Westlake Christian Academy offered a glimpse of sorrow and hope in South India through a presentation by a Indian Christian Church Association.
Rev. Glory Dhas’ challenge at the May 2 event was to give a glimpse of the joys and sorrows of transforming and even saving lives in the state of Tamil Nadu in Southern India to adults at a church service and special meetings at Providence Church in Avon and to the students during chapel with a question and answer session in the individual classes at Westside Christian Academy in Westlake, Ohio.
Rev. Dhas is the director of the Jesus Mercy Home Association (JMHA) and Motherland Missionary Movement (MMM) started by his father serving orphans and the children of the poor, lepers, prison inmates, the elderly, and villagers in rural areas of the country where one third of the world’s poor live. He told stories and showed photographs and videos to add perspective to the statistics.
His examples included a mother whose husband had died of AIDS and was also infected. Although she was told the orphanage was at capacity, she threatened to kill herself and her children that night if Rev. Dhas did not take her 3 girls and care for them. His face lit up as he spoke of how those 3 young girls left by their mother are happy, healthy, and love to dance. One is still in school, one is in vocational training, and the oldest is a nurse.
He often receives weekly calls from pastors that an infant girl was in danger of being killed by her family. Often families only want boys because they can’t afford the dowry a girl will need when she marries and becomes part of her husband’s family, unable to help her own. (Dowry is illegal but still a common practice in non-Christian communities.) The infants are raised by a foster family until the age of 5 when they enter the orphanage.
As part of his presentations, Rev. Dhas showed a video which included a grateful man who was one of the orphans Dhas’ father had taken in after his mother died and his father couldn’t care for him. He is married, has healthy and joyful children, and has a good job. Currently 250 children, mostly girls, are cared for at the 4 orphanages with capacity to help more if the children’s food, shelter, and education are sponsored.
Illiteracy robs many children and adults of an escape from the poverty faced by the lower castes. Thirty percent of the country’s population earns less than $12 US a week. Families live in crowded communities of feeble shacks with no clean water and sanitation, a recipe that multiplies diseases and shortens life expectancy. Children are malnourished, unsupervised, and do not attend school. Villages in rural areas have few services.
He painted a picture of the excitement of a woman in her sixties who could write her name for the first time. She was so excited she went to the mayor of her city to show what she had learned at one of the Life Care Centers. Evening classes allow laborers to learn to read and write and acquire new skills. During the day their younger children are cared for in day care centers and the older students attend schools.
The organizations also train social workers and nurses. Dhas’ wife is a doctor and mobile medical teams, medical clinics, and hospitals are an important part of their work. Among the children and adults they serve are 1.200 lepers. The 2 wells in the leper colonies, drilled with funding by Providence several years ago, are still providing plenty of clean water.
Recently, MMM received a donation of land for a new campus. It allows the organization to serve the surrounding villages with a variety of services. In addition, the mango trees will generate jobs for families living on the property and income for the ministry.
JMHA and MMM are non-denominational Christian organizations serving the lives and needs of thousands of people in rural villages and towns with 3 orphanages, day care centers, medical clinics and mobile medical teams, literacy and vocational training programs and centers, care for lepers and the elderly, and other life-changing programs. JMHA is run and staffed by local people who have come into contact with the love of God and now serve others through the church.
MHA began its work in 1969 and exists to bear witness to the reality of God, so that all people may experience God’s love through evangelism and practical service.