Life remains challenging for some of our homes in this season of Covid lockdowns, mass layoffs, business closures, and travel restrictions—all resulting in growing poverty near and around the homes, rapidly rising prices for everything all over Asia, on-line schooling, and in 3 of the five countries our homes are domiciled in, growing persecution of religious based orphanage’s.
One of the homes is experiencing a bloody civil war with tens of thousands of people being killed in their immediate area and some of the children actually hiding in the forest. However, with all of that notwithstanding, the morale of the staffs and children is actually remarkably high—and that even includes the home in the middle of a civil war. The following description of life in this difficult era at our children’s home in India (from the leader) is actually very encouraging.
During this pandemic season, the children at the home have been surprisingly content. We thought that after almost a year and half restricted to the property, the children would be eager to get back to school, to their “old norm”; to see their friends, and be “busy” again, but that wasn’t the case. During this season, the children grew very contented and had a lot of peace, with plenty of friends right here at the home (ie one “big family”) to enjoy their days with. We were surprised to see that they didn’t really miss their old routine and adapted to their new lifestyle with ease.
Nevertheless, there were a few things missed, which required creative alternatives. We had to modify some cherished family traditions. For example, before the pandemic, we used to enjoy regular trips to a nearby dam for “family picnics” with all the children and staff. During this season, we have made bonfires here in an open field and cooked over the open fire. It was a change of locations, but just as much fun. Instead of our annual trips to the water park, we built a tiny “wading pool” for the children to splash around in. This was welcomed through the hot summer season.
It was a tragic and chaotic time in the country, but being in an isolated, rural location, the children were relatively unaffected by all the turmoil. Their life was merely simplified, staying closer to home and bonding as a tight little community. So, what have the children been learning through this pandemic season:
1. The power of trust and faith--I think the most important thing learned by the children, staff and leadership during the Pandemic was the ability for faith and trust to disarm our greatest fears and anxieties. This season has reminded us that the circumstances of the world are outside of our control, the choice to find peace in the presence of God and put our trust in the Word of God is entirely under our control. To not be fearful--that the Lord, will take care of them, and in Him is peace beyond all understanding and a sure confidence. (This is the exact same attitude we are seeing in the home in Myanmar—in the midst of the civil war).
2. The importance of community--The children have learned in the most practical ways that no person is an island. None of us are independent beings, but are all fully dependent upon the grace of God and also interdependent on one another. The hardships of life are made so much lighter when you have brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, friends and mentors to bear the weight or share the burden with you. We have all definitely drawn closer together as a community and family during this time.
3. The ability to GIVE even with limited resources--The children have received much out of love and charity, but during this time of overwhelming need, they have had the chance to become the givers. Even though we had to ration our own food supplies, grow much of our own food, and prepare for long-term shortages, we were also able as an organization (that is with the help of the children) to distribute many tons of life-saving provisions to our impoverished surrounding communities. It was a powerful time to see the “rescued” become “rescuers”. We witnessed the children herein discover that they themselves could be the instruments of change and charity in their own community. As they have received generously and freely, they have now been inspired to use their limited resources and energy to give generously and freely to others.
(This has also been true of our children’s homes in the Philippines).
4. The opportunity to be active and creative--On a practical note, with schools shuttered and the children finding they had much more time on their hands, they began investing their time and energy into brand-new pursuits. This has been a combination of activities including sports and outdoor play and exploration; farming, gardening, and agriculture; creative pursuits including music, dance and art; and life skills such as cooking and sewing--all right here at the “home”. When it comes to physical education, agriculture, creative pursuits, and practical life skills, this has possibly been the most fruitful 18 months of their lives!
We are blessed to have strong and creative leaders in all of our homes (and great children) who are learning how to bring good things out of hard times. (The home in India is just one example).
Blessings to you and your family,
Don and Molly
P.S. Any financial help that you can give to these children and homes, during these very difficult times, will be greatly appreciated.