It really is amazing how God works to extend his kingdom and uplift his people. In the spring of 2009 Pastor Alan Stephens arrived back in Belfast from a speaking trip to the New India Bible Church annual convention hosted by the New India Evangelistic Association in Paippad. While there he had enjoyed fellowship with Dr Jaison Thomas and his wife Jessy who had established a relationship with Dunmurry Church of God during the time they had spent studying in Belfast Bible College a few years before. Jaison Thomas is now the Principal of the New India Bible Seminary at Paippad.
Pastor Alan witnessed at first hand the tremedous kingdom work that NIEA is doing to promote the gospel message and reach the unreached people across south east Asia under the directorship of Dr Alexander Philip.
Part of this work includes providing care for around 900 orphaned and destitiute children in 20 different orphanages across India. Pastor Alan visited one of these, the Boys Haven, at Paippad.
Pastor Alan presented a report to the church about the NIEA vision, their work, the Bible Seminary and the Boys Haven. God used this report to touch and challenge a number of hearts in the church congregation that day and a spark ignited a new challenge in the mission field to work with the boys in the Paippad orphanage.
Fast forward 10 months and some hardy souls are cycling round the Ards Penninsula and walking over the Mourne Mountains to raise funds for a trip to Paippad in February 2010. Along with a small team of 3 (Billy, David and Eamonn) accompanying Pastor Alan, a fully equipped soccer school is being transported from Belfast to Paippad for a week of outreach to the 88 boys at the orphanage.
Paippad, Kerala - February 2010
Paippad is village located in the south west Indian state of Kerala, about 3 hours south of the city of Kochin, near the towns of Thiruvalla and Kottayam.
The team arrived in mid February to work with the boys delivering the soccer programme and holding bible lessons, teaching them some english along the way. It was also an opportunity to fellowship with the Bible Seminary students and staff as they celebrated their graduation week and witness the annual NIEA convention that is held alongside in the Seminary campus.
The reaction of the boys in the orphange to the arrival of the soccer equipment had to be seen to be believed and took the team somewhat by surprise. The boy's excitement levels were running at fever pitch for the first few days but everyone settled down after that and the team had a fabulous time playing football and witnessing to the boys. From the start the team were touched by the hospitality and christian love shown by the NIEA hosts and the boys. Even though they do not have much themselves, everything they had was willingly shared.
Click here to read more about the mission work of the NIEA in southern Asia.
"Every time I come to India I get a much-needed shock treatment. I realize how spoiled I am. I repent for whining and complaining about stupid material things that don’t matter. After only a day here, I suddenly sense a new gratitude for running water, flush toilets, hot showers, a comfortable bed, reliable electricity and paved roads."
Extract from article in Charisma News. The author, J. Lee Grady, is the former editor of Charisma and the director of The Mordecai Project.
3 Orphans at the Boys Haven, Paippad June 2011