Asia is home to millions of people who are entrenched in generations of poverty. Many families live hand to mouth, which leaves few opportunities for them to improve their financial situation or offer their children any other future.
Many of these people have very low social status, which leads to discrimination, degradation and shame. Other groups that face similar rejection include widows, single mothers and people suffering from leprosy.
It is among precious people like these that GFA-supported workers are ministering. Through your gift from GFA’s Christmas Gift Catalog, the outcast, poor and rejected are receiving practical assistance and a demonstration of God’s deep love. A simple poverty-alleviating gift can enable a family to rise out of the trenches of destitution and hopelessness—just like it did for Tavleen.
Tavleen had lived a difficult life in a small, unfinished house with her husband, Bhavin, and two young children. Bhavin was the sole breadwinner for the family, and although money was scarce, they managed to provide scanty meals for their children.
Then one day, Bhavin had a heart attack and collapsed. He was gone. The family’s financial situation was already precarious, and the death of Tavleen’s husband brought further devastation.
Tavleen, at 55 years old, quickly stepped into the role of provider, but the cleaning jobs she found couldn’t fully support her family. Her seventh-grade son realized their desperate situation and decided to drop out of school to work as a daily laborer. Soon his younger sister followed his example and began taking care of the home instead of going to school.
For two years, Tavleen’s family struggled alone. They sought their many gods and goddesses, but no help came—until the God they did not know brought a stranger to Tavleen’s doorstep.
Pastor Chintan, a GFA-supported pastor in Tavleen’s village, happened to visit her home while he was meeting families in the community. Although many people in Asia believe widows carry a curse that caused their husbands’ deaths, Pastor Chintan understood how much God loves widows. Pastor Chintan couldn’t solve Tavleen’s financial problems, but he gave her what he did have to give: the knowledge of Someone who could carry her burdens and give her hope.
Later, on International Widows Day, Pastor Chintan honored the hurting widows in his community by organizing a gift distribution. By distributing gifts like those in GFA’s Christmas Gift Catalog, he could bless widows with income-generating gifts—something he couldn’t have done on his own.
The plight of Tavleen’s family was etched in Pastor Chintan’s mind, so he arranged for Tavleen to receive a water buffalo, knowing it would provide nutritious milk for her and her children to sell and drink.
Tears ran down Tavleen’s face when she joyfully received her water buffalo. The generosity of the Church touched her heart and filled her with excitement for the future—this gift would completely transform her family!
Tavish’s father died when he was just a small boy. His death not only created a hole in their family unit, but it plunged them into a state of financial crisis. Young Tavish and his mother cultivated the land they owned, leaving the boy with no opportunity to go to school. Their survival was dependent on his toil—his situation mirrored that of more than 200 million children worldwide who are involved in labor.1 Much of Tavish’s childhood consisted of trying to make ends meet, but he came up dry. Sometimes crops didn’t produce enough, and this caused one financial tragedy after another.
When Tavish grew older, he married, and he and his wife were blessed with two children. Tavish continued to labor in fields around his village with barely anything to show for his backbreaking work. It was as if all his efforts were one single drop in the midst of a vast ocean of needs and wants.
Though Tavish was doing all he could, working multiple jobs, he felt helpless to provide for his family and mother. He never gained ground on their desperate poverty. He was then faced with a difficult decision: Stay in their village and watch his family starve, or deprive his children of education and a stable home to keep them alive.
Tavish and his family, like many in his region, traveled to a neighboring country to live and work for six months out of the year in sugarcane fields. The conditions were primitive—no toilet facilities, no home, no privacy and no school. The future for his children looked as bleak as his own childhood. The toil of poverty slowly stole away Tavish and his family’s peace and joy.
It was during the off months of the sugarcane fields that Tavish encountered a glimmer of hope through a message of peace. GFA pastor Naimish visited Tavish and his family one day to ask if they needed prayer and to offer encouraging words. Tavish shared his life story, marked by poverty and hardship, with the man of God.
Pastor Naimish could see the family was burdened by the weight of survival. He shared with them about the One who gives hope and new life to weary souls. Tavish and his family felt truth penetrate their hearts.
Faith in Jesus began to anchor the family, while a hopeful future stretched before them. A peace that poverty had stolen swooshed in as new life began to change Tavish and his family. The God who clothes lilies and keeps His eyes on the sparrow was taking care of this family, and they started trusting Him to provide in their lack.
The following year, Tavish was invited by Pastor Naimish to attend a GFA Christmas gift distribution program. Through the love and care of people across the globe who had provided gifts through GFA’s Christmas Gift Catalog, Tavish and his family received a cow.
As the cow grew, the family’s joy grew along with it. It was providing more than four liters of milk a day, and they were able to make and sell ghee, a type of butter, each month. The profit they made from this liberated them from the harsh conditions of poverty.
Because of this, Tavish’s children were able to get a consistent education. Their future not only blossomed full of new life, but their new source of income also paved the way to escape poverty through education.
The family’s joy doubled as their cow gave birth to a calf, and the income from these two cows relieved burdens the family carried for many years.
“We came to know the true love of Jesus in our lives,” Tavish said. “He has removed all our burdens and sorrows.”