Article written for the Multiply Network.
In late November and early December last year, a group of youth from the Jesus Fellowship went to Machilipatnam, Andhra Pradesh, in India. They visited Berachah Children’s Home, a ministry led by pastor Kiran Paul that houses and helps 180 children. The Home is supported by the Multiply Network.
Honor Hunter was really impacted by being in India for the first time. “When we arrived I was really tired but I was amazed how beautiful it was,” she says. “It felt like a completely different world. Rice fields and really bright blue birds. The people from Berachah were so welcoming. Kiran Paul, the pastor, was sick in meningitis but still came to the airport to greet us.
“They have hardly anything so they put God first, not possessions. When the children prayed and were so emotional and desperate. Over here, kids don’t get too involved with God. Wealth is too much of a distraction for us. But in India they go through horrible things and they see that God is love and that they need him as an anchor point.”
Sam Bentley, who also joined the trip, agrees. “The kids wept when they worshipped and were passionate for Jesus. God did great things in their lives. Many of them had been rescued from prostitution, many had went through all sorts of horrible things. You’d expect them to be quite broken. But quite contrary, they carried an innocence, even though they didn’t know who we were.”
Honor adds: “Several of them had no parents, they had been abandoned and sold. One of them had been offered to Berachah by her grandmother for a bag of rice. It’s crazy, no child is getting sold for a bag of rice here in the UK.”
Among other things, the team went to a tip where people lived among the trash to collect metal. There was a small church in the midst of rubbish that provided hope. Honor says: “When we stepped out of the bus we felt a horrible fume and smoke and it was hard to breath. We went onwards to the slums there were children living in poverty, some having HIV. We gave them some egg and milk – probably the only proper meal they would get that day.”
Even though the amount of poverty was heartbreaking, the team was still inspired by their trip. “Indian culture is simpler, and quicker,” says Sam. “Our lives here in the UK are too luxurious. It’s hard to take in the difference.”
“Their way of life and the craziness is attractive,” says Honor. “They’re always on the go. Even though there’s much need they just want to help others and bless others, they were so generous towards us. I love being so dependent on God and I would love to go back.”