Ballymena-based charity, The Francina Foundation works with mission partners in India to bring relief from poverty, encourage educational attainment and develop sustainable long-term facilities for those who are marginalised in society.
During a recent expedition to the sub-continent, a four strong team led by Lorraine McAllister and including Uel Marcus, Maurice McAllister and Andy Scott got to see at firsthand how the Lord is moving among the vast population there.
Lorraine told The Church Page: “We travelled to a small village call Sasalu, which is located in the Mandya district of Karnataka state. There, we work with Pastor Mark, who runs the Rays of Peace Ministry.”
“During the day, we worked to put a concrete floor at the bottom of an outside structure where children who are at the orphanage eat their meals.”
“The previous floor was made of hardened cow-dung, which had the potential to be very sticky, wet and muddy during monsoon season”, she added.
Following a day of hard and heavy work when she became expert at mixing cement, Lorraine and the team undertook ‘cottage meetings’. These involved visiting Christians in their homes to open God’s Word with them and develop relationships.
Remembering these fondly, Lorraine went on to say: “The homes we visited in India are not like houses in Northern Ireland. Many of the families we meet live in one-room structures with a make-shift bed and a makeshift stove for cooking on. Often, their animals live inside with them.
Yet, these people have a real love for the Lord despite their poverty which is humbling to see. Very often, they are the only Christian family in their village and live under threat but that have the joy of the Lord in a way that is tangible.
Because we come from the West, they view us as ‘super theologians’ who are there to open God’s Word with them. Now of course, that is what we do, but their faith inspires us”, says. Lorraine.
During their two-week stay, the visiting team also witnessed the dedication of the Rose of Sharon project. This life-changing initiative has been pioneered by Pastor Mark’s daughter, Jennifer and her husband, Jason.
The heart behind it is to provide a safe place for young women who have been rescued from prostitution.
Much of the finance that have made this facility possible has been raised by The Francina Foundation. It is expected that girls will move into their specially build new home next month.
Lorraine explains: “Jennifer’s vision is to see these girls renewed physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. They have been through so much. She is planning to hold classes in skills like sewing to ensure that the ladies have a trade other than selling their bodies.”
Although believers in India face much opposition on account of their faith – particularly from RSS, a militant Hindu group who are seeking to get all Christians and Muslims expelled from the country by 2020 – Lorraine states that the spirit of God is on the march in amazing ways.
“While we were away, we held a dosa party where many people were fed. This was attended by two officials who were very opposed to God and to the Gospel. However, even they went away saying that they had never been to a place where there was so much love and peace.”
‘Who can stop the Lord Almighty?’
Lorraine concluded by saying: “The words that God has given me since I got back from India are: ‘Who can stop the Lord Almighty?
During our first expedition a few years ago, Pastor Mark gave us the words ‘expansion’ and ‘explosion’ and we are seeing that happen.
Through the relationships that we are building Pastor Mark tells us that more and more people are coming to Church and accepting Jesus as Saviour. The Spirit of God is moving throughout India in amazing ways.”