My first day in India
The Beginning of the Call!
In January of 2006 I received an email with an address from the 1st Apostolic church in India. I nearly deleted it immediately but was a little curious since I had an interest in India. I assumed it was some sort of random bulk junk mail asking for money. Well, the letter was written by Pastor Matthew Raju, and he shared about his church and family. He shared about the children who are orphans, semi orphans and street kids who sleep in his one room church.
Instead of deleting it, I sent back a very short (and somewhat curt) reply, just asking who he was and why he was writing to me. I received a response shortly afterward in which he explained that he had been writing to find encouragement and prayers, so that someone would just knew they are there.
So began a friendship with many email and photos exchanges. He shared about his wife and family, and the children in his little orphanage, the widows, the area village pastors, the lepers, and more. After several months of correspondence, I felt led to send them some money. I sent it purely by faith, knowing that whatever happened, it was unto the Lord. I sent $250.00, which for my single income is quite huge! The response was overwhelming. I received photos of little old ladies holding bags of rice, and holding up a banner that read “free rice distribution, sponsored by sister Lea Haisch. Photos of children eating with another banner saying “orphan helps sponsored by sister Lea Haisch”. Then they took what money was left and divided it up and sent even more photos of Pasor Raju, handing the area pastors envelops containing an offering. There again was a banner that read, “pastoral helps sponsored by sister Lea”
I was so overwhelmed to see a visual of the outcome resulting from the gift I had sent! It was so humbling, and a huge blessing, to actually see where my money went; and their accountability of that money was amazing.
I continued to help with support as I could, each time receiving photos and confirmations that it was being put to good use. They never asked for a dime. In fact the only time they asked for anything outright was late summer, after some flooding from which they lost everything. They asked if I could find some used children’s clothes to send to them. The first few boxes I sent where the clothes my children had outgrown, and then I sent more that was given to me by friends. I can’t even begin to tell you what it was like to receive an email one day, with photos of those poor and orphaned children wearing my own children's clothes. Yes, I cried!
About this time, Pastor Raju invited me to India. He said they felt that the Lord would send me to India. I told them that I would love to come, and if the door would open, I would certainly be obedient and “go”…but I reminded them that I was merely a single parent and could not afford a trip like that..and that if I DID have the money, I certainly wouldn’t be using it for an airline ticket for myself, I’d be sending it to them to help out.
I need to mention here also, that during this time of getting to know them and receiving the photos, I would show people, and would say, “someday, I don’t know how or when, but you’ll see a picture of me standing right there beside them”. There is something about “speaking out” the desires God has placed in our heart: it unlocks a door of faith that I believe is pleasing to God.
So right around New Years of 07, I have a dream. This was a God quality dream: where everything is so vivid that it’s like you are right there, and in the morning it seems more like a memory of an event rather than just a dream. In this dream, Pastor Raju, his wife Hanna, and grandbaby Shelly came to my house. When they left, he looked at me with the look of authority as he said “you WILL come to us”. I knew in the morning that this dream was from the Lord, and I was so excited. I told my friends in the days to come, “I am going to India this year. I don’t know how or when; I certainly can't afford a ticket, but I am going to India”.
Two weeks later I received a email from my friend Scott. Scott does missions work building wells and had been in Sri Lanka helping build a village for Tsunami victims. He travels all over Asia and we would keep in touch. It was always exciting to know where he was off to next. He said to me, “I have 300,000 frequent flyer miles and am going to India for some work. Do you want to go and I will take you over to your little village.” Pastor Raju had prayed the Lord would bring me to their door, and here was Scott, offering to take me to them. This was SO amazing. An offer for a free ticket just doesn’t happen everyday. 5 weeks after that dream I was actually holding round trip tickets to India in my hand. About that time I also got a phone call from Pastor Raju..he called to ask permission to name their orphanage after me. Just imagine! It was a little embarrassing to see my name on a huge banner once I was there…“Lea Orphanage”..but it was also way cool! We have since decided to keep the orphanage as its original name of Good Shepherds Children"s Home. This is for legal purposes for working under the name they are registered under in India, a name they had before meeting me.
I had many amazing things happen prior to my trip. The plan began to fall in place, like the pieces of a puzzle and it just simply “worked”. As the finances for my own personal expenses came in, extra would come in specifically for the church in India. It was so awesome to see God's provision in the whole thing, and it was so undeniably the hand of God..........READ MORE
Some photos of my first trip to India.
With some of the children at the orphanage. Although they are very poor, they truly shine with love of Jesus. They very happy and playful and are taken very good care of, despite their conditions, by Pastor Matthews family.