Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Beginning of Miracle Charitable Society...

Since 2005, Pastor Jeremiah and his wife Mary have been working in Faridabad, India; he as a college professor at Grace Assembly of God at the Harvest Training Center and she as a Project Coordinator for Emmanuel Hospital Association. Jeremiah’s work took him to many parts of Faridabad, including the slums of the town where the poorest of the citizens work for and live with life’s most basic necessities. The community of Faridabad came to know Jeremiah as a man they could trust, who was interested in furthering their cause and counseling them whenever needed. Jeremiah and Mary worked to teach the community, yet the people of the town continued to ask for services beyond what they were able to provide in their current positions, and after a while Jeremiah and Mary decided to leave their employment to devote their full time to helping the citizens in the slums of Faridabad. To this end they began Miracle Charitable Society, a Christian organization working toward transforming the lives of people in need by empowering them, through care, compassion and concern, to achieve maximum potential.

The Need for Miracle Ministry
A short walk around the slums of Faridabad can prove to be eye opening to those unaccustomed to the intense poverty that exists there. Entire families live in one room “apartments” cooking off the floor and sharing the same bed. Children generally do not have enough food to eat and own very few sets of clothing to wear and oftentimes attend school wearing the same clothes day after day. This is where Miracle Charitable Society does its work providing a school for the children and education for young men seeking to become ministers. The challenge of Miracle ministry, as with all NGO’s, is to help as many as possible with the scarce resources available to them, but the need is great and there are always more children in need of food and education and always more adults wishing to pull themselves out of poverty through education and counseling.

Currently, Miracle Charitable Society provides education to over one hundred children from the local slums and is planning to increase that number to three hundred next year. While the school is run under a Christian name, children of all religion and races are accepted. Through the school and with dedicated teachers, children are not only learning how to read and write, but they are given the opportunity to learn about values and how to become a person of high moral character. The school has a small staff of six teachers who sometimes have to handle multiple classes at one time to serve the needs of the community. The school also partners with other local organizations to bring foreign volunteers from countries all over the world to assist with teaching the children English and to promote global interaction. Furthermore, the school holds regular parent-teacher conferences to address issues such as the importance of hygiene and any behavior problems. Through the conferences the teachers better understand the background of the children and the problems they may face at home that affect their education. For the small staff this work is no small feat and the change that it brings to the community is invaluable.

The society also holds a class for young men to learn about ministry and then go on to preach and counsel people in other communities in the state. Through these classes, young men, who would otherwise have no employment or have to result in low pay or criminal employment, are able to assist others in need and reach out to many more communities; thus continuing Jeremiah and Mary’s work far and wide. The young men are given further lectures on leadership development as well.

Finally, Miracle has started a group for women, a highly marginalized group in India, to partner with local businesses and learn trades such as cosmetic artistry and hair dressing. Miracle also facilitated a partnership with local vendors so that the women can earn money for embroidery work on fabrics that sell around the world. This is work is carried out at the discretion of the women’s demanding family life schedule, which is often limited to cooking, cleaning and providing for multiple children and elder family members. Through this work women are given a platform for self discovery that equips them to step into life with poise, confidence and dignity, while staying firmly grounded in their family life.

Much progress has been made since Jeremiah and Mary first arrived in Delhi, but there is much more work to be done. Their plan is to move the school out of the slums and turn it into a boarding school where the children will be provided nutritious food, clean uniforms and an education from nursery school through high school. They also hope to one day start a clinic in the area to give basic healthcare to the local village people who are too poor to pay for medical treatment.

About Pastor Jeremiah
Pastor Jeremiah is a man who came by his devout faith in the most remarkable of circumstances. As a young man in Orissa, India, born into a Hindu family, Jeremiah dreamed of one day becoming a doctor. He excelled in his studies throughout elementary and high school and was accepted to medical school by the time of his high school graduation. Unfortunately, financial circumstances did not allow Jeremiah to attend medical school and with much trepidation he went to search for employment. He worked as a teacher but his crushed hopes of becoming a doctor never left him. One day in May he came down with a debilitating illness that would later be diagnosed as bone cancer. The diagnosis came as a shock to Jeremiah, as well as to his friends and family. Doctors and friends in medical school assisted with the medical fees to try and cure the quickly spreading cancer, but it was to no avail. He and his family were notified that he may not live for another month.

Since Jeremiah was well known and respected within his community, the word about his illness spread throughout the villages. Miraculously, a minister by the name of Pastor David Bhatra heard about Jeremiah’s situation and decided to pay a visit to the family. Jeremiah’s father, willing to try any avenue to cure his ailing son, invited David into his house to pray for him. For one week pastor David Bhatra stayed with the Hial family praying for Jeremiah. During this time a doctor was coming to the house for regular check ups on his condition because the cancer had nearly paralyzed his legs. However, over the course of the minister’s visit a miraculous situation evolved. Jeremiah’s family and doctors were amazed to watch the cancer recede and to see him begin to walk again. After six months he was fully recovered and prepared to go back to school. His father urged him to get a law degree, but the minister who had healed him told him only to do one thing “to always pray and thank God in his free moments everyday.” He decided that the only way he could truly thank God for saving his life was to become a pastor himself and when he had his own ministry it would take the title of “Miracle” in honor of the miracle God performed in his life. Jeremiah, originally born Jagabandhu, took his new name, became a pastor, and started the Miracle Charitable Society. Together he and his wife Mary, already a Christian and attending school for ministry, built the society into what it is today and have many plans for the future to “be a helping hand to those in need and to facilitate sustainable and holistic transformation.”.