In January 2005, I took a beautiful, difficult journey to India that changed my life. There, I got to meet Pastor Samson and his wife Prabhukumari and his sons, Wesley and Hudson, and I became part of their family. Pastor Samson runs Peace Gospel Ministries on the India side, and my former boss and friend runs it on the U.S. side.
While I was there, the favorite part of my days was spending time with the orphans at Hadassah Orphanage in Peace City, an area in a meadow outside a small town in South India. Peace City also has some huts and a church with a concrete floor, and it lives up to its name in every way. What a peaceful place it was. I begged Pastor Samson to take me back there each day, even though the road there was so bumpy that I had to hold on for dear life or fall out the window. But I had a smile on my face the whole time, because when I arrived, I got to see this sight: the children flocking to the window to welcome me.
On my last day in India, I returned to Peace City to play with the children and ask them to do an art project where they each drew what "Jesus Loves Me" meant to them. This little boy, Jayaraju, who Jenni sponsors, is a brilliant artist.
Then, they lined up quietly and eagerly, and one-by-one, they came to me and I prayed over each of them. Most of them probably didn't have any idea what I was saying, but that's okay.
I still keep in close touch with Pastor Samson and his family. Then last week, I heard some heartbreaking news, and I can't get it off my mind. A 7-year-old girl who was a classmate of the orphans at Hadassah Orphanage was kidnapped on her way home from school, raped and killed. This particular little girl doesn't live at the orphanage, but still, it hit me to the core. I saw the road they walk. I played with many of the children who were her classmates. The man who did this awful thing was brought to justice, but sadly, there are many more Dalit "untouchable" children in India whom no one cares about. No one fights for them. Obviously, the children at the orphanage have been scared...
"All of our children at the orphanage have been going through an extremely difficult time thinking about what happened to their classmate. We have been in intense prayer for them and have had our native staff spending extra time counseling and comforting them."
Now that this has happened, Peace Gospel immediately needs to raise $7500 to build a wall around Peace City to secure the children. I wanted to let all of you know about this, because maybe you have something you could contribute. As little as $10 goes very far in India, so even a little would help. All I want to do is fly back there now, as if my going back would do anything to bring back that little girl. It would probably comfort the children a little bit though, to be reminded again that people across the world care about them.