Many people have grown skeptical or are leery about mission impact and “humanitarian aid”, but time and again ServeNow has been able to show something different; that good deeds open hearts to the good news, that high impact is possible with low cost, that there is hope in this world and that God is very much active and alive in transforming lives. The following stories demonstrate that reality!
In South Asia, we have been focusing on “overlooked” locations, even places where we are the first to ever reach out with humanitarian aid or sharing the love of Christ in a tangible way. Reaching these villages with the ServeNow team involved walking at least a couple of miles in the hilly terrain. It’s encouraging that local TV and newspaper media has taken note of the initiative and reported the same!
One of ServeNow’s regional coordinator’s shared that, All the villages we have visited have no proper roads or no roads at all, no means of transportation or communication and people live here in utter poverty and isolation. Since these villages are situated deep inside the forests, it gets terribly cold in these areas and ServeNow’s gift of a blanket could not be more valued than by people living in these villages. Though it was quite a challenge for the team to reach these villages which involved driving through forests, landslides and treacherous roads and quite a lot of walking, the smile on the faces of people we reached out to was worth the journey. The gratitude that the pastors expressed on reaching out to their communities where no one has ever gone before was an encouragement for ServeNow and it was encouraging to see how ServeNow has been working to reach the love of Christ to unreached communities.”
In many places we have seen people from other religious communities like Hindus approaching us and requesting us for books like this lady in a remote village. One village is especially the stronghold of the Hindu community in the region and has in the past resisted the church’s efforts to bring the gospel to the village. But this time as ServeNow partnered with the local church and visited town with the gift of a blanket and the message of Salvation, doors were opened, and the villagers welcomed us with smiles on their faces!
In one village, ServeNow visited a small community of farmers who live in one of the remotest corners. Here, one of ServeNow’s partnering pastors, has just recently started a fellowship attended by over 15 people after almost a decade of sowing the seeds of the Gospel. The pastor shared, “I am overjoyed to have ServeNow in this village and in my church to provide warm blankets to the community here. It is encouraging also to see how it’s not just blankets we are providing them but also giving them a copy of the The Basic Things You Need to Know about Jesus, which is a compact and a wonderful booklet to introduce them to Jesus and let them know about his love for all of humankind. This wonderful initiative by ServeNow has not only helped the community but also the newly started Church here in its outreach endeavors. I cannot thank ServeNow enough for taking trouble to reach here, where nobody has come before. I hope that through this winter covering distribution and through the message of love shared through it, many may come to know the love of Christ.”
In another area, one person shared, “Christians from the church have come here to my village today with blankets to keep us warm this winter. We are a poor community and cannot afford these things for our families. Nobody had ever come to our village like these before. I am touched by the kindness and the love of God you have shared. I wanted to have a copy of the book that said Salvation and I hope I learn more about the Jesus you have shared about through this book. Thank you for coming to us once again.”
In still another location, ServeNow reached out to 50 elderly people and kids with warm blankets and the message of Jesus’ love for them to a community of farmers and daily wage laborers who had never heard about Jesus before. An elderly woman who walked a considerable distance uphill shares, “Thank You (ServeNow) for visiting me and for this gift of a blanket. I live alone and I was worried about how I would face the coming winter without many warm clothes but now I am not worried anymore.”
ServeNow’s team also provided blankets to the poorest of the tea garden laborers who work long hours for wages not even enough to feed their families. For this (tribal) community, ServeNow’s gift of a warm blanket and the message of God’s love for them was something that brought about a smile in their otherwise weary faces. Here, the pastor, who takes care of a small church in the community shares, “I shall be ever thankful to ServeNow for visiting this community in time of need and providing us with something of which the people here were in very much need for. The winters here are harsh and people lose their lives sometimes to the biting cold. One warm blanket for these elderly and poor will surely give them a little comfort and warmth. I am also grateful that through this program we could also share to the community about Jesus. The tribal people here are strong in their traditional beliefs and it is sometimes difficult to preach to them directly, but through ServeNow’s initiative, we could even share to them about the Love of Jesus which in fact is what the Church is meant to do.”
Pastor Joseph of another community shared, “I would like to express my gratitude to ServeNow for visiting this small farming village in the middle of nowhere with a gift, to remind people of the love of God. Every single person who received a blanket today was from a poor family with no means of buying warm clothing for the winter. I am thankful to you for introducing me and my church to the Basic Series booklets, which I had heard about from my colleague who leads a church nearby. I am happy to receive them today and I hope to be blessed by these materials and to see my Church blessed also.”
Another pastor whose church partnered with ServeNow to provide warm blankets to the community where over 60 elderly people and children heard about the love of Jesus and received warm blankets. Rama shares, “I would like to thank ServeNow for visiting us in our own village which is often overlooked as it is so far from the big city. These blankets have benefited people who were in dire need of warm coverings for the coming winter. The church has been kind and made it clear that Jesus loves them even when their own family might cast them away. Thank you for the Basic Series booklets which were introduced to me today. I believe these books are just what we needed for the church to have a strong foundation. I hope that through these books, I and the believers in my church will be blessed and learn things which we have overlooked for so long.”
Devraju and his wife are in their 80’s. They live in a small hut. He shares, “I am so happy to receive this blanket today. I have come here with my wife and grandchild and we are no longer able to work in the fields. My son and his wife work, but the money earned in not enough for all of us and certainly not enough to buy new blankets for the family. The cold nights take a toll on our bodies and I have been quite sick over the last few weeks. I hope I will be able to sleep in peace in my new blanket keeping me warm. Thank you for your help to me and my family. It really means a lot to me.”
Helping a young missionary
Our team visited a tribal village community living deep inside the forests. A young lady who lives in a village as a missionary. There is not one single Christian in that village. so she hopes to reach the Gospel of Christ to the people there through her mission.
She shares, “I have been living in this village as a missionary for more than a year now with a vision to introduce this village community to the love of Jesus. While the local people are kind to me, but the community is staunch believers of their ancestors and have reservations about believing in a new God. ServeNow today helped my ministry tremendously through the distribution of the blankets to the villagers who cannot afford to buy one or even travel to the nearest market which is almost 2 hours away. Through these warm blankets we were able to tell them about the love of Jesus and share it with them in a tangible way. The special booklet The Basic Things you need to Know about Salvation was also taken by many out of their own interest and I hope that they will read it and know the Salvation we have in Jesus. Thank You very much ServeNow for helping a simple missionary like me.”