Wills Point, Texas – Gospel for Asia (GFA) – Discussing the need for heroes in the life of every child, to turn their story of tragedy into a story of redemption, through GFA-supported Bridge of Hope centers.
Do you remember the first time you heard little orphan Annie belt out, “The Sun will Come Out Tomorrow?” Or watched Aladdin dodge the street-food vendor he stole from in the Disney’s “Aladdin”? How about Oliver Twist demurely asking for more porridge? Our suspense, anticipation and excitement mushroomed as their stories raced along.
These tales capture our imagination and hearts because the protagonists are young, vulnerable kids who face unknown dangers on the streets. They are too young to take care of themselves and too naive to know who’s a friend.
Oliver Twist ends up being used in a ring of child thieves, while Aladdin needs the magic of a Genie to pull him out of the gutters. And Annie? It takes a wealthy, albeit curmudgeonly, benefactor to rescue her from the wicked Miss Hannigan.
Our culture is rife with stories, fables and legends about children in desperate situations. In the stories we grow up hearing, the characters’ lives seem romantic—like Annie cheerily singing, “It’s a hard knock life for me” with a smile on her face. And they always end happily.
These adventures come, in some small way, from the realities of our world. We know there are kids who live in similar situations—but more often than not with very different endings.
When Fairy Tales Get Crushed by Real Life Realities
As we take off the romantic, rose-colored glasses to look at the plight of real children—not storybook characters—what do we see?
We see orphaned children in impoverished countries with only disinterested relatives to care for them.
We see children whose parents would do more for them if they could, but they are trapped in generational systems of exploitation and oppression.
If we are brave and keep looking, we see children who live on the streets, running from those who would entrap them in slavery.
Who will help these children?
Who are the heroes in their stories?
Sachiv and Rukma (read their whole story here) are two such vulnerable children. Brother and sister lost both parents to HIV and were left in the care of a poor uncle and grandmother. GFA-supported Bridge of Hope became a lifeline, not only for the two orphaned children, but to their grandmother and uncle as well.
Each New Child Has An Age-Old Tale
Amar’s children are not orphans, but they have no hope of escaping the crippling poverty they were born into, just like their father. Being too poor to even guarantee food on the table, Amar only dreams of providing his children an education. He does not have the power to free his son and daughter from the life sentence of a daily wage laborer.
“It is my hope that my children can break out of this cycle,” says the frustrated father. “But only through education is that possible.”
Kids like Ishayu, previously destined to become a poor fisherman just like his father, are growing up to become doctors. He enrolled in Bridge of Hope only a year after the program launched in 2004. Through hard work and support, the impoverished fisherman’s son became the top student in his class.
More Than One Hero is Needed to Rescue a Vulnerable Child
Though Sachiv and Rukma were left orphans, they were never left alone. Ishayu’s childhood dream of becoming a doctor could not be realized with the limited resources of his poor family. Despite the harsh circumstances of their lives, Bridge of Hope cultivated their learning and gave them a chance at a full life. Amar’s children now have the same hope for their future.
It takes more than one hero to rescue a vulnerable child. It takes a group of people committed to love and action—each person playing a role in turning a story of tragedy into a story of redemption.
Be a hero in the life of a child. You might not be a genie, offering three wishes. You might not be a wealthy benefactor who can adopt “Little Orphan Annies” off the street.
But you just might be the hero to support the Bridge of Hope program, partnering with workers on the field, and bringing triumph in the life of a child.
To watch some videos about Bridge of Hope, go here.
Pray for our Bridge of Hope centers, for God’s continued transformative work through each staff member in the life of every child.
To learn more about Bridge of Hope, go here.
To read more posts on Patheos on Bridge of Hope, go here.
Click here, to read more blogs on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.