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As we reflect on the meaning of the Christmas season, Jesus Christ’s compassion on a broken world comes to the forefront. Our Heavenly Father so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to redeem those who believe in Him. Filled with this purpose, it was compassion that led Jesus to heal the sick (Matthew 20:34) and feed the hungry multitudes (Matthew 15:32). It was compassion that led Him to be our Shepherd and Teacher (Mark 6:34) and led Him to the cross of Calvary to pay for your sins and mine. Now, moved by that same mercy, Christ intercedes for us at the Throne. Who better than the One who has borne our griefs, carried our sorrows, and can sympathize with our weaknesses? What a gift!

As we seek to be transformed into His likeness, we are called to love mercy and walk humbly with our God. This summer, on Canada’s National Bible Hour, we briefly introduced our missionaries, Mano Young and Samuel Benjamin (daughter and father), who bring compassion and love to the elderly in Southern India and who walk alongside them through the remainder of their life’s journey.

Samuel and Mano

Following Christ’s example, their ministry all started with a compassionate woman named Ebenezer (Mano’s mother and Samuel’s wife). As she faithfully took care of her elderly parents, Ebenezer’s parents noticed a tenderness and devotion in her that they sought to encourage. They gifted her with a piece of land with the vision that she would build a home to look after destitute and downtrodden elderly people, just as she had looked after her parents. Ebenezer and Samuel named the elderly home “Ponnagam” in honor of her father’s name and memory. Mano Young, after living in Canada for many years, recently went back to India to join her parents (Samuel and Ebenezer) and to minister at the elderly home. Sadly, Ebenezer passed away last year, and Mano is now following in the compassionate, Godly footsteps of her mother.

Ponnagam, run by our missionaries, has 49 elderly individuals at the home (18 men and 31 ladies).

First, the home is a safe haven where they experience God’s love, joy, peace, and hope. Most have come from home environments of abuse or abandonment. Ponnagam is a place of refuge, security, and rest. They share the Good News of salvation to each person, praying that he/she would yield their lives to Christ as their personal Savior. This year, four elderly individuals gave their lives to the Lord and are awaiting baptism—three from a Hindu background and one from a Muslim background. Our missionaries want these dear people to feel dignified and respected—and to know they are not alone but BELONG to a family (both physically and spiritually). Elderly Ms. Esther came to Ponnagam destitute, with no living family members. Four years later, after passing, she had not only experienced a loving home and accepted Jesus as her Savior, but she died with honor and received a Christian burial.

New Life in Christ

The home provides medical care, geriatric care, health and hygiene, spiritual encouragement and counseling, daily Bible studies, weekly church services, and a proper diet. All residents come from poverty yet now receive three meals a day, coffee, and special treats. Examples of spiritual activities include Christian movies sharing the message of salvation, special guest speakers sharing God’s Word, puppet show ministries, and special singalongs and prayer times. The able-bodied distribute tracts and share the Gospel in neighboring villages with our missionaries on a monthly basis. Physical activities include such things as simple stretches and walking, gardening, and basic cooking tasks.

Here are the stories of three lives that were shattered, bruised, and broken—but have become whole again because of the Lord’s work of compassion and grace.
Names used with permission.

Mano received a desperate call from an elderly lady stating she had no place to go. Ms. Gomathi, abandoned by her husband earlier in life, had been living with her alcoholic son who had been abusing her. Fleeing for her life, scared and tired, she dialed Ponnagam’s number. After a vetting process, Ms. Gomathi joined the Ponnagam family! Ms. Gomathi, who was a Hindu, found Jesus! She was able to put behind the pain and grief of her shattered life and look upwards to the cross to find hope. With tears rolling down her cheeks, she repeatedly tells Mano how Jesus gives her strength for each day and keeps her safe from all pain.

The healing power of a hug
Mr. Chelladurai walked straight into our home desperately wanting a place to stay. After asking him to share his story, our missionaries came to understand that his children were abusing him. With an aching heart, he had left his home with just a few belongings in search of peace and solace. He poured out his heart in how he was born into a Christian family; however, when he was young, he strayed away from his faith in God and even invested in building a Hindu temple in his village. Our missionaries prayed with Mr. Chelladurai and after vetting, he too joined Ponnagam. After Sunday service, Samuel gave an altar call, and Mr. Chelladurai recommitted his life to the Lord!

Ms. Emel—a formerly sporty, vibrant teacher—now struggles to stand straight with spinal damage after being pushed off a running motorcycle by her husband. Ms. Emel never knew what it was to be loved. When she first arrived at Ponnagam, Mano vividly remembers her getting out of her chair, trying to walk to the office and falling flat on her face. Ms. Emel lacked the coordination and strength to even walk. But her spirit and faith were STRONG. She had courage, and she knew God had brought her to Ponnagam. Upon
entering Ponnagam’s doors, she belonged to a new loving family. God transformed her as she regained her physical, emotional, and spiritual health by being surrounded by people who care and show compassion! She can now walk up the stairs using her cane. Ms. Emel is putting her teaching skills to use and is leading the ladies’ Bible study—all by the grace of God.

Tangibly showing Jesus’ love means taking the time to listen, to wipe away tears, or to meet needs as God provides. Ponnagam has a significant, time-sensitive need that CNBH would like to bring to your attention.

For the new year, Canada’s National Bible Hour would like to gift all these precious elderly residents with soft cushion foam mattresses, covers, and pillows. The elderly sleep on their cot with a thin sheet or sometimes no sheet at all. Due to the heat and health accidents, the padding on the mattresses need to be thin, lightweight, and washable, but comfortable. The total for 60 mattresses, covers, and pillows comes to $4,070 USD.

Desperate Need - New Mattresses
Would you prayerfully consider investing in this important ministry by strengthening our missionaries to care and look after these elderly destitute? Please give the gift of compassion today.

Yours in His Matchless Name,
Dr. Brian M. Albrecht
President, MissionGO