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Stepping Stones

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Stepping Stones Ministries is a non-denominational Christian organisation and a UK registered charity established in 2004. Its founders Richard and Tracey Pashby are both long standing members and actively involved in leadership at Scarborough Elim Pentecostal Church. The charity enjoys very close links and support from Scarborough Elim Pentecostal Church, as well as with other church groups across the country. However, the majority of the charity's overall support comes from Christians from a variety of church denominations and experience who actively assist the charity with prayer, raising awareness, fund-raising and sponsorship.

Village ministry in RakaskaliTracey reading letters from sponsors‘Stepping Stones Ministries’ works in direct partnership with ‘Stepping Stones India’ which Richard and Tracey also established with their Christian brothers and sisters in West Bengal, India in 2005. The Stepping Stones Mission Centre where our children’s homes, church building and administrative offices are is based in Ranaghat, West Bengal. The two organisations work in partnership to proclaim and deliver the love of Jesus Christ to the poor and marginalised in villages throughout West Bengal, India. One third of the world’s poor live in India, which has a population of over 1.2 billion souls. More than 75% of Indian families live in remote villages, more than 5 miles from a main road.

Here are some of the ways that Stepping Stones is actively reaching out to those villages and delivering the love of Jesus Christ to thousands of families in West Bengal:

Bethel Boys and StaffBethel Girls and StaffChildren’s Homes – We have two homes, Bethel House for boys and Bethany Home for girls. The children are either orphans, from single parent families or from families that are so poor they can no longer care for their child. Poverty in India affects children the most, making them vulnerable to sickness, disease, abuse of some form and they have no positive future prospects, due to lack of education and job opportunities. Our homes are presently providing permanent shelter, education, training, food, clothing, health care and all the love and support they need, to up to 40 boys and 17 girls. Our commitment is to enable each child to receive a full education and access gainful employment. We have plans to build a larger home for up to 40 girls very soon, subject to us first purchasing suitable land.

Bethel Community ChurchDiscipleship – Bethel Community Church is our centre for regular worship, prayer, Bible study and evangelism. The church is very active in the local community and partners with other churches and Christian organisations, taking teams out into the villages, where they proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ through one to one evangelism and Gospel events. Our village Pastor has ongoing contact with families in several villages, who he teaches from the Bible and he runs children’s and young people’s groups daily.

Human Trafficking – More than 25,000 young people are either abducted or sold to gangs of human traffickers each year in West Bengal alone! All the children in our care were once at risk of being dragged into slavery, mostly to meet the demands of the brothels and sweat shops all over India. Stepping Stones has launched a campaign to raise awareness to villagers, of the lies and deceptive ways that traffickers use, to steal their children and the horrific treatment that children and young people are subjected to once they have been handed over.

Handing over a completed well to village eldersClean Water – Rural West Bengal has the highest levels of naturally occurring arsenic in its water table than anywhere else in the world. Arsenic causes fatal illness and deformities in unborn children. Villagers rely on water, drawn from the ground by tube wells, which are sometimes broken beyond repair or non-existent. Many villagers have to walk miles to collect clean water. Since 2004, Stepping Stones has built 8 deep tube wells, each one providing clean water for up to 500 families.

Natural Disaster Relief- Families living in poverty are extremely vulnerable to changing weather conditions and West Bengal is hammered by cyclones and floods every year between the months of June and September, killing hundreds or thousands annually and displacing tens or hundreds of thousands of families. Most vulnerable are those living in the low lying areas in the Ganges Delta. Stepping Stones assists villagers by providing blankets, clothing, food, water and medicines, etc. as and when they are needed.

Ladies' sewing groupEducation and Training – Stepping Stones has been providing college and university bursaries to dozens of young people living in rural West Bengal since 1998 with 12 young people per year being educated and trained, many going on to be teachers or doing some form of Christian or social work. Some of our students and former students now work for Stepping Stones, taking education into villages where we have taught hundreds of children over the years and to our boys and girls in Bethel and Bethany Homes. We are helping women start their own businesses by providing seamstress training for women and providing bursaries and interest free loans so they can buy sewing machines and materials. Stepping Stones is presently in the process of building an English Medium school, in one of its villages that lacks any educational facilities and aims to provide bursaries to those children that cannot afford to attend.

Taking the Gospel to villagers in SunderbansMission Teams – Richard and Tracey have been taking Mission Teams to India since 1994. Teams go over each October for a period of 2-3 weeks and are involved in all aspects of the work already taking place there. Application to join a Mission Team to India can be made at any time of the year and will include 6 months preparation and training, meeting once a week with the team leaders and fellow team members.

If you would like to find out more about the work of Stepping Stones Ministries, you can contact us from the Stepping Stones website or call Richard on 07969 988778.