Gilgal Children’s Home is a glimmer of light in the darkness of poverty and oppression in Churachandpur, India. It is a safe haven for hundreds of neglected, abandoned, and severely impoverished children who now receive the nourishment and care they desperately need.
Scripture says that true religion is to look after widows and orphans, so we actively seek out opportunities to do that, says Mark Harrison, executive pastor of Gardendale First Baptist Church in Alabama. But the Gardendale congregation had no idea this passion would lead them to India.
As the children’s home continued to grow, so did the need for financial support. Our partner, James, the visionary and founder of the children’s home, was praying for further provision just as Gardendale learned about the opportunity to help.
A short time later, the pastor and several church leaders boarded a plane to India.
“Jesus came to feed the hungry — both physically and spiritually — and we want to follow that example,” Pastor Mark explained.
Although uncertainty accompanied the men on the long journey to India, it vanished the moment they met James.
Our spirit joined with his spirit, Pastor Mark said. I knew God’s hand was on him for such a time as this. He’s been used as a mighty warrior in that area by putting his faith into action. He is like Gideon of the Bible … he’s the real deal.
We could sense that God was moving in a great way. Nobody was helping [this community]. We knew this is where we would be used by God … to be a blessing to James, and to the children at Gilgal Children’s Home.
Since then, the Alabama church has worked strategically to bring practical help to this overlooked community.
“Gardendale church is very intentional to keep asking our partners what they need,” said Mark Hogsed, World Help executive director of international programs. “They truly understand what it means to come alongside another community to help them accomplish the vision God has given them. That is what’s making such an incredible impact.”
Working together with our partners, Gardendale is helping change the lives of hundreds of children. They have provided clean water, durable clothing and shoes, teacher-training programs for the children’s home staff, and even two cows that produce calcium-rich milk for all the children at Gilgal.
And this is only the beginning.
Gardendale also hopes to empower families in the community to thrive by providing seeds and farming equipment to 40 local farmers.
How can a farmer succeed when he has no resources? If we give him something to work with, we will see the harvest come. He will put food on the table for his family. It’s a radical life change for these men.
Gardendale is quite literally planting seeds of the Gospel all throughout this broken community. By meeting physical needs, they are opening countless doors for the Gospel to take root and transform this region of the world.
But perhaps the most powerful symbol of hope has been construction of the community’s first church building.
When the church building is completed, who do you think will be the first to walk through those doors? … I believe it will be those farmers and their families … it will be the children at the children’s home … it will be those who have witnessed a real, saving Lord who cares about them spiritually and physically. This is what tears down the walls to resentment of the Gospel.
In just the past few years, the undeniable impact Gardendale has made in this community is proof that building God’s kingdom involves so much more than words — it means providing physical evidence of God’s transformative love.