People who are best at helping damaged children are often adults who were themselves deeply wounded during their childhoods.

Twenty-seven participants from 13 organizations just finished training led by Vijay Kumar, head of David C Cook’s ministry in South Asia. In the next few weeks, they will lead new J127 programs* for an additional 500 orphans who live in and near Hyderabad. Hyderabad is the capital of Andhra Pradesh, one of the largest of India’s 28 states. Located on the banks of the Musi River this region is plagued by gritty poverty, along with a lack of education, adequate nutrition, proper sanitation, and accessible healthcare.

One woman among the new leaders grew up in an orphanage herself. Life was hard. Her gender made matters worse because boys are valued above all else. Now an adult, she belongs to the Lord and her heart is burdened for other orphan girls.

From another woman at the training:

My mother wanted to commit suicide when she was pregnant with me. She took poison but somehow we both survived. My mother and I walked out of our home to avoid the abuse by my father. I developed hatred towards men, but the Lord changed me. J127 was not there when I was growing up, but I’m glad I can use this curriculum to understand the pain of orphans and how to love them.

Here’s a third testimony: Impacted by a lesson on the value of touch and hugs in the lives of orphans, one attendee went home and embraced her daughter-in-law whom she had not spoken to in several years. They began to rebuild their relationship in the wake of that expression of genuine affection.

Who are these people? The late Henri Nouwen coined the term “Wounded Healers” in his classic book written more than 30 years ago. As Nouwen put it,

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.

This describes those who lead J127 clubs. They are followers of Jesus, hail from a variety of backgrounds and many have experienced similar poverty and trauma as the orphans they shepherd. While they know the love of Jesus and have experienced degrees of healing, they, like all Christians, are on a journey toward wholeness. Again in the words of Henri Nouwen:

Our greatest fulfillment lies in giving ourselves to others.

This echoes what the Bible teaches,

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us (2 Corinthians 1:4).

Leaders of J127 clubs are living out this scripture every day. You can too by joining in supporting a club where young lives are finding hope in Christ.*

Miracles are happening in India. Children are trusting Jesus. The broken are being healed. And love flows abundantly out of those filled with the Holy Spirit. Be part of these miracles by sponsoring a J127 club*.

*Update: In 2018, David C Cook transferred oversight of the J127 clubs to an in-country partner which continues to shepherd and grow this program. By supporting David C Cook’s Life on Life curriculum, you will be helping support this program as well.