By Casey Foreman, Back2Back India Director
“You need to take them. If you don’t, I’ll send them back to their village and the life they had. They can’t stay here.”
The words were biting, but the reality even more so. We hadn’t expected this outcome and definitely weren’t prepared for such a turnabout. We negotiated a temporary “stay” but in India, a country with 1.2 billion people, finding another safe environment wouldn’t be easy – especially when mentioning to a potential landlord the number “fifteen” and “children” in the same sentence.
Of course, it wasn’t only a physical shelter we needed. We also needed someone to stay with the girls and care for them. In the days and weeks that followed, we scrambled, we searched, we prayed…and God provided shelter; a newly constructed house in which we would occupy the top two floors. We also prayed for caregivers, and God answered by providing two nurturing caretakers for the children.
In less than six weeks time, God provided answer after answer to prayers of desperation. His answer was to provide the girls much nicer housing than they’d known before. His answer was to provide them bunk beds with mattresses – the first time they’ve slept on anything other than a floor.
Physically and emotionally, God has responded to our prayers and enabled us to establish a stronger platform for the continued healthy and holistic development of these children. Still, we knew the housing wasn’t ideal as the bedrooms are cramped, children are divided as a result of a floor plan intended to accommodate three separate tenants rather than a family, and there is no outside space to play. So again we prayed, and God’s answer was big!
This time though, His answer came through a storyline He began revealing to us some eighteen months earlier when our India ministry manager, Mr. Devadass, shared his vision for land he had purchased years ago as an inheritance for his two daughters. Because of his great love for children and to honor the memory of his son Samuel, who died of leukemia at age 12, he wanted to donate the land to Back2Back to be used as a children’s campus, and serve as a light of hope to the surrounding villages. His dream was beautiful. From that point forward, the momentum can only be explained by God’s mighty hand and outstretched arm. A church in the U.K. made a large donation, and a series of other gifts from individual ministry partners – several of whom were new to the ministry – began arriving. All were generous and essential to the effort. Churches joined with us too; a church in Maryland and one from Ohio. A family who sponsors one of the girls held a fundraiser and invited their Indian prayer group to participate. An anonymous donation from another ministry partner not only closed the gap on Phase I, but also funded Phase II.
In one project, according to His timing and in His strength, God brought forth all the resources we needed through mission team partners, child sponsorship partners, church partners and prayer partners, from the U.S., the U.K. and India. Only God could enable raising 100% of the funds required to build four family-style homes, mission team housing and infrastructure within a matter of 90 days!
We will soon be moving the children into their new home, the Back2Back Suzuki Samuel Children’s Campus. It will be an oasis where the children will experience God’s great love for them and His miraculous provision. We will have the physical space that will serve as shelter to support our effort to bring about greater depth in each of their five key development areas: spiritual, physical, educational, emotional and social.