In 2013 I visited a girls home in India run by the local government. 100 girls lived there ranging in age from 3, maybe 4 to 17 or 18.... toward the street I saw girls with their buckets..... struggling to get water from an open cistern for their daily needs. How can 100 girls live in a building with no running water? Can't shower. Can't flush a commode. Can't brush their teeth at the sink. Can't even drink a clean glass of water. How is this possible? So we did what we needed to do, we put in a well. We put in storage tanks with a filtration system and we plumbed the building. It is what needed to be done so we did it.
I've been back several times since that first visit. I know these girls - many of them by name. I visit them with a friend who is a pastor in the town and runs a very successful ministry organization - he sends social workers to this place often. Is everyone accounted for? Is everyone ok? One day - not long before I was to visit again - we received word. Everyone was not ok. It was reported that men were being allowed in to the facility at night.
We showed up for our visit expecting to see 91 girls but only 44 were present. No one would tell us where the other 47 where. We went in and handed out the dresses and goodies we had brought. We hugged and kissed as many as we could and were very quickly escorted from the property. We weren't allowed any conversations. We weren't allowed any photographs. We weren't allowed to stay and wait.
We left, heart sick. Where were these missing 47? Could we get to them? If we did get to them how could we keep them safe?
We drove a ways out of town to an abandoned project, a full campus complete with dormitory and dining hall. A place for a library and a clinic. With classrooms and meeting rooms. With room for planting vegetables and raising chickens and goats. An idyllic place, one that was clean and green. That was quiet and serene.
We knew instantly and without hesitation that this abandoned project was the answer to our fervent prayers. This is where we could help them. This is where we could keep them safe. This is where they would learn about the grace of a living and loving God.
This was to be Grace House.