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June 7, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX – GFA World (Gospel for Asia) founded by K.P. Yohannan, whose heart to love and help the poor has inspired numerous charities like GFA World Canada, to serve the deprived and downcast worldwide – Discussing the family of Sesen and Hachirou, their struggle with poverty, and their dire need for a mosquito net met by GFA World Gift Distribution.

Discussing the family of Sesen and Hachirou, their struggle with poverty, and their dire need for a mosquito net met by GFA World Gift Distribution.
Mosquito nets like this one are essential items for families in South Asia. Such a net wasthe answer to Sesen and her family’s prayers.

Sesen lived with her husband, Hachirou, and their three children in a small village. To survive, the family relied on the meager income generated from Hachirou’s job as a plumber and Sesen’s job as a maid, but many of their needs were unmet—like the dire need for a mosquito net to protect themselves from the mosquitoes that swarmed their area.

A Family’s Fighting Faith

The family’s difficult financial situation was hard on them all, but they knew the Lord would provide for their needs. After coming to know Jesus a few years earlier, they had grown in their faith by attending Gospel for Asia (GFA) prayer meetings and church services. Though they faced many challenges and struggled to support themselves, they clung to a mustard seed of hope and kept the faith, always believing God to provide for all of their needs—including their need for a mosquito net.

The Need for a Net, the Grace in a Gift

The family’s small brick house was a single room in which all five of them slept, cooked meals and ate. The cramped quarters were hot and uncomfortable. They tried sleeping on the porch, but the swarms of mosquitoes resulted in restless nights and rampant illness.

With each member of the family getting sick one after another, they were desperate and needed help soon.

One February, in the midst of continued struggle and suffering, the family’s prayers were answered. Pastor Vaclav’s church organized a gift distribution for the local community, in which more than 30 families were given mosquito nets, including Sesen’s. The family was overjoyed!

Sesen brought two nets home and started using them immediately, enabling her and her family to sleep through the night and stay free of illness. Through this act of kindness and the grace of God, Sesen and her family were strengthened in their faith. They witnessed firsthand what a mustard seed of faith—even faith for a mosquito net—can do.


You can provide a family, like Sesen’s, with a long-desired mosquito net that will ease their suffering.

*Names of people and places may have been changed for privacy and security reasons. Images are Gospel for Asia World stock photos used for representation purposes and are not the actual person/location, unless otherwise noted.


Source: Gospel for Asia Field Reports & Updates, A Family’s Mustard Seed of Faith for a Mosquito Net

Learn more about how generosity can change lives. Through GFA World (Gospel for Asia) and its Christmas Gift Catalog, 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.

Learn more how to save families from the sickening agony or death from malaria through the gift of Mosquito Nets that offer protection from the sting of an infected mosquito and help to give their owner a restful nights sleep.

Read more on Christmas Gift Catalog, Mosquito Nets and Poverty Alleviation on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

May 31, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX – GFA World (Gospel for Asia) founded by K.P. Yohannan, whose heart to love and help the poor has inspired numerous charities like Gospel for Asia Canada, to serve the deprived and downcast worldwide – Discussing the grief and turmoil in Imalda’s family brought by the death of her firstborn son, and the peace from God through the help of Gospel For Asia’s Sisters of Compassion.

Discussing the grief and turmoil in Imalda's family and the peace from God through the help of Gospel For Asia’s Sisters of Compassion.
After Imalda (not pictured) experienced devastating loss, God answered the fervent prayers of the Sisters of Compassion to restore Imalda’s mental health and bring peace and harmony back to her home.

The excitement of the birth of Imalda’s firstborn child, a son, was dampened by the discovery that he had a hole in his heart. Devastated by the news and afraid, Imalda and her husband, Agnolo, a registered medical practitioner himself, leaned on the reassurances of the doctors stating the hole would eventually close on its own. Unfortunately, it did not.

The new parents did everything they could to bring healing to their precious baby: They spent large amounts of money on his medical treatments; they visited numerous temples; they offered multiple sacrifices. Still, nothing saved their baby boy. Within a year of his birth, Imalda and Agnolo’s son died.

The weight of the loss crushed Imalda. She expressed her grief by lashing out at her husband, screaming and fighting with him. As Imalda descended into mental illness, her behavior changed drastically. She even ventured outside naked on several occasions.

After losing his son, Agnolo watched helplessly as he began to lose his wife as well.

During this tumultuous time, Imalda gave birth to a second son. The child should have brought joy, but Imalda could not overcome the loss of her firstborn; turmoil continued to reign in her home.

Help from New Sisters of Compassion Friends

As Imalda wrestled to find peace in her mind and her home, she met two GFA Sisters of Compassion, Bianey and Cyprienne. The Sisters spent time talking with Imalda and learned about her family’s tragic story that led to Imalda’s mental illness. Before parting ways, the Sisters prayed for Imalda.

The next day, they returned to Imalda’s home for a visit, sharing encouragement from Psalm 119:50: “This is my comfort in affliction, for your word has given me life.”

Agnolo agreed to let Bianey and Cyprienne visit Imalda every Wednesday to pray for her full healing. Faithful to their word, Imalda’s new friends came every week, praying and fasting for Imalda’s health to be completely restored.

A Miraculous Answer to Earnest Prayers

God heard their prayers and began to heal Imalda. Agnolo could hardly believe the changes he witnessed in his wife as she became calmer and more composed than he had seen her in eight years. After seven weeks of prayer, Imalda’s mental health was fully healed.

With much gratitude, Agnolo and Imalda opened their hearts and lives to Jesus, the One about whom they read in God’s Word and who transformed their broken lives, filling their home with peace. “I was totally distressed and often quarreled with my husband, due to which we lost the peace in our home,” Imalda recounted. “I thought I would never become normal and [would] never obtain peace in my life. But now, I am happy with my life and family. The Sisters took special care of me, and because of their prayers, love and support, I could come back to life.”

Imalda and Agnolo rejoice that God brought them through the many years of upheaval and delivered peace to their home.


Read how God healed Chablis as the result of two women’s fervent prayers.

*Names of people and places may have been changed for privacy and security reasons. Images are Gospel for Asia World stock photos used for representation purposes and are not the actual person/location, unless otherwise noted.


Source: Gospel for Asia Field Reports & Updates, Sisters of Compassion Help Woman Find Peace

Learn more about the Sisters of Compassion – those who are specially trained woman missionary with a deep burden for showing Christ’s love by physically serving the needy, underprivileged and poor.

Read more on Sisters of Compassion and Prayer on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

May 24, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World) founded by K.P. Yohannan, which inspired numerous charities like Gospel for Asia Canada, to assist the poor and deprived worldwide – Discussing Dora, a widow, her desperate need for her son’s affliction, and the power of the Scriptures that brought deliverance, peace, and joy.

Discussing Dora, a widow, her desperate need for her son's affliction, and the power of the Scriptures that brought deliverance, peace, and joy.
Searching for help for her son, Dora clearly heard God’s Word at a Women’s Fellowship meeting like this one.

After her husband’s passing, 56-year-old Dora moved in with her adult son, Caster. Dora was a kind-hearted woman who cared deeply for her friends and offered help whenever she saw someone in need. But when Dora’s good friend Athena told her about a church just a few blocks from her home, the dear widow failed to recognize her own need for a trustworthy God.

Dora thought she knew about the God her friend worshiped, and frankly, she was surprised Athena attended church. How could Athena worship this God instead of their ancestral deities? The typically quiet, reserved woman did not hide her disapproval.

Athena wasn’t surprised by her friend’s reaction, but she chose to respond with kindness and a soft answer. Athena described to Dora the timeless truths she learned from God’s Word and the wonderful ways in which God answered prayers and provided for her and her family. Athena lived out the truths of the Scriptures, treating her friend kindly and praying for her faithfully. She even invited Dora to come with her to a Women’s Fellowship meeting.

Still, Dora was uninterested. She hardened her heart and stubbornly refused to listen to the words Athena shared, not realizing it was those same words of hope that enabled Athena to patiently demonstrate God’s love to Dora.

Time of Desperate Need Becomes Turning Point

Months later, Dora’s son, Caster, was attacked by an evil spirit. Dora was shaken. Her son needed healing, but she couldn’t help. She knew she didn’t have the answers to his problem. She thought of her friend Athena and the God who answered her friend’s prayers.

After ignoring Athena’s invitations, Dora could refuse no longer. She decided to visit the church around the corner.

Until that day, Dora had never heard the Word of God so clearly. Ultimately, it was God’s Word, which Dora was previously reluctant to hear, that gave Caster what he needed: deliverance from the harassing spirit.

Dora was humbled by the power of God’s Word, amazed at the joy, peace and healing the powerful words brought into her life. She began regularly attending the Women’s Fellowship with Athena and studying Scripture with the pastor’s wife. The more Dora learned, the greater transformation she recognized in her life. Both she and Caster found peace and joy.

Dora discovered God’s Word is pure and trustworthy. When she is in need, she can rely on it. Her trust in God continues to grow and she has resolved to live for the Lord as she learns more about Him through His Holy Word.


Read about the power of God’s Word to change a young man’s life for the better.

*Names of people and places may have been changed for privacy and security reasons. Images are Gospel for Asia World stock photos used for representation purposes and are not the actual person/location, unless otherwise noted.


Source: Gospel for Asia Field Reports & Updates, Woman Discovers Power of Scriptures in Desperate Situation

Join in prayer for the mission field, and for Women’s Fellowships, asking God to bless our sisters in the Lord and their areas of ministry.

Read more on Prayer and Women’s Fellowships on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

May 21, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX — A global humanitarian organization is helping combat the world’s “stinkiest” health emergency — people defecating in the open — a new report reveals. Gospel for Asia (GFA World) is installing thousands of toilets in some of the world’s remotest and least developed areas — places where people typically relieve themselves in the bushes, by the local river, or in the street. It’s part of a global effort to curb deadly diseases spread by people practicing open defecation, known as OD, says the agency’s new report Taking the Toilet Challenge.

GFA World is helping combat the world's stinkiest health emergency -- open defecation --- released a new report: Taking the Toilet Challenge
SOLVING A DEADLY STINKY PROBLEM: Texas-based humanitarian organization Gospel for Asia (GFA World) is helping combat the world’s “stinkiest” health emergency — people defecating in the open. The agency just released a new report, Taking the Toilet Challenge.

OD spreads cholera, dysentery, hepatitis, typhoid and leads to chronic diarrhea — killing millions of children worldwide every year.

OD is not just a health crisis in the developing world — it’s also a serious issue in the United States, where cities such as San Francisco and Seattle are battling to find solutions among their growing homeless populations.

Up and Running: 32,000 Toilets

So far, GFA World has helped install more than 32,000 toilets in OD-prone locations across Asia.

““For millions around the world, the humble toilet is the best gift they can imagine,” said K.P. Yohannan, founder of the Texas-based organization that helps millions across Asia and has just launched projects in Africa. “Giving people the most basic necessities of life is one way of sharing God’s love with them.”

Global Progress

Citing progress, the organization’s report says OD has been cut in half globally in recent years. In South Asia — home to one quarter of the world’s people — the number of those practicing OD has dropped sharply from two-thirds of the population to one-third.

But, the report says, about one in every 11 people worldwide still doesn’t have access to a toilet.

The report also spotlights efforts to “reinvent the toilet” — designing toilets that process human waste without water, sewer or septic systems.


About GFA World

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) is a leading faith-based global mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, especially in Asia and Africa, and sharing the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and teaching providing hope and encouragement available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. GFA World has launched programs in Africa, starting with compassion projects in Rwanda. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.

Media interested in interviews with Gospel For Asia should contact Gregg Wooding at InChrist Communications @ 972-567-7660 or gwooding@inchristcommuications.com


May 20, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World) founded by KP Yohannan, which inspired numerous charities like Gospel for Asia Canada, to assist the poor and deprived worldwide, issued this Special Report on the ongoing fight against open defecation, using outdoor toilets to improve sanitation.

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) reports on the ongoing fight against open defecation, using outdoor toilets to improve sanitation.
In this part of the slums in Mumbai, India, many people live in close proximity in unhygienic surroundings—lacking facilities like toilets and proper drainage.

What Do the World’s Sanitation Problems Have to Do with Us?

For those of us with indoor flush toilets—and clean ones at that—with sewer lines that carry waste to treatment facilities, and who live in places where waterborne and airborne bacteria are not a hazard, our response to this crisis is probably, So what? We don’t say this out loud, but like so many other dire extremes jockeying for our attention, it doesn’t really touch our lives.

However, in a majority of places, America is starting to suffer from failing infrastructure. Most of us think of that in terms of roads and bridges needing repair or major overhauling, a transportation issue. Yet infrastructure means water service, too.

Just two years ago, reporters from the Chicago Tribune conducted an exposé of the high bills being charged for water in underserved metro area neighborhoods. Maywood residents in a western suburb paid one of the region’s highest water rates, because older pipes allow major seepage. Of the 946 millions of gallons that Maywood bought from neighboring Melrose Park in 2016, some 367 million gallons, or 38.7 percent, never made it to taps. That cost residents in an already cash-strapped population nearly $1.7 million more than residents paid in other towns of similar size. And the poor are tapped for a disproportionate share of the bill.

What if I had to stand in line to use a communal latrine where flies buzzed, the floor was filthy, someone had evacuated due to acute diarrhea, and no one wanted to clean the mess? Now we’re getting closer.

Water problems may be closer than we think. In a 2012 article for a Yale University publication, reporter Cheryl Colopy—author of Dirty, Sacred Rivers: Confronting South Asia’s Water Crisis—warned: “In the United States, sewage treatment has not been a problem for the past half-century, but it could become one again as infrastructure ages and fails—especially if there is a lack of government money to replace it. In addition, certain regions of the U.S. are expected to experience water shortages as temperatures rise. New, water-saving, decentralized toilet technologies may need to be adopted not only in places like South Asia, but also in parts of the industrialized world.”

Indeed, we may be thinking more about sanitation issues in the near future. And, the burgeoning technologies used to solve defecation problems and to discover clean water solutions in the developing world may be solutions we will also seek not far down the road.

Women are prone to assault, disease runs rampant, and lives are at risk: all a result of using the bathroom outdoors.

What If You Didn’t Have a Toilet?

So I remind myself of toilet scenarios I do know about, then extrapolate some personal situations. Our home, in which we have lived for 40 years, has a septic system. During that time, we have suffered power outages amid extreme storms, meaning no water could be pumped from our underground well; this disabled our showers, faucets and toilets. I used to store plastic bottles of water so when things went black we could still brush our teeth, dress by candlelight and—get this—flush our toilets. If the power did not come back on for a couple days, frozen food thawed and excess detritus threatened to overflow the toilet basin.

So I extrapolate: What if this happened all the time? What if sewer lines broke, got clogged and backed up regularly? What if I lived in poverty, with no plumbers, no money and no electric company to call to fix this? What if I had to stand in line to use a communal latrine where flies buzzed, the floor was filthy, someone had evacuated due to acute diarrhea, and no one wanted to clean the mess? Now we’re getting closer.

A Squat Outdoor India Toilet
A well-cleaned squat toilet in Asia.

In refugee camps overseas, my travel companions and I held ridiculous discussions about who had invented squat toilets: men or women? Someone shot a photo of me holding a rickety latrine toilet door upright while a woman coworker trusted me to guard her privacy while she did her business. We may laugh, but for most of the world this situation is not a laughing matter. Smelling an overflowing latrine from 20 feet away might persuade even a Westerner to think similarly, even if only metaphorically. In truth, I don’t like the few outhouses I’ve been forced to use in the States, nor many of the spooky national park public facilities. If I can help it, I certainly avoid portable potties at public events.

When Your Septic Tank Problems Bring Embarrassment

My last attempt at toilet empathy. About 10 years after we moved to West Chicago, Illinois, our neighbor knocked on the door and apologized for complaining about the standing stinking water seeping into his property.

“I think you may be having trouble with your septic system,” he reported, a bit embarrassed.

I called two septic companies. One said I needed to have the whole septic field replaced; cost: $10,000. The other service man diagnosed another problem but with a similar estimate. Then I went to the DuPage County Health Department and asked what septic firms they would recommend. I called Black Gold, whose reps complained about the septic map drawn by the company that laid our field—that was now leaking.

“Would the health department let us get away with a layout like this?” he asked his partner. They both obviously thought the field plan had been rendered by some septic idiot. Sure enough, after spending about 45 minutes prodding our three-quarters-of-an-acre lot with long poles, they said: “Lady, you don’t need no new septic field. The lines of what’s there ain’t connected to the tank.” Their fee: $3,000. I made a garden from areas torn up by their repairs.

Many people in Asia draw water from smelly, vile ponds
Vile, brown liquid that some in Asia count on as their water source.

So what if I lived somewhere that permanently seeped smelly, vile, germ-ridden, brown liquid? What if the river at the back of the land was a running sewer, and my grandchildren couldn’t romp and splash in it? What if the fields were filled not only with animal feces but the excreta of some 300 neighbors?

You can come up with your own empathy-building stories.

Communities Band Together to Improve Sanitation

A family in front of a GFA-provided outdoor toilet facility
A family in front of a Gospel for Asia (GFA)-provided local facility.

Prime Minister Modi and his teams are sold on community-led initiatives, and so should they be. Change works best when a whole population is committed to seeing it happen.

Community development often works best when it is exactly that: an idea that grows out of the mind of a local visionary, capable of strategic thinking but with compassion for those nearby—his or her neighbors. And when a whole community becomes involved in “cleaning up its act,” few powers on earth can withstand such initiative.

Now what’s interesting about Gospel for Asia’s stories surrounding sanitation is that it is the local pastor in the village, who out of concern and knowing that open defecation has deadly disease-breeding potential, exercises compassion to love his neighbors through his concern about the availability of latrines.

This is an excerpt from a Gospel for Asia (GFA) story that appeared on last year’s World Toilet Day. It concerns a family in one community forced to use the open fields to defecate because they had no other proper place.

Malak, before being touched by Christ’s love, had been an alcoholic. After reading the entire Bible from start to finish, Malak was transformed and abandoned the bottle. Some years later, he met Jaki, and they were married.Eventually, the couple were blessed with two children. It seemed as if all was right for Malak and his family. However, a singular problem arose: The family had no toilet. The nearest place to relieve themselves was a little less than a mile away. During extreme weather, the family was forced to stay indoors, rendering those facilities useless. Going outside in the open was degrading and unhygienic, and at nighttime it was dangerous—who knew what kind of wild animals lurked about?

However, Malak and his family prayed, and their requests did not go unanswered. During a GFA Christmas gift distribution, they received a complete sanitation facility. They no longer had to trek half a mile just to use the bathroom or use the outdoors in fear.

What an extraordinary example of love in practical action.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself.” —Luke 10:27

For women like this tea estate laborer, having no outdoor toilet facility could mean risking assault as they go out into an open field in the dark.
“It’s not safe to send our people, our children, our wives or our daughters to the tea garden at night to use the toilet,” Iniyavan said.
Iniyavan made only 2,400 rupees a month, which was equivalent to about $37 (USD) a month. He wasn’t able to save enough money to construct a toilet.
Open defecation means there’s the risk of disease as families continually return to communal waste grounds
GFA-supported Compassion Services teams construct outdoor toilets, also known as sanitation facilities, for people who, like Iniyavan, do not have the means to do so on their own.
“Now, since I have this toilet built in my house, I don’t have to worry. My family and I don’t have to go to the tea garden for toilet, and it is very safe here,” Iniyavan said.

On the Brink of Innovations, Change in Sanitation

Toilet technology is on the edge of remarkable, cost-effective, ecologically friendly frontiers. They’re becoming self-cleaning and solar-powered. A solar-powered toilet that converts waste into charcoal can then be used as fertilizer. An indoor toilet that works like a garden composter, spinning the contents and reducing odor and the number of dangerous pathogens. Portable rickshaw toilets. A community bio-digester toilet designed to convert human waste into gases and manure. Once ideas begin flourishing, there is no limit to what can happen.

Granted, Prime Minister Modi’s ODF csampaign may take a little longer to succeed. But the hardest pull of any new effort is at the beginning. Once new ideas start rolling, they gather steam. Some new toilet technologies may become catalysts as well. In addition, there are hundreds of international organizations working on sanitation solutions. They understand that one size does not fit all the variables that make up the particulars in this vast discussion, but added all together, it is a prohibitive association with evidence of remarkable dedication.

And when a whole community becomes involved in “cleaning up its act,” there are few powers on earth that can withstand such initiative.

A Canadian doctor, one of those “creative renegades” unhappy with the condition of the world who I have come to admire and love, was appointed as a provincial health officer in the highlands of Papua, New Guinea. During an aerial survey, he and his team discovered one distinctly cleaner and healthier village. Far below lay the evidence of what turned out to be a pastor with basic health training who had taught his people those lessons; the difference could be seen from the air. Inspired, they searched for a more integral way of ministering and soon began using a community health evangelism methodology, which had been developed in Africa.

Sometimes we get lost in the details on the ground. We need to stand back, take deep breaths and find some way to gather broader assessments—an aerial view. Progress is being made; it’s just a little harder in some places than in others. I’m proud that Gospel for Asia is one of the players.

Shout Out to Toilets!

Christianity has everything to do with sanitation. We serve a God who is expecting us to help restore the world He created to its original design. That is a world, among many other things, without rampaging diseases. One day, Scripture promises, it will be a world without death and suffering. So in this interim, let’s hear a shout out for all the toilets in the world!


Donate to Sanitation Projects

For only $540, you will help reduce the risk of common diseases by providing a family with an outdoor toilet.


About Gospel for Asia

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.


Read the rest of Gospel for Asia’s Special Report: Fight Against Open Defecation Continues – Using Outdoor Toilets to Improve Sanitation Part 1

Learn more by reading these Special Reports from Gospel for Asia:


This Special Report originally appeared on gfa.org.

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May 19, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World) founded by KP Yohannan, which inspired numerous charities like Gospel for Asia Canada, to assist the poor and deprived worldwide, issued this Special Report on the ongoing fight against open defecation, and how using outdoor toilets helps to improve sanitation.

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) reports on the ongoing fight against open defecation, using outdoor toilets to improve sanitation.

Karen Burton Mains
Karen Burton Mains, author

Since I first wrote about open defecation a few years ago, efforts to combat the problem have gathered momentum. A report compiled by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in June shows the percentage of people practicing open defecation declined from 21 percent (1.3 billion) in 2000 to 9 percent (673 million) by 2017.

While this is encouraging news, there is much more to be done. The United Nations (UN) says “some 2.2 billion people around the world do not have safely-managed drinking water, while 4.2 billion go without safe sanitation services and three billion lack basic handwashing facilities.”

“Mere access is not enough,” said Kelly Ann Naylor, UNICEF’s associate director of water, sanitation and hygiene. “If the water isn’t clean, isn’t safe to drink or is far away, and if toilet access is unsafe or limited, then we’re not delivering for the world’s children.”

In addition to the UN, this multi-faceted effort includes governments, non-governmental organizations and various Christian and non-Christian charities. All have launched initiatives that include long-term goals for ending this threat to the world’s health. The UN’s global sustainable development goals include ensuring that everyone has a safe toilet and that open defecation ends by 2030.

Children investigate new toilet
Children in Cote d’Ivoire investigate their community’s newly improved toilets, one of the UNOCI’s “quick impact projects” (QIPS) which supported the rehabilitation of schools and toilets in Abidjan. UN Photo/Patricia Esteve

People using the bathroom outdoors with no toilet nearby nor sanitary treatment of their discharge has fueled disease, created serious health problems and endangered female safety by exposing them to possible rape or other abuse. Then there is the particularly stomach-turning incident from July 2018, when a 3-year-old South African boy drowned in a pit latrine—a type of crude toilet that collects feces in a hole in the ground. Four years earlier in the same province, a 5-year-old boy drowned in a school toilet.

Such horror stories help explain the need for “World Toilet Day,” which falls every year on November 19. Inaugurated in 2013, the UN-sponsored observance urges member states to encourage behavioral changes and implement policies to increase access to sanitation among the poor. Despite progress in recent years, the situation is serious, as shown by the June UN report.

Among key sanitation facts from WHO:

  • In 2017, only 45 percent of the global population used a safely managed sanitation service.
  • Two billion people do not have basic sanitation facilities, such as a toilet or latrine.
  • At least 10 percent of the world’s population is thought to consume food irrigated by wastewater.
  • Poor sanitation is linked to transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio.

In short, open defecation is a worldwide health crisis, one that demands a caring response from the world—especially those who profess to follow Christ.

GFA World supporters visit outdoor toilet installed by Believers Eastern Church in South Asia
GFA World supporters get the opportunity to visit an outdoor toilet installed by Believers Eastern Church for the benefit of multiple families in this neighborhood around Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. During 2019, 5,428 toilets like these were installed by GFA across South Asia to help improve the sanitation challenges in many developing communities.

Hanging Out with “Renegades”

For much of my adult life, I have hung out with the “renegades” of Christian missions. Namely, the relief-and-development crowd that rushes to help during natural disasters, struggles to alleviate the suffering and abasement of refugee displacement, and pays concerted attention to the struggles of people in developing nations. My first trip around the world came at the invitation of Food for the Hungry; I traveled with Larry Ward, the executive director at the time, and his wife, Lorraine.

The purpose of the trip was an international field survey with an emphasis on the world’s refugee crisis, which in the l980s was the largest since World War II. We started in Hong Kong and ended seven weeks later in Kenya, Africa. My assignment was to observe with fresh eyes and write about what I had seen. I wrote my book, The Fragile Curtain, with the help of daily briefings from the U.S. State Department and the excellent international reporting of The Christian Science Monitor (and some generous coaching from a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper reporter). It won a Christopher Award, a national prize for works that represent “the highest values of the human spirit.”

“I never realized,” he said, “that I would eventually measure the impact of the Gospel by how many toilets had been built in a village.”

Eventually, I brought the accumulated exposure of my world travels—some 55 countries in all—and the learning I had gathered through research and dragging through camps and slums to the board of Medical Ambassadors International (MAI), a global faith-based health organization.

Villagers from the village that received outdoor toilets
Women and girls are often at risk when open defecation is the only option for relieving themselves. Thankfully, these precious faces can smile because a toilet facility was recently built in their village.

GFA’s Story, Helping to Improve Sanitation in Asia

As I mentioned earlier, Christianity has a vital role in ending these problems. One of the organizations involved is Gospel for Asia (GFA), long close to my heart and that of my husband, David Mains. We met K.P. Yohannan, GFA’s founder, when the ministry was a mere vision in the heart of a young Indian man. It was a divine nudge that would not let up. Since then, David has traveled to Asia at the invitation of Gospel for Asia (GFA) eight times; I have visited once. We’ve watched as K.P.’s vision grew from a dream to reality, with numbers beyond anything we could have considered possible.

GFA’s website tells its vast story: In 2018 the ministry fed, clothed and schooled some 70,000 impoverished children, operated 1,128 free medical camps and constructed 6,431 toilets with dual-tank sanitation systems.

A family stands in front of a India toilet - a GFA-installed latrine or squatty potty.
This family stands in front of a latrine or “squatty potty” that was installed by GFA-supported national workers.

Gospel for Asia (GFA) started building latrines in 2012, setting a goal of constructing some 15,000 concrete outhouses by 2016. It long ago surpassed that mark. Figures for 2016 alone: 10,512 toilets installed, with another 6,364 following in 2017, and another 6,431 in 2018. Potable water, of course, travels hand in hand with sanitation. In 2018, the ministry’s field partners constructed 4,712 Jesus Wells and distributed 11,451 BioSand water filters to purify drinking water. Touching vignettes on GFA’s website make the statistics personal.

“Our family is blessed both physically and spiritually,” said one villager in Asia. “We are free from problems and sickness.…It is because of the people who have spent their money to drill a Jesus Well in my place.”

“This saved the lives of people from illness,” said another—and indeed, toilets, when and if they are used, do just that.

There, indeed, is a thread that runs through Gospel for Asia’s stories of toilets: The pastor of the church in this village or that hamlet seems to be the catalyst for health improvements.

Organizations Tackling the Sanitation Crisis

Matt Damon, founder of Water.org
Matt Damon, the founder of Water.org (photo credit Water.org)

Much of the world is in a war against the perils caused by inadequate or non-existent sanitation. People as diverse as Matt Damon, a Hollywood celebrity, award-winning actor and producer/screenwriter, and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi are battling uphill against open defecation (in the sewers, in running streams, by the roadsides, in the fields and the forests, on garbage dumps, etc.).

Damon, driven by a desire to make a difference in solving extreme poverty, discovered that water and sanitation were the two basic foundations beneath much of what ails the world. Through his charity, Water.org, he and his business partner, Gary White, use microfinance loans to help underserved people connect to a service utility or build a home latrine. By 2020, more than 30 million people in 17 countries have been affected by this approach.

Prime Minister Modi campaigned to end open defecation and build latrines for India
Prime Minister Modi campaigned to end open defecation and build latrines for India.

Photo by narendramodiofficial on Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

During his campaign for office in 2014, Modi spoke of “Toilets Before Temples.” His party’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission) campaign has undoubtedly made progress, thanks in part to the $28 billion (U.S.) originally allocated, plus World Bank loans totaling another $1.5 billion.

After a Reuters News Service story last May portrayed the government as using overly optimistic results about the initiative, India’s Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation issued a release, saying its program had “succeeded in lifting more than 550 million people out of open defecation in a short period of less than 5 years.” His re-election last year may be partly due to the progress of the initiative he organized to curtail the practice.

Talking Openly About Open Defecation

Another key dilemma in this discussion—open defecation, hardly a dinner-table topic or a missions committee agenda item—is that accessibility to toilets does not always indicate usage. Changing habits is mostly a matter of changing mindsets in the face of deeply entrenched beliefs.

Some 1.5 million people die globally each year from polluted water diseases alone.

Elizabeth Royte, in a comprehensive August 2017 National Geographic magazine article, reported visiting Parameswaran Iyer, India’s secretary of drinking water and sanitation, in 2016. A hand-numbered sign on his wall tracked progress.

“You see that?” he asked. “One hundred thousand is the number of villages that are ODF today.” (ODF is the acronym for open defecation free.)

Royte, a sanitation expert traveling widely and reporting extensively, noted that Modi aimed to build more than 100 million new toilets in rural areas alone by 2019. But she added that “deep-seated attitudes may present an even bigger barrier to improving sanitation than a lack of pipes and pits.”

Echoing that observation, on World Toilet Day in 2018, The Washington Post reported: “Although increasing the number of toilets and improving their quality is important, the larger challenge is how to ensure that they actually will be used. … In our survey of 810 households in Delhi’s slums, where private toilet ownership is rare, we found that many people do not regularly use nearby public toilets, known as community toilet complexes, built specifically for slum dwellers.”

Facing the Facts about India Toilets

That being said, let’s look at data regarding the state of toilets and open defecation in Asia. Then let’s examine what development organizations, sanitation technologies and mission groups, namely Gospel for Asia, are attempting to help Asia become ODF.

Although Modi has emphasized improved sanitation, it’s worthwhile to note that India struggled with these issues even before winning independence from Great Britain in 1947. In fact, Gandhi insisted, “Sanitation is more important than temples.” Now, due to population growth, a conundrum exists: While the percentage practicing open defecation has dropped substantively, birth rates are creating an environment where more people live in geographic locations where fecal exposure is increasing, not decreasing.

37%

of the urban population—some 157 million urban dwellers—lacked a safe and private toilet, according to UK-based charity WaterAid in November 2016.

Even sewers are no guarantors of healthiness: In the capital city of Delhi, pipes are corroded; they ooze waste; and nearly a third of the booming city isn’t connected to underground lines. Many latrines flush into open drains.

700,000

—4 percent—of this urban population still defecated outdoors.

56%

only of the sewers are safely managed.

Just 1 gram of feces can contain:

100 million viruses

1 million bacteria

1 thousand parasitic cysts

These can be absorbed through cuts in the flesh, the porous nature of skin itself, or by drinking unsafe water and eating contaminated foods. Flies carry disease from roadsides and open fields.

Health figures are consequently staggering.

2,195 children

worldwide die from diarrhea each day, with the disease the second-leading cause of death for children under 5, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The chronically distressed digestive system doesn’t absorb nutrients or medicines well. Underweight mothers give birth to underweight babies.

149 million

children worldwide under the age of 5 are affected by stunting, according to the World Health Organization in 2018. And all of the above and much, much more could be cured and eliminated by the installation and use of proper sanitation systems in slums, hamlets, rural villages and large cities across India.

Photo by Kristian Bertel


Donate to Sanitation Projects

For only $540, you will help reduce the risk of common diseases by providing a family with an outdoor toilet.


About Gospel for Asia

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.


Read the rest of Gospel for Asia’s Special Report: Fight Against Open Defecation Continues – Using Outdoor Toilets to Improve Sanitation Part 2

Learn more by reading these Special Reports from Gospel for Asia:


This Special Report originally appeared on gfa.org.

Read what Christian Leaders have to say about Gospel for Asia.

Click here, to read more blogs on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

Learn more about Gospel for Asia: Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | SourceWatch | Integrity | Lawsuit Update | 5 Distinctives | 6 Remarkable Facts | 10 Milestones | Media Room | Fighting Global Poverty | Endorsements | 40th Anniversary | Lawsuit Response |

Notable News about Gospel for Asia: FoxNews, ChristianPost, NYPost, MissionsBox

May 17, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World) founded by K.P. Yohannan, which inspired numerous charities like Gospel for Asia Canada, to assist the poor and deprived worldwide – Discussing Salihah, the grief being a widow brings, the dire financial situation, and the Good News of Jesus’ love introduced through GFA church pastor, and the blessing of a sewing machine.

Discussing a widow, the difficulty of poverty, and the Good News of Jesus' love introduced through GFA church pastor, and the blessing of a sewing machine.
Salihah’s sewing machine helped her meet her family’s needs and bless others.

Salihah was only 24 years old when she became a widow and single mother. Her husband, Padraic, had been killed in a motorcycle accident due to drunk driving. Padraic was the sole breadwinner in the family, and his death not only left a void in the hearts of his loved ones, but also left them without the income they needed to survive.

After Padraic’s death, Salihah took over his job as a janitor in the local government office, a job for which Salihah was grateful. Still, deep sorrow hung over the family.

Salihah feared for her two young children, worried she would not be able to provide for all their needs. With the few resources she had, Salihah did her best to make their small, one-room apartment suitable for her and her children, but water from the leaking roof dripped on their heads—and their hopes. The family’s difficult financial situation, combined with lingering grief over Padraic’s death, weighed heavily on Salihah. She was losing hope, and she didn’t know where to turn.

A Helping Hand

One day, Pastor Talon from a Gospel for Asia (GFA) church talked to Salihah. Pastor Talon listened attentively as Salihah shared the struggles she was facing. He encouraged Salihah and told her about Jesus’ love for her.

Salihah had never heard the Good News of Jesus’ love for her before, and she was greatly encouraged.

After praying with Salihah and her children, Pastor Talon returned to his nearby village. Seeing their living conditions and aware of their need, Pastor Talon requested a sewing machine for Salihah, knowing it would be a huge help for her and her children.

Widow Mending Garments, ‘Sewing’ Hope

Salihah was thrilled to receive her new sewing machine. She was so grateful to God and to the church for the gift. Salihah started repairing her and her children’s clothes herself, saving money on tailor fees.

She also started mending the clothes of her friends, even making them new dresses, thereby passing along the love and care she received to others in need of the same. Salihah’s new sewing machine helped to not only provide for her and her family’s financial needs, but also provide for the needs of her friends as she mended garments and “sewed” hope.


Read how literacy classes helped fulfill Gabija’s dream.

*Names of people and places may have been changed for privacy and security reasons. Images are Gospel for Asia World stock photos used for representation purposes and are not the actual person/location, unless otherwise noted.


Source: Gospel for Asia Field Reports & Updates, ‘Sewing’ Seeds of Hope

Learn more about GFA World programs to combat the 100 million missing women reality by helping women through Vocational Training, Sewing Machines and Literacy Training.

Learn more by reading these Special Reports from GFA World:

Read more on Widow, Sewing Machines and Poverty Alleviation on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

May 14, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX – GFA World — one of the world’s largest humanitarian agencies founded by K.P. Yohannan, whose heart to love and help the poor has inspired numerous charities like GFA World Canada, to serve the deprived and downcast worldwide — is sending oxygen equipment and supplies to help people fighting for breath amid devastating second wave of COVID-19 in India.

GFA World is sending oxygen equipment and supplies to help people fighting for breath amid devastating second wave of COVID-19 in India.
FIGHTING FOR BREATH: GFA World — one of the world’s largest humanitarian agencies — is sending lifesaving oxygen equipment and other vital supplies to help people fighting for breath amid India’s devastating second wave of COVID-19. People can support the agency’s COVID-19 relief efforts by going to its website.

The Texas-based organization is readying the first shipment of lifesaving medical supplies as India remains in the grip of a worsening crisis. Demand for oxygen has increased sevenfold since last month. Reports say two people are dying of COVID-19 every single minute in India — gasping for air as oxygen and equipment runs out at hospitals across the nation.

“We cannot stand by and watch thousands suffer and die, gasping for breath,” said GFA World Founder K.P. Yohannan, as the nation’s official COVID-19 death toll approaches 250,000. “India is literally suffocating to death. I’ve never seen anything that compares with this tsunami of suffering.”

‘Third Wave’ of Compassion

Along with other organizations, GFA World is “helping launch a ‘third wave’ of compassion, prayer and humanitarian aid to India,” said Yohannan, as the agency announced efforts to ship oxygen equipment as quickly as possible.

The organization is partnering with indigenous local hospitals in Southwest India to get aid to those suffering.

“We’ve been serving the poor in Asia for more than 40 years and we’re able to get help fast to those who need it the most,” Yohannan said. “The government of India is doing all it can to help us and other organizations bring urgent relief right now.”

The U.S. State Department has urged all Americans in India to leave the country immediately as the nation of nearly 1.4 billion people continues to shatter global records for new daily COVID infections. A deadly new ‘double mutant’ variant in India is also raising alarm.

Dying in the Streets

“We’re all weary of the pandemic and ready for it to end, but we cannot forget those in the thick of the battle right now,” Yohannan said. “Seeing people dying in the streets in India — and suffering elsewhere in Asia and Africa — surely must move us to show God’s love through compassion and action.”

GFA World has set up a way for companies and individuals to donate urgently needed medical equipment and supplies in support of the agency’s COVID relief efforts. Those interested in donating equipment and supplies can visit www.gfa.org/press/AirforIndia and email responseteam@gfa.org.


About GFA World

GFA World is a leading faith-based global mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, especially in Asia and Africa, and sharing the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and teaching providing hope and encouragement available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. GFA World expects to launch programs in numerous African nations, starting with compassion projects in Rwanda. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.

Media interested in interviews with GFA World should contact Gregg Wooding at InChrist Communications @ 972-567-7660 or gwooding@inchristcommuications.com



Source: GFA World Press Room, GFA World Sending Vital Oxygen Supplies to COVID-Ravaged India

May 13, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World and affiliates like Gospel for Asia Canada) founded by KP Yohannan, issued this Special Report on the massive challenge of reducing extreme poverty worldwide, mainly through providing education, transmitting values.

Chain Reaction

One individual whose values have enabled him to rise from poverty and whose children are benefiting from his foundation can make an impact that expands to his society.

Integrity is one of the qualities employers look for most. Billionaire Warren Buffett explains,

Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett
Photo by Javier, Flickr
(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
“Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you. You think about it; it’s true. If you hire somebody without [integrity], you really want them to be dumb and lazy.”

The workplace quickly turns dark when negative ideologies are present. But on the flipside, business benefits mankind in beautiful ways when positive values define the scene.

A business owner’s upright values will dictate the way he treats his employees. He will not stoop to exploiting any of the world’s 24.9 million forced laborers

or 152 million child laborers.

On the other hand, an employee with positive values will not take advantage of his boss. His honesty will strengthen the company, which in turn will strengthen their local economy.

Values also determine whether a person will be marked by crime. Education alone helps people to respect justice, and their values will only solidify that position.

A report examining the correlation of education rates and crime reduction in the U.S. revealed that increasing the male high school graduation rate by just five percent would:

decrease overall annual incidences of assault by

nearly 60,000

decrease of larceny by

more than 37,000

decrease of motor vehicle theft by

more than 31,000

decrease of burglaries by

more than 17,000

It would also prevent nearly

1,300 murders

prevent occurrences of more than

3,800 rape crimes

prevent and more than

1,500 robberies.

When an individual has the unique experience of rising out of poverty himself, he knows what others in poverty around him need. When he has the chance to be a help to others or a voice for poverty alleviation, his firsthand experience will serve him well.

Kanal with his family
“By selling the piglets, we have bought a goat and chickens, which will be another source of income for our family. We do not have any problems now paying the school fees for our children. We also purchased roofing sheets to construct our house. I thank God for all the blessings this pig has brought.” —Kanal from Arunachal Pradesh

Kanal, a father in Asia, experienced this very thing.

After years of desperately struggling with poverty, he received a piglet at a Gospel for Asia (GFA) gift distribution organized by the local church. Later, the pig had a litter of eight piglets. He sold seven of them for a sizable profit and finally had the financial breakthrough he needed to start rising out of poverty.

Over the following months, Kanal’s pig bore another 10 piglets. Each one propelled the family farther out of poverty.

Kanal’s children saw how one person’s generosity changed their family—and then they saw their father do the same thing. Even though his family had many needs, Kanal’s gratitude for his amazing gift led him to donate one piglet back to the church so another family could receive a life-changing gift. Then Kanal approached one of his neighbors who also struggled with poverty and gave them a piglet as well. His neighbor would raise the piglet, and when it was ready to go to market, they would share the profits. Kanal is on his way out of poverty, and he plans to bring others out with him, too.

Ashima, a young girl in Asia, received help much as Kanal did. Her help, however, came in the form of tutoring, moral lessons, food and school supplies through GFA World’s Bridge of Hope Program.

Bridge of Hope Teacher
Bridge of Hope teachers, like this gentleman in West Bengal, typically serve children from impoverished situations, including those kids whose parents are affected by leprosy. They provide their students with a quality education, a daily nutritious meal, loving care and practical supplies like soap, schoolbags, and school uniforms.

“Before coming to the Bridge of Hope,” Ashima said, “I was not able to study seriously because of the problem and inconvenience at home, and the financial problem that we are going through.”

Ashima’s problematic home life and lack of guidance led her to skip school and waste her educational opportunities. Sadly, Ashima’s instructor scolded and punished her instead of teaching her the values she needed to succeed.

But then through Bridge of Hope, Ashima received the guidance she needed to develop positive character traits and values, which enabled her to excel in her studies—and in life. Less than a year later, Ashima’s story was quite different.

“My future ambition is that I want to become a medical doctor,” she shared. “Especially I want to serve the poor from our society because … once we were very poor, and because we were poor, we were not able to buy so many things. It affected us very badly. And now, because Bridge of Hope is here, this is helping poor and the needy people like us. I also want to help and serve all the poor children and poor people who are suffering.”

Ashima is one more person being lifted out of poverty because of empowering values—one more life being equipped to help others escape extreme poverty.

Girl receiving school supplies from Bridge of Hope center
Most parents of Bridge of Hope children are unable to afford their child’s school fees let alone other essentials, such as stationery and other school supplies, uniforms, and toiletries, so Bridge of Hope provides all these essentials through sponsors from America and Canada, relieving the parents of a great financial burden. Here, Ashima receives a few supplies that will help her and meet some of her family’s needs.

What Can We Do?

Children studying in Bridge of Hope Center
These children are being tutored at a GFA Bridge of Hope center in Nepal. Each child is given the education and opportunity to have the courage they need to transform their generation and the ones after them.

As astonishing as it may be, one person can make a significant impact on global poverty. Jesus changed countless cultural and societal norms when He came to earth and taught profound new ways of thinking. Notably, the values Christ embodied have a life-altering impact, and even today, where the Church serves, lives improve. As far back as Apostle Paul’s time, values led the early church to share among each other to the extent that “nor was there any among them who lacked” (Acts 4:34). Uprooting extreme poverty community by community is not impossible, but it requires determination and positive foundational values.

A person looking for ways to fight extreme poverty will find countless organizations to partner with through donations. That is the easy part.

But each person must, in addition, consider the following: What values are they promoting? What are their children and co-workers learning from them? Do their daily activities uplift others? Or are they reinforcing negative values, even if those values are a few steps removed?

In recent years, more people have become aware of the human rights issues present throughout many supply chains. And because people are choosing to live in accordance with positive values, they are supporting the companies that reflect those same values, such as treating employees well and paying them an honest wage. Taking steps as simple as supporting companies with ethical supply chain practices can diminish the world’s poverty.

Another critical step toward poverty eradication is equipping and supporting excellent teachers. Education workers play a vital role in children’s development, for obvious reasons. Their influence, knowledge and teaching skills have the potential to transform a child’s life—or to destroy it.

Zaid Adil Sultan, a manager at a refugee camp in Iraq, relates a sobering example. When a militant group gained control of the region, its leaders inserted new teachers and programs into schools. The ideologies held by the group infiltrated curriculums, teaching children as young as 6 or 7 to use weapons.

“They gave them ‘courses’ that encouraged violence,” Sultan said. “In math, instead of teaching them that one plus one equals two, they taught them that one bullet plus one bullet equals two bullets.”

Bridge of Hope teacher with student
Education transmits values. As individuals and nations, we bear the responsibility to teach the next generation the ideas and values that will promote upward movement, not deeper poverty. This Bride of Hope teacher in Karnataka is assisting this student to improve in his studies and in building his character.

He went on to explain how children have been severely scarred by the indoctrination. Specialized workshops have opened to help children recover, but removing the damaging ideologies from young minds has proved difficult.

“The hardest age to treat is boys from 14 years old to 17,” Sultan said. “People have told me that before their sons went to those schools, they were okay, but after they went, they were coming home hitting their siblings and threatening to kill them.”

Education transmits values. As individuals and nations, we bear the responsibility to teach the next generation the ideas and values that will promote upward movement, not deeper poverty. Amazing teachers and professors around the world are helping children learn the skills and values necessary to thrive in life—and we thank them for their dedication. Yet many children live in places where negative values dominate ways of thinking, even among educational staff, and where poverty abounds.

Every culture is susceptible to damaging ideologies and to the poverty those ideas can generate. But great change is possible as individuals examine what values they are reinforcing and partner with educators who promote the positive values every child, family and community needs to rise out of extreme poverty.

A closing word from Dr. King:

Dr. Martin Luther King
Dr. Martin Luther King
“Education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals…
The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate.”

Provide a Values-centric Education to Children at Risk in Asia

If you want to help children at risk in South Asia, consider a one-time donation to stand in the gap for boys and girls who need to be freed from hopeless situations into Bridge of Hope, where they can receive an education that transmits positive values, and provides a hope-filled future.


Provide Values-centric Education to Children at Risk in Asia »

If you want to help children at risk in South Asia, consider a one-time donation to stand in the gap for boys and girls who need to be freed from hopeless situations into Bridge of Hope, where they can receive an education that transmits positive values, and provides a hope-filled future.


About Gospel for Asia

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.


Read the rest of Gospel for Asia’s Special Report: Fighting Global Poverty with Ideas — Uprooting poverty requires education that transmits values  Part 1

Learn more by reading these Special Reports from Gospel for Asia:


This Special Report originally appeared on gfa.org.

Read what Christian Leaders have to say about Gospel for Asia.

Click here, to read more blogs on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

Learn more about Gospel for Asia: Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | SourceWatch | Integrity | Lawsuit Update | 5 Distinctives | 6 Remarkable Facts | 10 Milestones | Media Room | Fighting Global Poverty | Endorsements | 40th Anniversary | Lawsuit Response |

Notable News about Gospel for Asia: FoxNews, ChristianPost, NYPost, MissionsBox

May 12, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World and affiliates like Gospel for Asia Canada) founded by KP Yohannan, issued this Special Report on the massive challenge of reducing extreme poverty worldwide, mainly through providing education, transmitting values.

GFA World, founded by KP Yohannan, reports on the massive challenge of reducing extreme poverty worldwide - through providing education.

In my original special report for Gospel for Asia titled Solutions to Poverty-line Problems of the Poor and Impoverished, I explored education’s impact on extreme poverty eradication. This update explores the idea that uprooting poverty requires education that transmits positive values.

Reducing extreme poverty is a massive challenge. Groups around the globe approach the issue in a variety of ways, the most common of which is by providing education. A strong, multifaceted link bonds poverty and lack of education, so experts around the globe are attempting to bring education into poverty-stricken areas.

E.F. Schumacher
E.F. Schumacher

Photo by The Schumacher Institute

But even with academic lessons and increased school attendance among low-income families, children will be short-changed if in the end they don’t gain the ultimate endowment: ideas and values that empower them to thrive.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.” According to Aristotle, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”

E.F. Schumacher writes in his influential economics book Small Is Beautiful, “The task of education would be, first and foremost, the transmission of ideas of value, of what to do with our lives. There is no doubt also the need to transmit know-how, but this must take second place, for it is obviously somewhat foolhardy to put great powers into the hands of people without making sure that they have a reasonable idea of what to do with them.”

“When people ask for education,” Schumacher continues, “they normally mean something more than mere training. … I think what they are really looking for is ideas that would make the world, and their own lives, intelligible to them.”

Why do ideas and values matter so much? Because they have the power to transform the world—to uproot global poverty.

Concepts like honesty, diligence, respect, compassion and valuing human life are widely acknowledged as good—yet in many communities around the world these values are not being demonstrated or taught to children. When one individual has a foundation of beneficial values like these, he or she can impact other lives, from their own family to the entire world. For the sake of simplicity, our individual will be referred to as “he,” although both males and females are able to make incredible changes to the world around them.

Children listening intently in Bridge of Hope center class
The staff at this Bridge of Hope Project Center in West Bengal provide their children with an ongoing education and transmit positive values with utmost care and responsibility.

Personal Impact of Ideas, Education

Schumacher defined education’s primary purpose as being the transmission of values. Positive values and ideas make a significant impact on one individual, and global change is impossible without changed individuals. The story of a young boy in Asia exemplifies the life-changing power of education plus ideas.

Children in Bridge of Hope center posing together with teachers
Where this GFA Bridge of Hope center is located, around 40-50 percent of children drop out of school after fifth or sixth grade. Thankfully, these children pictured will have a higher success rate because of the help and encouragement that Bridge of Hope is to them and their families.

Six-year-old Bir helped his farming family by scavenging for plastic bags they could use to take their produce to market. His community held fast to time-honored traditions, which ensured stability but also locked families into generations of poverty.

Even though Bir’s family lived in poverty, the young boy still had the gift of attending school. But he floundered in the classroom. His books were filled with valuable information, and his teachers taught lessons that had the potential to change Bir’s life, but Bir lacked the discipline of listening and didn’t know how to get the knowledge from his books into his mind. The shame from his terrible grades stamped out the little boy’s motivation. Education was in his hands, but it wasn’t enough.

Then a GFA World Bridge of Hope center opened in his village. Bir and dozens of other kids in the village enrolled, eager to receive free tutoring and supplemental education.

Most of the children attending Bridge of Hope live in deep poverty. Many reside in places where impoverished children grow up hearing they aren’t important, they can’t ever amount to much, and they don’t deserve anything better. But at Bridge of Hope, they hear something very different.

Alongside their schoolwork, Bridge of Hope children learn lessons on values such as diligence, honesty, kindness, respect and more. They learn their lives matter—no matter how poor their families are or how behind they are in their studies. Students thrive under the enriched education they receive from their Bridge of Hope teachers, and they gain courage and motivation to make the best of their lives.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.” According to Aristotle, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”

Through these foundational teachings at his Bridge of Hope center, Bir changed. He saw his potential and diligently applied himself to his studies—and to his chores at home. He learned to honor his parents, and he worked hard. By the time Bir completed 10th grade, he stood at the top of his class. Armed with impressive grades and strong values undergirding his choices and habits, Bir could pursue a college education with every reason to hope for continued success in life.

Education changed Bir’s life, but it wasn’t through academics alone. The right values enabled Bir—and thousands of other children like him—to succeed in schooling and find a better way of life. For the rest of their lives, Bridge of Hope children like Bir will know they, along with every other person, have worth and purpose. They will have the know-how to pursue their goals and to help those around them. They will become promising citizens any nation would be proud to claim as their own.

Bridge of Hope teachers and students
At the center, Bridge of Hope teachers have fun with the children to compliment their studies. In addition, BOH staff periodically visit their children and their families at their homes, which helps strengthen their relationship further. The children enjoy talking and interacting with BOH teachers whenever they visit, and the values of love and kindness get transmitted beyond their school life into their home life as well.

Ideas’ Impact on the Family

375 million children are living in poverty, UNICEF estimates.Thanks to quality, value-centered education, children become well-rounded, capable, confident adults. They know how to implement knowledge to better themselves and others, and they have a sense of participation in the world around them.

How will they impact their future families?

Parents play an undeniably important role in children’s lives. According to an article on parenting skills from Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development, “Many of the skills children acquire during the early years are fundamentally dependent on the quality of their interactions with their parents. For instance, parents play an important role in fostering children’s early learning (e.g., language and problem-solving abilities) and in shaping their social-emotional skills (e.g., emotion regulation, reactivity to stress and self-esteem).”

The article goes on to state how the parents’ involvement with their child heavily influences the future success of the child’s cognitive potential, social skills and behavioral functioning.

Anna J. Egalite
“In most studies, parental education has been identified as the single strongest correlate of children’s success…” —Anna J. Egalite

Photo by @annaegalite

Anna J. Egalite, assistant professor of education at North Carolina State University, reaffirms the impact of parents’ education on a child’s success. She writes, “In most studies, parental education has been identified as the single strongest correlate of children’s success in school, the number of years they attend school, and their success later in life.”

Values are always passed along from one generation to the next—but they can be beneficial or detrimental. A parent who values the rights and dignity of others will teach their children to do likewise, even if they live in poverty and their society mistreats them because of their low status. A parent whose diligence and integrity enabled them to overcome financial and societal obstacles will encourage their child to press on in the same way. Their message to their children will be, “You can do it!” Conversely, a parent who doubts their worth and that of others, or who was discouraged from rising above “their station” will likely pass a dooming message to their children, squelching aspirations for a better life.

Poverty is a heritage millions of children receive—and wrestle to be free of. UNICEF estimates 375 million children are living in poverty. But when parents or teachers pass an education, filled with empowering ideas, into those young hands, the horizon holds incredible opportunity. The foundation of global poverty quivers, just one generation later.

GFA Pastor teaching children by the street
In this village in Meghalaya where not one person was literate, a Gospel for Asia (GFA) pastor is teaching these little children how to read and write, and showing the love of God in the process.

Ideas’ Impact on Society

History provides ample examples, some inspiring and some horrifying, of how ideas and values impact society and poverty.

A widow with her children
Assam: In many parts of Asia, when a mother is widowed, she is often shunned by her community, friends and family, leaving her and her children in a pressing state of survival, with often no hope for a better future.

Some values led to the formation of the slave trade, while other values led to its abolition. Some ideologies spurred violence, while others prompted the construction of relief camps and orphanages. The ideas propelling men like Stalin and Hitler left behind a wake of death and poverty. These examples reveal the importance of having positive guiding values.

The plight of the world’s 258 million widows, and hundreds of thousands of people with leprosy, reveals how harmful ideas actively reinforce poverty in our time.

Widows and leprosy patients in Asia typically live in positions of great need. Misfortune has made their lives very challenging, yet very few people around them consider them worthy of generosity.

Despite living where honor is a key fiber of the culture, widows of any age may be cast out of the home, abandoned to fend for themselves or easily taken advantage of. Many cultures hold the idea that a husband’s death is the fault of the wife; thus, when the husband dies, the widow “deserves” to be shunned. Over the decades, that idea has irreparably harmed the lives of countless widows and their young children, who also suffer the consequences of their mother’s rejection and subsequent poverty.

Similarly, leprosy patients are commonly expelled from their homes, disowned by their family members and even divorced on the grounds of their diagnosis. Poverty quickly fills the void created by retreating family members.

Neither a husband’s death nor a disfiguring disease justifies neglecting a human being. But in many societies in Asia and other parts of the world, this neglect is the norm and is even supported through legislation.

When individuals have the unique experience of rising out of poverty, they know what others in poverty around them need. When they have the chance to be a help to others or a voice for poverty alleviation, their firsthand experience will serve them well.

But look at what happens when positive values enter a widow’s life and replace damaging ones.

Last year, Gospel for Asia (GFA World) shared the story of a woman in Asia named Prina. When her two sons had grown, she discovered she had leprosy. Not long after her diagnosis, her husband was murdered during a land dispute. Prina now bore the double burden of leprosy and widowhood, both of which brought great ostracism from her community.

Prina
People with leprosy, like Prina, are often shunned, banished or ostracized in Asia and are often transformed when treated with respect and given unconditional love and compassion.

Prina was not forced to make her own way in the world, as many others have been, nor did she fall into extreme poverty as a result. But her son’s family, with whom she lived, banished her to one room in the house. None dared enter it. They brought her food once a day but only stood at the door. Prina was alone.

Then one day, some women from a local GFA Women’s Fellowship came to Prina’s home. Unlike most others in their culture, they did not fear Prina’s status as a widow or her disease. The women treated Prina with respect and love—something Prina had not experienced for many years.

The Women’s Fellowship team explained that Jesus loved her. Hearing this, Prina’s heart lifted. She mustered her courage and ventured out of her home to attend a worship service with her new friends. There, she received love and acceptance. And soon, after much prayer, Prina received healing from the physical pain her disease caused.

Prina’s son and the entire community witnessed a better way to treat widows and leprosy patients, and it left an impression. The values of unconditional love and compassion, lived out by a few women in the name of Christ, transformed Prina’s situation. And these values can transform so many more.


Provide Values-centric Education to Children at Risk in Asia »

If you want to help children at risk in South Asia, consider a one-time donation to stand in the gap for boys and girls who need to be freed from hopeless situations into Bridge of Hope, where they can receive an education that transmits positive values, and provides a hope-filled future.


About Gospel for Asia

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.


Read the rest of Gospel for Asia’s Special Report: Fighting Global Poverty with Ideas — Uprooting poverty requires education that transmits values  Part 2

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