Mission in India: The Light of Hope Mission and Orphanage.
Rennie Clarke, UK director for the Light of Hope Mission and Orphanage, together with his wife, Dorothea, is returning in mid May to India to undertake a short term two week mission to take and share the love of God with some one hundred and twenty children living in the Light of Hope Orphanage and to proclaim God’s love to the surrounding village of some twenty eight thousand people.
“Little did we realise when we answered God’s call last year what that trip would mean, then or now, practically or spiritually”, says Rennie with a grin, “but God’s directions and purposes are not to be negotiated, just obeyed!”
The Main Highway South from Cochin International Airport to the Mission Station in Cheppad
The Light of Hope Mission Station opened in 1981 but it was many years later before the Christian Orphanage was established in Cheppad, Kerala State. The founding father, and current director of the Mission, was Pappy Daniel who gave up a career in education to serve a desperately needy people. Over the years, he has built up a team of loyal workers, some of whom live on the property and others who live locally. And unlike many orphanages Pappy believes in a holistic approach – good education, a good home and a spiritual environment to help children grow in every way.
“Some of these children come from the worst of all possible backgrounds so our goal is to offer the very best possible resources for the children to develop in all areas of their young lives, intellectually, socially and spiritually” says Pappy.
Director, Pappy Daniel, with some of his (orphan) children
The Orphanage takes children from six years old and they leave at fifteen/sixteen. Many have gone on to become nurses and teachers. But it’s hard...very hard. Yet, Pappy’s staff, whether it be special teachers or carers, cooks or cleaners, all show and give love to these children, a love that stems from the very heart of God Himself. The children attend a Christian school in Cheppad and extra - curricular teaching is also provided at the mission itself – by retired Christian school teachers.
Rennie and Dorothea’s visit this year will also involve taking with them much needed supplies of pencils and biros, toothbrushes and toothpaste and other specific items. Last year Dorothea taught basic first aid to the older children and staff but this year the focus will be empowering the same groups with bead and greetings card making – craft products that can be brought back and sold to contribute extra funds to the day to day running of the Orphanage - “the teaching people to fish syndrome” smiles Dorothea and continues “It’s small beginnings, but who knows where it could lead to...”
For Rennie, outside of the planning sessions with Pappy it is the spiritual dimension of the visit that is of the highest priority – there will be on-going daily ministry to the children, staff and hopefully also to the local churches and their leaders. “Everyone wants revival,” says Rennie, “but until there is unity among believers and churches, it may remain a hope rather than a confident expectation!”
Bible Conference held each term for teenagers – normally some 350 attend from all over Alleppey Kerala State is the most Christian State in India – some twenty percent of the thirty eight million people nominally Christian – Catholic and Anglican. The Light of Hope is, however, an independent charismatic, evangelical Mission Station and also employs three evangelists to reach out to the local Cheppad community and other communities in the Alleppey district of some two and a half million people – an area about the size of Norfolk and Suffolk together but with a million more people!
There had been a hope that others would want to join Rennie and Dorothea on this short term mission trip. However it has not turned out that way, “Maybe next year” says Rennie “but until then we have loads to do – before we go, whilst we are there, and I suspect even more when we return...”
For more information on the Light of Hope, please visit the following two sites – www.lightofhopeindia.com and www.lightofhopetrust.com
If you’d like to know how you can support the Light of Hope or even join Rennie and Dorothea, please contact Rennie Clarke direct – either by phone 07791627335, or write to him at the Lightofhopetrust.@aol.com