by Ronne Rock Posted on Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Her tiny cottage is tucked away near the entrance to the Dar-Ul-Fazl Home (House of Grace) and Rainbow School. Auntie, as she's now known by all, never anticipated she would one day be living in Manali, a picturesque village in the Himalayan mountains. She never thought there would be a day when people around the world would visit her children or want to help her with their care. And she couldn't have imagined that, at the beautiful age of 73, God would be opening even more doors for her to share the Gospel by offering tenderness and safe haven to the vulnerable around her. "In my life, I have believed that I am doing what God has called me to do. I don’t have a lot to be proud about – education or wealth. But God has always been with me and given me favor."As she listens to the laughter outside - the joyful sounds of nearly 80 children who now call House of Grace their true home, she smiles. "In the beginning of House of Grace, we tried to take only five children. But there were so many. We didn’t know how to select, but we took 18.” The first years were turbulent as political and religious opposition threatened to destroy the dreams of the woman born and raised in the country she wanted to serve well. “Now parents, or neighbors or the village council will recommend children. Some are removed from abuse, and some are removed because the parents are very poor and can’t care for them. Those parents may come by and visit but not often. We send those children home to visit their families because we want them to remember their parent's love."In our home, no children leave when they are 18. We let them finish their courses, and let them stay here until they feel they can support themselves. In the government, 18 is the rule. The government doesn’t like what we do because we allow children to stay – they’ve now designated us a hostel so we can keep older children. Many local people don't understand the meaning of words like children's home or orphanage. So we are called a hostel and a school. But we are first of all a home. We are living like a family, by the grace of God."Though most of the children who call House of Grace their home have kin in other parts of the country, a few have no family. "One boy who came to live with us had no parents, and the officials wanted to put an "0" for his father. I said, 'No he has a father. His father is Emmanuel. Put that in the name. His father is God.'"Auntie's philosophy of care for the children at House of Grace and for the students at Rainbow School is steeped in grace and love, and she is revered by every staff member and child. Her advice for raising children is summed up in three words: Fear the Lord. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," she shares with a smile. "And those who fear the Lord will flee from sin. Whatever we can do, we do. We share grace and love. We adopt the children in our heart. We cannot force anything, and so we pray. I want my children not to be nominal Christians - my hope is that they'll all be strong. I know that may not be a reality, but it is my hope. I pray they remember all they’ve learned. I pray they’ll see they can’t find the true God in Hindu, or Buddhism, or in Islam. They will one day return to their villages and face all sorts of things. We want them to remain faithful. It makes me happy when I am told, 'We face big problems. But we have decided to face our problems with God and prayer. We choose Christ.'"Anand calls House of Grace his home to this day. Now married with a son, he has returned to the home to work as an accountant. Anand knows his life at House of Grace has provided him more than safe shelter. He was given dreams, family, and hope. Because he was given an education at Rainbow School, he's watching his dreams come true."I am so blessed, and my words are not sufficient. The greatest blessing about living in the home is that I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior. And then I was able to share the Gospel with my whole family in Nepal who was Hindu – and now my entire family loves Jesus."I’ve been offered more money to work at other schools and businesses, but I am called to be here because I can give and serve here. The Lord says it's more blessed to give than receive, and I get to give here to the staff and to the children. As soon as I receive my CPA, I’ll be able to do even more here – like auditing and such. I am eager to complete my studies so I can do more. I have to go to Delhi now for the two years of final studies and the two months of training. My wife will remain here to serve as a nurse, and I’ll come home on the weekends to see her and my son."Joy was one of the first children to ever live in the House of Grace. She now serves as Director for the home, following in the footsteps of the woman who believes all children deserve to be given love and life and the hope of salvation. Joy still has to pinch herself on occasion to see that it's not a dream. "The advisory council had been talking for years with Auntie about who she would feel comfortable with taking over the home one day. It came as a surprise, as a shock, because I believed there were far more qualified people to be in this role. I didn’t ever say I wanted to do it, but at the same time, I felt as Auntie’s spiritual daughter, it was the right decision. I felt the responsibility was too great – that I couldn’t do it. God spoke to me through scripture – David and Goliath – to trust in Him and not in myself. I received such encouragement."As Auntie has poured into Joy, now Joy pours into the children at House of Grace. "I keep telling the children – I go to Delhi and I see so many children in the streets and I go to the villages and see so many children in shanties – and I remind them that God has brought us out into this place, His place. He has blessed us with His blessings. He has changed our lives – and it is our calling to do the same. No matter our background, no matter our pain. I pray we can all be like Auntie. My hope is that every child will live with Jesus, spread His love and contribute to the Kingdom. And that maybe one day, a new director will rise from the children living here now."Auntie has retired from House of Grace, but she remains a very strong presence at both the home and the school. She has seen so many dreams fulfilled over the years that she struggles to create a new list of wishes. There's the hope that Rainbow School will expand to 12th grade, so more children may be served and, in turn, grow up and learn to serve the poor and vulnerable. She would love to see her House of Grace kids return to their villages and open schools and children's homes. And she thinks it would be nice to have a reunion for all those who have left the home to pursue careers, ministry, and family.Orphan Outreach is honored to partner with Auntie and the family at House of Grace and the Rainbow School. And we thank you for your generous support, so that more children in India will be provided the loving care they deserve. Remember, when you give through December 31st, your contribution is matched up to $200,000.