Help Those Without Hope

Anita with ServeNow Director Ukraine, Tanya Shpygunova

Anita with ServeNow Director Ukraine, Tanya Shpygunova

For I assisted the poor in their need and the orphans who required help.
I helped those without hope, and they blessed me.
Job 29:12-13a (NLT)

“I lived in constant fear of being raped. My defense was to pretend that I was a guy. I dressed like a boy, walked like a boy, I even used a boy’s name. Most of my friends were either behind bars or involved in prostitution. I asked myself, ‘What is my future?’”        ~Anita

Since the fall of communism 25 years ago, Ukraine has seen a drastic increase in human trafficking, experiencing the second highest rate in Europe. When orphans like Anita age out of the system at 16 years old, there are no other programs in place to assist them and they end up on the streets, susceptible to prostitution and human trafficking.

To combat this problem, ServeNow will open a baking and pastry school this year with an attached operating bakery. The five month training program will give disadvantaged young women like Anita a trade, therefore preventing the need to sell themselves or be vulnerable to traffickers.

Local churches have already agreed to buy the bakery’s bread for communion, therefore providing an economic and spiritual partnership with the bakery and its students.

Anita inspired the ServeNow bakery, and until its opening, she is living with a local church family. She has learned that God loves her and looks forward to the day that she can use her baking skills to support herself. She is proud to be a daughter of the King saying,

“Now that I know God, I thank him that I am not a prostitute or that I ended up in jail.”

Please Pray:

  • For the bakery and its training school to be fully operational by the opening date of September 1.
  • For Anita and the selection process of the first group of bakery students.
  • For God to protect the orphans in Ukraine from the lies and promises of traffickers.

Leave your prayers as a comment below for Anita and the bakery staff as they make arrangements to establish the bakery.

IMG_2975Would you like to help a bakery student? Our knead bread campaign sponsors students at $30 per week. Let us know if you would like a jar to collect change to provide these women with a future and a hope.

Show Others

2015-06-23 Children SOJ Water June 2015

Let no one show little respect for you because you are young. Show other Christians how to live by your life. They should be able to follow you in the way you talk and in what you do. Show them how to live in faith and in love and in holy living.
1 Timothy 4:12 (NLT)

2015-06-23 SOJ IndiaTwelve year old Srinu received his own The Story of Jesus graphic novel at the church where he attends Sunday school in India. He was fascinated by the vivid colors and he loved the pictures. He eagerly read the book over and over again.

By reading the book, Srinu realized that Jesus is his Savior and he started sharing Jesus with his friends. He says

“I just love the pictures and the story in the book. I want my friends also to know about Jesus and know that he loves them too and that’s why I give them this comic to read.”

Please Pray:

  • That Srinu’s faith grows deeper as he learns more about God’s fathomless love for him.
  • In thanksgiving for Srinu’s characteristic of generosity as she shares his beloved possession rather than hoard it.
  • That Srinu and his Sunday school friends continue to share TheStory of Jesus with those in their schools and neighborhoods to spread the word of love, forgiveness, joy, and hope.

Will you encourage Srinu, his friends at Sunday school, or his Sunday school teachers with a prayer? Just write something to them in the comment box below to let them know how they influenced you.

A Light on My Path

2015-06-16 Nepal distribution

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105

Efforts persist in Nepal to meet the needs of the hurting people through supplies and prayer. There are fewer aftershocks as each day passes, but because of all of the structural damage to buildings, thousands of people continue to live under tarps and many remain traumatized.

A pastor from one village told our volunteers,

“The situation was horrifying. ServeNow Nepal provided immediate help at the perfect time. Badly affected people were provided tarps, food, water purifiers, mattresses and blankets. Thank you for being there to help us while we were in great need.”

And now we have a wonderful opportunity to share with you. Publisher David C Cook has offered a $50,000 matching grant in the month of June to print and distribute 700,000 copies of The Story of Jesus comic book for children. Since each child will share that with at least 4 additional kids, the Gospel could reach 3.5 million Nepali children with the message of God’s love and hope! Thus far, $25,000 has been raised and we ask for your prayers to bring in the additional $25,000.

Please Pray:

  • For God to comfort those traumatized by the earthquakes.
  • For people of Nepal to openly receive both the supplies which help their physical needs, and the prayers to help their spiritual and eternal needs.
  • That the remaining $25,000 needed to meet the matching grant challenge comes in before the June 30th deadline, and that with the receipt of those funds, we freely give the glory back to the Lord for his faithfulness.

Leave your prayers as a comment in the box below for Pastor Arjun and his volunteers as they daily meet the needs of the traumatized people of Nepal.

India Heatwave Update

Some areas of India continue to suffer under an historic heatwave. Two weeks ago, four of our students from the ServeNow Kolkata Lighthouse Center were hospitalized and last week seven more became ill. Since hospitals in India do not provide food or other basic supplies, family members are expected to pick up the responsibility. Rev. Chowdhuri asks us, “The staff from Kolkata Lighthouse Center visited them in the hospital with fruit and Oral Rehydration Solution. Please pray for health and safety for the children during this time.”

Water for Life

2015-06-09 Hyderabad water distribution

“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
Matthew 10:42 (NIV)

Over 4,000 people have died as temperatures neared 120° F (49° C) in southern India in recent weeks. For the second year, staff from the Hyderabad ServeNow Lighthouse Center coordinated water distribution to help those in need. Local water sources have dried up in the heat, and even once the monsoon rains arrive, water will be diverted to the wealthy, leaving those in slums and small villages without this life sustaining necessity.

2015-06-09 Hyderabad water distribution 2Often, as the water is offered, people tell us that they cannot afford food, much less water. They are surprised to learn that the water is a free gift from their local church through the love of Jesus Christ. Then they ask, “Who is this Jesus?”, and we have the opportunity to share the Good News with them.

One of the villagers, Ramesh, told us,

ServeNow, a Christian organization, helped all the villagers without any discrimination of religion. This was really impressive to us.”

Where the pastors were once shunned, they are now welcomed into homes for meals and asked to pray over families.

Please Pray:

  • For rain! Monsoon rains have arrived at the southernmost tip of India, but have still not reached Andhra Prahesh, the area hardest hit by the heatwave.
  • For Pastor Jayson, who planted a church in Srirangapuram. Within a few months of his water distribution last year, seventeen people came to faith and were baptized. Today more than 50 people assemble each Sunday. Please pray for the new believers to remain strong in their faith, and for the Word to spread even further.
  • Revelation 7:17 (NIV) over the people of India, “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
    ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”

Please leave your prayers for Pastor Jayson, the people attending his church, or the people of southern India as a comment in the box below. Your kind words will be relayed to Jayson and those he serves.

Living Hope

2015-06-02 Kolkata cell banner

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.
1 Peter 1:3-4 (NIV)

The slums of India are often devoid of hope. People have little to look forward to, and they lack confidence that the future holds opportunity. Education in a trade quickly changes their outlook, and when coupled with the teachings of the Gospel, people suddenly understand that their immediate and eternal future holds promise.

The Kolkata Lighthouse Center runs a cell phone repair school, which has trained over 60 people to restore mobile phones to working order. A recent student, Soumitra Chaterjee, says,

2015-06-02 Soumitra Chaterjee closeup“Prior to coming to the training center, I worked repairing chimneys. I am the only wage earner in my family, and our financial condition is not good. My training here will help with finances, but this course has taught me more than a skill. Our classes start and end with prayer, and the instructor is excellent and friendly with us. Thank you for improving my family’s condition. I am now involved in other activities at the Lighthouse Center and will stand by the center always.”

Those who live in the slums of Kolkata are ostracized, discriminated against, and regarded with disdain. To be treated with respect and kindness is unusual, and to receive encouragement or compliments is so uncommon that students thrive in the environment and take the gift home to their families. They see God’s grace in action, are eager to embrace his teachings, and then proceed to share the Good News.

Please Pray:

  • That following his training program, Soumitra thrives in his cell phone repair business.
  • In thanksgiving for the Kolkata Lighthouse Center staff. Pray for their continued patience, perseverance, and grace with each new class of students.
  • For the Lighthouse Center to be highly regarded in the community. Let it be a light in the darkness, bringing hope and a future to the downtrodden

Please leave a prayer below for Soumitra and his classmates at the Kolkata Lighthouse mobile phone repair school. Your words of encouragement will be shared directly with them.