“Do you want to hear my story?” Trilok Pradhan posed his question as we sat around a fire on a cold January night in Kathmandu, Nepal. Golden firelight flickered softly in his fatherly eyes as he began telling me an amazing story of love and redemption—one I will never forget!
Trilok’s father, a wealthy Indian communist leader who owned a construction company, became a Christian around the time Trilok was born. Tragically, he passed away two years later, leaving his family with no support, forcing Trilok’s illiterate mother to gradually sell all their possessions to survive. When that money ran out, Trilok’s mother didn’t know what to do. To make matters worse, they were persecuted by the Hindu majority living around them. Desperate, she decided her only option was to send Trilok and his younger brother to an orphanage.
The orphanage barely met Trilok’s basic physical needs; even less his emotional and social needs (no orphanage can). Trilok received little love from his caretakers, but instead was made to work long hours, leaving no time for play. He only saw his mother once a year. Trilok soon learned to steal and cheat to meet his needs. He even made hidden pockets in his jacket to hide the fruits and vegetables he stole from local gardens.
The one good thing in Trilok’s life was his best friend Deepa, an intelligent and pretty girl who also lived at the orphanage. Deepa helped Trilok through school by translating their lessons into story form so that he could understand and remember them. Their relationship was the stuff of a good book: “Two childhood best friends fall in love after graduating school, marry, and give birth to two beautiful daughters.”
Then came a major crisis for the young family: War broke out with neighboring Pakistan, and the Indian army came looking for men like Trilok to send to the front. So he and his family fled to Nepal and settled in Kathmandu, the capital city.
There, in the safety of Nepal, a strong desire awakened in Trilok and Deepa to help other children avoid the same orphanage life they had suffered. So after much prayer they began looking for an orphan who needed their help.
Soon, they learned of four malnourished children, each of whom had lost one parent and were being neglected and abused by the other. One boy, having been repeatedly tied to a tree and beaten by his stepmother, was covered with sores. He didn’t speak a word for three months after arriving at their home. One girl had been raped by her drunken father.
Trilok and Deepa poured all their love and patience into their hearts, thus beginning the children’s slow physical and emotional healing. A few years later they added two orphaned siblings to their family.
As I listened, I couldn’t help but be amazed by the love and warmth they all shared with each other—and with me, their guest. The rest of Trilok’s family was also listening to his story again that frigid night as we all huddled around the fire—a testimony that has become a personal love story for each of them, too. If I hadn’t known, I would have been unable to distinguish between Trilok’s biological and foster children—he and Deepa don’t.
Despite their difficult childhoods, Trilok and Deepa know their suffering helped form the compassionate hearts they needed to rescue and care for the six children who’ve become inseparably part of their family. I’m inspired by their example, and I’m so thankful that Orphan’s Tear Ministry, through our ongoing support, has become a part of their love story.