Indian Government released statistics stating that 11 million children work and sleep on streets every day (according to 2008).
s a central railway junction, Vijayawada has become a center for these children. These facts led us to respond with practical acts of faith.
Let the little children come unto me.
Rev. B Ebenezer, along with this family felt that God was leading them to care for the orphans in their community. Rev. B. Ebenezer himself grew up and came to know the Lord in a children’s home after his father passed away. In 1993 they opened the Gunadala Children’s Home with 20 orphans, semi-orphans and needy children. Gunadala is the community in which St. John’s Evangelical Church is located in and this home is on the same site at the church and pastors parsonage.
In the year 1996 the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches have come forward to donate liberally allowing MM to buy a five acre piece of land about 18 kilometers away from the city, of Vijayawada. It is called Madalavari Gudem. The site includes girls and boys dormitories, kitchen and a dining hall, staff quarters, an auditorium and a primary school. This location has the capacity to be home to 200 children at one time.
Who is admitted into the Children’s Home?
Generally children are recommended by local village pastors as candidates for needing the aid of the Children’s Home.
Sometimes families end up in extremely needy situations for a variety of reasons.
Some of them have lost both parents from accident or illness.
Many of the children in the Home are only semi orphans. They still have one parent living. These parents love their children and are eager to visit them at available opportunities with goodies and small gifts. They have not abandoned their children, they are doing what they believe is best for the child, out of love.
Often this single parent is unable to provide for their child in the absence of their spouse. In rural villages most families sustain themselves by working as farm laborers. Women can earn R 100/ day and men R 200/day this is enough to survive on provided that there is work and everyone in the family who can work does. When a spouse is tragically lost though it leaves a family scrambling to get by. If there are relatives who can lend a hand sometimes they can get by but often without the help of the Children’s Home these families are left in very desperate situations.
Most families cannot afford to have their children finish High School, if the children are able to attend school at all. Many of these rural communities do not have schools or buses to go out to them. And further more the family needs additional income to get by.
Almost all girls in rural villages will marry at the age of fifteen. They are seen as burden to the family. This means they will definitely not finish their education and will immediately begin having children. It is not a life with a lot of hope for breaking the cycle.
Since then over 300 children have gone through the Children’s Home.
What the Children’s Home is doing
Growing up in the children’s home gave these children the opportunity to further their education. They would have never had this had they remained in their poor rural villages. In 2012 out of the 300+ there are 79 now studying in various colleges and universities. They are taking courses ranging from nursing to computer engineering. Many of the children decide to pursue Biblical studies and go on to attend the MM seminary to become pastors and evangelists. And the current House Mother at M.V. Gudum actually grew up in the home herself and married one of the pastors training in the Bible College.
It is amazing to see their development as these young children blossom into incredible, successful, godly people. Most are small when they come to the Children’s Home but before they leave they become self-sufficient and more importantly almost all of them to know their Savior, Jesus Christ.
The primary motive of ongoing children home ministry is to give holistic development to a child and to help them develop into Christ centered adults.
The biggest challenge for the Children Home is to procure rice for children . Usually we need 1000 bags of rice every year, each bag contains 75 kgs and each bag costs Rs 1000. We are able to grow and harvest about ? bags off our own land at M.V. Gudum.