Wills Point, Texas – Gospel for Asia discusses our Bridge of Hope Staff
Many communities in Asia have toiled hard for generations simply to survive. Some men and women haven’t had the privilege of pursuing an education themselves, and they are helpless to give one to their children. But God loves these children deeply, and He is working in part through GFA’s Bridge of Hope Staff and Program to give them a chance for a better future.
Bridge of Hope gives more than 70,000 needy children a daily meal and regular medical checkups for their physical health and development. The program helps the children with their education, so they can one day get a good job and afford sufficient food, decent clothing, medical supplies and other necessities of life for themselves and for their families. Beyond this, Bridge of Hope provides the children with opportunities to pursue and even excel in their God-given skills and interests.
Bridge of Hope staff members are the hands and feet of Christ to the students and their families, serving them with genuine love, compassion and respect. They maintain relationships with the parents and children and offer them counsel, encouragement and, ultimately, give them hope. This article is about three such Bridge of Hope staff members.
Nearly every day, hundreds of Bridge of Hope staff members in Asia watch children step across the threshold of their Bridge of Hope center. The work is difficult, but the children are changing—and it makes all their labor worth it.
Nadia, a wife, mother and the coordinator of one center, has served at Bridge of Hope since the center opened in 2006. As part of her role, she visits students’ homes each day. “If we speak two words of encouragement, . . . it can encourage them so much.”
When the workload wears on Nadia, she thinks about her life and the ministry God has given her and the ways students’ parents respond to her. “Madam,” some women have told her, “this is just because of you, because of Bridge of Hope, . . . that we are able to give education to our children.”
When Nadia hears things like this, she remembers why the Lord brought her here. She reminds herself that “This is what Jesus did. He was with the poor, sick and downtrodden. He helped them, and He was with them, and that’s the same passion I have. I feel that, yes, God is calling me for this, and I have to do it. I don’t have any [special] qualities, but I know this is my work.”
Gandhali has been a Bridge of Hope teacher for 15 years. She serves in a local school in the mornings and at a Bridge of Hope center in the afternoons.
Her life changed again when she came to the Bridge of Hope center and began serving the children. She said it “changed my life and attitude toward serving others.”
A few years ago, a boy named Daarun joined her center. He was unruly and would pick fights with other children for no reason. Gandhali kept a close watch on the boy and prayed for him for four years. Today he is totally different. “Seeing these changes,” she shares, “I am so happy.”
Barid is a social worker at a GFA-supported Bridge of Hope center. The children Barid spends his days with at the center remind him of his childhood. He can relate to many of their hardships because those same hardships were once his own.
“I . . . come from quite a humble family,” he says. “My mother always struggled to bring us up and give us an education. I can feel and experience that pain when I see these children going through similar situations.
“My purpose here is to help the children learn and change their lives. If I see a child who is not doing well in studies or someone who is always depressed or lonely, … I go and talk to those children. Apart from helping and encouraging children at the center, I take these children in my heart. When I pray … I remember these children.”
He, along with the coordinator, two teachers and two cooks, spends hours a day pouring his life and love into the students, so they can live better lives than they—and generations before them—could ever have hoped for.
Barid testifies, “Because of … God’s special grace, today I am so confident and so satisfied with what I am doing.”
If you have ever wondered what the staff at Bridge of Hope centers do, it can be summed up in Nadia’s observation, “This is what Jesus did.” That is all that He has asked us to do: to be like Him and to be His hands and feet in this world.
For other articles on Patheos about Bridge of Hope, go here.
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