About Lovie Phillips – Founder of God Loves Kids
I am often asked why it is important to reach children. We learn from statistics that 85% of all personal salvations happen before the age of 18. The more startling fact is that 80% of those decisions are made between the ages of 4 and 14. These statistics remind us if we are to win the world, we must begin by turning our hearts toward the children. We must win the lost while their hearts are still within reach.
Even though I have always had a heart for children, I never really thought about it in terms of missions, and I certainly never thought about starting a ministry to reach the children in foreign lands. It was that first trip to India many years ago that affected me so deeply and was the beginning of God Loves Kids’ child sponsorship program in 1974.
I can still visualize miles and miles of those extremely large cement pipes lying beside the roadway from the Calcutta airport to the church we were visiting. I was amazed to see a family living in almost every one of those pipes. I have never seen so many people anywhere. You could hardly walk on the streets because there were so many people.
I will never forget the thousands of children begging.
I will never forget passing the garbage dump and seeing children digging for a scrap of food – an apple core, orange peel, chicken bone or anything at all they could eat. Each day the church took their mobile kitchen to the garbage dump to give the children a piece of bread and a cup of milk. We were told this was probably all these children would have to eat the entire day.
I will never forget the day our car could not continue to move because of so much traffic. It was a sweltering hot day and the old car had no air conditioning, so the windows had to be completely open. We had been told many times that we should not give anything to anyone on the streets or we would be surrounded and unable to move. While we were waiting, three little boys approached our window and started begging for food. One of the boys was missing the lower half of one of his arms. It was just a ragged nub. Our driver sensed that we really desired to give something to the boys, but knowing we would be mobbed if we did, he kept shaking his head at us. When the boys saw that we were not responding, the one boy pushed his little ragged nub through the window almost touching my husband Syvelle’s face. He looked him right in the eye and said, “Love me, Mister; love me. Love me Mister.” We had to turn our heads to keep him from seeing us cry. At that point, Syvelle said to me, “We are hearing the cry of the world.”
I will never forget being taken to the place where they burned the bodies of those who died on the streets the night before (many live and die on those streets). Our host looked at me and said, “Does this bother you?” Though it was a sad sight, I said, “No, not really, for it is too late for them; it is for the living that I weep.” I kept praying, “Oh Lord, how can we ever reach these people? There are millions of them.” It was while I was crying out to the Lord, almost in despair, that I heard the sweet small voice within me saying, “You reach them one at a time – yes, one at a time.”
I will never forget the contrast in the children we saw on the streets and those who were in the church school. These were children who had sponsors to financially support them, who made it possible for the church to provide them food, medical care, and an education. Even more importantly, they had the opportunity to learn that there is a Father God who loves them. What wonderful news for a child who at one time was taught to believe he might come back as a rat or bug or whatever! You could see the joy of the Lord in their lives – such a contrast to the despair you saw in the children on the streets.
I will never forget when we went to the church very early one morning to watch 1,000 kids being fed the only meal they would get that day. The signs of malnutrition were so evident in their little bodies and we were told that at least 40% of them had tuberculosis. The church told us they would like to take more of these children into the school but they did not have the funds.
I certainly will never forget taking Syvelle by the hand, looking at each other with tears streaming down our cheeks saying to one another, “We must do something about this!” That day the child sponsorship program under God Loves Kids was born. Oh, we didn’t realize it right then! We thought that we would just share what we had seen with a few friends and get 10 or 15 of them to sponsor a child.
Soon we had the 15, and then we had 100! I didn’t know a thing about running a sponsorship program, so I asked the Lord for help. I learned that availability is more important than ability. If we have all the ability in the world but don’t make it available to the Lord, what does it accomplish?
I never imagined that so many years later, we would still be helping children through the Calcutta mission’s church and in 13 other locations. What a joy it is to visit the orphanage/schools and see the changes in the children’s lives. Children that were once destitute are now pastors, teachers, nurses, village chiefs, evangelists, singers and mechanics.
God Loves Kids has always believed that the way to change the world is one life at a time. One way to change a life is through small sacrifices that add up to big rewards. It is easy to change a life when you do it one small step at a time, and it is so rewarding when you see the BIG results in the life of a child!
I will also never forget that I cannot accomplish this mission alone. Without the support of people locally, across the country and internationally joining with us, none of those children’s lives would have been changed.
Won’t you join God Loves Kids and help change a child’s life. . . for now and for eternity?4