Dirty, tattered clothes hung loosely over Kaling’s malnourished frame—poverty’s mark marred his appearance in many ways. Yet Kaling felt even more forlorn on the inside than he looked outwardly: Bitterness and insecurity churned in his young heart.
Death took his father when Kaling was only 5 years old. With no father, the burden of providing for the family fell heavily on his mother’s shoulders. His mother, Nadia, decided the best thing for the family was to send Kaling to live with his grandmother while she and her other son worked as daily laborers in another state.
Kaling’s grandmother also lived in poverty, and she couldn’t provide for the young boy or fill the void after his family left him. Kaling felt lonely and longed to see his mother and brother, but they knew no other way. Although Nadia meant well, a tangled mass of bitterness festered within Kaling.
A Place of New Beginnings
Then a team of staff members from a Gospel for Asia-supported Bridge of Hope center met Kaling. Touched by his sorrowful plight, they invited the unhappy 8-year-old boy to enroll in the center. His first day in Bridge of Hope, December 14, 2012, marked the start of a new life.
Outward changes appeared first. A new school uniform replaced his tattered clothes, and he was given a backpack full of school supplies. The nutritious meal he received each day at the center helped his underfed body grow stronger and enabled him to fight off illnesses.
With the tutoring Kaling received from the Bridge of Hope staff, he grew academically as well. He eagerly applied himself to his studies and to the extra activities at the center.
“The Bridge of Hope staff takes care of us as their own children,” Kaling shared. “I was unable to get a good education and live a regular life, but Bridge of Hope made me able and made impossible things possible for me.”
Kaling’s grandmother watched her grandson mature under the care of the Bridge of Hope staff. Thankfulness swelled in her heart toward all those who helped her grandson, and she learned it was because of Jesus’ love that Kaling received such blessings.
Through Bridge of Hope, Kaling not only learned skills that would help him break out of the cycle of poverty, but he also heard truths about the forgiving nature of God and saw it lived out in the staff. As he understood how forgiveness could transform his life, Kaling exchanged his insecurity and bitterness for confidence and gratitude.
As the days and months passed by, Kaling loved Jesus even more and diligently hid God’s Word in his heart. And one day, Kaling asked the Good Shepherd to lead him in His ways.
Although he was a young child, Kaling recognized the blessings and love God gave him through Bridge of Hope, and he found joy and comfort even though his mother was absent from his life.