Natasha had some good things going for her despite a tragic past. Her orphanage, quite good by Indian standards, provided food, clothing and shelter. But she still lived under a dark cloud unreachable except by God’s love.
Today Natasha is 8 years old, in the 3rd grade at the Bethel Children’s Home serving girls from leper colonies in northern India. She is also part of a J127 club* supported through David C Cook.
In her first days at Bethel, she was quiet and moody. Everybody assumed that she was simply struggling to adjust, but her behavior got worse. She would cry for no apparent reason and get into fights frequently. She gazed out the window, uninterested in her studies. Even at the club she didn’t participate in activities and usually kept to herself. She had few friends because she was stubborn and irritable.
Recently the lesson at the J127 club was about expressing grief. The children learned that Jesus brings healing even for the most horrific memories. Children were encouraged to share their own stories if they chose. To the leader’s surprise, Natasha put up her hand.
She began by telling about her parents. They themselves didn’t have leprosy, but belonged to a family of lepers. They begged at various Hindu temples and did odd jobs. Her father would get drunk and fight with his wife. One day the fight was worse than usual. In a fit of rage he beat her mother and stormed out of the house. Natasha’s family waited anxiously for him to return.
By midnight they decided to look for him, fearing that, drunk as he was, he might have fallen into a ditch. As they walked along a lonely stretch of road, they came upon a group of men beating another. Clearly they heard the helpless cries of their father. They watched in horror as the men mercilessly beat him with sticks, kicking and punching him over and over again as he lay in the dirt, bleeding profusely. Once the attackers left, Natasha tried without success to revive him. It is a disaster for anyone to lose a loved one, but even worse to actually watch that person murdered violently.
As Natasha continued with her story of that fateful night, the room fell silent. The horror and pain was visible in her tears. The lesson came to a close and, in time, Natasha was comforted. She discovered that Jesus is her loving father and will take care of her and her mother and sister.
Aunt Glory, the J127 leader, says,
I didn’t have a clue that this little girl had gone through so much. I look at her differently now. Her peers understand and accept her. Natasha herself seems calmer. She hugs me when she sees me and she has shown marked improvement in her studies. The J127 club has helped children understand that we have ups and downs in life, but we can trust in Jesus and move on.
It is a fact that almost all orphans have horrible background stories, like Natasha and her sister (seen together in the photo at the right) who now both live in the same group home. Usually these children are slow, if ever, to share their painful intimate stories. These children need help dealing with their deep emotional wounds. In an earlier story from a different, but equally stable and well-run home, we told about Monica. Click here to watch a video of Monica describing her hardships and how God healed her broken heart through her J127 Club.
The J127 Orphan Initiative leads children with damaging pasts to wholeness. New children are added to the program as quickly as we are able to raise support. Will you sponsor a new club?* You may also make a one-time gift. Thank you for being part of this life-giving movement for children.
*Update: In 2018, David C Cook transferred oversight of the J127 clubs to an in-country partner which continues to shepherd and grow this program. By supporting David C Cook’s Life on Life curriculum, you will be helping support this program as well.