Many communities in Asia have toiled hard for generations simply to survive. Men and women haven’t had the privilege of pursuing an education themselves, and they are helpless to give one to their children.
But God loves these children deeply, and He is working in part through Gospel for Asia’s Bridge of Hope Program to give them a chance for a better future.
Bridge of Hope gives more than 75,000 needy children a daily meal and regular medical checkups for their physical health and development. It helps the children with their education so they can one day get a good job and afford sufficient food, decent clothing, necessary medicines and other necessities of life for themselves and for their families. Beyond this, Bridge of Hope provides the children with opportunities to pursue and even excel in their God-given skills and interests.
Bridge of Hope staff members are the light of Christ to the students and their families. They maintain relationships with the parents and pray for them, offer them counsel and, ultimately, give them hope.
Through Bridge of Hope, God is enabling these children to become all they possibly can be, so they can one day be a blessing to many others throughout Asia.
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Read the following stories to learn the difference your sponsorship can make:
A beggar woman stood with a child in her arms, asking for something to eat.
"Why are you exploiting this girl?!" the man in front of her charged.
He, a cook for a Gospel for Asia-supported Bridge of Hope centre, knew many beggars carry small children to entice larger handouts. They use this tactic only to pocket most of the money for themselves.
But to his surprise, the elderly woman broke down in tears and began pouring out her heart.
Child Abandoned by Her Parents
The child in her arms was her granddaughter, Daya. The little girl was once happy, but strife tore her family apart.
Daya's father began to beat her mother badly. He had no love for his wife, and neither parent had any love for Daya.
It wasn't long before he abandoned the family and married another woman. Sadly, even Daya's mother deserted her, so her grandmother was the only one left to care for the abandoned girl.
With no income, they began begging at bus stops, train stations and shops. Now, they stood eye to eye with a cook who was hesitant to give a handout to another adult he thought was exploiting a helpless child.
The cook was moved with compassion when he saw truth welling up in the eyes of the grandmother. He invited her to enroll Daya in the Bridge of Hope centre, where he could cook the young girl meals for many years to come.
Daya joined the Bridge of Hope centre wedged between a railway station and a slum. Even there, she stuck out as the poorest of the poor. Having lived much of her life in the slums, she knew little of hygiene and came to class in the same dirty clothes each day. On the rare occasion when she did bathe, she didn't use soap.
New Student Faces Opposition
Although Daya was opposed for knowing little about hygiene, the staff committed themselves to her growth in the Lord and in practical matters like cleanliness.
Some parents began pressuring the Bridge of Hope staff to drop Daya from the program. They didn't want this dirty child around their sons and daughters.
They even threatened to remove their children from the centre if she didn't leave.
Daya's future hung in the balance. If rejected from the Bridge of Hope centre, she would return to the streets as one of the hundreds of thousands of child beggars in Asia. At some point, she would likely join the 20 to 30 million other boys and girls there who are exploited as child laborers.
With only her grandmother to protect her from predators in the slums, she would be at risk of becoming one of the millions of children abused as prostitutes. Worse yet, if her grandmother died, all hope would be lost for her future.
But even if Daya did escape these evils, where else would she learn about Jesus?
Cook and Bridge of Hope Staff Remain Committed
Because the staff knew God had brought Daya to them, they made the decision to keep her in the program—no matter what the consequences would be.
The staff members tackled her hygiene problem head-on. They scrubbed the 8-year-old down and gave her new clothes; by the time they were finished, she was almost unrecognizable. The staff continued to teach her and her classmates proper hygiene, along with other practical life skills.
Six Years of Compassion
Daya, now 15 years old, knows the Lord and has escaped the social evils that plague many young girls in Asia.
It's been more than six years since Daya joined the Bridge of Hope centre. Today, Daya wears the beautiful dresses she and the other girls are given as their uniforms.
She's not begging on the streets. She's not in bonded labour. She's not enslaved in a brothel. She's not helpless.
Daya has hope for her future. With the education she receives at the Bridge of Hope centre, she has done well academically and wants to become a teacher.
But most importantly, today, Daya knows Jesus.
Bridge of Hope Changes Communities
Gospel for Asia’s Bridge of Hope Program changes entire communities, not just students. The care given to the children and their families brings many to an understanding of the Saviour's love for them.
Daya's grandmother has seen the kindness shown to her granddaughter, and now they both live in God's love.
More than 75,000 children like Daya have the opportunity to hear about Christ through Bridge of Hope centres, but millions of others still live in despair. Reach into their world by sponsoring a child.
An illiterate man came with a strange request to a Gospel for Asia-supported Bridge of Hope center:
Would the staff there send the “medical doctor named Jesus” to help his sick wife? He was dead serious and quite desperate in his pleading.
Here is the story: In a Bridge of Hope centre, a first-grader named Nibun was not only getting a normal education in mathematics, reading and writing, but he was also learning about Jesus. He listened closely as his teachers talked about this Man healing the sick, delivering people from evil spirits and feeding the hungry.
Nibun’s home was a mud hut where he lived with his parents. Like other poor families, they didn’t have the luxury of going to a hospital when they were sick; it was simply too expensive and most doctors were several miles away. Five or ten miles may not seem like much while riding in a car or a bus, but it’s a long distance to travel on a dirt path through the woods, especially when sick.
Nibun’s mother had been very ill. His father did everything he could and even cried out to all his gods for help. But she continued to get worse, and soon her situation became critical. That’s when Nibun told his father about the amazing things Jesus did. And this man thought there must be a medical doctor named Jesus at the Bridge of Hope centre.
In response to his request, two Gospel for Asia-supported workers went to extend whatever help they could. They talked with the family about Jesus and explained His love, sacrifice and power to heal. Finally, they laid hands on the woman and prayed that God would heal her.
Just as we read in the Word of God, the Lord in His mercy did just that. The news spread like wildfire throughout the small village. Through seeing God perform this miracle, several others came to know the Lord.
The following week, more families placed their faith in Jesus.
Those families are now attending a local church, where they are growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Many lives have been transformed because a little boy named Nibun heard that Jesus could heal—and he believed it.