Tavish’s father died when he was just a small boy. His death not only created a hole in their family unit, but it plunged them into a state of financial crisis.
Young Tavish and his mother cultivated the land they owned, leaving the boy with no opportunity to go to school. Their survival was dependent on his toil—his situation mirrored that of more than 200 million children worldwide who are involved in labor.
In nearly the same climate and region of Asia, Bible college students looked at the teacher in the front of the classroom. Giant puffs of air sporadically appeared throughout the room as the men exhaled. The temperature was freezing, and it was difficult to take notes, as fingers grew numb from the chill. Focusing on the lessons of the day was extremely difficult because of the brain fogginess and lack of solid sleep they experienced caused by the cold weather.
Much of Tavish’s childhood consisted of trying to make ends meet, but he came up dry. Sometimes crops didn’t produce enough, and this caused one financial tragedy after another.
When Tavish grew older, he married, and he and his wife were blessed with two children. Tavish continued to labor in fields around his village with barely anything to show for his backbreaking work. It was as if all his efforts were one single drop in the midst of a vast ocean of needs and wants.
Faced with Difficult Choice
Though Tavish was doing all that he could by working multiple jobs, he felt helpless to provide for his family and mother. He never gained ground on their desperate poverty. He was then faced with a difficult decision: Stay in their village and watch his family starve, or deprive his children of education and a stable home to keep them alive.
Tavish and his family, like many in his region, traveled to a neighboring country to live and work for six months out of the year, in sugarcane fields.2 The conditions were primitive—no toilet facilities, no home, no privacy and no school. The future for his children looked as bleak as his own childhood. The toil of poverty slowly stole away Tavish and his family’s peace and joy.