Friday, December 10, 2010

As Our Own

Two years ago my husband met a man named Ralph Borde who was caring for some of India's - and the world's - most vulnerable children. (Every time I write "vulnerable" I almost say "valuable" which is so fitting.)

I was four months pregnant with Annabeth and Jackson was two-and-a-half when Curtis and his best friend flew to the other side of the world to see Ralph's ministry for themselves. Jerrell's wife was more pregnant than I was and her firstborn was even younger. What sounded like a good idea became a rather difficult reality. I remember seeing Kay at church and I could tell she had been crying that morning, just as I had been. What were we thinking?

Toward the end of that trip, Curtis called me from India. By that time I was really, really ready to see my husband. The call kept dropping and I felt frustrated, but he continued to call me back. "Ralph wants to talk to you," he said. I was nervous because I don't normally talk to other men on the phone and what would he say to me? "Amanda," hear this in perfect English with an Indian accent, "I want to thank you for sending Curtis to India while you are expecting a baby. The girls have been praying for you and Kay and the children by name every day."

The girls? Have been praying for me? For me? I wept. These children who have lived very difficult lives were investing in us with their precious prayers. And how much must our Lord love them and be eager to respond to their faith?

The burden of my husband being gone was suddenly a privilege.

We'd recently discovered that our baby was going to be a daughter, which gave Curtis a new and tender perspective on what he saw. And what did he see?

A red light district that consisted of prison-like buildings constructed for the sole purpose of sin and enslavement. Illiterate women who had been conned into leaving their impoverished families for a good job and a better life in another city, only to find themselves trapped in prostitution. Children who roamed the streets by day and slept under their mothers' defiled beds by night. Children who would enter into the sex trade at age 6. Mothers so desperate to escape that they would sell their own daughters to brothel owners for their freedom. He saw death, hopelessness, and hell on earth.

All praise and glory and honor be to God, because that is not all he saw. He saw mothers who, by God's grace, said, "If you really want to help us, please help our children." He saw a ministry that rescues vulnerable little girls from eventual destruction. He saw girls living in a family setting who were nurtured, educated, strong, healthy, protected, and brought up to know Jesus Christ as their Savior. He saw joy and innocence in their faces. He heard their laughter, their worship to God and their prayers. He heard them call him Curtis Dada, which means brother, and me Amanda Didi, which means sister.

Over the last two years God has been knitting our hearts closer and closer to this ministry and to our little sisters in India. It has given us unspeakable joy to take part in what God is doing there. It's like God pulled up two chairs for us and said, "Here's a front row seat. I want you to see what I'm doing here. It will amaze you." We have truly been amazed.

I'm so excited to tell you that this fall, Curtis and I joined the board of directors of this wonderful, God-centered ministry. I cannot explain the joy I felt when I received a picture of some of the girls gathered together in front of a sign that said, "Dear Curtis Dada and Amanda Didi, thank you for becoming a part of our family. We love you."


Aren't they so beautiful?

Already, what this ministry has done for our faith and our souls has exceeded what we could ever do for them.

There is much more to it than what I have said today, but I will take my time in sharing it with you.

The reason I've waited this long to say anything is because we were looking toward today, December 10, 2010, and the launch of the ministry's new name and web site. The ministry (formerly Charasia) is now called As Our Own, which celebrates their passion to care for orphans not as orphans, but as their own children. Ralph shares his vision for the name change here. A more extensive site will be up and running this spring. You can also find As Our Own on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for sharing our joy today.

61 comments:

brandiandboys said...

they are each beautiful!!! india also holds a special place in my husband's heart as well. he goes back in february for his 3rd visit and to see the church, school, and feeding center cross point has started. i share the feeling of "privilege" of being a part of something making such an impact on the other side of the world! love this post amanda and so excited for you and curtis!

Ashley said...

Amazing. And very exciting! Can't wait to watch it all unfold and learn more about it.

ForHisGlory said...

They are so beautiful! I am a bit choked up at this post. There are no words for the ache I feel for what you have already described in this ministry. How precious!! Amanda, a few years ago the Lord brought a young woman into our lives that was orphaned at 13 and had been shuffled around uncared for until she grew to adulthood. Very long story short, we have adopted her into our family and just as you said, my biggest burden has been "one of our own" that she would not be cared for as an orphan but as though she were my child. I share your burden in what you and Curtis are doing, if there are way's I could be apart of this, please let me know!!!
Tiffany

Kimberly said...

Wow, wow, wow AJ!! So happy to hear what the Lord has done in just this past year! Praise Him for His saving Name.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

OH MY GOODNESS. My heart is lifted with joy. He has done great things!

May you and Curtis see God as you work alongside the ministers of As Our Own. I can't wait to hear more of what you experience, Amanda.

3girlsmom said...

They are BEAUTIFUL. I was keeping my emotions in check until I saw that picture. Their faces made me LOSE IT.

Proud of you and Curtis. Can't wait to see how God will continue to grow this ministry. Will definitely keep updated!

Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

Beautiful - I'm headed over to see the new website right now!
Courtney

elizabeth engelhardt creations said...

These girls are PRECIOUS!!! I have partnered up with Children's HopeChest who is a partner with The Indian Rescue Mission who rescues girls from brothels as well. I am constantly trying fundraise to help them finance rescues.

I'm so glad to see that IRM is NOT the ONLY organization rescuing girls from the brothels.

HisTreasuredPossession said...

oh my goodness. This is so exciting and so precious.

Ever since Compassion went to India, my heart has continued to grow for this country. We just wrote our kids there on Weds. I ache to meet them...maybe someday.

God be with you and As Our Own and show Himself SO VERY POWERFUL as you all are His hands and feet to these children. I cannot think of a happier Christmas present for these little ones than to give yourself and your lives to love and serve them.

wow! and wow again. God, you are amazing!
love,
rachel

Amanda said...

In case anyone was wondering, I think they had to cut the girls' hair last summer because of lice. They are still so darling though!

Mary Watkins said...

Amanda,
Our God is an awesome God. Thank you for sharing this wonderful news with us today. God orchestrates His plans for our lives in wonderous ways. Having been to Brazil and Ukraine several times on mission,I understand how God speaks so vividly to us as we minister to the children all over the world. What an honor and priviledge to see God rescue the perishing.

I am working on a recap from Birmingham. I want you to hear about what God did on our behalf. The Lord Jesus came 2000 years ago and He is still among us now. Praise Him.

Merry Christmas, dear friend.

Shelli said...

What beautiful girls and a beautiful ministry! I'm giddy inside over your involvement with As Our Own, and I can't wait to hear more about it.

Kristi said...

What joy to see this! The Lord has given me a passion for the least of these in India and especially women and children.
I work closely with Freeset (www.freestglobal.com) who helps employ the mothers of such children, to get them out of prostitution and a job with dignity. PTL for your work with As Our Own and what they are doing. My heart rejoices with you!

Laura said...

This is so awesome! I can't wait to learn more about it and your journey with the organization. Im going to follow it on Facebook now!

Bianca said...

This is such an honor! Congrats to you both

ThirtysomethingMom said...

Oh precious! Thank you for sharing. My prayers are with this ministry.

Laura said...

My friend Kristen is there now on a trip with them! Thank you so much for sharing this so more people can be involved!

Lauren said...

How awesome, Amanda! They are, indeed, beautiful.

Makaela said...

Amanda, this is simply beautiful. You can see the joy on each of their precious faces. And, what a blessing to hear how God is working and using the two of you. Thank you for sharing the burden in your hearts.

Heather said...

Very, Very cool. Thank you for sharing this.

Cheryl said...

Amazing!!!
That picture is absolutely priceless.
So excited to see what God is doing through this much needed ministry.

Debbie @ Simply Captivating Events said...

Awesome!!! Amanada, I've been reading Radical this week, and the desire of my heart to be a part of something so big like this is just indescribable. Praise God for the work that He is doing in these young girl's lives!

Kristin said...

SImply beautiful! Love. Thanks for the link. :)

jamie b said...

How Awesome!! I know the Lord has big plans ahead for this ministry and for the lives it touches.

The Johnsons said...

I have a friend who lived a short time in India after college helping rescue young girls from prostitution. We were visiting on facebook this morning about the work there right before I saw your post. This ministry is good and beautiful. Just like these girls. Just like our God. Praying for As Our Own.

lavonda said...

How precious they are! I had tears reading the whole time. My own daughter will be 10 next week... I cannot even fathom little girls 6 years being put into that industry... I can hardly type for the tears.

I pray God blesses and multiplies this ministry a thousand fold. Please keep us posted.

Merry early Christmas,
Lavonda

Fran said...

I have to go back and read this again because these tears are just pouring out of my eyes. Amanda...this is just beautiful and perfect and so full of Jesus and His love for everyone! What an honor and privilege you both have been given. I have no doubt that you will be a huge blessing to any and all that you come in contact with!

So so happy for you!
Hugs and blessings sister!
Fran

Sister Lynn said...

Being a first generation American with parents both born and raised in India, this touches very close to my heart. Thank you so much for what you are doing.

Indeed, they are precious in His sight... and in ours!

Shellie Paparazzo said...

Oh, my goodness, they are so beautiful! I love little girls, and I guess it's a good thing I do, cause I have two of them!

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

This is just beautiful! I am so happy for you and Curtis in this undertaking. My husband spent 2 weeks in India in January while I was in Houston at the Scripture Memory get together. He has a heart for the people there and our church just got through helping them to build a church.

Sunni said...

Hey Amanda- I read this earlier tonight and haven't stopped crying since. My heart is so burdened for the little girls of India. (It has been for a long time...) I had the opportunity to go visit with one of our church's missionaries this spring, but instead we will be adding another little girl to our family here. I know the time will come when I am able to love on those girls face to face, but until then I really want to be involved in this ministry. Please let me know what I can do- shestillblooming@yahoo.com

Gayle said...

Praise Jesus, Amanda!
My heart absolutely breaks into a million pieces when I read about thing like this (what the children go through). I hate to admit that I *usually* click away when I see a story going in that direction. It's not because I'm heartless and don't care, it's because I *carry it* in the most grievous way. I flat-out do not have it in me to let things like this go. It makes me physically ill. My mind and heart are just overcome at the thought of children being hurt and then that awful feeling of being completely helpless to stop it.
I'm so glad that there are organizations such as these that do something to help. I'm looking forward to hearing all about it. I'm so glad that you've joined up and can get the word out effectively. God is using you, sister.

Jeannie (HAPPY HEART) said...

Smiles and Hugs coming your way from Georgia!! God's richest blessings on this ministry.

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

So happy you finally got to announce it!!

That little girl in the middle of the picture is always in the back of my mind.

I didn't realize until I went to the adoption conference in Austin how closely the orphan crisis and the sex trade industry is. Most orphans are just kicked out of the orphanage when they turn a certain age, with nothing and nowhere to go. Ie, perfect targets for the sex trade animals. So they become prostitutes, they get pregnant, and their babies go right to the orphanage. An endless cycle of despair.

CAROL LIVIN FOR GOD said...

Hi Amanda
So proud of you and Curtis cannot wait to see what God will do. To see the picture there of those kids just brought joy to my heart and to see those beautiful kids faces. Can't wait to hear more
Carol

Sara said...

Absolute fabulousness.
Our church (The Fellowship at Cinco Ranch out in Katy, TX) is in the midst of Advent Conspiracy again this year, and our "target mission" we are seeking to benefit is As Our Own. Each Sunday we get to hear more from Ralph about this amazing ministry, and each Sunday I find my heart in my throat and fresh tears on my cheeks. Oh, how the Father loves us; oh how He uses "the least of these" to minister to my crazy privileged life. I'm very excited for you and Curtis as you partner with Ralph to make an eternal difference in these beautiful ladies' lives!

Emily said...

Amanda, what a beautiful post about an even more beautiful ministry! Enjoy that front row seat...sounds amazing!

Cindy- My Life HIS Story said...

Oh, Amanda! Those darling girls are definitely beauties! I can't wait to hear about the new adventures of this ministry! I cried as I looked at those smiles. You are so correct - valuable beyond measure and vulnerable in ways that should be unimaginable, but unfortunately aren't. God bless you and Curtis as you serve.

Kristen @ Moms Sharpening Moms said...

Oh, those girls are beyond darling. And precious. And so treasured!

I'm checking out this beautiful organization's website now! Thanks for introducing it to me.

Kelli said...

Oh Amanda, I am so happy about this for y'all.

I feel so blessed to be able to pray for those precious girls and the ministry you will be able offer them.

Looking forward to hearing more about it and how we can help!

Love your heart. Just love it.

Lindsee said...

What a neat, neat ministry and what a wonderful thing that y'all get to partner with them in this way. That is beyond awesome! I love the way you and Curtis serve together. It may look different (somewhat) from other ministry couples, but it's inspiring. In case you were wondering, y'alls example makes it easier for me to wait for my husband as I long to serve Him better together, than apart, just like y'all do. : ) Excited to read more about this.

Karen Campbell said...

This is so beautiful! Oh my! I love it! Thank you for sharing this with us. So wonderful! I love the name "AS OUR OWN". These girls are so precious!

Bev Brandon said...

That's just a beautiful story! You are gripped by His Love!

Mary R Snyder said...

Amanda!! What beautiful faces and what a beautiful heart you have.

My heart breaks for those trapped in such horrific situations. Thank you for sharing this incredible ministry with us!

Marla Taviano said...

I don't think I have way to tell you how much I love this. God has given me such a heart for orphans in Asia--and for those darling children caught up in the sex trade. I love, love, love that you and Curtis are able to play such an active role in this amazing ministry. I'm following them now on FB and Twitter and can't wait to see all that God does. And I'll be rejoicing SO MUCH with you when you finally get to visit them someday TOGETHER. I love you, friend, and I love how your heart beats with God's.

melanie said...

this sounds like an amazing ministry! and a very worthy cause. so glad to get to catch up on what's been going on with y'all. i also wanted to thank you for the post you put on lindsey's blog about getting rid of "the precious." that is something we've been praying about and i hope we can join y'all someday soon in that decision. thanks for opening up about it, it's nice to know we're not the only ones that have gone through that vicious cycle!

Alice said...

We LOVE this organization and are so excited about the new name. My husband works with many people from India, so that country is close to our heart. I first heard Ralph speak on Moody Radio on the way home from work about 3 years ago--that's when we became compelled to get involved with Charasia, both in prayer and financial support. We would love to be able to go to India someday when God provides us with the means to do so...to see all these precious ones we pray for in person. Congrats on being on the board of directors and thanks for highlighting As Our Own!

thegypsymama said...

Oh Amanda - I love to watch the way you love others. It's beautiful my friend. Faith in action. Just inspiring.

Erin said...

I was there last week. With those girls. My sisters. My daughters. My joy. Being back in Houston is hard. I want to be there. With them. Singing and dancing and laughing and watch God shape them. i am ready to go back as soon as God says go. I am ready to live there. But I also know for now, I am here. And I can love them from here. I can live for their good. And I will choose to do that every day. I will tell their stories and I will find others who will join me in loving them. I am glad to walk alongside you and Curtis in loving these girls. I'd love, and I know the team I went with would love to sit with you both and tell you about the trip. Thank you for sharing this post.

Kristen said...

they are so beautiful. i am sharing in your joy friend and look forward to learning more about this ministry.

greer_jc said...

I pray you will continue to be encouraged by these beautiful young ladies you are serving. What a wonderful way to see Jesus in the eyes of a child. Ralph blesses my spirit as well.

Kristi said...

Beautiful post!!! Where I live there is a movement to wear red thread bracelets in support of ending child sex trafficking in all countries in the world. I am so excited to see more and more people taking notice of this horrific practice and even more excited to see the beauty from ashes that only Jesus Christ can bring about!! When you get a chance, check out another ministry taht is doing work in this same area: www.eternalthreads.org

Jennifer said...

BEAUTIFUL!!! So exciting too... Will be praying for all of you!!

Angela said...

What an amazing ministry! You are going to love working with Staci. Those girls need ya'll for sure. It truly breaks my heart to think of all they have to endure. I will be praying for this wonderful ministry!

katiegfromtennessee said...

Amanda,
This is a blessed ministry indeed! One that is completely glorifying to God. Those girls are beautiful. This ministry fulfills what James says to do as well as other passages about caring for orpans. To see what pure and undefiled religion looks like, one would have to look at As Our Own's ministry! All glory to Him.

Lisa @ The Preacher's Wife said...

They are beautiful. And you are pretty amazing yourself. :) Congratulations on the 'birth' of your new babies!

Ashley said...

First, I have no idea how I ended up on your blog...just playing on the internet when I should have been doing one of 50 other things around the house. But I'm glad I did - I love this post and those children are so beautiful! That's a wonderfully hard ministry to be invloved in. My husband and I both have been so moved by the plight of girls caught in sex trafficking and I pray for ways to make a difference.

Oh, and I love the title, "Baby Bangs," as a mom of 4 kids and one who has been debating shaving the dang things off my own head! They are so not cute.

willblogforshoes said...

How exciting!

connorcolesmom said...

They are beautiful!!! What a wonderful opportunity!
Praise God for you and Curtis and your willingness to step forward in this ministry.

Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

Oh, I can hear the angels cheering over you -- and I join them.

stacikristine said...

What an incredible ministry. Please keep us updated on the ministry there!