BOGALUSA, La. (BP)–Ganesh Paletti is an honorary member of the TeamKID group at Superior Avenue Baptist Church in Bogalusa, La., even though he lives halfway around the world.
TeamKID is a discipleship-based Bible study produced by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention for grades 1-6, during which God’s Word is studied for practical application to their lives. All parts of TeamKID — Bible stories, Scripture memory, missions and recreation — connect to teach life lessons to kids on a Sunday evening or midweek discipleship time.
The TeamKID group at Superior Avenue adopted the 8-year-old Indian boy when they chose to be his sponsor by sending $20 a month to feed, clothe and educate him.
The kids were looking for a mission project and their leader, Jo Purvis, was at a meeting where Deb Corkern spoke about the Christian orphanage she helped establish in India.
“She passed around pictures of the children,” Purvis said. “As I held that picture, I knew that was what we needed to do as our project.”
Purvis took the picture to her TeamKID group of about a dozen children, and when they read the back of the picture, they were touched.
“The father and mother of this child are physically weak and working in a landlord’s house,” were the words on the back of the photograph. “They are very, very poor and illiterate, too. They are not able to feed their children properly every day.”
The Superior Avenue children could not imagine having to leave their families and move to an orphanage because there was not enough food at home. So now they bring money and put it in a globe bank with India highlighted.
They are determined to pay for Paletti by themselves. When they realized at one point that they were not collecting enough money to keep up with their commitment, some of them came up with fundraising ideas.
“They wanted to sell handmade items,” Purvis said.
They decorated plastic cups. Some of the girls made their own sachets. They priced the items at a dollar each. “When people saw them with their wares, they started giving them extra money,” Purvis recounted. They have opened an account with the church treasurer, who sends in their monthly payments for them.
The kids pray for Paletti every week, and they send him cards and gifts. When he celebrated his eighth birthday in December, they sent a birthday package, including a TeamKID T-shirt. They received this response from their Indian TeamKID brother: “Thank you for the love and help for one poor Indian boy. May God bless you and grant you health.”
“These children at Superior Avenue are putting into practice what they are learning in TeamKID,” said Mikey Oldham of LifeWay’s childhood ministry publishing area who oversees production of the TeamKID resources. “Adopting this young boy in India is a tangible way for them to learn about prayer, missions and giving. Through this action, they are setting a pattern of ministry they can carry throughout their lives.”
Andi Cook is a regional reporter with the Louisiana Baptist Message. Polly House of LifeWay Christian Resources contributed to this story.