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I always love flying into Kathmandu. No city compares to its colorfulness, with multi-story homes painted in bright shades of pink, blue, and what I like to call “rice paddy green.” And then add to that the backdrop of the Himalayas – well, I couldn’t help but smile as the plane descended onto the (pothole filled) runway.
But it’s not just the natural beauty of Nepal that fills my heart to nearly bursting. It’s the people I have gotten to know there over the last three and a half years since I first visited in June of 2011. Like I keep saying: the people make the place and this small, Himalayan country is certainly no exception.
Last year, two World Next Door fellows, Brooke and Jeff Hartman, visited Nepal for two months. They wrote about the border stations and children’s homes of Tiny Hands International and highlighted the stories of two young boys rescued by THI – Sudin and Samuel.
If you are able, I would highly recommend downloading the December issue of the World Next Door magazine and reading the stories of these two precious boys. There is no doubt that they are truly miracles. In case you don’t have the time, I’ll give you a quick recap.
I was living in Nepal in February of 2012 and I had the opportunity to visit a small town called Pokhara, about one hundred miles west of Kathmandu. Bethany Home, a Tiny Hands Nepal children’s home, had recently opened and was beginning to have orphaned children brought there to live. It was a warm, sunny day when I met Samuel for the first time.
He was already two years old, but so small – clearly malnourished. I brought him outside for a picture but he wouldn’t smile at me, his eyes deeply troubled, his mouth downturned in a slight scowl. I tried talking to him with some basic Nepali, but, with a frown, he just stared blankly. “He doesn’t speak,” the house father, Raju, told me. “We actually think he might be mute.” Samuel’s mother had died and his father was physically and mentally handicapped. He was forced to spend long hours with his father in the fields, with little food or water to sustain his tiny body. He was slowly starving to death. A man from a village church noticed Samuel and his father and contacted Tiny Hands, who offered to take Samuel in and care for him. His father agreed and as Brooke put it so well in her World Next Door article, “I loved Samuel’s dad in that moment, considering how easy it would be have been for him to discard the baby.”
Well, mute, Samuel is certainly not. Three years later, he is almost unrecognizable as the child he once was. He is rambunctious, energetic, full of life…your typical five year old. He is vibrant (perhaps a little naughty) and his eyes sparkle when you speak with him. He gives hugs freely, he dances and sings, and is cared for like a beloved child of the Lord should be.
I know you’re not supposed to have favorites when it comes to kids in the children’s homes, but Sudin is one of mine. His story begins as a tragedy, but has since been transformed into one of incredible hope.
Sudin’s mother was a mentally handicapped woman, living on the street, and became the victim of a violent rape. When she discovered she was pregnant, she did everything she could to harm herself, in the hopes she would be able to abort the baby. The local church, seeing this woman in great need, took her in and when she gave birth, they cared for and looked after Sudin.
They were able to connect with Tiny Hands after some time, and he too ended up in Bethany Home.
That was two and a half years ago. As I watched him just last week, singing in his cute little voice, “I am special, loved, accepted, and forgiven…I am the apple of God’s eye!” I was overcome with the blessing he is. How is it that he, a boy who was the product of rape and attempted abortion, could be so vivacious, so animated, and so full of joy?
Tiny Hands International is an organization that will always hold a special place in my heart as they truly seek to serve “the least of these.” If you’re interested in child sponsorship or getting involved in their children’s home ministry, you can contact Jeffrey Penner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As I hugged Samuel and Sudin goodbye, my heart was full. Who knows when I will be in Nepal next, but I can’t wait to squeeze those boys again.
About the Author: Sarah is a journalism fellow with World Next Door. She has her undergraduate degree in Business Communication from Azusa Pacific University in Southern California and is currently working on her Masters degree in Organizational Leadership. Sarah recently finished a two and a half year assignment working for an anti-trafficking NGO in Kathmandu, Nepal, where she had the opportunity to mentor and lead college students in ministry abroad. She is mildly obsessed with Jeopardy, coffee, running, and the Atlanta Falcons.