Over the past decade, hundreds of children have found a home with us. But what started as a ministry to disabled children, God has grown into a beautiful manifestation of the gospel to all those in need.
Over the past decade, hundreds of children have found a home with us. But what started as a ministry to disabled children, God has grown into a beautiful manifestation of the gospel to all those in need. We have seen God work in and through us as the lives of children, widows, homeless, blind, beggars, and many more in need have been changed. And our community has noticed.
We receive children from all types of backgrounds. Some were abandoned by parents, left in the streets to fend for themselves. Some were abused, mistreated, neglected. We have children from Hindu families, Muslims families, and children not knowing to which religion they belong. But no matter what background they come from, we welcome them into our family.
At Happy Home for the Handicapped we have a holistic approach to our ministry. Under our roof, children find food, clothing, shelter, an education. But our primary focus, our primary goal is to teach them about Jesus, to show them that He is the only living God, and that he loves them.
And that is where life change is found.
Central to sustaining life change for the future of our children is education. We have a variety of different kinds of children, and because of that, there are a number of different works that we do in the lives of these kids. Those who are able to go to school are sent to different schools around Karnataka. Tutoring and additional help are given by some of the oldermembers of our community.
The children who are not able to go to school are educated here at Happy Home. We have a program called Home Base Education that not only works with some of our kids, but also is available to special children in the community. Through this program, these children receive speech therapy, learn some sign language, writing, and some learn to communicate for the first time.
There are many other ways that we strive to enrich the lives of these children as well, but all fall under the umbrella of the heart that God has given us to look after those in need in our community. We love our Lord, and we love his people. And we pray that God will continue to allow us to be a blessing to those in need, and that we will constantly be glorifying our Father as we seek to spread his Kingdom into the lives of those around us.
Long before the official beginning of Happy Home for the Handicapped in 2003, God had been preparing the hearts of two families living thousands of miles apart.
Born in Karnataka, Karnataka, India in 1959, Irene is the oldest of 9 children and was brought up in a spiritual and loving family. She married Godwin Karkada in 1983 and had two children, Roshan and Reema. In 1992, Godwin was murdered by thieves, leaving her with 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter with no means of support. Irene made the heart-wrenching decision to turn her children over to relatives, leave India, and take a job in Kuwait caring for a prince’s disabled daughter for $180 per month. This money was sent back to India for the necessary care of her children.
For 9 years, the prince only allowed Irene to leave Kuwait and visit her own children once every 2 years for a few days. Despite the pain and suffering they endured, they remained faithful:
“Though everybody left us, our God answered us. God safeguarded us and blessed us in each and every aspect of our life. We are so thankful for His unending love. The Lord is truly helping us.” (Roshan)
The daughter of the prince in Kuwait needed medical attention, so Irene traveled to the U.S. so that the daughter could receive the care she needed.
Little did she know how this trip would forever change her life.
On the other side of the world in Portland, Oregon, Bob and Kristin Roach were experiencing their own struggles. When their son, Garrett, was born prematurely with serious complications, it seemed almost too much to bear. They did everything they could think of to help him, including taking him to Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital for extended treatment in August of 2002.
Little did they know how much this one decision would change their lives forever.
During their long stays at Johns Hopkins, the two families met and a friendship quickly formed. They had much in common. Each had made hard decisions to provide for their children, and each knew sorrow. But God was working all things together for good in each of their lives. His plan was about to be revealed and would bless them and others through it.
After hearing Irene’s tragic story, Bob and Kristin were deeply moved to provide her with $200 a month. Irene was then able to leave the prince’s employment and return to her family. Reema and Roshan had nearly grown up without her, and were now 14 and 17 years old.
The Roach family went back to their home with Garrett much recovered, and a routine began. Each month the promised funds made their way to India and each month Irene would write a letter of thanks, with tidbits of local and family news.
Then the letters began to shift. With the $200 per month, Irene had decided to also take in homeless, disabled children. A few months later, there were 15 children. Then 25, Then 44.
In February 2006 her letter described of the hardship she was facing as the building she was using would soon be rented and they would need to find a new home. What should she do? Where would they go?
Bob and Kristin began to be concerned and decided to share Irene’s story with their friends Sid and Helen over dinner one evening. They all agreed that Bob and Sid should travel immediately to India. Two weeks later, after a 2-day journey to Bombay then Bangalore and a 6-hour car ride, that they found themselves in Karnataka, India hugging Irene, at Happy Home for the Handicapped.
“I made a firm decision to help these special children and let them know about the Word of God at my hometown. Myself and my two children and my family have dedicated ourselves to serve the downtrodden.” (Irene)
As Director of Happy Home for the Handicapped, Irene is fulfilling God’s work in giving care and affection to the most needy of children in her tiny part of the world. Today more than 120 children are experiencing the love of God.