What a Year!

18 Jan

What a year of change and excitement 2016 was.  It truly is hard to put into words the year when we look back on it.  We moved here to South Asia in 2015, knowing 2 local pastors and one American family.  God has really opened up some amazing doors since we have moved.  We have met many more local pastors and and foreigners serving here, sharing the love of Christ and the message of Salvation among the lost and that has been exciting to see!  Many people asked when we moved, what exactly our plan was, and we weren’t sure.  We knew God wanted us here, we knew we had hearts for children who had been abandoned, Cynt of course being a early childhood special needs teacher has a huge heart for children.  We also knew we wanted to work with local people or groups already working here.  We knew starting a children’s ministry in this country wasn’t allowed by the government for foreigners, so we would need to work alongside others already here.  And we knew we wanted to grip and rip some teeth out, helping people with dental needs.  Of course through all of this we knew we all are called to share His love and His message of Hope that he offers to all.

So with that we set out last year and we stand constantly amazed at what God has provided, the doors He has opened, the relationships he has put into our paths, the provision He has provided through all of our generous partners in the US.  Quickly after arriving, we were able to start doing dental camps through the help of the one American family we knew when we arrived.  They put us in touch with people doing weekly outreach and we were able to join them on Tuesdays and help people with their dental treatment.  Through that relationship, I was even able to receive my local dental license.  Through other relationships, we were able to start spending time on the weekend with a local children’s home.  Playing games, sharing bible stories, doing crafts, going to chili’s and playing in the arcades was a lot of fun with them.  It was pretty awesome seeing their eyes when they entered a mall for first time and trying out an escalator. IMG_7802

We only had one fall through that experience with close to 40 kids, so we considered that a success, though several were carried up and down the escalator each time.  (on a side note, this is not just an issue with children from poorer areas,  this is quite common with people from all ages and walks of life.  Going to the mall can be filled with lots of laughter as you watch people approach the escalator, stop, try it with one foot, step back, stare, and then turn around and go to the elevator. Not that we would laugh at that or anything…)

 

We were able to partner with local pastors and put on a pastors conference in late spring in a village about 5 hours away, sharing the importance of prayer and reading the Word, sharing the Gospel and trying to encourage pastor’s who are living in meek conditions and sharing the message of Jesus.  We were also able to attend a conference with friends here from a group in the states about community development, which had tons of great ideas and ways to help people who a biblically and culturally honoring way.  About 2 months later we were able to also join that group in a very good story telling conference.  Every culture is different, and some, which are based on sharing things through stories, respond really well to telling our personal stories of what God has done in our life and telling the bible through stories.  We were also able to host a dental camp with that group in a smaller town about 4 hours away in a local church which went really well.

 

Cynt was able early on through some connections made to help a local school in a poorer area each week.  She was able to help teach english and also share bible stories to teachers and kids, the majority of which were non believers.  She was also able to quickly get into a group of both foreigners and locals who pray together each week, which has been really encouraging for her.  And then things started getting pretty interesting.  Before we moved,  while we were talking, Cynt said, i can just see us in a bigger house, with lots of children with special needs, and some locals living with us. So her first thought was lets rent a big house!  I hesitated a bit, since rent lease’s were for a year at a time, i figured we could start with something smaller, and then when we see  your vision start coming to fruition, then we can look to the bigger place.  Well last May, due to doors God opened, we were able to meet with Sarah’s Covenant Homes here in Hyderabad.  We were able to start partnering with SCH and moved after only 5 months to live right next door to one of the 4 SCH homes here in Hyderabad.  Check out SCH on their website, and awesome organization that God is doing some amazing things through Sarah and all the foster moms who have been here over the years.  IMG_7937

Sharing the love of Jesus with these children left behind by their culture and society, children who have been deemed unworthy and not useful, and to see how these children are growing, how their surgeries they need have been provided for, the care they have been given has been amazing for us to witness.  Technically, what she thought would happen hasn’t exactly happened, but it has been pretty darn close.  Living next door has been great, but eventually if there is a way to live in the same home, if the setup is right, would be awesome.

 

So the last 6 months has been a lot with SCH, and we have tried to learn a lot, and help however we can.  Rescue home is where we work most closely.  These children, most of whom are below 5 years old, are the kids who have been rescued out of government children’s homes.  They were sick, not thriving, needing surgeries that the government could not provide, and SCH has come to their “rescue” and provided loving and caring environment, food, surgery and medicines, and starting to provide therapies and therapy equipment that some of the children need that they would have never received if they had not come.  It has been really exciting getting to know all the children at Rescue, and to be able to see how far they have come since they came here in the past 2 years.  Cynthia has been able to help start a preschool in the morning with another of the foster moms here where the kids are able to sing songs work on gaining skills, learning colors, playing with musical instruments, etc. IMG_7754

It has been a lot of fun seeing some of these children start to take their first steps, say their first words, etc.  We have really been so fortunate to be able to partner alongside SCH and look forward to the future working with them.

We were also to host our first team from 3 Circle Church which was a lot of fun, and definitely a learning experience for us.  We were able to spend a lot of time with SCH kids, doing some great art work which hangs on some of the kid’s home walls. IMG_8675IMG_8803

We were also able to help a local feeding program in a very poor area of time, provide food, share the Gospel, and do some more painting.  IMG_8738

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Also, we were able to partner with a local partner who shares in a tribal area, and go visit several villages outside the city, share the Gospel, share about what Jesus has done in our lives to people who do not know Jesus as their Savior.  All in all, we had a great time and look forward to our home church visiting again soon, join in with them, we would love to have you!

I know this has been a little long, but it truly has been an amazing year for us.  We couldn’t have imagined all the doors that would have been opened, all the relationships that have been provided, all the love and support we have felt from home.  And we truly thank God everyday for all that He has provided.  It doesn’t mean it has all been easy, or we haven’t gotten sick, or felt the real presence of darkness, or missed our friends and families and Dr Pepper, and hamburgers, but we have really come to know that God is faithful to His call on us and on you, that He is there for us, His love never ends, it always endures, He is faithful to His words and His promises, and for that, we are extremely thankful!  We look forward to returning to the states for 2 months in march until may, we hope to see you soon and share more stories on this past year.  Thanks so much for your continued prayers, your partnership, your financial support and your emotional support of the past year and own into the future.  And a huge thanks to a God who loves, who saves, who redeems, who heals, provides, who is Faithful.

God bless,

-Bakers

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The girl were able to be a part of a local church’s Christmas performance

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Dressed up for a night on the town, (Chili’s) with our 3 Circle friends!

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Sometimes people get desperate and ask us to Preach!

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Just waiting in line for the foreign dentist…

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This kid, Daylan, loves pizza, movies, kicking people, and laughing!

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One Response to “What a Year!”

  1. Cyndi Wheeler January 23, 2016 at 1:25 am #

    Jacob & Cynthia, Thank you for your update. We have you on our prayer list in the DINKS class and I look forward to sharing your update with them. You are God’s hands and feet and one day He will show you the ripple-effect of your daily witness. You are blessing so many lives. We hope that our paths will cross when you are back in the States when you return in March. Blessing to you and your girls and all the lives you are touching! Cyndi & Harris Wheeler

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