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Millions of rejected children are on the ‘unwanted’ list this Christmas

Millions of rejected children are on the ‘unwanted’ list this Christmas

Children of Dalits stand inside a broken house on the outskirts of Lucknow January 16, 2008. | Reuters/Pawan Kumar/Files

Spending on Christmas gifts in the U.S. could hit a whopping trillion dollars this year, according to estimates. But how many of those gifts will change a life?

On the first Christmas, tradition says, the Wise Men brought their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Child Jesus.

Two millennia later, tens of millions of “unwanted” children around the world eagerly search for their own trio of precious gifts this Christmas — not gold, expensive perfume or an iPhone, but the life-changing gifts of love, compassion, and hope.

These children are the forgotten ones — abandoned, discarded, pushed aside by their own parents, left to rummage in the festering garbage for scraps of food or recyclable materials.

I have often walked through the filthiest slums of Asia’s teeming cities and seen barefoot children as young as 2 or 3 splashing in disgusting open sewers, picking through the rotting trash, and shedding tears of hunger. One thought always crosses my mind: “Do these children have any hope for the future?”

These forgotten ones are among the least of Asia’s extreme poor, not only rejected by those who should love and cherish them, but also passed over by others who are in a position to help them.

They include girls and boys forced into treacherous working conditions and horrific sexual slavery — the real and tragic consequences of being unwanted and unloved in South Asia.

Just as Jesus was moved with compassion for the suffering — especially children — so the “forgotten ones” move us to silent tears today.

If this were the end of the story, I’d despair, as I know you would too. But just as the Wise Men came carrying gifts, we can bring our precious gifts of love, compassion, and hope this Christmas to children who are forgotten and unwanted.

When we hear about the “millions” who need our help, it’s overwhelming. But instead of “millions,” just think “one.” You can help one! You can transform the life of one forgotten child and permanently remove them from the “unwanted” list!

Jesus said: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40, NIV).

Could I share one way you can give the threefold gift of love, compassion, and hope that so many forgotten children crave this Christmas?

Gospel for Asia’s Bridge of Hope child sponsorship program provides free schooling, counseling, meals, clothing and medical care for more than 70,000 vulnerable children in Asia.Most never dreamed they’d ever attend school but a sponsor gave them the chance. There are thousands more children waiting, hoping, praying for a sponsor this Christmas.

Can you imagine how a boy or girl feels when they realize they’re not ‘human garbage,’ but that someone actually cares enough to give them a hope and a future?

In South Asia, Kasni’s mother works long hours as a poorly paid laborer, every day leaving 7-year-old Kasni in charge of her younger siblings. Going to school seemed impossible for Kasni, but GFA-supported workers found a way for her to attend the local Bridge of Hope center.

Every day, it’s like Kasni unwraps a new gift of love, compassion, and hope!

I’ve seen thousands of forgotten children take their first wonderful steps into a life of promise, and I rejoice. As we celebrate the Child in the manger this Christmas, let’s remember the unwanted children waiting to experience God’s most precious gifts through us.

 Dr. K.P. Yohannan is the founder and president of Texas-based Gospel for Asia (GFA, www.gfa.org), a leading faith-based missions agency bringing vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia.

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