They eat the same curry and rice every day, they own only a handful of possessions, and they sleep on a concrete floor with a thin sheet-like blanket for covers. Many don’t have shoes, and they have only a few clothes. Yet, they are grateful beyond words for having what they do, and they are some of the most joy-filled people on earth.
While Americans prepared for Christmas with shopping lists and trips to the mall—closets and cupboards already brimming with stuff—widows and orphans on the other side of the world were happy to generously serve the Americans who visited them in November.
Tom Gardner recently returned from his fifth trip to India to visit several homes for orphans and widows. When the team arrived, the warm Indian hospitality was evident immediately in the red-carpet welcome they offered. Each team member was adorned with numerous flower garlands, given the VIP treatment, and served specially prepared dishes.
In India, a woman is respected only if she is a mother, daughter and wife. Hindu widows are shunned after their husbands die; they are considered back luck, and they cannot remarry. They are no longer welcome in the homes of those who once loved them, and their presence at family functions is forbidden. Some of them are still young, in their 30s and 40s. With a low estimate of 40 million widows in the country, many end up living on the streets—especially those in rural areas—with no means to support themselves. They aren’t the only ones with a desperate need.
India also has millions of orphaned children who live on the streets. When professional trumpeter, Don Shire, toured the country in 2006, he began working to help pastors in India meet a great need for food and shelter for widows and orphans. Since 2001, when he launched Don Shire Ministries, Shire has ministered in 35 countries and has partnered with local Christian churches and pastors to establish and maintain homes for widows and orphans in India, Haiti and Honduras.
We’re happy to give our customers an opportunity to be part of helping the orphans and widows in India as well. A portion of the sale of every bag of pellets goes to Don Shire Ministries to support people in India. We are grateful for the support of our customers, which allows us to help others in turn.