Today, I am in Bangalore, India. I am attending our BGR team meeting. I have been hearing amazing reports from our BGR field based Area Directors of what God is doing through our efforts around the world to alleviate poverty, respond to disasters and to touch people in need with the love of Christ. Amazing stories.
I also had the opportunity and privilege to go along with the team to visit several projects in both rural and urban settings. Both settings were among some of the poorest of the poor in their respective communities.
I saw some amazing things...
* An urban slum project that was feeding 250 undernourished children each day and giving them after-school tutoring as well. As our team helped served them their evening meal, it was amazing to watch children as young as 4 and 5 years old taking their treasure of food on their plates or in their containers back to their home to eat. Lots of smiling faces.
* A rural program focused on bringing light and hope to disabled children. Some of the children were smiling and even laughing during the program and visit. Almost everyone of the mothers there with their disabled child was smiling for the simple fact that somebody cared about them and their child.
* An urban program of ministry to widows. Over 50 gathered together in a small room praising and worshiping God, giving thanks for the ministry, food and care that they were receiving. Destitute and poor yet smiling with joy at someone caring.
* A rural alcohol and addiction recovery program and two men sharing their testimony of how after 20 years of alcoholism, they now were sober, holding down jobs, gaining weight and becoming the father and family man that they were supposed to be. The wives shared, with smiles, how nice it was especially since their husbands did not beat them anymore.
* A rural health care clinic that sees about 30 people/families per day in an area that has little or no access to government health care. Smiles on the faces of parents getting help for their children. Smiles on the faces of people getting access to affordable medical care.
* A job skills program for women helping them to learn and ply their trades in being beauticians and seamstresses. Smiles of pride that they had a chance at gainful employment.
I saw a lot of people in need being helped through our Southern Baptist efforts. I saw a lot of smiles on faces that went deeper than the fact that they had help, jobs, different lifestyles, etc. Smiles that also came out in words from many of the beneficiaries saying, "thanks to Jesus, I am now a changed person."
I wish you could have seen what I saw today...smiles from people who have come to know that somebody cares for them and even better, that there is a God in heaven who sees and cares as well.