WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA) – Discussing the stories of families and people who struggle against poverty, the destitution that they experience, and the life-altering impact tangible gifts of generosity can bring to the marginalized.
I certainly wasn’t rich growing up, but I never knew poverty, either. I always had three meals a day, a roof over my head and A/C and heating (rarely needing heat because Texas winters are mostly mild). Poverty was never something I personally experienced, but having seen its effects on families and communities, I am familiar enough with it.
Growing up at GFA, I heard countless stories of the struggle against poverty. But I also heard how GFA-supported workers—both with the truth of God’s love and with income-generating gifts such as farm animals and tools—have brought hope to numerous impoverished families.
Compared to them, I have had nearly everything handed to me on a silver platter. My daily prayer is that I don’t take for granted the blessings around me. There are children starving, literally eating dirt to satiate their hunger. Dr. K.P. Yohannan, president and founder of GFA, shared this story in his book No Longer a Slumdog:
“One of my most painful memories has to do with a little girl named Meena. Meena was a beautiful 5-year-old living in a slum. She had the biggest brown eyes. When social workers first saw her, she was standing in six inches of sewer water. … Later, I learned that she began eating the sewage-infested dirt off of the streets. Soon she went into a coma and died.”
Breaking the Cycle
Poverty encompasses millions within its grasp; whether abandoned street children, struggling farmers or mistreated widows, millions are trapped in destitution.
Yet in the face of such despair, countless GFA-supported workers and pastors toil joyfully among the struggling and hurting. It is their goal to see the impoverished and lowly lifted up—through gifts provided by our supporters and partners, they are doing just that.
But, you may ask, what gifts exist that help those in poverty? Income-generating gifts include farm animals such as cows, goats or chickens; tools such as sewing machines and pull carts; and vocational training and literacy classes. Each gift brings help in some form to families in desperate need. Goats, for instance, provide nutritious milk to sell or consume, and their offspring can be sold for additional income. Kirpal and Bani are one couple helped through a pair of goats.
Provision Amongst Struggle
One day, a believer in GFA-supported pastor Taranga’s church informed him of a struggling family in the village. The believer asked if Pastor Taranga could go to the family and offer prayer and encouragement, because they were truly struggling, both financially and emotionally. Together with other members of the church, Pastor Taranga set out to see what help they could bring this struggling family.
The pastor met Kirpal and Bani who, together with their four children, had fallen on hard times. Bani had been struggling with an unidentifiable illness for quite some time. Her condition made it hard to eat. She became weakened to the point of being unable to walk.
All of Kirpal and Bani’s money had gone to finding a cure, but nothing had worked. Their money practically gone, the family had barely enough to survive. On top of it all, the roof of their house was flimsy, making worrying sounds in the night and leaking during rainy season.
After hearing the couple’s woes, the pastor was filled with compassion. He and the believers prayed for Kirpal and Bani, and before leaving, also promised to continue visiting. For the next several months, Pastor Taranga continued to visit Kirpal and Bani, always praying for the harried and hurting family. Through constant prayer, the illness afflicting Bani completely disappeared.
With one burden lifted off the family, Pastor Taranga began thinking of other ways to bless Kirpal and Bani. Then it came to him. Some months later, a GFA-supported gift distribution was organized—Kirpal and Bani were invited. There, they received a pair of goats.
One year found those two goats turning into 12. Kirpal was able to sell six, taking the money to buy thin sheets of cement to finally fix their leaky roof. It was also enough to pay school fees for their four children and buy enough food.
Alleviating Poverty, One Family at a Time
All it can take is one gift to truly save a family from utter destitution. Through income-generating gifts, countless lives in Asia have been changed, and will continue to be changed.
Learn more about how generosity can change lives. Gifts like pigs, bicycles and sewing machines break the cycle of poverty and show Christ’s love to impoverished families in Asia. One gift can have a far-reaching impact, touching families and rippling out to transform entire communities.
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