Wide-Eyed and Full of Hope

Aug 15, 2017

Steph Duff

Sandeep took in the large building with all the shops and people moving about. He looked over at Adam Petticrew, Back2Back staff, and whispered, “I did not know India was like this…”

Adam and the three oldest boys on the India Hope Campus, Ganesh, Sandeep, and Goutham, had spent the day in HITEC City. HITEC City is an area of Hyderabad home to India’s largest information technology park and many software companies, along with a high-end shopping mall.

“I wanted the day to be one of exposure, allowing them the opportunity to see parts of their country they hadn’t before,” shared Adam. “Each of the three boys were wide-eyed, but Sandeep was the most vocal about his surprise at what they saw.”

Sandeep shared with Adam he had thought all of India was similar to the rural villages surrounding the Back2Back campus. The boys also remarked on how much English they were hearing.

“It was encouraging to hear them take note of so many different things,” shared Adam. “We, as a staff, have been challenging the children to speak to each other more in English; I think the older boys hearing so much English being spoken in HITEC City, helped them to understand the ‘why’ behind our ask.”

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This one-day exposure trip was just one way Adam has been investing in Sandeep, Ganesh, and Goutham. Over the last few months, Adam has taken intentional, individual time with the three young men. As the three boys prepare to transition to off-campus housing and higher education at the end of this academic year, Adam is pouring into them and developing stronger relationships to better equip them for success. During this season, they each took turns learning how to drive two-wheelers and cars on the campus, they went to a cricket match, took time to do a Bible study together, and enjoyed visiting other areas of India.

“Each morning we gather together, and do a short work-out and then we have a time of prayer and walk through Daily Bread devotions,” he shared. Additionally, Adam eats breakfast with them before school and prays alongside them before they catch their bus.

In May, the children all return to their family homes over a holiday break and Adam took the opportunity to have a full day with each of them individually. “My desire is to pour into each of them. The environment on campus is very family-oriented, we do so much together and it’s beautiful, but I want the children to also come to understand and express their individuality which will be important as their lives move beyond the boundaries of the campus.”

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In his one-on-one time with the three boys, Adam’s goal was to foster individuality and give them space and freedom to be themselves. He has noticed each of the three boys seem freer and more open. Fifteen-year old Goutham has revealed himself to be quite the jokester.

“For so long we’ve all believed Goutham to be timid, but that is just not the case!” laughed Adam. “He is funny and animated; I’ve enjoyed seeing this side of him and watching him grow in comfort at being able to share this side of himself.”

As Adam continues to invest intentional time with the three older boys, discipling them and helping them to have new experiences, he sees growth in each of them. “I see their personalities develop more and more; they share more readily and are learning to verbally process their days and their frustrations. They seem happier.”

As every child is pursued by consistent and loving caregivers and staff, they are daily reminded every part of their heart is important and cared for.

Steph Duff is a writer, daughter, sister, and really loud laugher. By day she lends her voice on behalf of orphaned and vulnerable children with Back2Back Ministries. By night she is readily found with her nose in a book and spending time with her dachshund, Addy. At all hours, she can be found consuming copious amounts of coffee. She feels most herself in the heat of India and prefers her mugs big, her books long, and her words intentional.

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