“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Gandhi

Now, that I’m stateside and still working with New Hope Initiative, I’ve taken a bigger role with our project in India. You may remember a couple of blogs (here and here) I’ve written about the project that New Hope sponsors there. I visited last October and hosted the project leader, Grace, in Nairobi this summer.

NHI sponsors the Child Blossom Center in Hyderabad, India. Also known as CBC, the center is home to 20 children with severe, mild, and moderate level of mental and physical disability. There are also a few normal, or typical, children at the center. All the needs of the children are met including food, clothing, education, medical and psychological. The children are taken care of by full-time staff some of which live on site at the center.

Grace and I are meeting via conference calls regularly to establish our working relationship and also to identify her needs as a leader. Our first action item is creating easier ways for Grace to communicate the work of CBC. We are working on a blog site for her to update regularly and tapping into social media. We are also looking for new partners to support her ministry.

If you have any interest in our special needs orphanage in India or know someone who may like to partner with us, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Below are a few recent photos from Grace.

India 10.15

India 10.15 2

India 10.15 3

India 10.15 4

My Favorite Emerging Leader

Grace helping out with the kids at New Hope Academy in Kibera

Grace helping out with the kids at New Hope Academy in Kibera

Last week we had many visitors in town, but one, in particular, was a very special visitor. Grace Sathului is the daughter of Pastor Timothy, the gentleman who leads New Hope’s India project. They operate a special needs orphanage on the outskirts of Hyderabad, India. Locally, it is called the Child Blossom Center. Sandy Baird and I saw Grace last October when we visited the orphanage and invited her to come to Kenya to visit our project here. Grace and I had a wonderful time together as I hosted her in Nairobi. She volunteered at our primary school and business project and even got to go on a Kenyan safari. She spotted 4 of the Big 5 – not a bad experience for her first time on the African continent!

Before she departed, I sat down to interview her about leadership and her current role with New Hope. She has a full-time job in Hyderabad, but leads and directs the orphanage with her family in her free time. We believe that she is one of NHI’s most promising emerging leaders.

Q: How long have you been involved with NHI and what position did you start in?

About 7 years ago, my father started taking in children with special needs and by 2005 we were a registered orphanage helping children in our city with special needs. These children were not being taken care of by their parents and/or they were abandoned. At the time, I was in college. About 5 years ago, I finished college and the Lord drew me closer to the project. I started to take more of an interest in what my father was doing at the orphanage. I started visiting the children regularly and taking more interest in the ministry to them. I have a heart for children so that makes me more attached to the orphanage.

Now, I visit the orphanage about once a week when I am off of work. I also help my father in making leadership decisions and directing the work of the project.

Q: Who has been the most influential leader in your life and why?

My brother has been the person that I have looked up to since a young age. My dad has been very influential in my life, because he taught me how to have a heart for children, be service oriented and be obedient to God and no one else. Also, Uncle Sandy (NHI Founder, Sandy Baird) has influenced me, because I’ve learned a lot from him to move the orphanage forward and grow it. The way he helps us, assists us and advises me has been a big example to me.

Q: How do you define leadership?

Leaders are supportive. That’s how things get done. Not being authoritative. Leaders also have the knowledge about what they are doing to accomplish their goals.

Q: What are your hopes and dreams for the children of the Child Blossom Center?

I want our children to have a room of their own and better medical facility. Also, better funding on emergency medical needs; better housing; better teachers and courses or material that can teach students with special needs. My dream is that each of our children would learn daily life activities, so they can do things on their own and be more self-sufficient and, ultimately, have a better quality of life. Their needs will not allow them to be totally self-sufficient, but they can learn activities to keep themselves occupied and give them a purpose for their life.

Q: Anything else you want to tell my blog readers?

I don’t know if you have interacted with children with special needs – if you have, you know how difficult it can be. It’s a challenge, but we believe that God made everyone for a purpose. There are children in India who don’t know that – we want to take care of them and tell them that and help them know they do not have to be alone.

On safari in central Kenya.

On safari in central Kenya.

Meeting some of the staff in Kibera

Meeting some of the staff in Kibera

It’s the right thing to do.

My role at New Hope Initiative (NHI) is a strategic role. NHI desires that the projects we support around the world set goals and vision for the future and work toward accomplishing those goals. By setting goals and vision, NHI projects can grow and impact more and more individuals living in poverty and for many years into the future. NHI strives to have sustainable programs that are led by well trained, competent leaders. My role with NHI is to support and encourage these strategic initiatives of setting goals and vision and training leaders. The role fits me well. I am a business, strategic thinker. I like to think hard about problems and figure out ways to solve them. I like to see people and projects grow and improve and be a part of that growth. And, I like to think how we can leverage our projects and our influence for the advancement of the gospel.

Welcome to the Child Blossom Center, a special needs orphanage sponsored by New Hope Initiative

Welcome to the Child Blossom Center, a special needs orphanage sponsored by New Hope Initiative in Hyderabad, India

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit NHI’s special needs orphanage in Hyderabad, India. God showed me how all the strategy in the world could never justify what we are doing there. Only what we read in Scripture and when we understand God’s heart for orphans can we justify why NHI supports this orphanage. These kids will never be leaders. These kids will never be pastors, teachers, influencers. They will be lucky to make it to their next birthday. Several years ago, a major donor of the orphanage pulled out and it would have been the perfect opportunity for NHI to drop the entire project. I asked Sandy Baird, Founder of NHI, why he stayed. His response was “because it’s the right thing to do.”

Sometimes as Christians, we have to make hard decisions especially when it comes to limited resources like money. Many US churches want to see the money they give make maximum impact for the gospel. And, I understand that. But sometimes, we must only look to Scripture and the heart of God and do things because they are the right thing to do. They are the things God cares about. They are the things Scripture commands of us. Even if they have absolutely no strategic value.

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
    is God in his holy habitation. Psalm 68:5

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27

The best strategic ideas will not make these kids different. But caring for them the way Jesus instructs us will make them feel loved. It will help them see there is a God that loves them just as they are and that He sent His Son to die for them so that one day they might have perfect bodies without sickness and have joy that will last forever. They can know today that though their parents have abandoned them, that their country and community have rejected them, they have a Father in heaven who accepts them and who has adopted them into His eternal family.

The majority of the kids in the orphanage are severely disabled or have significant specials needs. There are also several "typical" children who live there.

The majority of the kids in the orphanage are severely disabled or have significant specials needs. There are also several “typical” children who live there.

Doing crafts with the kids!

Doing crafts with the kids!

Leadership Training for the staff and church leaders.

Leadership Training for the staff and church leaders.