Becoming Mature Men
What happens to adolescent boys living on the streets in India? Most often the story is one of desperation, crime, and gang activity. Simply put: harsh and without hope. Two brothers, Vinay and Naveen, started down that road after their father died and their mother was too ill to provide for them. At 11 and 10 years old they were fending for themselves on the streets. In 2013 while visiting their grandmother, Peter and Andrew (two brothers who were living at Faith In Deeds) noticed Vinay and Naveen and befriended them. Peter and Andrew had compassion on this younger set of brothers because they all too well remembered what it was like to be hungry. They invited Vinay and Naveen to come to Faith In Deeds. Vinay and Naveen followed them eagerly. With great relief, their mother readily gave permission for the boys to live at the Children’s Home. While providing nurturing care for the boys, Faith In Deeds also helped to supply basic necessities for their mother until she passed away.
Grieving the loss of their parents, Vinay and Naveen found comfort in Scripture and from their new friends who had experienced similar loss. In time, both brothers began to thrive in their unique areas of gifting: Vinay in art and hands-on skills, and Naveen in math and English. The high school boys at the Children’s Home did a Bible study on “Becoming a Mature Man,” learning what that looks like practically from a biblical perspective. Naveen said that his favorite part was learning that a boy can grow from living in chaos to being a man of order who lovingly leads his family.
Vinay finished high school in 2019 and started college classes in graphic design. Naveen graduated this year and wants to pursue a career with the Indian Administration Service. Both young men decided to take community college classes near their grandparents' home so that they can live with and provide assistance to them. Vinay and Naveen have been especially helpful during the Covid-19 lockdown. Through your generous giving, Vinay, Naveen, and their grandparents have their daily needs met through the Faith In Deeds outreach program that has expanded to include the children’s relatives during this extra challenging time. Vinay and Naveen help with cooking and cleaning, as well as performing odd jobs in their village to make a little extra money. They also have been leading a small Sunday school class for 15 – 20 children in their village. Because of their extensive experience helping the younger kids and teaching Bible lessons at the Children’s Home, leading a Sunday school class is second nature to them. We’re filled with joy as we see the fruit of them becoming mature men. Please pray that they will be faithful followers of Jesus and grow to be leaders with love and wisdom in their community.
A Season of Advent
Advent means “coming” and usually refers to the four weeks leading up to Christmas when the church is preparing their hearts and minds to celebrate the birth of our Savior. It is a time of expectant preparation. Just as the Jewish people waited expectantly for the coming Messiah, we remember and we also wait expectantly for Jesus' return. For me personally, these last ten years of coming alongside people in the slums of India have made my heart long for Jesus’ return all the more. He’s the only one who can make all things right, and He is the only one who can wipe away all of their/our tears. My hope is set on Him.
Faith In Deeds as an organization is also expectantly preparing the building, as we eagerly anticipate the return of the children as soon as the government allows. We are installing the plumbing and finishing the electrical wiring on the second floor. Southern India has suffered a higher rate of fatalities due to Covid-19 and the effects of lockdown which means that, once approved to open, many more children will need our safe home.
Our family is expectantly preparing to be reunited with Thomas in India, though we still wait on approval of our travel documents. Our hearts ache from being apart for 7 months. While we wait, we recognize that these circumstances are not in our control and so we surrender again to the God who knows all things. Can you relate in your own life circumstances? May the Lord give us grace and train our hearts in Him as we trust and wait on Him. Grace & Peace, Dana Mollhagen
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it is not yet revealed what we will be. But we know that, when He is revealed, we will be like Him; for we will see Him just as He is. Everyone who has this hope set on Him purifies himself, even as He is pure. I John 3:2-3
Learning New Skills
The college students have had some extra time to develop new skills during this unusual season. One of those new skills is learning how to drive a tractor. At first the girls didn’t think that they could or should learn, because girls in India don’t typically do those things. But Thomas encouraged them by assuring them that they are capable and that this is a good skill to have and to be able to teach others. Swapna, pictured above, especially enjoys driving the tractor and tilling the land. She has a love for agriculture and learning the best ways to grow food to feed more people. Current crops growing on the farm: Okra, spinach, ridge gourds, green beans, bitter gourds, tomatoes, peppers, green chiles, eggplants, bananas, and more.
Typical Christmas celebrations at the Children’s Home include preparation of dance, drama, and song to perform in multiple villages bringing the Good News. We are not allowed to have those large Christmas gatherings this year, but we still want to share the joy of Christ’s birth with others. In addition to helping children and their families with relief kits, Thomas was praying about who is most in need this time of year. The people at the leper colony weighed heavy on his heart. We have built relationships with this community. Their lives are incredibly difficult even in good circumstances and this year has brought increased hardship for them. We plan to serve a hot meal, share a hopeful message of God incarnate redeeming us, while also providing wound care, and groceries. Please consider joining us in blessing this community of 250 people.
Prayer & Praise
- We praise the Lord for you partnering with us in prayer and giving! You are in each of these stories.
- Please pray for the Faith In Deeds children and staff to be encouraged during this Christmas season.
- Praise that Thomas was able to purchase all of the PVC pipes for the building!
- Pray for our college students to grow in grace and wisdom as they study and do outreach.
- Pray for Thomas to have protection and wisdom as he oversees construction and outreach.
- Pray for the Mollhagen family to be reunited in God’s perfect timing.