India (MNN) — Police patrols intensified
in and around Orissa over the Christmas weekend, and all vehicles were checked at
entry and exit points.
It's a grim reminder of
the disruption of 2007 when Hindu militants attacked Christians in the tribal
district as they prepared to celebrate Christ's birth. By August 2008, tensions erupted, and Orissa reeled
from one of the worst incidents of anti-Christian violence in the country. Worldwide Christian Schools says only 2% of the people in this
area are Christians.
The scars are still evident
today. Mistrust continues in some areas.
It's not unusual for property owners to break the lease agreements and prematurely
evict Christians from rented spaces.
Yet, even as India's Christians
marked this anniversary of the 2007 Christmas attacks, there was much
Worldwide Christian School says prayer made a difference. "We were concerned that the same thing may happen over this
Christmas season, but, thanks to God, there was calm and peace in Kessinga, in
Orissa, which is where this school is located."
Vanderkooy says something else
amazing happened for the New Life Academy. Evicted several months too early, and
constrained by a shortfall in construction funds, there was a question regarding whether
or not the school would be able to relocate into a new home in time.
In May 2005, Siani and Suphala Harpal partnered with WWCS
to establish New Life Academy with the goal of providing education for poor and
orphaned children in their rural village of Kesinga.
Many of the school's first students were from poor or
low-caste families who had been pulled out of the public schools because of
mistreatment. At New Life, these children
experienced equal treatment for the first time.
The school wants to expand their orphan ministry, and there
is a definite urgency to this goal. As part of a ministry expansion effort, New
Life was able to purchase 1.5 acres for the site of their ministry buildings and
began construction two years ago.
Meanwhile, the school operates from a rented facility, but
eviction may be imminent as the property owner plans to vacate the property for
his children. As with many WWCS school partners around the world, New Life adds
to the new building as funds become available; but time is running out. They
are getting close. "We have reached the roof level," the Harpals report. "Once
the building is completed, it will facilitate more than 800 children."
A huge gift just came in to keep
this Gospel-minded school moving forward. Right now, they have about half of the $87,000
needed to finish the building.
Vanderkooy says it's important to
keep moving forward. Why? "The
community is watching Christians. If it's a non-Christian community, they want
the Christians to fail. When they do not fail–when they respond with
love–that speaks louder than any preaching." The school hopes to finish its construction
by April. You can help. Click here.