FROM THE DESK OF DAVID ABBOTT
Twenty Years in the Rajahmundry orphanage
Big change is taking place in the ministry in India and my whole time there changed only days before I left home. God, I believe has made it clear that the orphanage I have ministered in for twenty years is to relocate.
When my pastor friend in Australia, John Barnes first planted the home twenty years ago it was located in on the rural outskirts of Rajahmundry. Now a four-lane highway has been built at the front of the home which took away some of the land and now a building has put it in the middle of an industrial area. So with decreased land size and thick diesel fumes being pumped out of old clapped out trucks twenty-four hours a day it is not a good place for children to grow up. The changes work together for our good and the land has become prime land and heavily sort after so the plan is to sell that and buy a much bigger plot outside of a village where land is very cheap. The only hurdle is that they can’t buy until they have sold. So the home has closed temporarily and alternative measures set in place to cover the children until a new home can be built.
I love looking back and seeing God’s planning. I was together travelling with John twenty years ago when he started the home and have ministered in it every year since. Now as we move into phase two of the orphanage ministry I am again with John but this time more involved in setting it all up. God’s aim in this I see is that I am now partnering with John, the Australian team and our friend Samuel Babu, director of the ministry in India. This makes me very happy as the orphanage is a place where my heart is.
Each morning I spent ministering in a new orphanage run by Samuel’s younger brother. The ministry and responses from the children were so in line with what God has been doing this year as I shared with you in my last report. I started a stranger to the eighty plus children but still right from the first message and onwards everyone responded for prayer and nothing we said would deter them. Everyone had eyes tightly closed during the invitation and as they stood. When teaching on the Holy Spirit and even more so during the praying for them the presence of God was awesome and you could see by their faces that they were experiencing it too. The rest of each day was spent working on getting a clear plan set for the future of the orphanage and seeing the temporary things set up to cover the children.
In the past few years, we have had thirteen young men, eighteen years old and onwards who have grown up in the home, coming back to help me and have me input into their lives. Most of them are fruit from the rejection and healing seminars I do. This year it was twenty and I felt so touched and honoured that they gave me this place in their lives. They did all the one on one ministry at the orphanage and helped in many other ways. Different ones had to leave at different times because of getting back to college or job’s, some left for lectures and came back when free and the final eight told us they made phone calls to change things so they could leave after me. What an honour!!
One of those was Subash who was the reason I first started doing rejection and healing seminars in the home every year. While ministering to him God showed that he had been abused by multiple men before he came to the home. He opened for ministry and saw a lot of deliverance but when he left the home he cut himself off from us. But I never let go of him in my heart I hung onto him in regular prayer as I knew he was very vulnerable out there in the world. This year out of the blue he came back and in a meeting just for these boys. Subash was listening intently and giving me eye contact then, at the end he came for prayer and his radiant face came back.
Here’s a photo of some of my young men. From the left, the first is Subash, second Naveen and in college another set free from sexual abuse, third Kota who from the start always looked on me as his father figure.
Kota graduated from college in April and immediately he got a full-time job with good pay, he is from the lowest caste, the untouchables and by that should not go to college or be employed but God has done it. Next Aakash, when he was young the day I left he would hang onto my waste crying his eyes out. He still hangs onto me when I go. Bandi always did and still does call me his best friend. Finally, Smiler (not his real name but I can’t see him as anything else). Before he was set free from hurt, his face was dead serious and he never smiled and hugging him was like hugging a lamppost. The moment he became free he looked up and he was beaming from ear to ear and still does every time you look at him.
Salman another of my boys his father is a chronic alcoholic and so there was no money for him for the bus fare to join us so we went to where he lives to fetch him. It was quite a long way away and the scene we saw was heartbreaking, such poverty in that slum, words can’t describe what we saw. His father wouldn’t come out to us at first as he was a bit the worst for alcohol and this was early afternoon. When he did he looked a mess and his face covered in scars from drunken fights. Salman isn’t an orphan but his mother who is a sweet tiny lady had him and his older brother put in the orphanage because when the father is drunk he verbally and physically abuses the boys; there are younger sisters but he doesn’t touch them. Also, the mother has no money to feed the children properly because the father takes all to buy alcohol. I gave Samuel some money to buy the mother a 25 kilo bag of rice for her as I can’t give her money as the father will take it away from her. Salman’s face lit up like a beacon when he came out and saw us standing there. He really loved being in the old building with us and with the other boy’s and he was brushing away tears as we drove out of the compound to take him to the bus station. Please pray for Salman as Samuel and I feel that God has a special plan for him in that slum. We feel that as soon as the orphanage is rebuilt we will again rescue him and get him through college so that he can earn a good wage. With that, he won’t have to live there again but will be able to go to be used of God there. The hindrance to this his father who wants to use him the same way he does his older brother. When there is work on the land he sends the brother and then takes all earnings away from him to buy his alcohol.
Moving on to Uganda
Onwards then to Uganda and in keeping with God’s moving, we all felt that this was our best camp so far. We had the biggest number, last year we had eighty children at camp and this year it was one hundred and ten without helpers. The children were so obedient (Ugandan children usually aren’t so), open to move with God and teachable. Any correctional points I made they changed immediately. We had a young and older ministry team, the young ones were all new to the team and everyone was an orphan from a very bad background. The older were a group of older girls who have been on the team from the first camp. One of the younger ones, very small for his age was so excited at being asked to join the team you would think we had given him the crown jewels. Another, Brian – he’s nine, an orphan living with a very elderly grandmother and two cousins. His grandmother at her age can’t cope with bringing up young children so she always calls him a naughty boy. He isn’t really, he just craves love and attention but he does so love Jesus and he is amazing to watch worshiping. With his whole body, he reaches out to God and almost immediately gets lost in His presence.
Both my missionary friend and I felt that God wanted Brian on the team and giving him responsibility a few hugs every now and affirming him often as being a good boy, he just excelled in every way. We all saw the children visibly change as the days went by, faces that on arrival were long and expressionless took on big smiles. Dull eyes sparkled, those not already in the meeting room ran in as soon as the drum sounded. The third day we had the moist awesome worship time I have seen in all the camps, almost everyone was on their knees, tears flowed from some and they were being led by some of the youngest in the camp. We concluded camp with the usual baptism service where fifteen were baptised, some had only been saved and filled during this camp.
So, different but still the same, amazing time we’ve seen all year so far and I trust the end is not yet as we still have quite a bit of the year left to go. So thank you so, so much again for your invaluable part on this trip. Together God used us to reach some of the poorest and lowest of the low children with the exciting message He has given to all so far. God excludes no one whoever they are, whatever culture or background. And I’m grateful for that!
Much love ~ David.