Letters From Tulsa Children Change Course Of India Man's Life
TULSA, Oklahoma - You probably have seen the commercials: 50 cents a month could help a child in need.
Mingo Valley Christian School did just that 24 years ago and it changed one child's life.
Like many kids, when Stefanie Nance was 8 years old, she had a pen pal.
Through a program called Compassion Child, Nance and her fifth-grade class at Mingo Valley Christian wrote to George all the way in India.
George Ebenezer's life was much different than the lives of the Tulsa kids.
He had no food, no clothes, no Christmas presents and an abusive home life.
"Through the night getting beaten up by an alcoholic dad," George said. "Would not sleep well. Would get up early in the morning and we had to walk to school. I would walk for about 45 minutes."
Half a world away, nickels and dimes were collected for George.
They paid for his education and food.
George says that was great, but other kids being helped through other ministries got more.
They got toys and presents, and George just got these letters.
"It was always letters," he said. "And I said, 'Why did the Lord allow a school to sponsor me? You know? I wish it was a family or a rich family or someone who would give me gifts.'"
It wasn't until years later that George realized this was a gift of prayers.
His father burned some of the letters, but he managed to hold on to some. And on Sunday, 24 years later, George brought them back to his old pen pals at Mingo Valley.
"Do you play sports like soccer?" one of the letters said. "I've heard of your letters in chapel. They are very nice. So is your picture."
George now works with current fifth graders and involves them in his own ministry in India.
"We might not be from the same places, but we have the same God," fifth-grader Connor Jeffers said. "We have the same similarities in that."
George says these people -- these prayers -- redeemed and rescued him, and now he'll do the same for others.
"I'm thankful to the Lord for where I am today," he said.