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West Bengal, India


As 2021 marches on, our GS team of staff and volunteers is praying for the world to open up again. While we wait, we invite you to explore with us the regions where our global ministry partners work. These places are unique and vibrant, each boasting their own special beauty. And the people? Well, we believe the people are extraordinary. And we think once you get to know them better, you will too. So we invite you to venture out with us virtually as we celebrate the people, places, and ministries God has called us to serve around the world.



ON THE MAP

Tucked into a northern corner of the Indian subcontinent, the state of West Bengal nestles snugly within dramatic surroundings. Along its northernmost edge, the Himalayas stretch out imposingly, forming a boundary which issues a siren’s call to mountain climbers and trekkers. Mount Everest is not far away from here and, carelessly straddling Nepal and China, can be seen from Darjeeling on a clear day. The lowlands and foothills sloping south are carpeted with tea gardens, sprawling plantations that produce some of the world’s finest tea.


The state’s southern border is formed by the Bay of Bengal, leaving its geography oddly shaped. Stretching some 200 miles edge to edge in the south, it’s a mere 10 miles across at its narrowest point. It’s here that the mighty Ganges River leisurely rolls through on its way to neighboring Bangladesh. Though it exits nearly as soon as it enters, the river and its tributaries leave the southern half of the state with a rich and fertile plain.


Added to its dramatic landscapes, West Bengal has other charms: signature spicy food, terrifying traffic patterns, and friendly, good-natured people. But oppression is an undeniable and widespread reality here too. The domination of Hinduism means many are born into low castes and some are relegated to life outside the caste system altogether. Be they Dalits (untouchable or low castes) or Adivasi (tribal and outcast), karma has sealed their fate in this life. With limited or no access to education, opportunities to climb out of poverty and the destiny assigned by karma are in most cases non-existent. These groups represent just over 25% of West Bengal’s population and discrimination in every realm of life is as socially acceptable as it is cruel. Yes, karma rules here, and few are those who will intervene and work to bring change.


In the north, the tea plantations have employed the Adivasi since the time of the British Empire, but the conditions are harsh, abuse is rife, and with workers earning just over two dollars a day, there’s little hope of ever climbing out of poverty. The tea companies exploit a generational labor cycle, meaning children, even should they earn an education, must continue as tea pickers or their aging parents face eviction from the homes they occupy on plantation property. With no other options, the cycle of oppression continues unabated generation after generation.



The situation is equally heartbreaking in the south, even with a bustling port city like Kolkata anchoring the urban landscape. Formerly the financial capital of the East India Company, much of Kolkata’s population lives below the poverty line, employed as domestic workers, day laborers, rickshaw pullers, hawkers, or beggars. With slum villages home to more than one-third the total population of the city, the unsanitary conditions, close quarters and tin and tarp housing monopolize once vacant areas along roads, canals, drains, and the port and railway lines. At least 23 of these communities have populations of over 10,000 people, and for many, these overcrowded and unsafe neighborhoods have been home for two or three generations.


But it is into this place where thousands of capricious gods dole out their cruel karma that the hope of the gospel issues its clearest call. It is the teachings of Jesus that offer a better way than the teachings of Hinduism. It is the way of Jesus that offers a rebirth into a life and destiny free of karma’s punishing assignments and into a Body where there is neither high caste or outcast. With a new name and a new identity, all are welcomed into the joy of their Creator and His Son, invited to dine at His table, recognized and valued for the masterpieces they are.



MINISTRIES

Founders of RAY Ministries and Alpha Mission School, Home and Jenny are firm believers in the idea that education can change everything. And it provides a perfect vehicle for presenting the way of Jesus to poor and marginalized families in their community, whether they be inside or outside the Hindu caste system. With education central to everything they do, Home and Jenny are spiritual entrepreneurs, finding creative ways to bring the hope and healing of Jesus into the hurting world around them. Both orphaned in childhood, they have taken in kids without families and sacrificially promote their holistic development, meeting physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual needs. They facilitate traditional youth camps and conferences, but have also established vocational training centers in computers and other skill sets to increase job opportunities and earning power. They regularly host pastor training and women’s conferences to reach the Adivasis of the tea plantations with the good news of the gospel. Five years ago they shared their dream with Global Sharing to expand their school, replicating it in Adivasi areas where access to education is non-existent. Today they are pushing deeper into those unreached tribal regions, and the mission school is in the works. And they continue to dream: a driving school or a beauty college could be next. Whatever it is, be assured they will weave the gospel and discipleship into every plan they make and every thing they do.



In the south of the state, Dorcus House serves widows and their children in an impoverished village near the port of Kolkata. Their intrepid leader Cornelia, shepherds over 80 widows living in the shadow of stacks of rusty shipping containers and the active rail lines that move them in and out. Many of the widows that live in this dangerous hamlet have grown old here, but some are quite young; child marriage sometimes makes widows out of children. Cornelia fills her week tirelessly doing home visitation, providing food rations, paying school fees, and running a small preschool. But the door at Dorcus House is also open for literacy classes and skills training, and even to help the widows launch small businesses. But most importantly, Cornelia has introduced the widows and their children to Jesus and the ways of her God, teaching them that they are made in His image and therefore valuable beyond measure. The protection she extends, the dignity she affirms, and the care she provides consistently point them back to the One who finds the sheep on the margins and welcomes them gladly into His fold.


Outside the city’s limits along Kolkata’s eastern edge, a young man named Nasir has faithfully established himself within a community of Muslims that bumps up against the Sundarban National Park. A slum village with few solid structures can offer little protection from the elements, and one that borders the natural habitat of Royal Bengal tigers, estuarine crocodiles, and other wild animals ratchets up the risks. Living conditions are dangerous and attacks by hungry animals frequent. Nasir has beautifully woven his medical training into his seminary training, and with his compassion for the hurting and his love for the lost, he embodies a loving Heavenly Father to those who cannot imagine a kind and loving God. His commitment to serve and disciple the least of these has given birth to a beautiful faith community. Under his shepherding and care, his little flock is beginning to thrive even as it resides in the midst of wolves.



OUR PART

Global Sharing is proud to partner with Nasir, Cornelia, and Home and Jenny, and to spread the word about all they’re doing in West Bengal to expand God’s Kingdom through holistic ministry. We strive to offer the encouragement of friendship, prayer support, and teams of volunteers to them as they continue to faithfully serve those God has put in their care. We are committed to helping where and how we can, as needs arise, and have most recently helped fund RAY Ministries' school launch and educational partnership with Heera, a co-laborer committed to reaching the unreached through a bible-based English language school among the Adivasis.

As our partners press on, whether in pioneering a new work of ministry or staying the course along well-trod paths, we will continue to tell their stories, support them how and when we can, and invite you to join us in walking in the way of Jesus with them.


PRAYER POINTS

  • For Home and Jenny, RAY Ministries and Alpha Mission School: clarity and perseverance as they continue to embrace sacrificial service and spiritual entrepreneurship, providing educational opportunities for all, and finding innovative ways to bring the gospel of grace to their community and beyond.

  • For Dorcus House and Cornelia as they serve the widows and orphans in the slum village near the port in Kolkata: protection, the ongoing meeting of practical needs and the successful launch of literacy plans and micro-enterprise.

  • For Nasir in the Sundarban slums that border the nature preserve: protection from wild animals, ongoing needs for physical healing, and the spiritual growth of the faith community he shepherds.

  • For all our Indian friends as they daily battle the COVID virus, poverty, oppression, and persecution.



THANK YOU

Thank you for helping our Indian partners thrive. Thank you for praying for them and the people they serve. Thank you for seeing the challenges they face and being part of bringing change to this corner of the world. We press on with your help, and we press on because the hope and healing of Jesus is the only change that will last.


To receive our prayer email updates for our partners, click HERE.

To give to our Indian partners through Global Sharing, click HERE.

Thank you to all who have journeyed to India with us to serve our friends and partners there! We hope to visit them again when we are allowed to travel!

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TALAMANCA, Costa Rica


As we welcome in 2021, our GS team of staff and volunteers is praying for the world to open up again. While we wait, we invite you to explore with us the regions where our global ministry partners work. These places are unique and vibrant, each boasting their own special beauty. And the people? Well, we believe the people are extraordinary. And we think once you get to know them better, you will too. So we invite you to venture out with us virtually as we celebrate the people, places, and ministries God has called us to serve around the world.



ON THE MAP

Stacked compactly one upon the other, seven tiny nations link the massive North and South American continents. Nestled near the southern end of the chain lies what many consider its finest gem: Costa Rica. Adventure seekers find their way there for the jungle zip lines and rope courses, coffee lovers for the rich, aromatic roast, and with an abundance of pristine beaches, sunbathers and surfers alike flock to the sandy shores of two coastlines.


A winding four-hour car ride from the capital of San José, the region of Talamanca lies tucked away along Costa Rica’s southern border with Panama. Over half the area falls neatly within three national parks and a wildlife preserve, which is good for tourism as well as conservation efforts. But step off the well-beaten tourist path—or just cross the river in a banana boat—and the mountain jungles tell a different story.



HISTORY

Talamanca is both friendly and welcoming, and foreigners take good advantage of affordable vacation homes and a variety of eco-friendly touring options. But while the sun-kissed Caribbean coastline and decidedly unhurried pace encourages la pura vida, for some a dark chapter in Costa Rica’s past continues to cripple their present. Colonization left its mark on the Americas, and Costa Rica was no exception. Small villages throughout the lush mountain jungles of Talamanca are home to the nation’s largest indigenous population. Once enslaved by the Spanish and now pushed onto reservations, they are marginalized and forgotten by the forward march of first-world development. Just over a third of Talamanca’s land is divided between four reservations where Costa Rica’s native inhabitants live. Linked by steep, muddy paths, their small villages remain primitive, mired in the past. In these places, infant mortality is high and access to everything from sanitation to education and medical care is low. And the further into the mountains you travel, the more pervasive the poverty and the deeper the darkness. Religious practices are steeped in the worship of demonic beings, and spiritual darkness has the region tightly in its grip.




One of the larger indigenous groups in Talamanca is the BriBri, and much of their land quietly skirts the fringes of busy beach towns like Manzanillo and Puerto Viejo. Largely invisible to the tourists enjoying the laid-back Caribbean vibe, life for the BriBri is largely a subsistence existence. They eek out a living selling bananas, cacao, or plantains and themselves live mostly on beans and rice. Society on the reservation is matrilineal and matriarchal, and so the women remain tied to the land and quite rooted. Many men, however, leave to seek work on nearby banana plantations, coming and going and, with marriage seen as largely an informal arrangement, some absent BriBri men establish more than one family. Such customs have been normalized and stem from the heartbreaking conviction that men are to make conquests of their women. With this type of cultural norm, sexual abuse is sadly rife within and across many BriBri clans, and sadly it begins when girls are quite young. Teenage pregnancy is inevitable, and frightened girls are left to raise fatherless children in isolation, themselves traumatized. Taking on a prevailing sense of hopelessness, however, are two ministries working hard among the BriBri to change the engrained beliefs that promote the abuse of women and children and offer the healing and future only Jesus can provide.


MINISTRY

Kyrios Ministries has been working among the BriBri in Talamanca for many years. Making the four-hour drive from San José multiple times per month, the team of local Costa Ricans has brought the hope of the gospel to the region, first through youth camps and more lately through developing relationships with BriBri pastors on the reservation. Beginning small in 2017 with just a few participants, an annual pastors’ conference has since grown to see well over 50 men and women in attendance! Calling pastors to grow in grace and challenging them to value and protect the women and girls in their villages and clans is a discipleship that seeks to disrupt and dislodge cultural patterns that have damaged generations of beautiful people made in God’s image.



The Nest is a ministry founded by Karina and James Beach to serve the women and children of the BriBri tribe in Talamanca. They are working to provide a safe, loving, and Christ-centered shelter where women and children can live in a healing community, be educated, and fall in love with Jesus. The team is developing a bilingual school where children can learn academics and life skills in a vibrant faith-based community and all can find peace, purpose, and protection from sexual abuse.


TODAY

Global Sharing is proud to partner with both Kyrios Ministries and The Nest and to spread the word about all they’re doing in Talamanca for God’s Kingdom. To that end, we support Kyrios’ efforts to build relationships with BriBri pastors and train them to lead in love and disciple them to daily live out the example of the Good Shepherd. We are also actively supporting the work of The Nest as their team endeavors to build a safehouse for BriBri women and children to heal and be discipled in the ways of Jesus.


We will continue to offer the encouragement of friendship, prayer support, and teams of volunteers to both these ministries as they continue to faithfully serve the BriBri. As both teams press on, deeper into the mountain jungles, we will continue to tell their story, support them how and when we can, and invite you to join us in walking the Kingdom path with them.


PRAYER POINTS

  • For the Kyrios team to meet and develop more relationships within the BriBri community.

  • For the resources needed for the team to continue discipling pastors in the Talamanca region.

  • For protection over all as the spiritual battle is raging.

  • For The Nest team to raise needed funds to build the shelter and school.

  • For continued favor with the BriBri reservation leadership.

  • For God to provide needed staff and volunteers for The Nest from among the BriBri community.

  • For a service trip in the planning stages to visit and support the work of both The Nest and Kyrios in June of this year. I you are interested in joining our team, email us today at info@globalsharingusa.org.



THANK YOU

Thank you for making our partnership with both The Nest and Kyrios Ministries thrive. Thank you for praying for these partners and the beautiful BriBri people they serve. Thank you for seeing the challenges and being part of bringing change to this corner of the world. We press on with your help, and we press on because the hope and healing of Jesus is the only change that will last.


To receive our prayer email updates for our partners, click HERE.

To give to The Nest or Kyrios Ministries through Global Sharing, click HERE.

The beautiful photos shown in this email were taken by Elsie Muñoz while on a service and ministry trip to Talamanca with Global Sharing in 2019. Thank you, Elsie, for sharing your time and talent and so poignantly capturing for us the heart and soul of the region and the people.

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CASTILLEJOS, Philippines


As we welcome in 2021, our GS team of staff and volunteers is praying for the world to open up again. While we wait, we invite you to explore with us the regions where our global ministry partners work. These places are unique and vibrant, each boasting their own special beauty. And the people? Well, we believe the people are extraordinary. And we think once you get to know them better, you will too. So we invite you to venture out with us virtually as we celebrate the people, places, and ministries God has called us to serve around the world.



ON THE MAP

Just three or so hours away from busy Manila, the town of Castillejos is nestled snugly between the region’s lush mountain jungles and the South China Sea. Cheerful and unpretentious, the 60,000+ people who live in this densely populated area are hard working folk. Colorful jeepneys tote tourists to and from nearby beaches and to local markets filled with tantalizing fruit and cheap souvenirs. The relentless tropical heat is often broken when the heavens burst open and douse this hidden gem with a cooling downpour. The heat soon returns and life goes on.



HISTORY

Not far away, Mt. Pinatubo stands tall over all and has made its presence felt most acutely in this northwestern corner of the Philippines. It was nearly three decades ago that this sleeping giant came roaring to life, angrily spitting fire. The explosion produced high-speed avalanches of hot lava and gas, giant mudflows, and a cloud of volcanic ash hundreds of miles across. The largest volcanic eruption in history to affect a densely populated area, nearly 1,000 indigenous people lost their lives and an estimated 20,000 were displaced into resettlement camps.



These are known as the Aeta, dwelling in remote mountain villages, easily forgotten by in the swirling in the hustle and bustle of Castillejos. While their way of life has been mostly untouched by either the history of colonization or the modern forces of progress relentlessly pushing forward, it was drastically altered by the angry Pinatubo. With soil turned to ash, the fields they had farmed were now infertile, and their subsistence existence in jeopardy. This has kept many in severe poverty and nearly 30 years later still with little to no resources or work. However, one organization is devoted to improving the future for the Aeta.


MINISTRY

Since the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, God has inspired Wilson and Cora Ladringan, a godly, dynamic couple, to break the chains of poverty through education and bring the gospel to the Aeta people. They founded To God Be The Glory Ministries which holistically addresses the needs of the indigenous Aeta with education, medical care, vocational training, and spiritual instruction. Today, over 30 graduates of the Ladringan’s school have gone on to become pastors and church planters with over half of them returning to the mountains where many Aeta villages are without the gospel. In addition, To God Be The Glory Christian Academy is a beacon of gospel light, and the only school for the Aeta children and youth living in the dark shadow of Mt. Pinatubo. The school offers free preschool, elementary, and high school education, and vocational training for the Aeta. Boarding the school-aged children from the mountain villages provides them the opportunity to live full time in a Christian environment full of love and godly values. The ministry has not only expanded the Kingdom of God through serving the marginalized Aeta in practical and holistic ways, but it has also positively impacted the region of Castillejos by providing much needed jobs for the community.



TODAY

Global Sharing is proud to partner with Wilson and Cora and their team at To God Be The Glory Ministries and to spread the word about all that they are doing in Castillejos and beyond for God’s Kingdom. To that end, we've connected them with two churches in the US who now actively participate in their work, and we have partnered with them to see 25 more indigenous churches planted in the unreached mountain villages that dot the surrounding region.


While we will continue to offer them the encouragement of friendship, prayer support, and teams of volunteers, we have found that it is they who encourage us by their love for the Aeta people and their faithful service. As they press on, deeper into the mountain villages, continuing to meet basic needs in creative, holistic ways, we will continue to tell their story, support them how and when we can, and invite you to join us in walking the Kingdom path with them.


PRAYER POINTS

  • For To God Be The Glory Ministries to continue their work in the region in favor with government officials, local leaders and the community that surrounds them.

  • For protection over the team, ministry staff, students, and pastors for the spiritual battle is raging.

  • For the teachers who are visiting the children weekly and bringing school to them in the mountain villages.

  • For the parents the teachers are engaging during their visits, that their hearts would be soft and receptive to the gospel.

  • For relief from the COVID virus and its hold on the nations.

  • For the bakery project to vocationally train many Aeta.

  • For leadership transitions as Wilson and Cora plan retirement.



THANK YOU

Thank you for making our partnership with To God Be The Glory Ministries thrive. Thank you for praying for these partners and the beautiful people of Castillejos they serve. Thank you for seeing the challenges and being part of bringing change to this corner of the world. We press on with your help, and we press on because the hope and healing of Jesus is the only change that will last.


To receive our prayer email updates for our partners, click HERE.

To give to To God Be the Glory Ministries through Global Sharing, click HERE.

The beautiful photos shown in this email were taken by Lauren Wells while on a service and ministry trip to Castillejos with Global Sharing in 2019. Thank you, Lauren, for sharing your time and talent and so poignantly capturing for us the heart and soul of the region and the people.

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