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The Karuna Story Every work of God begins with God speaking to His people about what He wants to accomplish. Here is the story of how the Karuna Sharan vision unfolded….

The year was 1998, when God spoke to a young Pastor and his wife, Karl and Suzan Silva, about starting a Children’s Home that would care for abandoned and orphaned kids in the city of Mumbai. Though they had both worked with orphans in their youth, they never imagined that they and their church team would one day start their own Children’s Home.

Small Beginnings… One Christmas, their church decided to host a special dinner for the poor people in the slums in the neighborhood around the church. All they wanted to do was to love people and share the joy of Christmas with them. Over 150 people showed up, many children included. It was a memorable night with a lovely dinner, Christmas carols and a lot of joy.

In the weeks that followed, on their trips to church, the Pastor and his wife were surprised to find a small group of children on the streets, between 8 to14 years, greet them as ‘uncle’ and ‘aunty’. These children had all been to the Christmas dinner and had thoroughly enjoyed it. They soon became friends. It was discovered that many of these children had no parents. Some of them were orphaned, some abandoned and so poverty stricken that they lived right on the streets.

Life on the streets can be quite a traumatic experience for an abandoned child. The little ones are often exploited by organized adult gangs and forced to beg. At the end of the day all their earnings are taken away from them. They are given very little food. Many of them suffer physical abuse, malnourishment and disease. They have no family love, no education and no future!

A dedicated team of people from the church began working on a literacy program for these children, and later, a provision was made for a daily meal. This went on for six months and the children became a part of the family.

The Night That God Spoke…. Late one night, as the pastor and his wife were returning home by train, they saw many little children sprawled out, sound asleep on the dirt floor of the station platform. As they drew near, they recognized some of the faces. These were some of the very same kids that they were working with. It was a sobering moment for them. Despite the literacy program and the meal provision, these children who had become their friends, were still sleeping on the streets and homeless. It was at this moment that God’s compassion moved their hearts. As the Pastor walked to his car, he sensed God speaking clearly to his heart to do something for these children. It was so clear, he knew it was God.

The Adventure Begins… As they prayed as a team, they felt led to open up their first boy’s home. A bungalow was rented out and the first ten boys were taken in. A mother and daughter from the church volunteered to be guardians and to live with the children.

The first night that the kids spent in their new home was hilarious. None of them had ever experienced a hot shower, and to have running water was an absolute thrill!! It was hard getting the kids out of the shower. It was so much fun for them. That night, for the first time, they slept in new pajamas, on soft mattresses, with their own pillows and clean sheets. Some of them, by force of habit, put their only belongings – the soiled clothes they came in with, under their pillows for safekeeping. They forgot they were no longer on the streets. What an amazing thing it is to feel secure and have a family!! Do we have much to be thankful for?

In the first year, a home school along with a sports and recreation program was started. The following year, the second home was added. A dear friend, Staffan Ohlson, introduced them to some of his business friends, Jim and Nancy Dornan and Mitch Sala, whose hearts were also moved with the vision and they decided to sponsor the first two homes.

Thoroughly enjoying their faith adventure, the church team started dreaming about having their own building to house 150 orphan boys and began to pray for land. A plot of land which was zoned for a school was located in Vasai. There was no money for the project, so they prayed.

Miraculously, a few months later, a Pastor friend, David Stambovsky, called Pastor Karl and Suzan to inform them that he had been given a donation to be used specifically for an orphanage in India. He wanted to direct the money to their orphanage project. The money was exactly half the amount of the land price. The Pastor and his wife praised God for answering prayer! This was a sure sign that God wanted the team to move ahead with the project.

An Enlarged Vision The vision was twofold:
1. To build a children’s home called Karuna Sharan, for 150 orphan boys, with dorms, a cafeteria, recreation facilities and home parents who would provide a family environment for the children.