Posted by: atxanna | July 13, 2008

CAROLINE- India’s Orphan Ambassador

Caroline with the kids in India
Caroline with the kids in India

In 2005, Andy and I had the privilege of traveling to India to serve alongside a young Austin visionary, Caroline Boudreaux.  I met Caroline through a women’s group at her church in 2002 and was drawn to her from day one.  But the story of God fleshed out in her life has been one of the most inspiring tales I’ve ever watched unfold.  Every time I see her, or read about her, or visit The Miracle Foundation’s website (www.miraclefoundation.org), I get all giddy inside-because Caroline is a bold reminder to me that God can do amazing things through His children when they yield, unexplainably and whole-heartedly, to His call to be His hands and feet in this broken world.

Having done time in the cut throat sales industry for years, making a name and a hefty bank account for herself, Caroline found herself discontent with living out her “expected” climb of the corporate ladder.  In 1999, when she heard that a friend planned on leaving the working world to travel the globe for a year, Caroline knew in her gut that she was to go too.  Quitting her job and sticking to a pretty loose agenda, Caroline spent time in Egypt, Israel, Nepal, Indonesia, Bali, Thailand (to name a few)… but it was India that touched her heart in an unexpected way.

It was in India that her friend arranged to meet a child that she had been sponsoring through the Christian Children’s Fund (CCF) for several years.  They half joked that he may not even exist and that her friend’s money had been sent in vain.  But then they met him, Manus, and Caroline’s journey began.  The Indian man in charge of distributing the CCF funds in this region invited Caroline and her friend to his home for dinner that night.  When they walked in to his gated compound, they learned that his home doubled as an orphanage and there were 100 little Indian faces eager to greet and hug these two American ladies who’d come for supper.

Caroline was taken aback at the conditions in which the kids were living.  She could see first-hand that the children were not only dirty and poor, but also underfed, undereducated, and in need of medical care too (all of which their caretaker was hard pressed to be able to provide).  As if that weren’t enough, at the close of their night, a young girl named Sheebani came and curled in Caroline’s lap looking for nurture and love.  Caroline rocked her and sang her to sleep, then carried her back to her room.  The rooms were overcrowded and lined with rickety beds-two children sleeping back-to-back-no mattresses, no pillows, just wooden slats (similar to a picnic table).  As she gently placed this child in her bed she heard the clank of the girl’s bones hitting the hard wood and her heart broke.  In that moment she had found what she wanted to do with her life, care for these orphans and the 25 million like her that live in India.

That’s right.  India has over 25 million orphans, the grave majority of which are not eligible for adoption.  Not internationally.  Not nationally.  They are just stuck in a failing system of often-times corrupt orphanages, living in deplorable conditions, receiving little hope to raise themselves out of their lot in life.  Orphans are among an “untouchable” population in India, and opportunity is a foreign word to them.  Caroline remembers, “I had never thought about orphans before that night, much less held them, but soon we were singing with them, praying with them, rocking them, tickling, them… they were truly precious!”  That day, The Miracle Foundation, Caroline’s non-profit, was conceived.  “I decided if I couldn’t fix what I saw, I would die trying.”  And so it began. 

 

The kids greet Caroline on our 2005 trip
The kids greet Caroline on our 2005 trip
Returning to the states, God’s vision for Caroline’s service to Him in India was honed and focused in on “saving” one orphan at a time.  As we shared dinner with her one night in India, we asked with overwhelm, “How do you not get discouraged?  25 million orphans?  Even the 100 we just met is enough to paralyze us in thinking: how can we change anything?”  But Caroline responded, “When I think of 25 million, I freak out too.  I want to cry and throw up my arms and curl up in the Father’s.  It’s too much to handle.  But when I just think-one orphan at a time, as many times as I can-then I can press on.”
And press on she has.  In just 8 short years, Caroline has impacted the lives of orphans in India in ways she never would have asked or imagined from her Lord.  In 2007, her organization raised more than one million dollars and now has six orphanages in their network.  Today, they are one of a handful of American organizations allowed to organized domestic adoptions in India.  And they are reaching their goal of breaking the cycle of poverty by ensuring the children get the education, food, healthcare and the other basic rights guaranteed to all children by the United Nations.  But that just scratches the surface.  She is also giving these kids the love of Christ, and many, many prayers, and a whole host of other saints that now come to visit and love on, in person, the many orphans in her care.

One afternoon when I was hanging out with Caroline at her home, she received a note of encouragement from a church friend, who wrote this passage from Scripture in a card: “For I was hungry, and you fed me.  I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink.  I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.  I was naked, and you gave me clothing.  I was sick, and you cared for me.  I was in prison, and you visited me… when you did this to one of the least of these, you were doing it to Jesus” (Matt 25:35-40 paraphrased).  The friend then wrote that she saw these very things in Caroline’s ministry to the orphans and she wanted her to know that she thought Jesus was pleased with her service to Him.

 

This month, actually, Caroline is featured on the cover of “Austin Woman Magazine” (check out the article at http://www.austinwomanmagazine.com/).  I laughed out loud at the last line of the article as the writer tries to sum up all that Caroline has accomplished because it is exactly why her story goes here on this blog, too.  Caroline says, “I’m not special.  Anyone can do what I’m doing.  Just sponsor a child.”  Caroline is simply tuned into God and giving Him all she’s got.  And she’s also just a girl, like you and me.  It is crazy how God can use a willing woman.  I am challenged and stretched every time I think about Caroline because she is an example to me of what God just might do with my potential if I surrendered more of myself to Him.

 

 

 

To watch a short film recently made by Turk Pipkin, called “One Child at a Time”, about The Miracle Foundation, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvDttkl46jI

 

 

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