Until December 25, 2004 Sri Lanka was hardly talked of or on anyone's radar. All that changed when a tidal wave raced across the ocean and killed over 30,000 people on the island nation. Our opportunity to visit the orphans took us there three times, to mountside tea plantations, schools located deep in jungled forests, and to the oceanside orphanage now home to hundreds of children whose parents had been swept away.
Sri Lanka was like no place I had ever been, and yet it's much like every Third World place I've been.
Sunshine After Rain Ministries was pleased to contribute to the building of a new facility in Anamadura . The local pastor and his wife had been housing children left homeless after the tsunami.
Under the tin roofs of jungle village churches believers are still counting on the Great Physician. They are throwing themselves and every problem they have down before the throne and crying out "God help us, there is nothing we can do – but we have You.'"
In areas of the world where medicine is rare and disease is common, there are more orphans than beds or facilities to house them. We continue to go, share the love of Christ and be His Ambassadors of hope. "You have not been forgotten, He knows you are here and He knows your name."
During the ministry of Christ, the religious elite criticised His company with those that were "untouchable." Even 2000 years later there are people the culture they live in designates them as less than human. It is a population of people ready to receive the message of worthiness, delivered with love.
There are parts of Texas when I was a child we often called "the sticks," implying not much else was around - but sticks! Working in third and fourth world areas, the word rural has taken on a whole new meaning. It gives me a greater sense of the supernatural. Jesus knows the way to their house!
We shared training with hundreds of pastors and lay leaders, eager to learn more of the Gospel and how to share their faith. However, we were also learning from them. These passionate evangelists pleaded for prayers - prayers that they would continue to be bold in their faith, even through persecution.
You might not have known there are places in the world where leprosy is still a disease impacting the population. We were happy to have an opportunity to show these forgotten and rejected hearts, there is a God of mercy and love, He knows and He cares.
In parts of rural India, factions of radicals are ready to fight against the message of the Gospel. We were not unaware of the violence, we had heard from many in ministry of times they were beaten and chased out of villages. We did not expect it to happen to us, until it did.
“At least 110 Christian pastors were jailed since January this year across India, an all time high. And 15 of them are still in jails,” said Shibu Thomas, founder of ecumenical forum Persecution Relief, which keeps a record of violence against Christians...
"In India, the population below 18-years is 40 per cent... But we only spend 3.5 per cent of our GDP on the education, health and protection of this group. We are not able to spend even four per cent of our GDP on our 40 per cent population; how can we morally say that the children are our future and present..."
In India, Christians are incarcerated on allegations of proselytizing, but later released and return with momentum to minister to their flock. Hindu television just aired an alarm of the rapidly growing churches in UP appealing to the government to banish churches and prohibit church planting. The video will give you an idea of the culture.
Christ told His followers "...the poor you will always have with you.” I understand more and more there was NOT enough money in the world then – there is not enough money in the world NOW to solve the problems: children abandoned to the streets, simple medical care not available, lack of clean water and sanitation killing hundreds of thousands each year. He was telling them – AND me – AND you - there is only one solution to the problem “ME”.