A Close Call

Salmon and the children

December 2022

God’s Call to Save the Orphans, Widows, and Poor in Nayakampalli, India

A Close Call

Two Men Shaking Hands

As I have traveled across the globe, I have had many close calls. This is the story of one close call that introduced me to 55 orphans and a husband and wife named Salmon and Priyanka who have dedicated their life to care for these orphans in Nayakampalli, a very poor city in the East Godavari region of Andhra Pradesh, India. This close call brings me heartache and joy every day. My heart aches because I know their stories; the tragedies that made them orphans. My heart fills with joy when I hear how they are overcoming their circumstances and when I see their dedication to following Jesus.

G. Prasad

One young boy is G. Prasad. His story is common in this area of India. His parents owed a debt they could not pay. They became brick slaves to pay their debt. The situation was too much for his father to bare. His father eventually committed suicide. Because of the debt and the loss of her husband, his mother brought her 3 kids to the orphanage and left. She never returned. He is committed not to let his parent’s story become his story. When he finishes school, he wants to become a pastor and do whatever God leads him to do. The tribal areas need people like G. Prasad who loves God and wants to share the love of Jesus and the Word of God with the people in the poor tribal areas.

S. Anu Radha

A young girl named S. Anu Radha and her brother came to the orphanage when her mother left them to be with another man. Their father is mentally handicapped and cannot care for them. She studies hard and does very well in school. She wants to be a nurse when she finishes school. The tribal areas need people who love God to serve in important jobs like medicine.

The dictionary describes a close call as “a narrow escape from danger or disaster.” God has shown me two other ways to experience a close call. The first example of a close call is when the Holy Spirit prompts me to share the good news of Jesus with someone on a bus or a plane or anywhere at a time when I think I’m either too busy or I’m afraid of being rejected. Or the prompt is to be a messenger of hope to someone who is already a follower of Jesus. At times like these I sometimes look for any excuse to get out of the calling. It’s a close call when I give in to the Spirit’s prompting and the person is either led to accept Jesus as their Savior or they are comforted because I listened to their heart ache and maybe shared a comforting message from the Holy Spirit.

The second example of a close call comes from John 15:13. This is the verse of scripture that led me to the friendship I have with Jesus when I was a young boy. The morning when I first heard John 15:13 spoken by our teacher, I heard Jesus say that he gave up his life for my sins because he considered me to be his friend. John 15:13 became my life verse. Later, Jesus revealed to me that I could give up my life to others by giving my time to them like Salmon and Priyanka have given up their life for the orphans. It’s a call to spend some of my time to develop close relationships. A “close call.”

The most spectacular close call came when I was called to give up my time, my heart, and my money so that God could care for the orphans and a group of homeless widows through Our Father’s Home Ministry (OFHM), the ministry Salmon and Priyanks started in 2010 in Nayakampalli, India.

I Have Given Her You

Widow in India

This close call started in 2018, when I was experiencing what seemed to be the pinnacle of success in my career. I was invited by the government of Dubai to speak at a multi-national conference on project management attended by over 5,000 people from 8 countries. God used that opportunity to speak through me to the young man who arranged my travel. The young man was the son of a Christian minister in Dubai. He had walked away from his faith. God chose me to share the love of Jesus to the young man and encourage him to take another look at Christianity.

Then, God sent me on a business trip to Pune India. Every day when I was in Pune, I was driven from my luxury hotel to my luxury office where I coached the employees of a multi-billion-dollar company in the financial industry. Every day on the way to the office, we drove by an area where an old woman was sitting around a mud pit where brick slaves were making bricks to build a wall that would hide the slums from the cars driving on the street. As we drove by that area on my last day in Pune, I asked God, “Why have you given me so much and given her nothing?” A voice from within me said, “I haven’t given her nothing, I’ve given her you.” My heart ached because I was leaving town that day and didn’t have a way to help that poor homeless widow.

A Supernatural Introduction

Salmon and Family

After I returned home, I didn’t think much of the poor widow or of my trip to India. About six weeks later, I received a message on LinkedIn from a paster named Salmon. Salmon is from a village called Nayakampalli in the East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh, India. Salmon said he felt he was supposed to reach out to me, but he did not know why. I told Salmon that in America we get lots of requests from people who are trying to scam us. I wasn’t going to fall for his attempt to take advantage of me. Salmon understood but felt he was supposed to tell me about his ministry anyway.

Over the course of three weeks, Salmon wrote to me through LinkedIn. Salmon told me how God revealed Himself to Salmon when he was about to enter school to become an Indian police officer. God told him he was going to plant churches in Salmon’s area and Salmon was going to be God’s vessel to teach men who would lead those churches.

Salmon told me that while planting churches he would come across homeless widows and orphans like K. Durgas and D. Barnabus.

K Durga

K. Durgas is a young girl in the 7th grade. Her father died, and her mother was too sick to care for her and her little sister. Her mother brought her to live at the OFHM orphanage. She wants to serve poor people and introduce them to Jesus by caring for them as a nurse when she finishes school.

D Barnabas

D. Barnabas is a young boy in the 8th grade. His father was killed. His mother, who is a follower of Jesus, is very sick and cannot care for him. His mother introduced him to Salmon because she knew he needed to be cared for by people who love God. When he was introduced to Salmon, he was a troubled child. Through the care he received from Salmon and Priyanka at Our Father’s Home Ministry, he does well in school and is growing in his faith in Jesus. When he finishes school, he wants to serve God.

When Salmon came across homeless widows and orphans while planting churches, he didn’t feel right ignoring them, so Salmon, his wife Priyanka, and Salmon’s parents started taking them into their home. Eventually, they started OFHM in 2010.

OFHM is a ministry with a three-fold purpose. First, it is a church planting ministry in a predominantly Hindu and Muslim area where Salmon trains and disciples people to plant Christian churches. At that time, they had planted over 100 small churches. Second it exists to help homeless widows. Third, they run an orphanage that has grown to over 50 children.

Salmon’s plea was for friendship, prayer, and financial support to help him evangelize and minister to the Christian converts, widows, and orphans in his area.

Every morning I received a message from Salmon. I responded politely that I didn’t think I was the person to help him. I told Salmon my wife and I are supporting other ministries and are not able to provide financial support to another ministry. For some reason, he thought I was someone he should continue to communicate with for friendship, prayer, and financial support.

He asked me to visit his ministry and consider being someone who would rally others in my area around their needs.

To ease my skepticism, Salmon offered to introduce me to several people in the United States who have visited him to prove his ministry is legitimate. But, like most Americans, I am skeptical of people who contact me online because of all the dishonest people trolling the Internet for handouts.

One day, I was about to tell him in a nice way that I’m not able to visit him and probably not the guy to rally the troops back home around him. But, as I was writing Salmon, the Lord reminded me of the words He spoke to me when I was driving by the homeless widow on the business trip I made to Pune. There wasn’t a convenient way for me to help her on that trip. I left Pune wishing there was something I could do to help her or others like her in India. On this morning when I was contemplating my response to Salmon, I asked myself if the introduction to Salmon might be God granting my wish. So, I said, Lord, if Salmon’s ministry is legitimate and he contacted me because of Your divine guidance, please show Jennifer and me how you want us to help.

After a couple of weeks of Salmon’s persistence, I asked God again to change my heart if Salmon was who he said he was. Then one morning Salmon asked me if we could have a video call. I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to giving Salmon that level of access to me. But God had been starting to change my heart.

I asked God to speak clearly to me about how He wanted me to interact with Salmon. Then I opened my morning devotional which spoke as clear as if God had written the answer on a Big Chief notebook tablet.

The first scripture verse in my devotional was Ecclesiastes 11:6, “Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.”

God reminded me that when I am doing business with people in India or China, I speak to them in the morning and in the evening. If I can do this for the people God uses to bring me financial blessings, it makes sense that I should do the same for the people God wants to bless through me.

Salmon and Kids at Our Father's Home Ministry

So, I started to communicate with Salmon every morning. Sometimes we use text and sometimes we use video. The first time we used video, he introduced me to the orphans. Some, like G. Sahithi who is in the 4th grade were very shy. Her father died from kidney failure. Her mother is not able to take care of her 3 children by herself, Salmon accepted her and her younger brother G. Uma Mahesh into the orphanage.

Others like G. Pravalika who is in the 7th grade had big, beautiful smiles even though life was very difficult for them. She and her parents work in a brick factory where there are no nearby schools. So, her parents brought her to the orphanage so she can attend school after working a few hours in the morning in the brick factory. She wants to be a nurse when she finishes school, so she doesn’t have to remain in the bondage of a brick factory worker.

Salmon and the people God put under his care are considered lower castes than the rich Hindus who surround them. Their level of poverty is far more severe than what we call poverty in the U.S. Many live in grass huts with dirt floors and no electricity or gas to use for heat or cooking. Going days without substantive food is not uncommon. And they face persecution and sometimes death for their faith in Jesus. Yet they are more in love with Jesus than anyone I’ve ever seen in a Western church. All they have is the Lord Jesus.

The kids I met online don’t speak English, but they were jumping up and down waving and saying hello Mr. Bollig. My heart was hooked.

After getting to know Salmon and the children through video calls, I was confident God had shown me what he wants me to do with Salmon. I began searching for God to show me how.

God's Plan Is Confirmed

Now that my heart was convinced that meeting Salmon was directed by God, I needed to know how God wanted to use my wife Jennifer and me. My prayers for these new friends went something like this, “Lord, thank you for showing me that Salmon’s ministry is legitimate and that he contacted me because of Your divine guidance. I can see that this is another close call. A call for me to develop a close relationship with Salmon, the widows, the orphans, and the church leaders in Nayakampalli. Direct Jennifer and me and show us how you want us to help. If you want me to visit, provide a trip to India or a neighboring country through my work. If you want us to give financially, show us where the money should come from. If you are asking me to just pray for now, then wake me as often as You want and put the people of OFHM on my heart. We are willing to be a conduit between heaven and earth for Your love and providence to flow through as You give the people under Salmon’s care a glimpse of the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.”

The first time we were led to help Salmon financially confirmed God’s plan to give to OFHM through us. The orphanage needed a hot water heater for the girl’s shower. Jennifer and I didn’t have reserve funds and our adult children fell on hard times and needed our financial help. Jennifer was given an opportunity to change jobs in March of 2019. If she could only wait until April 2019, she would receive her annual bonus that would give us the financial resources to purchase the heater. But the company recruiting Jennifer needed her to leave in March which meant forfeiting her bonus. God’s confirmation came when the company Jennifer worked for decided to give annual bonuses one month early. She received her bonus, and we were able to help our son and his wife and purchase the heater for the girl’s shower.

Jesus Feeds 5,000

Feeding 5000

After the first time God directed us to give to OFHM, we had more opportunities to make small donations to the orphanage. First school supplies, then winter sweaters, and bed mattresses. We sponsored a Vacation Bible School attended by over 300 Christian, Hindu, and Muslim children. This event resulted in over 50 children accepting Jesus. We also sponsored a pastor’s conference attended by 65 pastors. This event encouraged the pastors. Throughout the two years following the pastor’s conference, the group of small church pastors grew to 265. That resulted in 100’s of people placing their faith in Christ.

Both Jennifer and I suspected God wanted to do more through us. We like to pray big prayers with expectations that they will be answered in God’s timing and in His way. When we see our prayers answered, we smile and say, “what did you expect?” So, I started praying that God would use me to feed many like he used the little boy who had five loaves of bread and two fish at the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 14). My prayer would always include the phrase, “Lord, use my nothingness to feed many for your glory.”

Then one day a colleague asked me if I would talk to her husband about using my offshore software developer relationships in Chennai India to build a new software application for his company. I didn’t search for this piece of business. God brought it to me without my effort. He “used my nothingness” to generate a nice additional amount of revenue for my business. I committed to give half of the profits from this new piece of work to OFHM. For the next two years during the Covid pandemic, God used the portion of the profits I committed to his glory to feed 55 orphans and 35 homeless widows. During the first three months of 2021 when Covid hit Nayakampalli hard and there was no way for the poor people to work, God funneled enough additional revenues through our businesses to feed approximately 1,600 people per week at the OFHM church. While the rich Hindu people in the surrounding area were ignoring the needs of the poor, the small Christian church was meeting their needs. Jesus answered my prayer by using my nothingness to feed over 5,000 people for his glory.

The Road Ahead

Road Ahead

God continues to use the business He gave my wife Jennifer and me as a vessel for Him to provide for OFHM’s needs. I keep hearing the Father tell me not to try to do everything on my own.  As I’ve prayed for understanding and envisioned the future with Salmon, I’m sensing that God wants me to start a United States based charitable organization to raise funds to further the vision of OFHM.

Our vision for OFHM is to:

      1. Continue to teach the Gospel to the orphans, the widows, and the indigenous people in the area.
      2. Remodel and expand the OFHM orphanage to support more children and give them a better place to worship and study (in 2022, the orphanage was remodeled, and a second level was added).
      3. Provide adequate food, clothing, medical care, and school supplies to the children.
      4. Provide a quality education to the children to provide a foundation for their future.
      5. Provide the ability for the older orphans and young widows to attend college or trade school.
      6. Help the children transition into adult living and pass on the love they received to other orphans.
      7. Develop a bible college to train more home church pastors to expand the reach of the gospel (to date OFHM’s pastoral reach has grown from 50 small church pastors to 265 in three years)
      8. Develop small businesses to help the villagers, widows, and older orphans become less dependent on others.

God willing, our plan is to partner with an established United States based charitable giving organization in early 2023 to provide much needed help to the children at Our Father’s Home Ministry’s orphanage.

Road Ahead

How Can You Help

Children who are orphans are among the most vulnerable people on earth. These children are close to God’s heart, and He calls us to care for them. At present, there are 55 orphans at OFHM’s Nayakampalli orphanage. Hundreds more are homeless in the surrounding tribal villages. Globally, there are over 153,000,000 orphans. God doesn’t call one person to help them all. But He may be calling you to help just one. And for that one child, you can change the world.

If you would like to help provide holistic, Gospel-centered daily care, education, and discipleship to vulnerable children in one of the poorest areas in India or other developing countries, send us your contact details to be notified when our charitable organization is established.

When You Support A Child, They will

Taught the Gospel

Be taught how to live as a follower of Jesus Christ through Bible study, prayer, and discipleship

Being Fed

Be fed, clothed, provided clothing, medical care, and shelter

Education

Receive a quality education and be encouraged to excel in their studies to provide a foundation for their future

Continued Love and Support

Experience continued love and support while transitioning into adult living

You can send your contact details to IWantToHelp@OFHM.org.

Thank you and God bless you,

Keith Bollig
Founder, Our Father’s Home Ministry U.S.

P.S. If you or someone you know owns a business, supporting a portion of our low operating expenses is a way to enable us to direct 100% of the gifts directly to the children in need.

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