Grace Learning Center
Grace Learning Center
The concept of Grace Learning Centers has become a successful model in reaching the unreached communities for Christ. Originally this model was designed to strengthen the existing Churches but the terrible disaster brought by the tsunami waves to the fisher folks changed the whole pattern of the partnership altogether. As the ECI Relief Team kept exploring and venturing into villages affected by the tsunami, Grace Learning Centers too followed them to every village.
Activities in our Grace Learning Centers
In the GLCs, activities like feeding, tutoring and counseling the children started receiving great responses from the communities. As days passed by, many NGOs kept leaving the needy people in these villages and ECI VTI Grace Learning Centers alone remained and continues to remain with the children and the communities. The effect of this long term commitment has resulted in Churches coming up in these villages.
ECI Vision Trust International- A great and successful partnership!
We are reaching out to over 1469 marginalized children who are either orphaned, abandoned, impoverished or extremely needy to develop them as mature Christians in 27 Grace Learning Centers. There are over 53 committed teachers who tutor these children every evening after school. The local ECI pastors take up the additional responsibility of managing the Grace Learning Centers. In the administrative office, the National Director works with a team of full time staff which includes 4 field coordinators, a sponsorship program manager and an accountant. The Bishops were kind enough to provide an additional room for the ECI-VTI office. We are extremely thankful to them.
ECT-VTI Grace Learning Centers
Role of GLCs in ECI
- Helping the existing Churches reach out to the non Christian families in the same area by bringing the children into the Church every evening for the GLC program
- Helping a new mission field where the pastors/evangelists can use the GLC program to reach out to the community and the families
- Each and every child who is in the program is important to us and we take special care of them
- We help the children with their physical, emotional and spiritual needs in addition to their requirements needed for attending school regularly
- We appoint Christian teachers to help the children grow spiritually
- We wish and pray that all the children and their families in our programs be the pillars of the Church in the future
- We help the children with school uniforms, books, note books, school bags and pay their school tuition fees.
- Basic medical needs of the children are met and in special cases we take care of the entire expenses
- The children are fed with high nutritious food every day. We have two GLCs exclusively for the Gypsy children and one for the Irular children.
Remarkable change in the lives of children!
The transformations we see in the lives of children are equally exciting. The scenes of non-Christian boys and girls singing praises to the Lord and learning Bible verses are really touching. We have witnessed children accepting our Lord Jesus Christ and share their experiences with their parents also. There are many children in our GLCs who have put all their trust and hope in Jesus Christ. As a result of this we could see remarkable changes in their studies and behavior. We praise God for some of the Muslim children who are consistently attending the GLC, Sunday school and the Sunday worship.
A gypsy girl’s faith in the Lord till her last breath
Soundarya, eight year old girl from a gypsy community had been affected with cancer in her kidney. ECI-VTI reached and offered medical help to this ailing child. In the meantime, her parents took her to the local witch doctors who branded her hand with a long iron rod. Since there was no healing, finally they came to us for help. Soundarya came back from the hopsital after her surgery for cancer in her kidney with the help of ECI-VTI. She was undergoing radiotherapy regularly.
Last year Soundarya's stomach started bulging again and she was admitted in the hospital. The doctor told me that the cancer has spread to other parts and she would be with us only for a few more days. She had accepted Jesus as her Lord and savior. When I went to the hospital along with my staff, she told me that she is going to be with Jesus. On the 20th of Aug 2011, Soundarya had passed away at the Government Children's Hospital, Chennai.
The same evening, we had the funeral service. We went to the village, prayed and then took the body in an ambulance to the cemetery. It was a difficult time for all of us to witness the burial of a lovely, smiling girl. But we firmly believe that she is with the Lord. In her last days, Soundarya openly accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. She told us that she was going to meet Jesus.
After being part of this wonderful ministry for over 8 years now, this was the most difficult situation I had faced. But it is also very satisfying to witness a girl who accepted the Lord and was very confident that she was going to meet Jesus. Her smile is very much in front of my eyes.
Requests from various Churches
We continue to receive requests from various ECI Churches for a Grace Learning Center. Few ECI Churches have requested for a GLC where they have outreach ministries in villages. The pastor and the congregation in these Churches take initiatives on their own in identifying a village where there are not much Christian activities and adopt the ministry there. We would like to encourage Churches reaching the unreached to partner with us.