“I’ll never forget my sponsors...”
Victor shook his head, vehemently denying the possibility that childhood sponsors who helped him go to school could ever stray from his memory.
“You must understand,” he said, “that they changed my life. They loved me enough to help me — even though we lived on opposite sides of the world. Why would they do that? It was because of their love for Jesus that they could find love for me.”
Victor paused, thinking back. “I’m 38 years old. But I pray for them. I pray for them every day.”
The family of five lived in Pennsylvania. They chose to sponsor Victor when they met at a church concert. Victor was traveling that year with the India Children’s Choir, a ministry of Bibles For The World that introduced thousands of people across the United States and Canada to the plight of children in poverty in India. Victor was eleven years old.
“They cared for me,” he says now. “They made it possible for me to go to school. I had my books, my uniform. We would write back and forth, sharing pictures, telling what was happening in our lives.”
Victor pulled out a gilded photo album from a place of honor on a bookshelf.
“I have their pictures here. And all the letters they sent to me. I keep them here and look at them almost every day, to remind me to pray for them and their family.”
A sponsor/child relationship is a unique and special way to impact a life with the love of Jesus. Such relationships often go on for years — for Victor and his Partner Parents, it has now been 28 years since their first meeting.
“I work in the Sielmat Christian Hospital, now, for Bibles For The World,” Victor said as he replaced the album. “I went to optometry school and now I give eye exams and make glasses for people. They come for help and many are too poor to pay. I make them glasses anyway, because that’s what Jesus would do. And I let them know that Jesus loves them.”
Building and training Christian leaders to impact their communities and nations for Christ is a powerful means of expanding the reach of the Gospel — and it is one of the important “pillars” of Bibles For The World’s (BFTW) ministry.
“For BFTW, it begins in the 42 Christian schools we operate in NE India, and continues in our Trinity College & Seminary,” notes John L. Pudaite, president and CEO of Bibles For The World. “With more than 9,000 children enrolled annually in our Christian schools, BFTW is focused on creating futures of Christian service for those called, even as children, to serve others in Jesus’ name.”
Pudaite’s perspective is unique — he’s the grandson of one of the very first tribal believers in northeast India — a member of a headhunting tribe known for their ferocity.
“When my grandfather responded to the Gospel message preached by a lone missionary, it was the start of a century of dramatic change for my people. My father became a Bible translator and the founder of Bibles For The World. Now I’m carrying on his legacy to impact the people of India and the world with God’s Word.”
Bibles For The World’s Partner Parents program is just one offshoot of the ministry’s diverse activity across the globe. But it’s a critical one, says Pudaite.
“Partner Parents are making an enormous impact in the lives of thousands of children in India. Since planting the first schools more than fifty years ago, we’ve seen a literal transformation in thousands of kids’ lives. Our flagship school, Sielmat Christian Higher Secondary School, has 2,950 students from kindergarten through grade 12, about a quarter of whom are sponsored by Partner Parents. Can you imagine the impact that’s had on the community?”
The Indian government reports that the percentage of Christians in the country relative to the entire population is roughly 2%. But in the region surrounding Sielmat, where Bibles For The World operates nearly three-dozen schools, the Christian population is about 38%.
“I chalk that up to the growth of the Church in that region, as well as the influence of our Christian schools — AND our Partner Parents,” says Pudaite.
“But there are thousands of young students who remain unsponsored. We’re praying that God will provide sponsors for at least 500 additional students in the coming year.”
Partner Parents play a vital role in influencing young lives in India through their prayers, encouragement and support of their sponsored child’s Christian education. Monthly support, which starts at $34 per month, provides tuition, books, uniforms, shoes and periodic healthcare for the sponsored student. Partner Parents have the opportunity to select a boy or girl by name, age and location of their school / village. They receive photos, reports from the school, correspondence from the student and the opportunity to correspond back. Some Partner Parents even choose to visit their student and his or her family in India on special Sponsor Trips hosted by Bibles For The World.
“When I was in India I had the chance to see where and how my student lives, the challenges he faces each and every day,” says Natalie, a recent Partner Parent. “They simply don’t have the kinds of opportunities kids in America do — yet they still want to become doctors or nurses or teachers. Becoming a Partner Parent was the best decision I’ve ever made!”
Impacting another’s life. Making a lasting difference. These are the aspirations of our hearts. Yet so many people never experience the joy of helping others in a truly meaningful way. That’s why we encourage you to consider becoming a Partner Parent to a needy girl or boy in India.
Bibles For The World’s Partner Parents program provides you with the opportunity to make an indelible impact on one young girl, or one young boy, helping transform them for eternity.
Become a Partner Parent today. Visit partnerparents.org to learn about the children who need your help, the villages where they live and the schools that are caring for them.