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The Come-Back Kids, March 2009

come back kids

I press
on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus
(Phil. 3:14).

Like Paul, we all have a
calling that is pulling us upward—to heaven. Our goal is the prize that awaits
us there, and so we, just like Paul, “press on.” It isn’t easy, but this is our
consuming passion.

Each month, we hope to
give you a small foretaste of what it will be like when you reach your goal to
stand before Jesus and hear His praise. The five short stories in this update each convey what you’ll hear then, namely, “Well done, good and faithful
servant.” And as you view the smiling faces of those among “the least of these”
who have been helped because of your kindness, that is also a foretaste of how
it will be in heaven when you will meet those same folks face to face. They’ll
be smiling then too.

There are many others
whom we couldn’t fit into this magazine who will be lined up to hug you in
heaven. Thank you for allowing Heaven’s Family to serve you as you serve them. And on their
behalf, thanks also. — David

The Come-Back Kids
I Was
Hungry at Work in Sri Lanka

i was hungry sri lanka
Nagarasa and Luxmy Thurairajah

Like Job of old, Sri
Lankan Christians Nagarasa and Luxmy Thurairajah must have wondered how much
worse it could get. They lost their fishing boat and nets in 2004 when the
Indian Ocean Tsunami smashed into Sri Lanka’s coast the day after Christmas.
Fellow believers in their church bought them a new boat about ten months later,
but six months after that, it was seized by rebel soldiers to use in their
fight against the Sri Lankan government. As a result, Nagarasa was suspected of
aiding those rebels by yet another rebel faction, and he was targeted for
death.

The Thurairajahs had no
choice but to flee for their lives. They finally escaped the crossfire of Sri
Lanka’s civil war by moving with their five children to India. The journey
wasn’t easy, as Luxmy couldn’t walk due to leg wounds inflicted during an Air
Force bombing raid.

Life was not much better
in the refugee camp where they lived, other than the fact that Luxmy did
receive surgery there that restored her ability to walk without pain. But the
family longed to return home one day.

That day arrived not
long ago. When their region of Sri Lanka was recently restored to calm, the
Thurairajahs returned to their village. The children were estatic to be back
home. Nagarasa, however, had no means to start a business. He found odd jobs,
but his income was barely enough to feed his family.

i was hungry sri lanka
Nagarasa with his new boat, and the whole family that includes five children: Prathaban, Urenthiran, Sadurshan, Ketheeswaran and Pawaranjini

Partnering with the
Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka, Heaven’s Family provided funds for a used fishing boat, motor
and nets for the Thurairajahs. Now, just about every day, Nagarasa brings home
fish to sell at the market that provide for his family. He is thanking God for Heaven’s
Family
.

The Bigger Picture:Through the general fund of our I
Was Hungry
division, we
regularly meet pressing needs of believers around the world.

Learn how you can help

Orissa is Burning
The
Christian Refugees Fund at Work in India

christian refueges india burned house
Standing in the rubble: A husband and wife survey the damage to their home destroyed by Hindu fanatics.

In September of last
year, fanatical Hindu mobs went on a rampage in over a thousand villages in
India’s Orissa State, attacking and killing Christians, and destroying their
homes, businesses and churches. Their stated goal is to eradicate Christianity
from all of India, starting with Orissa.

Tens of thousands of
believers, many of whom are converts from India’s lowest caste, fled into the
jungles to save their lives, and many are still living in refugee camps, afraid
to return to their villages. Over seventy new Indian martyrs are in heaven.

Kumudh Bardhan was
caught by surprise by a Hindu mob as he was working in a field, and he was
severely wounded. He was carried to his home by some people from his village.
As his wife, Laxmi, and their two children were waiting for transportation to
take him to a hospital, another Hindu mob attacked their village. All the
Christians ran for the nearby jungles to hide, but Kumudh’s family stayed in
their home since he was so severely hurt and not able to move on his own.

The mob dragged him from
his house to the village church, which they entered and vandalized. After
setting fire to the interior of the church, they came out and poured kerosene
on Kumudh. Then they burned him alive in front of his wife, daughter and son,
ignoring their cries for mercy. Once he was dead, the mob attacked them. Months
later, Laxmi’s son Tikina still had bullet fragments lodged in his thigh. He
has since received medical attention with funding from Heaven’s Family. Laxmi’s daughter Lalitha also suffered bullet
wounds in her legs.

Our primary Indian
representative who visited Orissa wrote,

The
entire family is traumatized by this incident and still after three months are
in an unconsolable state. They were at the Sunday service in which we took
part. All through the service this family was crying, crying and crying….They
have not returned to their village since this episode. They are living in a
relief camp from where they came to the church. They need some employment
opportunities through which they will earn their livelihood.

christian refugees india
Laxmi Bardhan

Partnering with
churches in Madurai, Heaven’s Family has provided funds to help Laxmi and her two children start a
tailoring business and telephone service shop whereby they can be
self-supportive, as well as funds for house rent so they can move out of the
refugee camp. Things are looking a little brighter for them now.

The Bigger Picture: Through our Christian Refugees Fund, we’ve entrusted $12,580 so far to trusted and
time-tested Christian leaders in India to meet very pressing needs of our
Indian family affected by the Orissa violence. Much more help is needed.

Learn how you can help

orissa inida christian refugees burned house persecution
Aftermath in Orissa: Surveying the damage and waiting in line for food

Portraits of Love
The
National Missionary Fund at Work in Myanmar

national missionary myanmar
Thankful for their supporting family in the U.S.: National missionaries Khamh, Ni Ni, and Nathan in Myanmar

Little churches can do
big things! One such church meets in the modest home of Rod and Jamie Auria, in
Dormont, Pennsylvania. Several years ago, during a Heaven’s Family team mission trip to Myanmar, Rod got to know a
gifted young interpreter and Bible teacher named Khamh Lian Thang. Recognizing
his potential in Christ, Rod returned home hoping to persuade the folks in his
house church to adopt Khamh as a national missionary. He succeeded.

Because of their
consistent support, Khamh has launched a missionary training college in the
most unreached state in Myanmar. His students are being trained to preach the
gospel and establish churches where there are no known Christians.

The support of the
Auria’s house church has also allowed Khamh to find a wife and marry her, a
joyful Christian named Ni Ni who is a big help to Khamh. In Myanmar, if a
newly-married couple doesn’t have a baby within a year, people think that
something might be wrong. Happily, nothing is wrong with Khamh and Ni Ni, and
they are now the proud parents of a little boy named Nathan.

national missionary mynamar house church
Proud of their humble missionaries: The Auria House Church with a beloved portrait

We know scores of other
gifted young ministers in many nations whose ministries would be even more
fruitful if someone helped them with regular financial support. For this
reason, we’ve started the National Missionary Support Program. We can link you, your home fellowship, or your
church to an effective national missionary who needs your help. You can set the
dollar amount that you would like to send each month, from $20 to $200. We will
automatically deduct the amount you choose from your bank account each month if
you live in the U.S., or you can have it automatically charged to your credit
card each month no matter where you live in the world. We will forward 100% of
what we receive to your national missionary.

Perhaps the best part of
our National Missionary Support Program is that you will receive personal monthly reports from your national
missionary in the field, in imperfect but understandable English. If you
desire, you can reply and correspond.

Most of the unreached
people of the world can only be reached by national missionaries. If you are
interested in adopting one, drop us an email at
[email protected] and we’ll work out the details with you.
You’ll share in the reward of your missionary, on earth and in heaven!

Pan Cakes Like Grace
The
Widows & Abandoned Women Fund at Work in Sri Lanka

widow sri lanka food
Widow Dissanayake Sumanawathy, with some of the Sri Lankan “pan cakes” she now sells for a living

Seven years ago
Dissanayake Sumanawathy lost her husband to suicide. One year later, her
16-year-old son attempted to kill himself by poisoning himself. He did not
succeed, however, and suffered nerve damage, making him bedridden.

Two years later some pastors
were distributing leaflets in Sumanawathy’s village advertising a healing
service at a nearby church. Sumanawathy asked them to pray for her bedridden
son. They did, and he was partially healed, to the degree that he was able to
get out of bed and move around. Having been a Buddhist all her life,
Sumanawathy was greatly touched by those pastors’ concern and Jesus’ mercy
towards her son, and she gave herself to Him. Not long after, she opened her
house to be used for church gatherings—right in the midst of a Buddhist
village. She has consequently been persecuted, and her house has been attacked
on several occasions, but she has remained faithful to the Lord now for four
years.

Only partially healed
and suffering emotionally, Sumanawathy’s oldest son is not able to work at age
22, so she must labor to take care of him and her younger son, who is 14 and in
school. She sometimes works in the rice paddy fields when work is available,
earning $3.50 per day, as well as does other odd jobs. However, with a recent
grant of $200 from the Widows & Abandoned Women Fund of Heaven’s Family,
Sumanawathy has opened a small restaurant of sorts. Every day she makes common
Sri Lankan foods which she sells for a profit. Her speciality is a Sri Lankan
breakfast food known as pan cakes, which are similar to tortillas stuffed with
scraped coconut and sugar. They are sweet, like God’s grace!

widows sri lanka
Three of the other 18 Christian Sri Lankan widows whom we’ve recently helped with small business start-up grants

The Bigger Picture: Through gifts to the Widows & Abandoned Women Fund, Heaven’s Family recently helped eighteen Christian widows in Sri
Lanka with small business startup grants.

Learn how you can help

Filter Number 15
The
Safe Water Fund at Work in East Africa

safe water east africa biosand filter
Moses Wandera and his youngest daughter, Elizabeth, beside the new biosand filter in their living room

He does not know what a
“weekend” is. Seven days a week, sunup to sundown, Moses Wandera labors under
the Kenyan sun at a farm owned by a doctor. At the end of each day he retires
to a small hut that he has erected on the farm property, to be greeted by his
wife, Jane, and their three small children. For his work, Moses earns 400
Kenyan Shillings per week, equivalent to about $5. Jane sometimes takes in
laundry for better-off neighbors, for which she earns 38 cents for a full load.
The Wanderas represent one-half of the world’s population, who live on less
than two dollars a day.

Jane draws the family’s
drinking water each day from a nearby stream. As a result, her children have
frequently been ill from waterborne diseases. But last Christmas, some local
Christians came to their house with a big, heavy blessing—a biosand water
filter from Heaven’s Family.
It now sits in their “living room” providing as much pure water as they need.
Everyone in the family has been healthier.

When we received the
photo above, we asked if there was any other way that we could help the
Wandera family. We learned that Moses wanted to own a bicycle taxi, by which he
could supplement his meager income by giving rides to paying passengers during
his off-work hours, and by which he could earn an additional $30 per month. His
ultimate hope was eventually to quit his farm job to devote all his time
pedaling a bicycle taxi, which is more profitable. So we purchased one for him
for $130, using contributions to the I Was Hungry General Fund.

The Wanderas left the
Roman Catholic Church in frustration a few years ago, and are not yet born
again. But their hearts have recently been very softened, and they now
regularly attend a house church where they are seeing God’s love in action.
Please pray for them.

The Bigger Picture: Heaven’s Family, in partnership with Thirst Relief
International, has so far manufactured and installed 120 biosand filters in the
homes of very poor families in Kenya and Rwanda. One filter costs about $50 to
manufacture in Kenya, including labor.

Learn how you can help

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Parting Shot
No
Bridge? No Problem.

myanmar parting shot
A motorcycle ferry in Myanmar