Once every few decades one discovers a movement that is having a huge impact on a people group. While our efforts are humanitarian, they most importantly have an eternal impact. Hopegivers International (HGI) has succeeded in bringing the Gospel to millions since 1960 and establishing nearly 60,000 church plants. Although they are a mere blip on the radar screen when compared financially with other ministries, their impact for the Gospel is explosive.
Dr. Thomas: Christ came to preach to the poor—not the financially poor, but the poor in spirit and believe me, poor in spirit exists at every financial level. We do have a soft spot for the poor in this ministry. In fact, it fuels the ministry.
So who are the poor? They are the lepers, orphans, blind, dowry (burned brides), AIDS victims, and the children being sold into sex trafficking, etc. God is interested in the poor as much as He is in the spiritually poor in spirit.
HGI is not in competition with anyone. We are taking care of the orphans and widows because no one else wants the job. I do want the job. I want to raise healthy minds and bodies who grow up and do better things, greater things in ministry and in their communities.
What thrills you about the ministry?
Dr. Thomas: What thrills me is knowing that what we are doing has an eternal impact. What profits Samuel if we do succeed in one million orphans raised by the time I go to heaven? It will be that I go to heaven doing what God has assigned me to do here with my life. It’s not really about raising one million orphans; it is to raise one million children who know Christ! We would love this to take place by 2030.
What breaks your heart over the ministry?
Dr. Thomas: They say no good deed goes unpunished. Whenever one tries to separate light and darkness you will have conflict. So when a “doer” works at anything good, there will be opposition. I just expect it in my world.
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Persecution is in the hearts of those who have no reason to be against us—darkness simply hates light. Whenever challenged with darkness, the forces of evil are very powerful, but the God we serve is all-powerful. Always remember, serving the Lord never promised us immunity to suffering. For example, some of our orphanages have been shut down. The adult mobs believe they are freeing them from being taken care of by us! Their definition for freeing these children is to put them back on the street to starve and be abused. How is that freeing them?
The devil has blinded the eyes of these mobs so they cannot see the good we do.
Religion is the hammer they are using. I want all religions to have orphanages, but no other religions want to invest in rescuing, sheltering, feeding and educating these outcast children.
Can we fix the problem?
Dr. Thomas: Can we fix the problem? Yes, but only one way. More light must be shed into the dark parts of the world. When every child has a right to know God the problem will get fixed. Teaching children the truth from youth is the answer. Once we encourage more and more children the problems will be less.
To the readers—I want to challenge those reading about this ministry to come and get involved. Work side by side with others and me. My role is only to obey. The rest I have to leave in God’s trusting Hands. We can tell every one of the need, but we must trust God to provide through the people that we share the need with.
Dr. Samuel A. Thomas, born in 1967, is known throughout India as a leading humanitarian. Following in the footsteps of his father Dr. M. A. Thomas—Founder of Hopegivers International—Dr. Samuel is a second generation visionary for the organization. Dr. Samuel, a dynamic leader and speaker, united with his father in the vision for “One Million Arrows” for God that continues to fuel the explosive growth of Hopegivers International throughout India and other developing nations. Their vision is to see One Million needy children rescued from brothels, slums and the streets of India, trained and sent out as Orphan Leaders Worldwide by the year 2030.
Photos: HopeGivers International