Child Restoration, International was founded by Brenda Lewis after traveling to India for the first time in 2003. While in India to visit a Youth with a Mission outreach team working with orphans rescued from the streets and brothels of Pune, India, her heart was “broken for good.” This was her experience:
“A missionary friend and I took two young orphaned girls living in a group home for an ice cream “date.” As we were riding a rickshaw back to the orphanage, both little girls fell asleep on our laps (probably sensory overload and a major sugar letdown- ha). All of a sudden, I started crying…then sobbing. I couldn’t stop. I was overwhelmed by the multitude of children; begging on the streets to provide for their families, being raised in brothels by mothers who had been sold (many by family members) into sexual slavery, and abandoned to fend for themselves because their family could not support one more mouth to feed.
Even one of these little girls with us had been a beggar on the streets and the other had been abandoned on a railroad track by her mother. I felt grief-stricken, and angry with God for allowing this to happen. Instantly, in my heart, I heard Him say, ‘How could YOU let this happen?’ I felt His pain, and my own responsibility in it. I was reminded that WE are “Ambassadors for Christ” and “His hands and His feet!” And that changed everything.
God also showed me something else…hope! Thirty five children (including the sweet girl asleep on my lap) had been rescued by Joy and Liliana. They were living sacrificially to give them something they needed more than anything…a home and a family who loved them. Couldn’t I be of help to the many Indian men and women, like Joy and Liliana, who were tirelessly working to rescue these children? (And, with almost no financial support!)
That was many years ago. I have been traveling to India 2-3 times each year, partnering with Indian Believers to help rescue children off the streets and out of the brothels ever since. And many have joined me (including my children, Ricci and Jeremy Harke and Jordan and Liz Lewis). It has been pure joy! I have loved every minute of it!”
We can’t all do EVERYTHING, but we can all do SOMETHING. Together, we can rescue “one child at a time!”
Brenda Lewis, President of Child Restoration, Int.
Born and raised in Decatur, Illinois, Brenda Lewis joined Youth with a Mission with her family in 1992. She travels and speaks in YWAM Discipleship Training Schools and churches around 16-20 weeks a year. Brenda has ministered in over 50 countries of the world.
But, the country that has stolen her heart is India. She first traveled to India in 2003.
In 2004, she founded Child Restoration International (CRI) to help rescue children at risk of sexual trafficking in India and to set up safe homes for them to know the love of Jesus and be part of a loving family, to be able to fulfill the call of God on their lives.
“I was sitting in a rickshaw with a fellow missionary driving home from a ‘date night’ with two orphaned girls. Overwhelmed by the need around me, I threw up a prayer to God asking Him how he could allow this to happen. I heard His response instantly…’how could you allow this to happen? I am asking you to be my hands and feet in this country”. Something changed that night and I have been working joyfully in India since that time. The Indian children have been God’s gift to me!”
Jeremy and Ricci Harke
Jeremy and Ricci met in Youth With a Mission in 1999. They married in 2002 and have been involved in ministry since that time. They have 4 wonderful children, Olivia, Silas, Cora, and Victoria, and in the summer of 2013 they moved to Lafayette, CO.
Ricci works with The Restoration Initiative (TRI) in Lafayette where she puts her passions for design and vintage to good use. She travels annually to India with Brenda and has a deep love and concern for the people of India.
Jeremy recently finished his Master of Arts in Theology and Biblical Studies through Bethel Seminary and is active in teaching and training within Youth With A Mission. He is also an Associate Pastor at Gospel Life Church in Superior, CO. His desire is to see a generation of young people raised up to further the gospel of Jesus Christ within India.
Coray Watson, Orphan Outreach advocate
Coray Watson was born and raised in Wheaton, Illinois. She realized that she would be in the world of missions in high school when she went to the Dominican Republic for the first time. Since then her extensive international travel and work with missions organizations has confirmed her call. This call is to serve the children who have no voice; the least and the lonely; the ignored and unloved. She has a BA in Christian Education and Ministry from Wheaton College and an MA in Counseling Ministries from Denver Seminary. She is thrilled to be part of CRI!
Coray joined CRI in the fall of 2016 as our Sponsorship Coordinator, Orphan Care Liaison, Story Teller, and Trip Leader Extraordinaire. By God’s grace CRI’s impact has grown. Brenda needed a new teammate and Coray could not have been more excited to step into this role. She joins Brenda in connecting with children’s homes throughout India and eventually hopes to expand this to South and Central America. She supports the native missionaries and caregivers by visiting and encouraging them, raising financial support for the homes, training them in basic counseling skills, and giving them a voice through sharing their stories. She also connects with Christian college students throughout America and takes them on leadership development trips to support the children’s homes that we partner with. Finally, she is creating a career development curriculum for orphanages to use to help their children have hope for their futures.
We are thrilled to have someone with the heart, skills, and training that Coray brings to the CRI team! It is an honor to have her join us!
The Restoration Initiative
The Restoration Inititiative (TRI) partners with Child Restoration International in the financial support of our care centers in India. The goal of TRI is to provide customers with quality, ethically sourced goods and accessories that are imported from India and stylish vintage wares. A portion of the profits from these sales goes to help the the advocacy centers which we support. If you would like more information check out their website: https://www.shop-tri.com