In October a team from New Hope Fellowship Christian Reformed Church in Monroe, Wash., visited an orphanage under construction in southern India. Pastor Rob Jansons and four others went as part of an ongoing partnership with local believers determined to care for those who experienced great losses from the 2004 tsunami. The partnership began because of the persistent plea of one teenage girl requesting help.
In 2014, S.* emailed churches in North America requesting assistance. It had been 10 years since her Christian family had taken in 50 children orphaned by a tsunami on Dec. 26, 2004. The building they were renting wasn't large enough to accommodate them, and funds for that space were running low. One church responded.
Sylvia Boomsma, then-secretary at Geneva Campus Church in Madison, Wisc., a CRC, promised to pray for relief for those running the orphanage. She also contacted a family friend, Dr. Roger Butz, who often traveled to India as a board member of International Christian Outreach and Relief (INCOR), a mission board in Western Washington. Butz traveled to India in the fall of 2015 to meet S. He saw the group of 55 people occupying a house of about 3,200 square feet with an outdoor hand water pump and unfinished floors.
Returning home, Butz approached his pastor and fellow INCOR member, Jansons, about the orphanage. They planted the seed for New Hope Fellowship to be involved.
Two years after Butz and Jansons first discussed it, the congregation, partnering with INCOR, voted to purchase land in the southern Indian village and determined to raise funds for a building suitable for 55 people to be called New Hope Children's Home.
In October Jansons and the visiting New Hope team offered encouragement to those working on the project and received updates on the building’s progress. Noting that Christians in remote areas of Asia can feel isolated, Jansons, who has traveled to many parts of India since 2002, said the teams’ presence on these trips can be a huge encouragement.
According to Jansons, the family and the children they care for hope to move into the new building by spring 2019. Once the first floor is complete, they will occupy that space and finish the second storey when funds are available.
The team hopes to find sponsors for the children to assist with food, education, clothing, and medical care. S. plans to raise a garden.
*The Banner is not identifying the town or the full name of S. in this story due to hostility in India to people practicing any religion other than Hindu.