Seidy and her 7-year-old granddaughter, Viva, were all alone, with no support from family. Before the girl’s mother had died of tuberculosis, the three of them had struggled together. Now, Seidy was all Viva had left, and the grandmother’s health was declining. Who would care for Viva when she was gone?
A Heavy Heart
Seidy worked hard as domestic help, but she could only afford a rented shed in a crowded slum. Any income beyond rent money went to support Viva. The girl was Seidy’s life, and worry for Viva consumed the aging widow.
Seidy was grateful for GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program, which had welcomed Viva while the girl’s mother was still alive. The family’s financial burden eased as Viva received proper nutrition, a uniform and school supplies.
With the loving care and guidance Viva received from GFA workers, the previously obstinate girl matured. She diligently applied herself to her studies and even helped with chores at home. The program and its impact became a breath of fresh air in their home.
But now, without the girl’s mother, Seidy bore a new set of worries.
What would happen to Viva when she died? Would Viva become a wandering orphan with no one to care for her?
Feeling helpless, Seidy had given up hope. She saw no way for Viva to have a better life.
Then GFA workers assured her they would continue to see to Viva’s care should anything happen to Seidy. Peace and gratitude flooded the grandmother’s heart.
Viva would continue receiving tutoring and other assistance, which would support her welfare and help build a solid foundation for her future. GFA World had come to her rescue when nobody else cared to help. Though Seidy’s health is deteriorating, she can rest assured her granddaughter’s future is hopeful.
Thanks to donors like you, GFA workers can rescue children like Viva from desperate poverty, offering help and hope in Christ’s name.
Drop by drop, water leaked into Basti’s home. Drop by drop, hope had trickled out of his life. A few years before, living in a leaky hut would have seemed unthinkable. But the comfortable life Basti and his family once enjoyed was now unattainable.
A Sudden End to Stability
More than 20 years earlier, Basti and his wife, Haira, had moved from their village to a large city. Basti got a job in a textile factory that paid well. Over time, Basti and Haira had two sons, and they were able to buy their own home.
But challenges began when the couple noticed some peculiarities in their sons’ behavior and thinking. After many doctors’ visits, they learned both boys had autism.
The diagnosis troubled Basti and Haira. They visited temples and asked for healing. They also spent a lot of money on treatments and check-ups, but nothing seemed to help the boys.
Then their stability crumbled to pieces. The textile mill where Basti worked closed down after a strike. After enjoying a steady job for 20 years, Basti had no source of income. The family lived off savings, scraping together enough to continue providing medical care for the two boys. Eventually, Basti and Haira had to sell their house.
When their money ran out, the family moved to Basti’s home village, but he still couldn’t find work. Haira tried to support the family working as a day laborer in the fields—a job that typically pays less than $5 a day.
With their dire financial situation, the only house they could build was a thatched-roof hut made of palm branches. Their roof began to decay after only one year, and water leaked into their house whenever it rained. It seemed there was nothing they could do and no one to help them—until their neighbor took notice.
A Light Shines Through
This neighbor, who was part of the fellowship led by GFA pastor Felo, saw the family’s hardships and wanted to help. He often told them about Jesus.
One day, Basti noticed Pastor Felo visiting his neighbor’s home to pray. Exhausted from their hardships, Basti and Haira decided to see if Jesus answered the pastor’s prayers and went to their neighbor’s home.
Pastor Felo listened to the couple and shared about Jesus. When Basti and Haira heard about His power to transform lives, joy seeped into their hearts, and they began to trust in Jesus.
Pastor Felo continued visiting the family and praying for them. Every time he saw their tiny home with the sagging roof, sorrow filled his heart, and he prayed for God to do a miracle for them. Soon, God allowed him to be part of the answer.
A Token of Hope
The next time GFA organized a gift distribution in the area, Pastor Felo made sure Basti and Haira were included. When the couple was called up to the front, a shiny set of tin sheets stood before them. Tears welled in their eyes as they clasped the gift. Finally, they had a chance for a leak-free home!
Having a sturdy home, a dream that had previously been unthinkable, became reality. Basti and Haira reconstructed their home with bamboo poles as the walls. On top, they placed the tin sheets as the roof—a roof that would keep them dry.
The family still faces hardships, but they now have a safer place to sleep at night. Basti and Haira thank God for the gift that provided a token of hope and a chance for some stability.
“Now we have no tension,” Basti says. “My wife and children are safe in this new home, even if there is rain or wind. I had gone through a series of struggles. I am still unemployed, but now we have a hope that the Lord is with us, and He will change all our situations for our good.”
Another year came and went; another animal was purchased and sacrificed. Seamore and Seida thought they needed this sacrifice to ensure blessings on their family.
The husband and wife, residents of a rural village, cultivated rice and various other crops. To preserve their safety and prosperity—and perhaps to assuage the fear of losing a harvest—Seamore and Seida sacrificed animals in hopes their deities would bless them.
Then one day, Seamore and Seida heard a knock on their door. GFA pastor Nefen stood outside. Like other GFA pastors, Pastor Nefen saw to the needs of his community and offered people help and hope. As the pastor shared about God’s love, Seamore and Seida listened. A strange feeling washed over the pair. It was a feeling, Seamore told his wife later, he had never felt before in his life.
Pastor Nefen offered the husband and wife a New Testament. After he left, a newfound desire urged Seamore and Seida to open it, and as they read, the miracles of Jesus amazed them, further igniting their desire to learn more about God.
“I do not see any solution after following the world’s way,” Seamore said, “but if we receive the Lord, we will experience the love of God.” Seida felt the same way. She, too, wanted to leave behind the unfulfilling ways of their past, which had lacked God’s presence, and follow the Lord.
Three days later, Pastor Nefen received a call from Seamore and Seida. They wanted him to come back because they had decided to devote their lives to following the Lord. Soon, Pastor Nefen and some believers from his church visited the couple’s home. Prayers, songs and praise filled the house, and Seamore felt as if the Lord Himself had come down and inhabited their home for a brief moment.
Through Pastor Nefen’s sincere example of God’s love, Seamore and Seida now fellowship with their newfound brothers and sisters in Christ, growing daily in the knowledge of His love. They no longer need to sacrifice animals in attempts to find love and security; they live and grow in the love of God daily.
Caelan froze—it was happening again. His leg had gone stiff; he couldn’t move it. The 40-year-old man suffered from intermittent, unexplained paralysis a few times a month. Caelan didn’t know how he could live like this, nor how he could provide for his family like this.
Ordinarily, Caelan would be out working to provide for his wife, but the mysterious bouts of paralysis immobilized him. Seeking a solution, Caelen and his family sacrificed animals for relief. For seven long years, however, Calen endured frequent paralysis attacks, and he and his family sank into despair and frustration.
Then Caelan met a man who could help—GFA pastor Damani. After Caelan shared his troubles, Pastor Damani prayed for the desperate man. The pastor continued praying for Caelan for about a month until Caelan no longer faced the intermittent paralysis. It was a miracle!
Recognizing both God’s power through Caelan’s healing and His great love for them, Caelan and his family started attending Pastor Damani’s church and eventually began following Christ.
Six years after Caelan’s incredible healing, Pastor Damani had a surprise for him. The pastor had noticed how he struggled to provide for his family and sought to help. Through a GFA gift distribution, Caelan received a cow! This gift cow would help Caelan better provide for his family and meet their needs.
A few months after receiving the cow, it gave birth to a calf. Then, a few years later, another calf was born, bringing further blessing to the family. Caelan and his family could sell the milk and dung as fertilizer for income. Once bound by despair and discouragement, Caelan and his family now had hope for their future. Thanks to Caelen’s newfound health and the cows the Lord had blessed him with, he could provide for his family.
I pray you and your family have a joy-filled Christmas, and may the blessings of the Holy Trinity be with you for the New Year!
In The Chronicles of Narnia, the great Aslan tells the children that Narnia is really only a “shadow land.” As we look back … we can see so vividly that nothing here in this world, not even the mightiest nation or person on earth, is permanent. It is nothing more than a passing shadow.
Two thousand years ago, when the world-ruling empires of Rome and Persia were on the brink of fading away, the One who is the Eternal King, the Creator and ruler over all, decided to be born as a man to redeem His creation.
As followers of this True King who gave up everything so that we could be redeemed and brought back into fellowship with our Creator, we also must do all we can to never forget the untold millions who are still waiting to hear the first Christmas story. …
The same loving King is holding your tomorrow, and underneath you are His everlasting arms (see Deuteronomy 33:27)! His loving, merciful hand will guide us.
May this Christmas be a time we are reassured of His unchanging promise: He is our Immanuel—God with us.
From all of us at GFA World’s headquarters and from the national missionaries people like you have helped send to share God’s love: Merry Christmas. The stories in this newsletter are only a few of the many testimonies of workers across the world bringing the life-changing Christmas story to those who have never heard it before. Thank you for partnering with us to see lives transformed. May the Lord bless you!
Some of this material appeared on K.P. Yohannan’s blog on December 23, 2020. You can find the entire post and read more from K.P. Yohannan at https://kpyohannan.org/