WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA) – Discussing the effects of poverty, neglect or abuse on children who find their futures, identity and purpose lost, and the hope, love and acceptance programs like the Bridge of Hope center brings.
“Who am I? What is my purpose?” There are times I find myself asking these questions. However, unlike many in my generation, I can answer both.
Who am I? A son of God.
What is my purpose? To serve Him.
Identity and purpose are two subjects heavily discussed and debated among members of my generation. I am a Gen Z, or Generation Z, the youngest and most technologically saturated of the current generations. For many of my peers, their lives and identity are defined by what social media dictates. Others exhibit extreme malleability in their identity, morphing into whatever their whims suit them. My generation is fixated with establishing—or simply finding—their identity amongst the ruckus and clamor of this world.
Identity can lead to purpose and purpose to direction in life. For many, however, their future is clouded and uncertain, their identity in crisis.
Fountains of Joy
It’s easy for my generation here in the West to pursue whatever identity and purpose they want. But for many children in Asia, their futures were dictated to them before they were born. Caught amidst poverty, neglect or abuse, many Asian children find their futures—and identity—lost because there is no way of escape. They’re destined to follow in the footsteps of the generations before them who had their own futures wiped away because of poverty—or discrimination.
But there is hope. GFA-supported workers work tirelessly to help these children. Through GFA’s Bridge of Hope Program, these workers pour love and encouragement into children’s lives. These children are given the opportunity of a future—and identity—of their own. They are given something many have never experienced before: Hope.
Sariah is one example of this.
Sariah was born with malformed legs. Growing up, the young girl didn’t attend school because she feared being made fun of. Sariah’s insecurity only increased with her self-imposed isolation. So she adopted a mask to conceal the loneliness within.
Her family members all followed the local traditions, but Sariah especially so. She would rebuke her siblings if they slipped up in some way. Sariah’s self-righteousness only served to deepen her self-derision, instead of alleviating it.
One day, staff members from the local Bridge of Hope center happened to meet Sariah and her family. Curious as to why Sariah was at home, they inquired.
“There is no one who loves and cares [for me],” Sariah replied, “so I do not want to go to school to study.”
However, the staff didn’t’ accept Sariah’s explanation. They told her that the Bridge of Hope center was a place of love and acceptance, not prejudice or judgement. As Sariah listened to the workers, her heart began to soften. Was this the answer to the loneliness holding her captive?Soon, Sariah’s parents enrolled her at the center. There, instead of the mocking laughter and judgmental stares that Sariah expected, she found was love—love from the workers and love from her peers. They accepted her, despite her disability. The piousness that Sariah had adopted to protect her began to crumble, and her true heart shone forth.
An Identity Found
The love Sariah received at a GFA-supported Bridge of Hope center transformed the sheltered, bitter young girl into a life-loving, joyful young woman. Sariah had once asked why she was born into this world, and who she is. Now, she does.
She is a beloved child of God, and her purpose is to love and to be loved.
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