Every week we receive story after story of lives being impacted around the world through ServeNow. There are far more than we are able to even share! But in this blog post, we wanted to highlight some of the context and testimonies we are hearing from kids enjoying special Vacation Bible School programs this year. This is a new project for ServeNow, but as you read the story behind one church we partnered with, you will see how this fits perfectly with our mission and vision of coming alongside local churches to equip and empower them to serve their communities according to the needs. It is such a joy to know that through the VBS programs, young lives are being impacted for eternity in the Light of Jesus Christ! (to read the first blog post on stories coming out and see a video click here: First VBS Stories. Here is also a recent blog post with some great testimonies of the impact on the children’s lives: Two More VBS Programs Yield Fruit).
Last year we received an urgent request from Pastor *David who is serving through his church in one of the dirtiest slums. This church (having just a 10 foot by 10 foot room) had been established a couple of years back through Pastor *David who came to this slum with a vision to work among the migrated laborers. What started as a prayer cell soon grew into a full church of 50 new believer families from the slum community. Back in 2014 Pastor *David’s church became a partner of ServeNow’sScripture program and we visited the slum. We were requested to conduct a medical clinic for the people and we could also help the church to get the toilets built which is the only proper toilet in that slum.
This time Pastor *David wanted ServeNow to adopt the slum and establish a Lighthouse center for 50 children between the age groups of 6 to 15 years old. These children are mostly rag pickers and daily wage laborers living in shacks and temporary structures around that can only be described as a dump yard. Children from slums like these are highly vulnerable to abuse and trafficking as well as prone to various kinds of illnesses and diseases.
With a heart to make a difference in the lives of these kids by providing them educational support, medical treatment and also a healthy snack at least once a day for 5 days a week, we started the Lighthouse. This also is an opportunity to introduce the children to Jesus and his love. Every evening, the tuition classes started with a prayer and teachings from the Bible. This coming academic year we have encouraged the church to continue the program on their own without depending on ServeNow and they are ready to take up the challenge.
This month ServeNow concluded the Lighthouse for this session with a special VBS program for the kids who have been regularly attending the tuition classes and also for other children in the community. Had it not been for ServeNow’s VBS, these children would have never attended a program like this and some may have never even heard about Jesus and his love for children. Below are three testimonies of children impacted.
Mohan is just 7 years old and lives in a temporary shed with his family right next to a dumping ground infested with mosquitoes, flies and stray dogs. His father is the only earning member in the family who struggles to meet the needs of his family. He would have never been able to afford to send him to a tuition center or VBS program on his own! Mohan says “I like the Bible stories and memory verses. I came to know that God loves me and what God has given me. I love to come to VBS and learn stories and memory verses. I thank you all for giving me booklet.”
Bandari is 12 year old boy from the slums. He studies in the 7th grade and lives in a 10 square foot shack which he shares with his parents and two siblings. For the past six months, Bandari has been a regular student at ServeNow’s Lighthouse Center, where he has been attending the daily tuition classes. He says, “After I started attending the tuition center at the Lighthouse, my grades have started going up and I have started to do better in my studies. I enjoy the time of prayer and bible lessons before the tuition and the tasty snacks and treats afterwards. I also enjoyed being part of the summer camp – something I had never attended before. It was a wonderful opportunity for me and my friends here for which I am very thankful to ServeNow.”
Mala and friends attended the VBS at the Lighthouse Center. Mala is one of those young girls who are at high risk of being abused and trafficked. Mala lives with her parents in a community of rag pickers and laborers where education for a girl is not a priority. At ServeNow’s Lighthouse Center, Mala received special attention for developing her reading and writing skills which in turn resulted in good grades in her examinations. She says, “I thoroughly enjoyed the summer camp and especially the wonderful booklet that taught us about God’s Love. It was also fun to be a part of the tuition classes for the past months and I hope that I get to come to the Lighthouse center once the schools reopen.”
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Our accountability to our donors is one of our highest priorities. Our goal is to use the funds entrusted to us as wise stewards. To do this requires continued monitoring and annual audits of our fund distribution. ServeNow is also a member in good standing with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), Guide Star and Excellence in Giving (EIG).