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Breaking the Bonds of Poverty
-one child at a time

“Jesus, standing at one end of the Temple courtyard, called out, ‘If anyone is thirsty, come over here to me and I will satisfy your thirst. If anyone believes who I am, from your own soul shall flow out rivers of life-giving water, just as the Scriptures say.’ By this, He meant that the power of the Holy Spirit would flow into a person’s soul and flow out in blessings to others.” John 7: 37-39 Clear Word

If there was ever a thirsty, needy people, it would be the people we have been reaching out to this week. They are seeking help, relief and hope. Around our table at supper tonight, we were discussing that as long as these people stay well, are not impacted by crime and greed, and have food and water, they are surviving. Take away their health thru disease, illness or injury, their medical options are few. If there is major crime, such as a theft, murder, rape, or kidnapping, the law often fails to defend them. Take away their cup of rice a day and they starve. Their survival runs on a razor-thin edge.

Poverty is like a yoke that is hard to break free from. One of the most effective ways of breaking the cycle of poverty is to encourage parents to enroll their children in a boarding school at a young age, before they are indoctrinated with the self-defeating philosophies of poverty. Many parents are willing, wanting more for their children.

As of this year, 207 children attend the Fjarli Academy of Seventh-day Adventists. They are mostly between grades kindergarten to 5th grade, as it is the desire of the principal to bring children in while they are still moldable. It is amazingly inexpensive to support a child in this school. As little as $30 per month will keep the child in school, provide a uniform and clothing, medical care and plenty of food. Willing sponsors, enabled by groups like Asian Aid USA,  http://www.asianaidusa.org ,  and Adventist Child India,  http://www.acichild.com, are working directly with Fjarli Academy, beginning the process of breaking the cycle of poverty, one child at a time.

While the Fjarli Academy needs donations to enable them to continue the development of a school that will someday house around 800 students up to 10th grade, the children who attend the school today need sponsors to enable them to grow up in this environment where they have all the food they can eat, medical care, protection, and an education that will ultimately provide skills that will enable them to move out of the villages, find higher paid employment or establish successful businesses and farms.

Sponsoring a child communicates to these children that someone cares for them and is interested in their success. Most members of the mission team from Grass Valley have chosen to sponsor 1 or more children, often wishing they could do more for the children they are sponsoring. They took advantage of the unique opportunity to meet the children they are sponsoring, with pictures taken together that will be cherished.

There is a donor that has enabled these 200 children to begin school this year, committing funds for one year of education. During this year, sponsors must be found that will commit to a year or more of these children’s education. We have a unique opportunity to provide an Adventist education in an environment that provides well for these children’s needs as they grow and develop, learning to serve Jesus and one another.

Sponsoring Results in Multiplication, Not Addition

The school principal, an industrious math, chemistry and physics teacher was himself sponsored all the way through school. The AsianAid representative who came to discuss sponsorships with us was dropped off at one of our Adventist orphanages by his pastor, when he was very young. These men are examples of something more than merely rescuing a child from poverty. These men are using the education they have received and are multiplying its value as they reinvest it in rescuing thousands more children from poverty. They are providing them with an education and a religion that will enable them to grow and become far more useful to society and God's kingdom than their brothers and sisters who are now at home, working as farm laborers for $1-2 a day.


The two boys in the above picture just arrived at the school the day before our group arrived from Grass Valley. They have 2 brothers and 1 sister ages 18-21. These two children were born to their parents late in life. Two years ago their mother died of lung cancer. So the 3 1/2 year old boy only knew his mother for 1 1/2 years before she died, most of which she was probably sick.

We've watched these two boys settle in over the time we've been here. They are both adjusting to life at school, but the younger, initially responding like a fearful, young animal caught wild in the jungle. Within a few days, he seems to be wanting to bond with the principal and his wife, calling them 'mommy' and 'daddy.' But as yet, no one has been able to talk him into allowing them to cut his curls. When asked, he shakes his head strongly.

Keith and I chose to sponsor these two brothers, along with two sisters who are doing well in school, with the hope that they can stay together, as much as possible, as they go through school.
           Scott and Margo Reiner chose to sponsor 4 girls, as girls are less likely to obtain an education and get sponsorship. Diane Chang chose 2 children from the photographs on table. Later she discovered that Lauren had chosen 2 children, also. While helping with Vacation Bible School, Alex had bonded to a little boy that he wanted to sponsor, thus their family grew by 5. Tim and Betty chose a pretty young girl to sponsor, spending time talking to her and getting pictures taken with her so each can remember the other.
          We had a unique opportunity to meet and become acquainted with the children we are sponsoring, even do a little bonding. This was an opportunity we did not want to let pass. I believe almost everyone chose to sponsor at least one child. Vanish said that we sponsored a total of 30 children, averaging 1 sponsored child for each GV team member. That's the highest sponsorship rate that he'd ever seen a group do. He was very pleased.


On Friday afternoon, it warmed my heart to watch the older girls combing and braiding the hair of the younger, and watch young boys come to the aid of the smaller, more fragile children. Sabbath morning, I peeked my head in on their Sabbath School to find it completely led by the older children with adults there for support. About 8 children sat across the front, with one girl reading the lesson at the moment I looked in. It was inspiring to see that they are developing the children to be responsible leaders in their churches and communities someday.


Please consider sponsoring a child and enlarge the band of people who are proactively seeking to break the long-held bonds of poverty in India.

To sponsor a child at Fjarli Academy of Seventh-day Adventists, go to the websites of the following:

Asian Aid USA,  http://www.asianaidusa.org

Adventist Child India, 

The Fjarli Academy of Seventh-day Adventists
Development Plan