To allow our staff to fully celebrate the Christmas season with family and friends, the David C Cook and Integrity Music offices will be closed end of business on Friday, December 23rd and reopening on Monday, January 2nd. All orders received after December 19th will begin shipping the week of January 2nd, 2023.

The Boy Who Feared

Eleven year-old Mahesh comes from a tribe of gypsies called the Banjara. He grew up believing in witchcraft, a multitude of superstitions, and the ghosts of those who died of “unnatural deaths.” He became a boy who feared just about everything.

Mahesh’s family, like most in his tribe, is nomadic and they rely on day labor and odd jobs to survive. If his parents failed to find work that day they went without food—and they often went without food. Mahesh feared his family would die. He feared being alone. He feared death. He also feared the many spirits the family worshiped. He grew up believing that if these spirits were not properly appeased, they could destroy whole families, including his.

The fear became so big Mahesh was too scared to sleep at night.

Gradually Mahesh began to express his fears through anger, which he took out on his brother and parents. The situation seemed beyond his control, and he hated himself for it.

Concerned relatives eventually brought Mahesh to an orphanage in Hyderabad a few years ago. The orphanage hosts a David C Cook J127 Club, where he first heard about Jesus, a God far more powerful than all other gods and spirits.

The Boy Who FearedJ127 Clubs are all about whole life discipleship and healing from trauma. This three-year program is child-centered, active, and mirrors a safe family environment. It’s here where Mahesh finally unburdened his soul. Over time he grew in faith, strength of character, and much-needed life skills. The fear left him.

Here’s his testimony:

One evening I attended the club and Uncle Das told us the story of Joseph. He told us that God was with Joseph in the good and bad situations. He is the same God in every situation! Even in prison God was with Joseph and the jailor made him in charge of the other jail mates. Joseph found favor in the sight of Pharaoh, who lifted him from prison and made him a leader.

These words struck me and I started to pray to God to take away my fear. When I did this I immediately felt something leave me and I realized it was the fear. I felt so relieved and calm for the first time. From that day on I started trusting God—and Joseph became my hero. God has helped me to trust in Him in each and every situation. I realized that the gods and spirits I had believed in did nothing for me. But God sent His Son Jesus to die for my sins and this has made me fearless.

J127 uses Life on Life curriculum to cover a wide range of issues related to fear and anxiety. The leaders do not to shy away from speaking of frightening situations these orphans have likely encountered such as a lack of food, abuse, rape, persecution (for caste or for faith), AIDS, suicide, and death. They use games, skits, and story to illustrate tough principles—and most of all, they learn about God’s love and provision in the midst of hardship.

The same counsel offered to orphans in India is the same counsel all of us need to hear over and over again. Check out this wise passage from Life on Life:

God the Father is right next to you and is more powerful than any person or situation you are afraid of. Sometimes He uses our feelings of fear to tell us to run away, and run fast! Sometimes He will make the scary things go away. Other times, He will help us to be strong enough to deal with the scary things. The one thing we can know for certain is that whenever something scary happens, He is with us. We will never have to go through it alone.

The children memorize this verse:

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)

There is much in life that causes us to fear, and like Mahesh, our resolve to trust God will be tested. At age 11, his foundation is sure and will continue to be built on Jesus, our rock and strong tower. Please pray for him.

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.

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