Stories from Odisha
Tuesday, June 6, 2023
Written by India Gospel Outreach
Categories: Prayer & Praise
Praise God for the ongoing work He is doing throughout India in the various ministries of IGO.
From February 27 through April 6, Ann Abraham, IGO’s Vice-President of Advancement, visited twelve different places in India where IGO’s ministry is taking place. She is writing up a report of her various visits and has consented to share with Prayer and Praise some vignettes of her recent visits to different locations in the state of Odisha. Here are some excerpts:
Luissy is a 2015 graduate of India Bible College and Seminary, India Gospel Outreach’s (IGO’s) main training center.
She leads a Christian home in Odisha called “Sneha Bhavan” or “Shelter of Love” for at-risk children.
This home is recognized even by non-Christians for its high standards of excellence. In fact, the local Hindu government sent eight leaders of NGOs to visit Sneha Bhavan to learn how an orphanage/children’s home should be run.
Because of what she has accomplished, Luissy has been dubbed by some as the “Mother Teresa” of Odisha.
I had the privilege of spending three nights here, playing—and praying!—with the children. The children pray together three times a day—morning (at 5:00 AM!), noon, and night. They intercede for various needs, including praying for each of the 30 districts of Odisha daily—for the gospel to go forth.
Each child has experienced significant turmoil and trauma, but is now experiencing an abundant life in Christ.
Pinki was rescued from begging at a train station. She was found begging at the train station when she was about three or four years old. A man was forcing and using her to beg for him. After her rescue, police called Luissy to take her in at Sneha Bhavan.
Pinki has lived at Sneha Bhavan for over five years, now thriving in 6th grade. She may have been older when she was rescued; many of the children’s exact ages and birthdates are unknown.
Bobby is the youngest of the 20 children at Sneha Bhavan. He and his older sister Munni were found in the forest, abandoned by their mother after the death of their father. They were rescued and brought to Sneha Bhavan to be cared for by Luissy.
God has given Luissy a love for disadvantaged children, plus a gift of teaching and of administration. She says her goal is to instill in the children order and discipline, a spirit of service, punctuality, good work habits, cleanliness, creativity, skills at gardening, academic progress, emotional and intellectual development, and strong moral and ethical standards, all based upon the foundation of grace in Jesus Christ.
Her heart is not just to help the children survive their troubled pasts, but to help them become strong in the LORD, pillars of their communities, men and women who are testimonies to the power of God.
What joy I experienced at Sneha Bhavan!
“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27).
On a Sunday morning for church, I visited a poor village church in Odisha planted by one of our graduates, trained and sent through IGO.
IGO purchased the land for this church, composed of more than 200 individuals all from non-Christian backgrounds, all mostly illiterate, daily wage earning laborers.
Only a handful of people had a Bible they could read.
During the offering song time, I wondered why the bag was taking so long to be passed to me.
Then I saw this man.
When the offering bag was passed to him, he held it for a full minute and a half while closing his eyes and holding his cash offering in his tightly closed fist over it, he whispered a long prayer before depositing it.
Such a thoughtful act of giving!
I don’t know how much he gave.
But after the service, I gave him a 500 rupee note, worth a mere $6.25. He didn’t see the amount because I folded the cash and gave it to him as I shook his hand. After releasing my hand, he touched his hand to his heart in thanks.
I’m touched by his prayerful offering, which must have been quite a sacrifice for him.
So often we throw our change in the bucket, or set our giving to automatically deduct. We don’t think much about what or how we are giving—with such intensity, with such sincerity.
I wish I had learned his name.
I wish I had given him more.
After the service, I noticed these plastic bags of rice placed under the pulpit. I thought it must be for poor congregants who needed a hand-out—no, it was the poor congregants’ offerings back to the church—they gave out of their poverty—back
“They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity” (2 Corinthians 8:2).
Pray for the above ministries Ann Abraham has just described.
Pray for IGO’s work in the state of Odisha where persecution of Christians has been especially fierce in recent years. At the same time, the Spirit of God is moving into new places throughout Odisha, changing lives through His IGO servants.
Pray for the expansion of Odisha Bible Training Center and for the funds to make this possible so that more men and women will receive training for evangelistic and church-planting ministries in places that are still in ignorance of the God who