I was born in a Christian family. We were a very happy family and there were seven of us children, but suddenly tragedy struck. I lost my father, and a happy family became a family plunged into sorrow and pain. I remember my mother on her knees, sobbing, crying, didn’t know how to bring up the seven children, and she was lost. We were all around her, helpless. The youngest daughter was in LKG, the elder son was in 11th standard, and my mother didn’t know where to go, who to ask for help. We led lives that were meaningless and helpless. Relatives stopped visiting us, friends didn’t find it purposeful to visit us. I used to walk to school. Finance was a big issue, so I used to walk to school five kilometres and come back walking five kilometres without lunch and hungry. I used to be very angry with God. What hurt most was the disparity. I studied in a school with a lot of rich children. They came in cars, their fathers were somebody, here I was often with shorts without buttons, the flap tucked, and shirts had to be fixed with safety pins because you just have so many torn patches. Life went on, and I finished my schooling. I did fairly well in school, but I couldn’t go to college because the requirement was a job and mummy had to feed seven of us. And then, I remember her serving us mostly kanji. My favourite food was always kanji, and I still love it today. And mummy would have barely anything to eat. So life went on, and I joined a polytechnic, and at the polytechnic, one of my close friends forced me into an EU camp. I went there very reluctantly, but something beautiful happened. The speaker, Mr. Raja Thiagaraj, gave a call, a call to accept Christ, and suddenly this life which looked hopeless, just carrying on the day-to-day mundane duty, suddenly things looked up, and I had a purpose. And the days I didn’t know Christ, I used to ask God a number of questions. One question was, “Why me? Why was I born?” Another question, which I’ll never forget, is, “What is my worth after all? Walking lonely most of the time, no food, what is the purpose? How much am I worth?” I’m sure many of you have asked that question in that crisis, “What is my worth?” I found answers as I gave my life to Christ, and He said, “You can stand in the gap.”Your true value and your true worth is nothing less than Jesus' life. Nothing less than Jesus' life. - Edgar Jones Paul Click To Tweet
I gave my life to Christ, and that’s how we started Little Drops in 1991, along with a childhood friend of mine. His name is Selvaraj Bovas. He’s from a middle-class family and is the finest Christian I met. I met him in ’78, and we have been friends now for 44 years. You must meet him. He’s a Mother Teresa of modern times. He can sit with a bedridden man who can hardly speak – for hours. He can clean them up, he can dress the wound covered with maggots, and he’ll perfectly be at peace. In 1991, we started off with a prayer, like all of us do, and this prayer, we sent out quite a few invitations, and we realised only very few people were going to make it. Finally, seven or eight of us, the grass was just barely cleaned up to have the prayers, and the prayer started. Then, I think it lasted for about half an hour, we wound up, didn’t know what next. Then, Bovas came forward, my co-founder. He came forward to donate a small piece of land, about 1,800 square feet. Today, the value is about a crore. He came forward. He’s from a middle-class family, and he said we can use it for the home, and we put up the first building in 1993. It was extremely difficult. I used to go after night duty. I got married in between. My wife and I met at the airport. We were working together, and we got married. So, after night duty, I used to go on my Spark, a 50cc vehicle, to different offices, and collect small amounts. I used to ask for bricks, for cement, for steel rods, and I’m doing it even today. That’s how the home came about. We took three inmates in 1993, and from then on we never looked back. I don’t know how many of you had an opportunity to go to old age homes or destitute homes. It’s sometimes very, very painful.
The days I didn’t know Christ, I used to ask God a number of questions. One question was, “Why me? Why was I born?”
We spend sleepless nights because of the rescue we do, and we had the pleasure of rescuing people from very similar situations. People who are about to commit suicide, people who have suffered accidents. There was this lady who found herself in a concrete pipe. This lady, we do not know how, but she seemed to have suffered acid burns. I don’t know whether she put it on herself or somebody poured it. She didn’t last very long. She died in about three days. We have seen mentally ill women who have been abandoned. Then there are people with diabetic feet, who are discarded and thrown out onto the road. There was a lady, it was an unbelievable sight when we picked her up in front of KMC hospital, who had just finished her leg amputation because of diabetes, and she had no attendant with her. So she was thrown out of the hospital. We rescued her, and she lived on for about three months. We do different projects where we are helped from different people, friends, and well-wishers. After we started homes like this, we went on to have other projects for the physically challenged, for the mentally challenged and another project which is very dear to us, the family rehab. This started because a widow came with a little child asking for help, and we turned her away, saying that ours is an old age home and we can’t do it. Two days later, we got the news that she committed suicide by jumping into a well. So that’s when we started this family rehab unit, and these women, depending on their education, are given employment.
We open a bank account and put their salary into the banks, and the children are sent to the school which we subsequently started. We have about a thousand children from very, very poor backgrounds. My wife has to be given credit, along with Mrs. Elizabeth George, who is the founder, and they together have been doing voluntary work. Manipur, as you all know, is a state bordering Myanmar. It’s in the Northeast, in a district called Chandel, which was said to be the most remote district in the country a couple of years ago. So this work started, and if you all have a chance, if you’ve gone there, Northeast is in the most pitiable state. The states in the Northeast have no roads, a lot of drug addicts, militancy issues, and the problems are unbelievable. There’s hardly any drinking water. You have to walk five, six kilometres to get water. And apart from that, education is also not so great. So we started to do this on our own, and today we have about 50 children studying.I used to be very angry with God. What hurt most was the disparity.- Edgar Jones Paul Click To Tweet
After this, something surprising happened. When I was young, I used to read stories about African drought and famine, and all the malnourished children. Those pictures haunted me, and so I made a commitment when I was young that somehow I must go and work in Africa. But that never happened because by then we had children. So that was playing on my mind. I felt guilty. And so, along with our friends, 10 or 12 of us, we were entitled to free tickets because we worked at the airport. We took our children along and went to Africa. I happened to meet a Christian family there. We came back again, troubled. Some of us sold our gold and land, and that’s how we sent the money to Mr. Selvaraj, who is managing this home. So we sent it to him, and he made a beautiful home. Today, there are 23 children. We were working hard, but Corona stopped the work, and we were not able to increase the strength. God willing, we will do it in the coming years.
Trash and Treasure is a unit which we had to start because with the number of NGOs sprouting, fundraising became an issue. So we started this unit where we would pick up unused items in homes, carry out minor repairs, and maybe some stitching, and put them out for sale. In fact, we have four units like this. This helps us in a big way to meet the medical expenditure. Our purpose is something we always keep in mind. Jesus called us to be fishers of men and I always say that Jesus called me to make fishers of helpless men, and God has been with us.
I gave my life to Christ, and that’s how we started Little Drops in 1991
I want to introduce some of the people we met in the course of this work. People who came seeking help but have become pillars. One such person is Raja. He was hospitalised for nearly one year after falling into a well while digging. He fell from a height of 20 feet and broke his spine. He couldn’t walk after that, but now he uses crutches. He got well, and a little later, Deepa came in. She used to graze cows in Madurai, and she came in because of poverty. She’s afflicted with polio. We got them both married because they met each other in the home, and they happened to take care of the shelter in Cuddalore where there are 40 elders. This shelter meets the needs of deserted women. A lady came to us with a little son. Her husband is a drunkard, so she had to be supported. She manages the shelter near Sriperumbudur, which has 50 elders. Thanks to Mr. Rajashekhar, who made a beautiful dormitory where 50 of them are taken care of by her. Deepa is somebody who is again physically challenged, who came to us for help. She is in a wheelchair. She cannot crawl, she has to move her hands and legs together. It’s a very pathetic sight, but she takes care of our Arcot shelter, which has 48 disabled people. Then we have Anandi, she’s physically challenged. She takes care of the entire HR and admin, and all the government regulations.
We don’t have a corpus fund or an annual budget. You know, we don’t have a PR exercise. So we just depend on the Lord, and the Lord has been providing all our needs.
We have Jeba and Daya, another couple. Jeba is a nurse but she has had a very sad life. She coordinates the entire treatment for the thousand people, handles little medicines, tests, hospitalisation, everything is taken care of by her. The funeral is conducted by her husband, Daya, and they have done thousands of them. Purshottam is my assistant. He’s physically challenged. He came to me on a tricycle asking for a job, and we didn’t have any vacancies. I couldn’t send him back, so I said he could come for 100 rupees a day. He joined about 10-12 years back, and today all the income and expenditures are handled by him. He’s very good with computers, so he helps me make proposals for buildings or wheelchairs. Ramesh is now our trustee. He is one of our first staff. He used to live in a hut under a leaking roof. He has rescued over a hundred people and when one of our trustees resigned, we called him to be a trustee. Like all of us know, the things of the world don’t need powerful people. What you need are weak people, and God has been good to us. We are now a family of more than a thousand people in 10 locations. We’re looking for the day when we’ll be in heaven singing praises to Him.As we build, as we try to build a beautiful future for ourselves, our own empires, there's a world that's still empty, longing for one meal, longing to rest. Let us respond.- Edgar Jones Paul Click To Tweet
Integrity is something that is very close to our hearts. We are very careful in what we do because we believe we are accountable to God and to men. We don’t provide or give bribes. In fact, none of our government papers have gone through bribes. You know what happens when you don’t give bribes, you don’t get it done, and there’s a lot of harassment and threats. But with God’s grace, we have maintained transparency, and everything is open. If you can walk into our office anytime, open the book, go to the dorms, check on whatever you want. It’s open 24/7. Consistency is another aspect we are proud of. We have not turned away a single person to date, except during COVID when the government brought in regulations. We abide by the regulations and try to ensure that every person is accommodated, even if it’s not something we usually do.
Equality is again something we are very proud of. We sit with the elders, and we have at least one meal with our residents because that’s one area we are very dedicated to ensuring equality and treating everyone with respect and dignity that’s very important to us. In terms of excellence, nothing much to speak of. 30 years or more than 10,000 admissions, and we still feel we have not touched the tip of the iceberg. We long to reach out to more people, and we defy a lot of management teaching. We don’t have a corpus fund or an annual budget. You know, we don’t have a PR exercise. So we just depend on the Lord, and the Lord has been providing all our needs.
It’s our responsibility to take care of our fellow citizens.
Now, I was asking before about the value that you put on your lives. Everyone finds value for themselves depending on the families they grow up in, the education abroad, or the wealth they’ve inherited. But I want to tell you, friends, your true value and your true worth is nothing less than Jesus’ life. Nothing less than Jesus’ life.
So I want to close with one story. It’s a story about a physically-challenged boy named Arul. He used to go to different homes to beg and make a living. So there was this gentleman who used to give him 10 rupees, and then later made it five, and then made it two rupees. One day, Arul mustered up the courage to ask him why his giving had reduced. And the gentleman told him, “When I was single, I could give you 10 rupees. Later on, I got married, and it had to become five. And now I have a child, so I can only give you two rupees.”
We are very careful in what we do because we believe we are accountable to God and to men. We don’t provide or give bribes.
So, friends, there’s a world that’s waiting. As we build, as we try to build a beautiful future for ourselves, our own empires, there’s a world that’s still empty, longing for one meal, longing to rest. Let us respond. We believe in such a beautiful country with all the democratic values, and it’s our responsibility to take care of our fellow citizens. So wherever God has placed you, please include them in your celebrations, in your festivals. Whatever you do, let life be complete with us sharing what we have.
I’m 64, we are such a happy couple. I wouldn’t trade this with all the challenges, the police issues, the elders who run away from our home, and the fights. I won’t exchange this to be a king, like somebody said. So, God bless you, and I would like to invite you to our shelter. You could volunteer with us. Please pray for us, and you can write to us and give us your feedback when you visit us. Thank you so much.