India (MNN) — 2010 is the year of challenge and triumph
for New Life Academy in Orissa, India. A
Hindu landlord revoked their lease, which left their partner, Worldwide
Christian Schools, four months to raise $87,000 to complete their
Could it be done? WWCS Executive Director Scott VanderKooy admits, "We
had many doubts, but we just sent the word out to God's people, and they
responded. We have $5,845 left to go."
All of the 134 students at New Life gets a Christ-centered
education. This is especially important
for the 52 orphans who now have hope for a future. Because the area is rife with poverty, a growing
number of community children from Hindu families are attending, too.
Growth is the key word: as the student body was expanding,
it became clear that the school needed its own property and building. Plans went
into action, but then the funding dried up.
Enter the Hindu landlord. He decided to cut the lease short so he could give
the land to his children. That decision
meant the completion of the New Life Academy was even more critical by April so
the school could both continue and accommodate more students.
The school operates in an area known for its persecution
of Christians, which make up roughly 2% of the population.
While anti-Christian activity has been strong in Orissa,
their team hasn't felt it. God's hand
is protecting. VanderKooy says, "This
is a heavily-Hindu community, yet the Hindu community is bringing bricks
and offering to help build things like boundary walls around the school. They
all know that this is a Christ-centered school going up in their
community, yet they're so excited about it that they are offering to
It is also one of the most neglected states in India with 30
districts made up of villages without electricity or safe drinking water. The new school is providing jobs and, more
VanderKooy says the goodwill of the community opens doors
for the Gospel. "These are schools that invite non-Christians. I think
they pick up on that. That's why they want to be a part of it and want to help
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