Aids and HIV are dreaded words. How do you conquer this dreaded disease? Sometimes there will be a miracle, and a child diagnosed with HIV/AIDS will totally beat the disease. This is rare, but has happened at the Santvana Comforter AIDS Kids Home in Pune, India. The children are given a great diet, and loving care. Eventually they will have to start the retro-antiviral medications to control their disease. All of them are just children, but children with HIV.

 

We arrived at the Santvana Comforter Home and were met by 25 happy, well cared for orphans. All the children but one are HIV positive. A beautiful distinguished medical doctor, Lalita Edwards greeted us as well. We have fallen in love with Dr. Edwards and the kids of Santvana over the last few years. She is one of the most compassionate people we have ever met. She radiates love and care, and has a passion for children who are HIV positive. Most of the children come from homes where their mothers were in prostitution, and who died of AIDS. She takes the children no one else is willing to take.

 

 

Children Rescued From Sex Slavery

 

Brenda

Brenda

 

I want to share about one child we met. Her name is Brenda. Brenda is a sweet little girl, but she was born as a boy. Shocking, I know! It’s common in India for children to be sold into prostitution. If they are little boys, the traffickers often drug them, and operate on them to turn them into eunuch’s . These children are then trafficked in brothels across the nation. As horrifying as this is, it happens regularly. Brenda has been rescued and now lives in this loving, caring home, but she carries the scars of what has been done to her, including being HIV positive. She has battled infections and serious health challenges, but is now doing well.

 

 

Balloons and Bubbles

Jeff & Tracy joined us on this trip to India. Tracy has a wonderful gift. The gift is not preaching or teaching. She has learned how to make balloon animals, swords and hats. Her balloon creations were a real ‘hit’ in every home we visited. Children would line up with their requests. Many of the boys wanted swords and shields, and balloon battles broke out all across the room when they got their swords. Bubbles were another great gift for the kids. Simple things make the deepest impact at times. The kids loved just being kids, and Tracy ministered with balloons and bubbles.


ATTACKED IN INDIA

Attacked in India

Attacked in India

Yes it’s true! Jan and I were attacked in India. It didn’t happen on the streets. It happened the small apartment, in a plain, ordinary apartment building in Pune, India.  We were the unexpected victims of the attack of precious little kids from the Transition Home of the Good Shepherd Homes.

As soon as we walked in the door they swarmed us and they were yelling “Wick Uncle”, “Wick, Uncle”. Then, they surrounded us and gave us one of the best group hugs we’ve ever had.

 

GOOD SHEPHERD TRANSITION HOME

 

 

The transition home is one of my favorite places on Earth. These are the little kids that have been rescued from the streets – from work slavery, and sex slavery. They are the small children of the good Shepherd homes.  Their lives have been absolutely transformed by the love and care given by the Good Shepherd staff.  I look at the loving faces of these little ones, and I want to cry and laugh all at the same time. They’ve endured unspeakable horrors, but they’ve been rescued from that life by this amazing ministry.  We’re so blessed to partner with them through Streams of Mercy.

 

SUNALI

 

Sunali

Sunali

After the group hug Sunali comes to my side. I fell hopelessly in love with her a couple years ago when we first visited the Transition Home. From the first time I saw her, she began to call me ‘Grandfather’.  She had been a work slave in a slum in India.  Sunali stays close by, and she smiles with that gentle, loving smile.  How could this little orphan girl have experienced such a devastating past, and how can she be so loved now?

 

A GIFT OF LOVE, A GIFT OF SHOES

 

Beautiful Shoes for a Beautiful Girl

Beautiful Shoes for a Beautiful Girl

Soon, all of the children run out of the room. I wonder where they’ve gone, until they return holding a precious treasure. They’re all holding the pair of shoes that they purchased through our Shoes for Orphans project that many of you have given to.  The kids want to a shoe store, and were able to pick out and shoes that they personally loved. This is a rare occasion for them. They were very proud of their purchases, and I had to comment on every single pair of shoes. Some of them were sandals. Some of them are running shoes.  All of them were precious treasures for these little kids.  I’m amazed that such a small gift can make such a big impact.

 

WRECKED BY HIS LOVE

 

I sit here today “wrecked” by the Love of God.  He’s given us a glimpse of His heart for these kids.  How can we ever be the same?  Jan and I are so very grateful for all who give to make this ministry possible through your prayers and giving to Streams of Mercy.


WILD TRIP TO INDIA ORPHANAGES

We arrived into our hotel at 6:00 AM. We would only be able to have about five hours sleep before we headed out for our first orphanage. Our first stop was the Good Shepherd Homes and offices in Talegaon, India.

GOOD SHEPHERD HOMES

"I AM A CHILD OF THE KING OF KINGS" T-Shirts Given By Hope's Gate

“I AM A CHILD OF THE KING OF KINGS” T-Shirts Given By Hope’s Gate

The Good Shepherd Holmes is an amazing ministry in three different locations in this nation. The first location is the main center in Talegaon. This facility houses both a boys home and a girls home.  There are  about 35 children in these two homes.  Talegaon is about an hour and a half drive from where we were staying in Pune.

When we arrived we were met by 35 excited older young people. This facility houses the older children of the Good Shepherd homes. The children were extremely excited to be able to see us and to have Patty visit them as well.  Patty has spent many hours with the older girls with the Hopes Gate jewelry project. They look to her like an older sister.

This ministry is extremely effective in transforming the lives of these kids. Many of of the children come from the streets. Many of them are abandoned. All of them have found a loving home in this ministry. All of their lives have been radically transformed!

We hung out with young people and had a wonderful time of sharing together. The young people presented dances and gave testimonies of Christ’s life changing impact their lives.

Girls Ministry Dance

Girls Ministry Dance

SHOES FOR ORPHANS PROJECT

Good Shepherd Home Boys in Their New Shoes

Good Shepherd Home Boys in Their New Shoes

 

The highlight of our time was when the young people came out wearing their brand brand-new shoes. We are doing a Shoes for Orphans project in Streams of Mercy, and now the young people were very excited to show us the shoes that they chose.  The kids actually got to go to the store and pick out shoes for themselves. Some chose running shoes, others, dress shoes. Some picked out sandals, but all of them got to choose the shoes that they wore.  It’s so amazing to think that a pair of shoes can transform the lives of young people. When you’ve never purchased a pair of shoes yourself, this is an extremely important event. We want to thank everyone who gave generously to the Shoes for Orphans project. In the good Shepherd Homes alone, we were able to purchase shoes for almost 90 children in their 3 different locations.

 

New Shoes Make A Huge Impact

New Shoes Make A Huge Impact

 

THANK YOU!

The trip to Talegaon was the beginning of our newest adventure in India.  Thank you so much for all who partner with us in Streams of Mercy. Your gifts are truly changing the lives of needy children!

Blessings!
Wick & Jan


Little Lights • Children Of Leper’s Home

The children of the Little Lights Children of Lepers Home in Chennai, India

We traveled to the Little Lights Children Of Lepers Home in Chennai India.  We arrived just before the children got home from school.  What a delight to see these children that we’ve known for several years and to be amazed by how much they’ve grown since we first met them.

The children come from 11 different leper colonies near Chennai, and are viewed as the lowest cast in the nation.  As the children of lepers, they’re outcasts and considered not even worthy to receive help.  BUT, they are loved by God and by the caring staff who live with them and provide a real ‘home’ for them. 

I loved seeing the kids overflowing with gratitude for a little thing like an orange. 

We took a group photo of the Little Lights, and then gave them a special treat.  They seldom get oranges, but we had stopped at a market and got oranges for all the kids and the staff.  In a place like India, you begin to realize how many things we take for granted in our culture of abundance.  I loved seeing the kids overflowing with gratitude for a little thing like an orange. 

Then, the children shared in song and dance.  These are very gifted kids who love to celebrate.  They are entering some song and dance competitions soon, and have worked very hard on their productions.  They are so talented, that even in public school, the teachers have asked the children to perform at several of their school events.

We first met Joe three years ago!

It was great to see little ‘Joe” again.  We first met him about three years ago.  He came from a leper colony where his parents would go each day to beg on the streets of the city.  They didn’t want to take their little boy with them, so they tied him to a mango tree every day before they left to go beg.  They placed food and water near him, but his life was limited to just a few feet of space near that tree.   The staff of Little Lights saw him tied to the tree and one day came by when his parents were home.  They asked if little Joe could come to live in their home where he would be loved and given a wonderful education.  They said ‘yes’, and Joe entered the home.  What a delightful little boy!!  He is now filled with life and hope.  Little Joe is a vivid example of what this precious home does for the children of Lepers.


Modern Day Mother Theresa’s – Showing God’s Love at the Leper’s Medical Clinic

We traveled an hour and a half outside Chennai through massive traffic congestion to visit the Leper’s Medical Clinic.  After the long journey, we arrived in the village of Chengel Putt.  It’s a village with a cluster of small homes, isolated off the major highway.  There are about 700 people who live in this colony.  Most of them don’t have leprosy, but are the children or grandchildren of lepers who must live in this place because of society’s prejudice against anyone who is a family member of a leper.  For those with leprosy, medical care is very difficult.  Their greatest need is for wound care, and to have their infected feet and hands treated and re-bandaged.  The hospital is too far away, and few care for their needs. 

We met the team that works full time, providing medical care in 6 of these leper colonies.  They are the heart of God ‘lived out’ for these rejected and hated ones.  The team travels to each colony every week, and treats the wounds of the lepers.  They also leave medical supplies and bandages for them for their own wound care the rest of the week.  The team shows God’s care and love as they clean wounds, pour in antiseptic medicine and re-bandage the wounds.   Few would EVER touch a leper, and only those filled with God’s love would give this kind of medical care.  We were shocked to hear that there are 16 leper colonies around the city of Chennai.  Only the ‘brave’ would ever come to this place.  They are isolated and outcast.  Sadly, their isolation kept them from knowing the love of the Father until this team started coming.  

The lepers head toward the clinic.  It’s a simple block building with a porch and a single room that is the treatment room.  We’re deeply impacted by the staggering needs.  Lepers with missing fingers and toes come hobbling through the streets toward the place that will meet their medical needs.  Some of the lepers use homemade crutches. A few come with ‘real’ crutches, one of their greatest needs in this colony. The dirty bandages on their hands and feet will soon be replaced by fresh, clean bandages that the team have made after days of hard work at their main office in Chennai.  The medical team give the professional care that they need, but also offer prayer and assistance in many different ways.

As the clinic closed for the day, our hearts overflowed with awe for these caring workers who truly show God’s love.  This medical clinic is made possible because a home fellowship in Nashville supports them every month.  Your home fellowship, prayer group, or church can do the same thing!  You can join together to support an orphanage or medical clinic that changes the lives of those who are deeply loved by God.  

Rescue House – Rescuing Girls From Sex Slavery

Sex Slavery is the hidden secret in most societies. It is not discussed but it affects most families or extended families in a country like India. In India alone 200 girls A DAY are sold into prostitution. This is NOT their choice, and shockingly, 80% of them are sold by family members.
We drove through the streets of a major Indian City to an office tucked away in a dead-end street, hidden away from most potential visitors. The office is not easily found. When we arrived at this very ordinary building, we were met by Michael. Michael has been rescuing young girls from the brothels of their city for the last 10 years. There is a real ‘fire’ in his eyes as he talks about these horribly abused children. Michael works with the Indian national anti-trafficking police task force. When young girls are discovered in a brothel, the task force is mobilized, and police raids are conducted to rescue these children. In the brothels, the youngest children command the highest prices. They are hidden away from the view of most clients, and are often locked in small closets when they are not with the ‘clients’. Hidden, and horribly abused, life is a living nightmare for these children.
In India alone 200 girls A DAY are sold into prostitution
Saritha was 12 when her uncle offered to take her to a nearby circus. Her parents said yes, and she eagerly anticipated this outing with her uncle. Fear gripped her young heart when they did not go to the circus, but to a house of an evil man. To her horror, Saritha’s uncle sold her to a child trafficker for $250.00. She was a very beautiful girl and was bought for a premium price. Most children are sold for $100.00 to $200.00, and most, like Saritha, are sold by family members. When he returned home without her, the uncle told her parents that Saritha had run away at the circus and he was unable to find her. Saritha had entered the underworld of child trafficking. The trafficker would sell her to a brothel for about $2,000.00, and she would be a sex slave for the rest of her life.
Days and nights turned into the blur of a living death as she was sold daily to multiple men.
Several years later, the door to the brothel was left unlocked, and Saritha escaped! What joy when she was able to flee the horrible place and return to her family. She was able to return home after years in her prison. She knocked on the door, and was greeted by angry parents. Why had she run away? Where had she been? Saritha told them the story of her uncle’s betrayal and the horrible life she had been forced to endure. To her shock and dismay, her parents informed her that they no longer had a daughter. They told her that THEIR daughter had died. Her lifestyle had brought shame to the family! The victim became a victim once more, as she was turned away to the streets.
The grieving teen ager made her way to a police station, and they referred her to Michael’s Home. Saritha now lives in the Rescue House, is in school, and has a family and hope for the future.

The Red Light District • Children of Prostitutes Preschool

A woman in the Red Light waits at her door
Light of Life Preschool
We traveled through the streets of Pune, India, and were headed to the Red Light District.  This area is on the spiritual dark side of the city.  We had heard of Dr. Ruby for some time and were eager to see this ministry for ourselves.  As we walked down the street to a simple doorway, we observed the prostitutes who were out early in the day.  They looked beaten down.  Their eyes were lifeless. 
Children at the Light of Life preschool
We came to the door, turned into the building and walked up an unbelievably dirty stairwell.  At the top of the stairwell, we entered a simple room.  To our great surprise, the room was filled with the energy that only 15 preschoolers could have.  The kids were eager to meet us, and didn’t disappoint us with their joy and energy.  These kids are the children of prostitutes in this very Red Light District.  Without the Light of Life Preschool, these 3-5 year-old children would wander the streets of the city unsupervised while their mothers sleep after a night of soliciting ‘clients’.  
The Light of Life Preschool operates 5 days a week, from Monday to Friday.  The loving staff train in life skills and hygiene, and give the children a spiritual foundation for their lives.  They are prepared for school, and begin to learn their letters and numbers.  Their favorite thing is the arts and crafts times, and a hot lunch, which may be the only hot meal that they receive that day.  This pre-primary day shelter is a safe haven in a very dark place for these kids.
Kids in the Red Light enjoying bubbles
We began to play with the kids and broke out the bubbles.  My grandson, Will, had purchased them because he wanted to do something special for orphans.  The children ran around the room, and jumped and laughed as they tried to pop as many bubbles as possible.  After the bubbles we broke out the balloons.  Again, the room was filed with laughter and joy as the children hit balloons into the air, and ran and played with exuberance.   Someone made a profound comment:  ‘ I think that there will be bubbles and balloons in heaven’.  For these children, this day was heaven on earth.
Playing balloons with the Light of Life kids
The Light and Life Preschool has operated on day to day miraculous provision.   The entire operation of this ministry can be funded for only $750.00 per month.  Would your church, home fellowship or business want to support this haven for the children of prostitutes?  Please contact us at [email protected] if you would like to support this very worthy ministry.


Beauty From Ashes – The Santvana Comforter Aids Home

With the children of Satvana Comforter Home
What a joy to see Dr. Edwards again. She’s a retired medical doctor, and a woman of great compassion and faith. She founded the Santvana Comforter Aids Home almost 6 years ago. There are 30 children who now call Santvana their home. These kids have been infected with, or affected by, the Aids virus. Most of them are orphans, whose parents have died of Aids.
Dr. Edwards founded the Satvana Comforter Home 6 years ago.
I looked at her while we were together and said, “Dr. Edwards, you’re my hero”. She is truly a woman who shows the compassion of the Lord to adults and children alike. Much of her medical career was spent in community health, caring for the poorest of the poor, and providing outstanding medical care for them. In the course of her medical work, she soon found children whose parents had died of Aids. Her prayer was “God send someone to minister to these little ones”. The answer to her prayer came in an unexpected way. As she prayed, the Lord spoke clearly to her heart. “I want you to help them”. Out of that journey, the Santvana Comforter home was born.
One of the Santvana boys
Dr. Edwards told us the story of two different children in the home, each story had a very different ending than the other. The first story she told us was of a dear boy named Yogesh. Yogesh came in the very early days of the Comforter Home. In those days, Dr. Edwards told us that much time was spent in prayer for each child. Yogesh was tested for HIV, and the results showed that he was HIV positive. A second test confirmed those results. A year later, the staff repeated the HIV test, and the testing center called for Dr. Edwards to bring Yogesh back for another test. When the results came back, Yogesh had tested negative for the Aids virus. All of his subsequent tests have come back negative! Yogesh was healed of that disease!
The second story she told was of a little boy, Sanju. Sanju’s mother was a prostitute, and it was a lifestyle that she wanted to live. Sanju’s father loved her very much, and married her even though he did not approve of her choices. Sanju was born into that home and he too, was loved by this dear man. When Sanju was a young boy, his mother died of Aids. In another tragic twist, Sanju tested positive for the Aids virus. As is often the case, there was enormous social pressure placed on his father to send the little boy away. He finally brought Sanju to Santvana, and wept loudly when he dropped off his son. One day, Sanju became sick, and it was obvious that he needed hospital care. Dr. Edwards and a staff lady took him to a local hospital and were refused help because the boy was HIV positive. They sent them to a second and then on to a third hospital. Two other hospitals were called, and they too refused to help. Sanju died in Dr. Edwards arms. This was such an unnecessary death, all because of prejudice in the medical community against those with Aids. We were all deeply impacted by both of these stories. We experienced joy over Yogesh’s miraculous healing, and deep sadness over Sanju’s unnecessary death.
We arrived at the home just before the children returned from church. As they filtered into the home facility, the sounds of precious kids filled the air. These sounds impacted our hearts. We watched as the children played soccer in the courtyard, using a basketball for the soccer game. We brought a soccer ball for the home, and now they can use that for their courtyard soccer matches. Our team spent time loving children and then we broke out the bubbles that my grandson Will had sent for the children. As we saw at the last home, kids love bubbles! They laughed, chased bubbles and had an amazing time just being kids. Finally the time came to head off for our next appointment. Our lives were deeply impacted and challenged by this amazing ministry.

These Children are Rescued From The Streets

With the Kids at Good Shepherd Home

Today we gathered at the Good Shepherd Homes and met the most incredible kids and staff. The Good Shepherd Homes (GSH) rescue children from the streets of Mumbai and Pune, India, and transform their lives. Our first stop was the Transition Home. The children here are the small ones who had been living on the streets. Some of them were orphaned when both parents died. Some were abandoned and left to care for themselves as 6 or 7 year-olds. All of them are the most precious kids you will ever meet, and all of them stole our hearts.
Wick reads to the kids

As soon as we walked in the door of the Transition Home, the children swarmed us in a big ‘group hug’. I love it!! The Children call me ‘Wick, Uncle’, or Wick ‘Grandfather’. I am happy with both names, and reveled in the love that they lavished on us. The children had a precious worship time, and we were blessed to participate in this time with them. Then, they stood and recited many passages of scripture. We later learned that the children spend significant time doing their scripture memory verses. They now know 70 passages of scripture.
It was so wonderful to be able to read Bible stories to the Transition Homes kids. Kelly, a dear friend in Texas, had sent a Bible Story book for the children. The children gathered and were totally engaged as we read them the story of baby Moses and Pharoah’s daughter.

Sunali
Sunali and her sister were left as orphans when their mother died. They lived in the slum in a tiny 6′ X 6′ Hut. Now that they were alone, they had no money, and no way to care for themselves. They went around the slum to try to earn a living by cleaning, scrubbing floors, doing laundry and literally becoming work slaves to others living in the slum. When a couple learned of their plight, they contacted the Good Shepherd Homes staff and though her sister did not want to come into the home, Sunali did. She is one of the most sweet children you will ever meet.
From the Transition Homes, we traveled about an hour and a half to the city of Talegaon to visit the Cluster homes. These are homes house 12 children per home with house parents who care for the children as their own. These are the homes with teens and children who will leave the homes as adults in the next few years. Good Shepherd carefully helps the children transition into adulthood.


Heading to India

The last week has been a whirlwind getting ready to head off to visit 7 orphanages in Southern India. Packing has been the greatest challenge. We always take many things to the kids in the orphanages. This time us no exception.

My grandson, Will, wanted to do something special for the kids in the homes. He personally bought a case of bubbles for our celebrations. We are taking 7 soccer balls… One for each home. Gifts for the children and orphanage directors fill most if two huge suitcases.

We’re in Chicago now, and the excitement builds for the journey ahead of us. What a JOY to personally minister to hundreds of orphans.

Thanks for your prayers for this time.


I Am Not Forgotten

Monday we loaded up in the bus and headed to the Children of Lepers Home. Little Lights is home to 33 Children whose parents & or grandparents live in the leper colony. The vision of the staff is to see the lives & futures of the kids transformed. They want to break the cycle of generations that have no other way but to stay in the colonies. It was touching to hear how committed the staff are to keeping the kids very connected with their parents and families. They spend holidays with them & the parents visit regularly. Living at Little lights allows the children to get a good education, brings them into a safe place and breaks the stigma that society puts on them as children of lepers.

Joe was a toddler when the staff found him in the leper colony. He was tied with a rope around his wast to a tree. On the ground beside him there were 2 bowls–one for water, and one for food. His parents left him tied to the tree each day when they went out to beg.

By living at Little Lights Joe is able to play, go to school and grow up as a healthy child.

The team presented a puppet show, gave out T-shirts, and spent time helping the kids decorate them!

Check back tomorrow for another report from Chennai!


A New Team In India!

This week Streams of Mercy has a team in India visiting the three homes we sponsor in the city of Chennai. The theme of this trip is “you are not forgotten”. They’re presenting a terrific puppet show, giving out clothes, food, solar lights and more. Check back this week for highlights from the trip.