in Asia - 3 min read
An Unlikely Approach to India’s Religious Persecution
Nestled in the lush Himalayan foothills of the northeastern Indian state of West Bengal is the small town of Bagdogra. Though not a household name, this community sits in one of the most strategic locations for world missions. Flanked on three sides by the poverty-stricken nations of Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan, Bagdogra could be the launching point for outreach to some of the least-accessible people groups in the world.
For years, serving in these areas had been nearly impossible for church planters and aid workers with families. Most of these villages lack clean water, sanitation, and basic services like schools. The thought of uprooting one’s family to live in these conditions was simply too much for even the most adventuresome missionary.
Peniel Children’s Home is changing that.
For the past decade, our partner Rev. Mammen Joseph and his family have been caring for the children of Indian missionaries. Knowing their children have the loving support they need away from their families, these missionaries are able to continue their work with confidence in some of the most remote communities in India. Because religious persecution is common for many working in rural India, the welfare of their children is often a daily source of anxiety. And for some, the burden is too much to bear. Rev. Mammen’s ministry has been an incredible source of hope for these families.
Peniel Children’s Home cares for over 60 of these missionary kids. The boarding home provides them a nurturing environment to grow and to learn during the school year—frequently reuniting with their parents on holidays and in the summer. Through the support of sponsors, Peniel Children’s Home is able to offer these children a quality education at one of the most prestigious schools in the area.
I visited Rev. Mammen and the children last July. While I always enjoy spending time with the children in our program, I especially connected with the kids at Peniel Children’s Home. My parents, too, are missionaries. I grew up knowing firsthand the sacrifices missionaries must make to answer the call to missions and provide for their own children at the same time. While it can be difficult at times to be away from home, the kids are a very active bunch—excelling in their schoolwork, while finding time to participate in extracurricular activities and serving in their local church.
Nili is one of the extraordinary kids I met at the home. When her father passed away on the mission field several years ago, Nili’s mother was left with the difficult task of continuing their ministry in a rural village while caring for Nili and her younger brother. Through World Help’s partnership with Peniel Children’s Home, Nili continues her studies at Peniel during the school year while her mother continues her women’s ministry in the village.
Not only is Nili an excellent student, she has taken a leadership role amongst her peers—often helping the staff care for the younger children and leading prayer and worship. She shared her gratitude for her sponsors: “Now I am in class 10—I need your prayers that I can grow in Christ as well as in my studies too. I would like to thank you for your kind help. It’s so great that you are helping me.”
Peniel is just one of the many children’s homes World Help supports in India. And like Peniel, many of them directly impact believers affected by religious persecution. You can provide missionary families and their children, like Nili, with the support and encouragement they desperately need. Learn more about our sponsorship programs in India and around the world and consider making a difference that will last a lifetime.