Katyayani comes from a poor, devout Hindu family. Through a series of tragic circumstances she became orphaned. Yet this story has a happy ending, one filled with great hope for Katyayani, and for orphans in every country, on every continent.
Katyayani – a child broken by life – has been adopted by a King.
Katyayani’s family scraped by on her father’s salary as a bus driver. They lived in a rural farming community decimated by drought – a place where desperation regularly drives farmers to commit suicide by consuming a cheap pesticide.
Seemingly out of the blue Katyayani’s father became sick with one illness after another. Health care is virtually non-existent for the poor; help is usually sought only under the direst of circumstances. As the sole breadwinner began to fail, the family desperately sought medical care. They learned he was HIV-positive. Katayayani’s father died several months later, and one of her siblings also died from AIDS. Her mother caved in emotionally, understandably crippled by grief. And to add to this mother’s heartache she, too, was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.
Given her emotional, physical, and financial circumstances, Katyayani’s mom could no longer care for her daughter. Katyayani was placed at Stonebridge, an orphanage located in the same state as her village. Her initial days at the orphanage were troubled. She caused numerous problems, and acted cold and hard to all who tried to help her. Clearly this little girl held a lot of emotional pain.
The trauma children such as Katyayani face manifest in their relationships and the way they interact with the world. Food, shelter and education are crucial for sustaining life; however, if children fail to receive soul care, they have little chance at any kind of healthy future.
Another major challenge these Indian orphans must overcome is a deeply ingrained Hindu belief system, mainly the idea of karma. This worldview suggests that one’s lot in life is solely determined by how well they lived in a previous life. It says to a child, “You brought this sorrow upon yourself. A god is punishing you and nothing can be done.” It’s a belief steeped in despair.
The one true God adopts children into His family. He provides a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11) and makes all things work together for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). He calls the broken heirs of God (Galatians 4:7). Only the Holy Spirit can penetrate a child’s heart and speak value and worth over them, only He can heal, and only He can provide a sustainable parental relationship to meets all their needs.
Through the Gemstones Club (pictured above) – a J127 Club, an outreach of Global Mission at David C Cook – Katyayani and her peers are introduced to a heavenly Father, One who chose them. They are no longer orphans, but sons and daughters of a King. The Bible says of this miracle:
All who believe are adopted as children of God. John 1:12 (NIV)
God is “a Father to the fatherless…” Psalm 68:5-6 (NIV)
Katyayani is gently shepherded in her Gemstones Club. She is learning to trust God as her Father. And she is gaining an understanding of what it means to be and to live as one of His children. Through games, activities, and child-centered discussion on hard-hitting subjects such as AIDS and grief, the Holy Spirit is changing her from the inside out.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4 (NIV)
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. John 10:14-16 (NIV)
God wants to banish the word “orphan.” He longs for every child, every adult, all who are lonely, destitute and abandoned to call Him Father.
The J127 Orphan Initiative cares for a child’s soul. Will you consider sponsoring a club and caring for Indian orphans and children in distress? You may also make a one-time gift.
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.