A couple of years ago, one of our partnering churches had printed up some t-shirts to give to the kids in the home that they sponsor. The shirts read, "I Am Asia's Hope."
The staff offered me one, and I accepted it to be polite, but I knew I could never wear it. In fact, I really don't want any of our Western ministry partners, U.S.-based Asia's Hope staff or any of our donors to ever wear one of those shirts.
You see, the "I Am Asia's Hope" is a message that only our staff and the kids in our homes in Cambodia, Thailand and India can and should carry.
It's for them, not us, that our organization is named. On occasion and in retrospect I've second guessed the naming of our ministry. I'm not sure what else we would have called it, but I regret that it's caused misunderstanding once or twice. I remember, for instance, when someone asked me, "Don't you think it's a little arrogant to suppose that a bunch of white guys in America are Asia's Hope?" Oy vey. As if.
We spent a few hours this afternoon at the Asia's Hope school here in Kalimpong. It's a wonderful landing place for our younger kids who are often not ready to be mainstreamed into public schools, given their rough and often traumatic early years. Our teachers are so patient, so kind to the little ones. It's an honor to serve with them.
I told the kids that they're same age now as their older brothers and sisters in Cambodia and Thailand were when I first met them. And now, those same kids are graduating from high school, heading to university, getting married, starting jobs and preparing to take leadership positions in their society. Among our students, we have future physicians and physicists, preachers and teachers, barbers and tailors. We'll have judges and legislators, moms and dads.
I'm not joking or indulging in hyperbole when I say that the kids in our care really do represent the best hope for their community, their country and even their continent. These kids are growing, as the Bible says, "in favor with God and with man." So many of them are passionate in their faith and diligent in their studies. If my own kids grew up as well as some of the Asia's Hope kids have, I'd be the happiest dad on the planet.
So while I pray for things like political stability, improved infrastructure and economic development, the real hope for Asia is a generation of Godly children. Sure, their number is small. But God changed the world with 12 dudes from a backwater in a dusty corner of the Roman empire. Imagine what he can do with 750 former orphans...