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July 2015

Kanak stood on the platform with a microphone to his lips, talking to a crowd of villagers sitting in red plastic chairs underneath the shade of a makeshift tent. They had been waiting for this day. These were men, women and their children who desperately needed help. Kanak closed his eyes and prayed into the mic for them. Today would mark the first day of their changed lives.

July 2015

A Heart Burdened for His People

Lives Full of Struggles

The people were poor. They fell far below the poverty line. And the Gospel for Asia pastor ached for them.

Every day Kanak saw men walk into the nearby forest to cut and collect firewood to sell. He saw mothers, with infants strapped to their sides and bundles of firewood balanced on their heads, begin the miles-long trek to the market. He saw other women selling bottles of “country liquor” (rice beer) so they could earn a little money to support their families. He also saw men wasting their precious income to drink bottle after bottle of that country liquor.

The people didn’t have clean water. They used the nearby river and pond to bathe in, to wash their livestock and dirty dishes in, and to drink from. They didn’t know this water they consumed was the source of many of their sicknesses. But they couldn’t afford medical treatment, so they resorted to superstitious “remedies”—practices that left them worse off than before.

A Heart Burdened for His People

The people lived in a village with no electricity. Electric poles stood by the roadsides without wires and useless, leaving the village in darkness after dusk. Children studied by the flame of a kerosene lamp—that is, if they studied at all.

The people lacked education. Most parents saw no value in their children learning how to read or write because they themselves never went to school.

“When I see the condition of [these] people, their poverty, . . . it hurts me,” Kanak said. “It pains me to see them suffering. I wish I could bring changes in their lives.”

Slowly, Kanak has.

Gifts That Change Lives

A Heart Burdened for His People

Watch a video of Pastor Kanak.

Gifts That Change Lives

During the 14 years Pastor Kanak has been ministering in this village, he’s been able to provide gifts—Christmas gifts—to meet many people’s needs. He spends time with the villagers and becomes acquainted with their struggles, assessing what gifts would help them the most and show them Jesus’ love.

He’s given men and women cows, water buffalo, goats and piglets to help them earn more income. He’s provided bicycles to help people transport firewood to the market, saving them long, strenuous hours on foot. He’s supplied hardworking farmers with water pumps to irrigate and cultivate their land, helping yield a more abundant harvest.

These simple gifts bring changes. One did for Madhul.

A Heart Burdened for His People

Cow Alleviates Financial Strain

Madhul’s husband worked, but he wasted his income on alcohol. With children to feed and educate, Madhul had difficulties providing. In 2006, Pastor Kanak held a Christmas gift program that helped Madhul buy a cow to stabilize her financial situation.

The cow produced milk, and it even gave birth to five calves. Through the milk and the money she earned selling the calves, Madhul was able to take care of her children. She used her earnings to help construct a new house for her family.

“The cow has been a great blessing to me and my family,” she says. “Today my financial condition is far better, and I am less stressed because of the profit I am making selling the milk and the cows.”

A Heart Burdened for His People

Receiving New Futures

As Pastor Kanak calls out names, he knows these people’s suffering and poverty will soon come to an end as they experience the sweetness of Jesus Christ, like many others in his village have.

“Rajbir,” he says into the microphone.

A middle-aged man wearing a long-sleeved plaid shirt and red flip flops walks toward the platform. His gap-toothed smile brings joy to those waiting to present him with his gift: a bicycle.

A Heart Burdened for His People

The lean-framed farmer will no longer have to carry vegetables on his back.

“The Lord has been so gracious to me and provided me this [gift] free of cost,” Rajbir says. “I am so happy. Now I can carry all my vegetables from my garden to the market on this bicycle. I will be able to carry more. … I also will be able to take my children to school on this bicycle.”

Kanak sees a new future with every person who receives a gift—and his ache for these villagers eases just a little bit more.

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A Heart Burdened for His People

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