Welcome to India

This blog is intended to make a country that most Westerners find to be otherworldly not so much so. We enjoy sharing our experiences, noting our observations, highlighting our impressions and otherwise recounting our adventures in India while helping our blogwatchers to be vicariously closer to this grand country. Welcome to India.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Who Changes the World? A Wealthy Heir or an Orphan?

(This post for the Rickshaw Writer is taken from the Christian Alliance for Orphans website blog in early 2014 - what this means for CCH children is their future is potentially limitless!):  
Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, David and Goliath, carries a fascinating section that reveals a remarkable reality: statistics strongly suggest that orphans are much more likely than the general population to become world changers.
Gladwell describes how in the early 1960s, a psychologist named Marvin Eisenstadt began a project interviewing top “creatives” – innovators, artists, and entrepreneurs. Eisenstadt was struck by an unexpected trend: a surprising portion of these creatives had lost at least one parent in childhood.
Others had noticed this seeming quirk of history, too. A decade prior, a historian had noted in a study of famous scientists that a large percentage had been orphaned as children.   Another study that looked at the lives of famous writers and poets found the same – that more than half had lost at least one parent by age fifteen.
Eisenstadt decided to wade deeper. He took out that year’s Encyclopedia Britannica and Encyclopedia Americana and made a list of every person whose life had earned more than one column in either encyclopedia. From there, he dug deep into the crevices of history to learn about each. The result was remarkable – more than one third of these world-shapers had lost one or both parents by age fifteen
At about the same time, another historian named Lucille Iremonger was studying England’s prime ministers in the era from 1800 to World War II.   She was looking for patterns and qualities common among those who would rise to lead the nation. Yet something she hadn’t expected “occurred so frequently that I began to wonder whether it was not of more than passing significance.” A full 67 percent of Prime Ministers during this time period had lost at least one parent by age 15. This rate of orphanhood was roughly double that of other members of the British upper class in that same timeframe!
As Gladwell is quick to point out, experiencing the loss of parents isn’t “good” for children. Far too often, it is devastating. Like Prime Ministers, prisoners also are far more likely than the general population to have lost a parent in childhood, between two and three times as much.
But we can conclude this: orphaned children who do escape the tragic statistics facing orphans – often thanks to the love and help of just one or a few caring adults – are far more likely than other children to become world-changers.
Why? No one knows for sure. But careful observation of human nature teaches that, as much as we all do everything we can to avoid it, hardship refines and strengthens character. Yes, it can do the opposite – perhaps more often than not. But the women and men who do come through the pain and struggle of orphanhood with hope intact emerge with a special strength.
The one or few adults that played a role in preserving that orphan’s hope – through adoption or mentoring or financial support or perhaps just a listening ear – gave a gift that may well have made the breath-taking difference between sociopath and society-shaper. In the process, they gave a gift to the entire world as well.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

201 in 2015 - A Family Update from India

Jaya is looking forward to her little sister, Rayne, arriving in April.

Matching aprons are fun!

We are anticipating a special 2015.  The theme of our year is “adding kids.”

1 to our biological family.

200 to our Covenant Children’s Homes family (making 750 total!).

201 children in 2015. 

God is faithful.

Enjoy our recent pics.

And 200 more CCH kids in 2015!

Christmas celebration banner common at festivals in India.

Laughter is a good medicine - as well as chocolate around the mouth.

One Rayne Dorothy Whiting coming right up...

Jaya loves music, worship and this worship flag from Mema and Poppa (Baird).

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ten CCH Fun Facts for the New Year

The current CCH operations staff is at 19 people, up 18 from just one in 2011!

The CEO of Microsoft is a Hyderabadi - could these CCH kids be on a similar road?

Here's the office staff for India Christian Ministries in Hyderabad.  
Sean and a translator meet with a home of boys in 2014.

In the fall of 2014, CCH hosted their first-ever fundraising events.  As the guest speakers shared, we made note of the most striking insights:

  • India Christian Ministries, CCH’s parent organization, has over 7,000 faith communities and an evangelistic presence in all 25,000 villages in the state of Andhra Pradesh:  ICM's website is here 
  • In 2015 CCH will welcome 200 more children into the fold to make a total of 750 CCH kids.  When we arrived in 2011, there were 90. 
  • CCH’s model of church orphan homes indirectly but clearly fights child trafficking and child labor in India, one of the worst places in the world for these crimes.
  • Far from an orphanage focused on survival, children’s homes like these focus on thriving through education and discipleship.
  • Sponsorship for CCH costs about $50-per-child, a little higher than World Vision or Compassion due to that all-important quality education factor, meant to stem the cycle of poverty once-and-for-all, family-by-family.
  • 2/3rds of CCH’s 550 current children are sponsored, but the rest are supported by general funds.  Our sponsorships need to grow in order to bring in the next 200 children in 2015.
  • CCH operational staff (as opposed to the caregiving pastor parents) has grown from 1 in 2011 to 19 in 2015.  Now THAT’S a job creation model!
  • The new CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, is from Hyderabad here in Andhra Pradesh!  This proves that quality education is making a difference in India...
  • $250-per-month-per-home will take care of all five children's food and educational fees, sending them to a life of hope and possibility, not mere survival.  
  • Thanks from us!