He calls it a “get together.” The “old students get together.” A gathering of young adults from CCIMA Children’s Home in India.
For Penke, the Director of this children’s home, it is not only a way of showing the success of the home, it is a family reunion. It is his living legacy “home” for a visit.
It is a gathering of children whose lives were saved because of this home. Whose lives were forever transformed, simply because they were given some very simple and basic things. Simple and basic in nature, but profoundly life-changing in reality.
They surround him. Dressed in bright, beautiful clothing. They stand straight and strong, with smiles on their faces. Their skin glows with health and they exude the confidence and strength they feel inside.
One by one they take the stage, microphone in hand, and tell their stories to the younger children in the home. They are there to thank Penke and Orphan’s Lifeline, to thank YOU. They are there to encourage the younger children. They are there to show them the bright future that is in front of them.
They are the Precious Alumni.
Some are married with children. Some are working jobs in technical fields. Still others are in college, studying in fields ranging from Mechanical Engineering to Theology. There are carpenters and mechanics in the room. There
are electronics technicians and security guards. There is a future preacher.
And the list of the examples of successful, young lives goes on. But, there is more to this than all of that. Much more.
Every journey starts with a goal in mind. A destination.
To be successful in a journey, one needs to plan carefully. One needs to consider what kinds of things will be needed to make the journey. One needs to consider and give thought to the inherent pitfalls and obstacles that could be encountered along the way.
There was a time when epic journeys were undertaken in which all the planning in the world couldn’t have accounted for the dangers and the unknown. Ships set sail for distant lands that were only rumored to even exist. Ships set sail with crude maps that supposed where these distant lands might lay.
Armed only with basic tools, such as the crude maps, sextants and compasses, brave souls stocked ships with supplies and set sail into the unknown. They braved storms, suffered from hunger, thirst and disease. Mutiny and even murder threatened to end their journey. Yet they sailed on. Some only found ruin and ultimate disaster. But others found success. Their success resulted in better maps. Better tools. They were able to prove that the rumored lands existed. They were then able to show others how to get there. They were able to tell them about the unknown dangers they would face. What they would need to get there. They were able to chart a path to success for all who would seek those destinations in the future.
All of this simply because, and only because, they could now prove it worked for them.
Our journey here at Orphan’s Lifeline was much the same in the beginning. We had a goal…a destination. We wanted to practice “perfect religion” by “coming to the aid of orphans in their time of need.” We wanted to save their lives, give them all of the basic needs one must have to survive and also give them the means to thrive. But, we wanted to give them more. We wanted to give them God’s Word so they could learn about Jesus.
We supposed that if we came to them in their most dire time of need and showed them His love in our actions, they would want to know why. We supposed that if we gave them an education, they would be able to read His Word. We supposed that the combination of these two things, along with instruction, would lead them to be obedient followers of Christ.
We supposed they would teach these same things to their children, therein multiplying the good work.
That was the plan that developed over time as we contemplated the destination of our journey to help orphans in their time of need. We knew there would be obstacles. Culture would be a big one. The damage already done to the children would be another. The environment they would have to live in as young adults would be yet another potential storm that could stop us from reaching our destination.
But really it should be no surprise at all that it worked. It should be of no surprise at all that there are now thousands of happy and successful young adults that were cared for through our programs. We shouldn’t be surprised at all that they are obedient followers of Christ either. And as they go through life, and their example impacts others in the same way, as this good work is multiplied over and over through the generations…we shouldn’t be surprised in the least.
We shouldn’t be surprised that this ongoing journey is successful because the map was drawn up in perfection by Jesus Himself long ago.
He didn’t see people suffering and just walk by. He felt compassion at its deepest level and acted upon that compassion. He didn’t demand obedience before he performed His miracles. In fact, He didn’t demand, or have any conditions at all before He helped the blind, the crippled, even the prostitute.
Of course, we can’t perform miracles, but by following His example, His map, we are leading these innocent children straight to Him. It is our job to plant the seed. His to give the increase. These children aren’t Christians when we find them. They aren’t Hindus or Muslims. They aren’t one thing or the other.
They are simply children, lost and alone with no hope and no reason to believe that any God they may have heard of, even exists.
It is our job to go to them in their time of need. That’s in the map. It is our job to tell them why. That’s in the map. It’s our job to give them His Word. The rest is up to them. The rest is up to Him. It’s His plan, His map, His perfect example.
That’s why it has worked. That is why Penke was surrounded by grateful and happy young adults who love him, love you and love Jesus. That’s why there are more than 100 young adults, just from CCIMA alone who have grown to become the proof that the map He gave us was and is accurate. They are that proof. These Precious Alumni.