Monday, April 18, 2011

Reflections from India: God Knows Our Name

Second update on India Mission Trip from Dad...

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God Knows Our Name

One of the many highlights of my trip to India was the afternoon we visited the New Life Children's Home in Bangalore. This is one of the children homes created by UEMI. There are 17 million children on the streets of India. We got to spend time with 116 children who were rescued from a hopeless future.

After enjoying a program prepared for our team, our hearts melted as we passed out gifts and talked with these wonderful children. I took a few hundred pictures while in India, but there was one that is my favorite. Whenever I showed the pictures to my family and friends, I always emphasized the picture of the "little boy with the big eyes." Every time I would look at his picture, his eyes seemed to be saying to me, "Don't forget me!" He was my greatest reminder of India. But I didn't know his name!
In the midst of poverty, abuse and illiteracy, so many of these children have a genuine appreciation for the new life they have found at New Life Children's Home. Their love for the Lord is humbling and their love for John Peter is touching.
John Peter Kirubagaran (JPK) is the Director of United Evangelical Mission in India and oversees the numerous ministries that touch the lives of thousands. For many of the children at NLCH, John Peter is the only father they have ever known. He knows most of these children by name and, whenever possible, spends time talking with them.
JPK is now in America through the summer, living in Tulsa with his wife and two boys. He spends hours every week communicating with his staff back in India. While he has a trained staff in place to do the work, he has to spend every weekend flying to different cities to promote the Lord's work through UEMI. In his absence, his staff in India manages the ministry, but the funds to support that ministry come from America.
We were blessed to fly John Peter into New York on the weekend of March 18-20. His stay in NY concluded as he preached a powerful sermon on Sunday morning at Good Shepherd. At the coffee hour following the worship service, sponsorship packets were given to people who wanted to sponsor one of the children at New Life Children's Home. My wife, Alison, quickly took the name of a little boy named Matthew (mainly because he shared the same name of our own son). Little did she know that it was our Sovereign God directing her choice.
As I looked through the packet containing the family history and a small picture of our "new" son, I was astonished to realize that we had just sponsored the "little boy with the big eyes." I had "goose bumps" as I confirmed this information with John Peter, and he quickly shared my astonishment. JPK told me that prior to leaving India, he visited the children's home and had even talked with Matthew. This little boy was burdened about who was going to be his sponsor.

Matthew had touched my heart in a mighty way. Even though I didn't know his name until recently, GOD DID! Jesus said that "He calls his own sheep by name" (John 10:3). He always knew the name of that little boy and even allowed me to take his picture. God knows your name too! You are not forgotten! Jesus promised, "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." (John 14:18)

by Pastor Steve Roth

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