ONE OF THE WOMEN TOUCHED BY GFA-SUPPORTED TEAMS' HELP-AND-HOPE VISITS SPEAKS OF HER 'BEAUTIFUL HOUSE' MADE POSSIBLE BY SIMPLE DONATION
The message of God’s sheltering love for the destitute and disenfranchised was spelled out practically with tin sheets and umbrellas when GFA-supported (Gospel for Asia) teams reached out to some of India’s many forgotten women.
The materials to help roof huts to provide safety in storms and supplies to enable recipients to venture out during torrential rain in search of work were among the items distributed as the GFA-supported workers visited impoverished communities across the country to mark International Widows’ Day (IWD).
In many parts of Asia, when a woman loses her husband, she also loses any social standing she may have had. Many are left homeless and without any source of income to care for their families. shunned and forced to beg. Some are driven to suicide, while many people even fear crossing the path of a widow, believing that to do so will bring misfortune to them also.
In the light of such widespread disregard, GFA-supported workers set out to bring a message of hope and encouragement, inviting groups of widows to special events where they were celebrated, told how much value they had, and were given food, clothing, and other items.
Among the gifts were goats and piglets, sewing machines and handcarts to provide an ongoing source of income. Participants also received bed sheets and items for personal hygiene.
“Jesus told us to care for the widows and orphans in their distress. Through these simple gifts, we wanted to show his love and concern for those who have been overlooked by encouraging these precious widows and providing for some of their needs,” said Dr. K.P. Yohannan, GFA founder and director. “They can find shelter in him.”
One 60-year-old widow expressed appreciation for the bundles of tin sheets she was given. “Now I can erect a beautiful house,” she said. “I am so grateful for the care and concern shown to poor and destitute widows like me.”
Another told how the materials would enable her to make a better home for herself and her three children. Having been bereaved and suffering from leprosy, she and her children had been sent away from her village and left to survive in a small bamboo hut. “Now I can make a good house,” she said. “I thank God for this wonderful work in my life.”
Elsewhere, a 79-year-old woman who has foraged in the forest to find shoots and herbs to sell in the local market for the 16 years she has been widowed was given an umbrella. “I am so thankful,” she said. “In this rainy season I find it very difficult to go in search of herbs. But today I am happy to have received an umbrella.”
The IWD program was part of GFA-supported workers’ ongoing ministry among some of Asia’s estimated 57 million widows. Workers regularly supply income-generating resources, and food and clothing, and tell of God’s love for all people.
“No one is forgotten by God,” said Yohannan. “He loves every man, woman, and child, and we will continue to share this message with those who have been ignored for too long.”
PHOTO CUTLINE: GFA-supported teams distributed tin sheets to help provide shelter for needy families as part of an International Widows’ Day program aimed at some of the many women left in desperate need after losing their husband.
GFA (Gospel for Asia) has – for more than 30 years ‒ provided humanitarian assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially among those who have yet to hear the Good News. Last year, this included more than 75,000 sponsored children, free medical services for more than 180,000 people, 6,000 wells drilled, 11,000 water filters installed, Christmas presents for more than 400,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry.