This week Brook Hills received a package. It was an unexpected package, which I'll be honest I'm never really sure of. But I was pleasantly surprised that this package was filled with great hope and excitement. When I opened the package there was a note that said, "Dear Callie, I hope you are having a great week...I wanted to send you a set of packets that are the first batch of Child Survival Program (CSP) graduates from The Church at Brook Hills supported CSP's. These children are now entering into the sponsorship program and I wanted the Brook Hills family to have the first opportunity to sponsor these children". Imagine my surprise and joy when I began to look at the faces of 30 children who are the first batch of graduates from our CSP's. Children who were born into poverty, but because their mothers were apart of the Child Survival Program, have a living chance of survival and hope for their future. They are the fruit of what God has been doing in the lives of our faith family and the fruit of what God is doing in India and across the world.
In 2009 The Church at Brook Hills embarked on this little thing called the Radical Experiment. A time when we evaluated our lives, our resources and our commitment to live out the gospel here and around the world. Prayer and research went into discovering where we could be spend our resources for the sake of the poor, the sake of the gospel and the sake of the church.
INDIA. The country with 1.1 billion people. The country with the largest number of unreached people groups. The country with the largest percentage of the world's poor. INDIA. This is where Brook Hills would start to engage. The place where the greatest physical and spiritual need exists started the initiative to empower the poor, engage the lost and equip the church.
In evaluating partners on the ground in India we came across Compassion International as a partner engaging the poor, meeting not only physical need but spiritual need as well. The questions we began to ask were, "What would it look like for us to partner and support the Child Survival Programs, empowering mothers living in poverty to be educated, physically cared for, empowered and spiritually nourished through the gospel of Jesus Christ and all of this done in the local church?" Thus began the partnership and support of 12 Child Survival Programs in the Northeastern range of India.
In March, 2011 I was able to visit a few of the Indian CSP's. I heard stories of women who were transformed from living hopelessly into women empowered by the gospel and educated through the church to care for their children and give their families a chance not only to survive but to find satisfaction and hope in Christ. It was so good.
Brook Hills continues to support these CSP's each year. In fact I am going back in November to visit two of them in the Kolkata area. A team from Brook Hills will get to spend a few days interacting with the women and families we are investing in. And to think that the first batch of little ones are now graduating from the Survival Program to the Development Program should give us great joy and anticipation for what's to come as a church. In fact we will get to meet some of these children. This is where a great opportunity exists for our faith family.
You see the package I got this week is an opportunity for our faith family to sponsor the children we have committed to love and support. The Child Sponsorship program allows a person to sponsor an individual child and start a relationship with that child through letter writing and even a personal meeting on a trip. All of that to say, on Sunday, if you come to the Global Kiosk, there will be 25-30 children available for one-on-one sponsorship that you could begin a relationship with and help continue this effort to empower the poor and make disciples in India.
We are so proud of these little ones who have graduated into the next phase of development. Let us continue to support them, pray for them and empower them so that one day they are sharing the gospel, planting churches and making disciples of all nations in their country and around the world.