Allow The Children is reaching and discipling children for the Lord through children's homes, and child sponsorship programs and equipping churches in all kinds of ways to reach their own people, especially the children.
19 December 2012
Climb to Light and Flame
It really is not that far to the Light and Flame Children's Home from the place where we need to leave the vehicle. It is just that it comes at the end of such a tough day. A special permit is required for me, a foreigner, to go up the mountain past a certain point. We make those arrangements before I even come into the country. It is always a hassle and the partner usually write a few times saying "we probably cannot get it this time", but I ask him to keep at it and thus far it has always happened. Bangladesh calls the area "hill tracts" but after hard driving since dawn and the last few hours straight up on what must be one of the world's most treacherous roads, it seems to define "mountain" to me. We are going to a place unspoiled by modern technology and unreached by the gospel. Islam never reached these tribal people, either. When statistics are given that Bangladesh is 97% Muslim, it is these remote tribal areas that make for the few percent short. Christianity does not even receive a mention. The mountain views are incredible and with thick jungle foliage as far as can be seen. It would be easy to get lost in this area-- which is the concern which leads to the restrictions on foreigners. Evidently a few have been invited for an unexpected stay by some folks hoping to collect expense money for their hospitality. There is no security or preventive measures in place. The signing in with the guard posts and the careful perusal of my paperwork are designed so that if I become dead or missing, they will know WHO they have lost and failing to sign out before dark as required, lets them know the fact if I am lost. It also cuts out the casual sight seer. My reasons for being in the area are also carefully evaluated. Thus far, I have successfully avoided getting "lost" or captured or trampled by the wild elephants. The partner brings as many men along as our vehicle will hold and more wait for us when we arrive in the village. I always feel very secure in their care. They carry the things we have brought. One of them puts by bag over his own shoulder. I take the ride across the river in the hand cut boat, then climb up a vertical embankment that always leaves me exhausted. The men circled me and patiently waited until I was able to continue. It is a only a few more minutes to get to our children's home where the children are waiting excitedly for our visit. Light and Flame is a very simple structure. There is one room for boys and one for girls. One for each of the two couples who live there with the children. The kitchen/dining is a separate building and the toilet/bath is separate. The children sleep on nice wooden platform beds. Each one has his/her own bedding,rolled up during the day to keep it clean, a few changes of clothing, two good meals a day, and attends school. That is high living for these kids, almost every one an orphan or half orphan. Most of the children would never have gone to school without this ministry and none of them would have the spiritual training. Orphans and half orphans often live with relatives or step parents who do not want them. Abuse of all kinds is common. They may have been treated as servants in the home. They may have been given less food or poorer quality food than others in the family. More than one mother has fallen on me crying her thanks that her child is with us. It is worth the work and the hardship and the cost and the risk to manage this ministry in this difficult place. It is incredibly,unquestionably worth it.