The retaining wall for the new Shalom Home for Girls in Batlagundu is complete! The fund for beginning construction on the building is getting very close. Walls are built at the compounds first so as to deter wanderers and wild animals from getting in. The home the girls are in currently is a rental and not sufficient to house the number of residents. One more step in realizing the dream!
Shalom Home Update
We are pleased to welcome Kate Hennig Teece as the new President of Bethania Kids, approved by the Board of Directors at the board meeting in November 2018. Kate is the daughter of Kristie and Gene Hennig and grand-daughter of Polly and Al Hennig, co-founders of Bethania Kids. As a child, Kate folded and stuffed newsletters for Bethania Kids mailings. In high school, while spending a semester studying at Kodaikanal International School, she interacted with Bethania Kids children at Shalom Home and at our Care Centers. Kate has served for the last 13 years in various roles and has been a member of the Board for the last 5 years.
Larry Zimmerman will remain on the Board of Directors as Chairman. As Chairman, he will continue to work on the new Shalom Home project, completion of the Comprehensive Campaign, provide assistance with development and grants, and serve as a liaison between the Bethania Foundation, India Board of Trustees and the North America Board of Directors. The members of the Board of Directors extend their immense thanks to Larry for his very successful and productive leadership over the past 3 years and for his continuing service to Bethania Kids.
Meet, Eat and Donate!
Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, MN recently held an Indian dinner to raise funds for Bethania Kids and discuss a possible trip to India. Church congregation members cooked the various items for the dinner using Indian recipes. Dr. Kate Teece, one of our board members, showed a 15 minute video and talked about Bethania Kids and our homes, care centers and programming. Your church could do this as well! Contact us and maybe a board member, major donor of staff member can help you get started. It may be that one of them could come and help with a presentation.
From the Rockies to Rajahmundry
One of our donors, Mark Lee, from Estes Park, CO, recently visited Angel Home in Rajahmundry and visited with alumni of Angel Home in Hyderabad. Mark was visiting India on business and took a side trip to meet some of our kids in person. He got quite the welcome at Angel Home and was thrilled to be there.
Cilpajodi and Dholdholi Care Centers: Building Continues
Our new Care Centers in Cilpajodi and Dholdholi are getting closer to completion. Walls are almost finished and the activity continues. We are so grateful for the donors who have made these projects possible. A labor of love all around!
Dr Gnanakan and the children and staff at Cilpajodi in front of their new Care Center!
Women in Cilpajodi hard at work on the Care Center. These women clean out the building debris and remove the excess materials in baskets they carry on their heads.
Windows and doors are starting to be installed.
Great things are happening in Odisha!
Our two ministries in Odisha at Cilpajodi and Dholdholi have been using temporary space for their child care and community outreach centers. Through the generosity of our founding families, we were able to fully fund two new care centers. These two exciting projects are in the works now. The community has fully embraced these projects and the adults in the community are all taking part in the construction, much of which is done by hand. We are so thankful for this partnership and how the residents in Odisha have embraced Bethania and the programs and ministry we are sharing. Joined together by the love of the children and the promise of new hope in the future!
Here are some photos of the ongoing projects.
Check out Alan Lull’s most recent trip to Bethania Kids!
Read about Alan’s most recent mission trip with a group from St John’s Lutheran Church in West Bend, Wisconsin. Share in their thoughts and experiences at http://www.stjohnswestbend.org/church/india-mission-trip/
Join Us On Our January 2016 Mission Trip To India
Upcoming Mission Trip
Dia DeHaan will be leading a team to India on/around December 28, 2015 – January 6, 2016 to spend one-on-one time with the children at our homes and centers (exact locations TBD). If you would like to know more about this trip and/or want to join this team on a life changing experience, please contact Dia at email@example.com by October 1, 2015.
The Children Give Thanks
As we approach Thanksgiving, we asked all 47 children in one of our After School Care Centers what they are especially thankful for this year. Their answers are sincere and quite moving…
Abiya – “My father and mother were separated, but they reunited.”
Agila – “My father got healed after an insect bite.”
Alwin – “My family is building a new house.”
Anburaja – “My father was met with an accident twice, but now he has healed and has started working again.”
Angel Pavithra – “My father reduced his drinking.”
Anis Amirtha – “We do not own a house, but my grandfather just gave us a piece of land. We are praying to build a house.”
Anupriya – “My brother got a new job.”
Arockiam – “My father and mother were separated, but now they are united.”
Asha – “My father was an alcoholic and now he has stopped drinking.”
Ashwin – “My father and mother were separated, but now they are united.”
Banupriya – “My uncle gave me a new bike.”
Blessy – “My grandparents got a free grinder from the government.”
Bose – “My family is building a new house.”
Catherin – “We bought a cow.”
Christopher – “My brothers were in a fight and got wounded badly, but the Lord healed their wounds.”
Daniel – “My father bought a new motor bike.”
David – “At school, the teachers are happy with me.”
Evangelin – “There is peace between my father and mother.”
Indira – “Performance in my English has improved.”
Jenitha and Jensi – “Our father’s petty shop business has improved.”
Jeyanthi – “The government built a house for my family.”
Johnes – “My father gave me a play scooty.”
Kevin – “My mother healed from a stomach ulcer.”
Michael – “I used to be alone. But now I am happy and I like to talk to others.”
Mukesh R – “My father got injured while cutting wood. Now he is healed.”
Mukesh S – “My mother healed from a fever.”
Murali – “I improved my academic performance.”
Nivetha S – “I prayed for my father’s drinking habits and there is considerable improvement.”
Nivetha A – “There is happiness in my family.”
Praveena – “The government built a house for my family.”
Princiya – “I have considerably improved my studies.”
Rajesh – “My brother got a job.”
Ramya – “The economic condition of my family improved.”
Sackthimarimuttu – “My parents were separated for three years, but now they are back together.”
Sackthisubramani – “My sister had baldness on her head, but now there is considerable improvement.”
Saipriya – “My baby brother was born.”
Sanjai – “My father fell down in a pitand his face was injured very badly. The doctor advised plastic surgery, but by God’s grace he is healing without plastic surgery.”
Selvi – “My mother finally got a job after a very long time.”
Simon – “My family got help from an NGO and now the economic condition of the family has improved.”
Subha – “My sister (Suja) had a cyst in her neck. They suspected cancer, but it turned out to be a benign cyst and now she is happy.”
Suja – “I had a cyst in my neck. They suspected cancer, but it turned out to be a benign cyst.”
Utthiriyamary – “I improved in my academic performance.”
Varshini – “My sister got high scores in her government exam.”
Veni – “My father had a heart attack, but his health is better.”
Veronica – “After my sister’s demise my family was in a very sad condition. But now, we are feeling better.”
All the children in the After School Care Center send their deep appreciation and gratitude to you and all their supporters. Thanks to you, Bethania Kids has been able to provide all these children with a hopeful and bright future. Thank You and we pray you have a blessed Thanksgiving!
My Religion was Basketball
We welcome the new president of Bethania Kids – Ravi Srinivasan!
A special thanks to Todd Heidelberger, who after five fruitful and blessed years ended his term as president of Bethania Kids. Ravi Srinivasan accepted the role as president of Bethania Kids in June, 2012. Below is a brief story about Ravi and his path to both Christianity and Bethania Kids.
Ravi Srinivasan’s parents were born and raised in India, but immigrated to America shortly after they got married. While Ravi was born in America, his life was a culmination of both American and Indian cultures. He grew up learning about Hinduism and frequently visiting family members in India, but at the same time, he had a love for American music, the drums, hamburgers and sports. In fact, when Ravi was asked what religion he practiced as he grew up, his answer was simply, “basketball.”
There was a defining moment in Ravi’s life that happened shortly after he graduated from college. He made a visit to India to spend time with his relatives and learn more about his cultural background. While on this trip, he visited a clothing factory and what he witnessed made a lasting impact on him. Children as young as nine years old were cutting out fabrics, sewing, and working in assembly lines. He recalls looking into their eyes and not seeing the vibrant sparkle of life which usually radiates from a child, rather there was a burdened, drab, and lifeless look about them. The moment Ravi saw those kids he told himself that if ever an opportunity arose to help children like these, he would take it.
Some years later, Ravi met a woman in India named Meena and they eventually got married. After their wedding, Meena moved to America to live with Ravi. A few years into their marriage, Ravi and Meena were filled with joy when they became pregnant with their first child. However, that joy was met with devastation when, on December 25th in Meena’s final trimester, they lost their baby.
Heart-break, anguish and utter sadness filled their hearts and lives. What was sure to be one of the happiest events of their lives turned into one of the most heart-wrenching. All they could do to cope with the pain was to try and get back to a routine. At that time, Ravi still considered basketball to be his religion, and he had been playing with some friends at a local Lutheran church on a regular basis. He continued playing with them shortly after losing their child to help occupy his mind. Ironically, it was through playing basketball at this church that Ravi found his true religion.
Although Ravi was only visiting the church to play basketball, the pastor heard about what happened to him and Meena, and he came out one evening to talk with Ravi. Ravi was struck by the kindness and empathy the pastor expressed. When the pastor asked if he could have someone talk with him and Meena, Ravi agreed. Shortly thereafter, a woman visited the Srinivasans and spent time listening to their story and sharing her own. It turned out that a similar traumatic event happened in her life. After she left, Meena and Ravi felt a huge burden lift from their hearts and decided that they would like to learn more about God. Before long, they both began attending church and they received Christ into their hearts and lives.
The Srinivasans learned of Bethania Kids through their church, and Ravi, remembering his commitment to help kids in need, became very active in the organization serving as a board member and treasurer before accepting the role of president. Ravi and Meena adopted a girl from India and later had a baby girl of their own. God has worked in beautiful ways through the Srinivasan family, and Bethania Kids is blessed to have his leadership as we nurture and equip the children of India. Also, though Ravi has put his love of Christ before all things, he still enjoys playing basketball in his spare time.