25 Sep Photographing for George Ebenezer of Santhosa Samsara in Bangalore India
Photographing in Bangalore India for George Ebenezer, his family, team, work and ministry Santhosa Samsara which mean “One joyful family” in the local language of Kannada.
I have always measured a man and his character by what he looks like in his home, how he treats his family and how they respond to him. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” is my often used Zig Ziglar quote.
George Ebenezer and I first met in 2015 in Switzerland, interviewing this powerful speaker for an upcoming presentation he was to deliver at the 2016 World Without Orphans Global Forum in Thailand. George calls Bangalore India his home but travels the world, speaking as an advocate for abused children everywhere he goes. His ministry is devoted to helping orphans and restoring traumatized children.
During our 2015 interview, George told me his story of growing up with abuse and pain, living in a home where he later learned that his father had murdered his mother, he lived in fear of adults, especially males, having been sexually abused by men. The turning point in George’s life was being sponsored by a Christian School in Tulsa Oklahoma through Compassion International. Through this relationship George came to accept the love of Christ and that love transformed his life. Instead of being bitter over the pain that he had experienced, George has devoted his life to helping children and teenagers who suffer from abuse.
During our interview in Switzerland a lasting friendship was formed and I promised to one day come to his ministry headquarters in Bangalore India to photograph for this life changing work.
George is a tall man who worships a big God who has given him very large dreams. Through the course of our time together I shot over 1100 photographs, we started early and we worked late. I followed George through his Child Healing Center that is currently under construction, flying my drone to capture stills and videos to help them tell their story. I photographed his ministry team and participated in their time of worship. I watched George mentor children and witnessed the trusting relationships he has fostered with each one. I photographed at his Crossfit Gym, the proceeds of which help fund helping those in need. The trainers and members love being a part of changing lives through their participation. Oh, and in between we had very delicious Indian food.
But what I really want too show you is what George looks like at home, what it felt like to experience the presence of an almighty God who heals, as George led his family in nightly worship.
Through the years, George and his wife Manju’s family have grown to 10 children, one biological and nine that have stories of trauma. What was once a plan to care for children in an orphanage grew into Goerge and Manju taking these children in as their own. It was with tremendous joy in my heart as I watched this family interact with so much love, playing ball together, cooking together and all the while, laughing… a lot. So much joy, so much healing that has occurred in the lives of these children by the leadership, love and care that George and his sweet Manju have poured into them.
There are so many stories here but only time for one quick one. In the family picture that I am in, the third and fourth boys from the left standing in the back are brothers Dheeraj and Ashish. Their parents died during persecution that happened in a remote primitive village in northern India. During times of persecution in northern India, Dheeraj ran and hid in the forest for days to save his life, later moved to a refuge camp and from there to a very poor hostel. On one of George’s trips, he was told by a few local people about them. In Manju’s words, “We could not just take one and leave another, Dheeraj and Ashish came to us in 2009 with malnourished health and had Malaria fever. Then, our journey began with them.”
This home is full of miracles and the love of God can be felt in a powerful way, I hope these photographs allow you to experience some of the love that Carissa and I felt during our time with George and Manjo Ebenezer.
I invite you to learn more about how you can be a part of this ministry at http://santhosasamsara.org
Ten decades from now, it will not matter what kind of house I lived in, how much I had in my bank account, or what my car looked like, but that many orphans experienced God’s unconditional love, because I was an integral part of their lives. – George Ebenezer