Couple provides hope for the hopeless

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Ken and Carol Lancaster of Argyle work to give children hope, life, safety, and an education in one of the poorest most desperate parts of the world. (Photo by Mark Miller)

What started as a personal mission trip by four southern Denton County women and their daughters to see the plight of some female adults and children in India, has turned into something far greater.

One of those mothers, Carol Lancaster, a former Highland Village resident who now lives in Argyle, turned that expedition in March 2010 into an organization she founded with her husband and local businessman, Ken.

They are committed to eliminating human trafficking and educate, feed and clothe slum children in that country. Ever since, KCP (Kingdom Come Partners), has made a difference beyond anyone’s dreams.

Originally, that trip was to be taken by Ken and a team of men following a 2009 request by their Valley Creek Church pastor, who had seen the problems himself a few years earlier. He told the team to visit a local husband-and-wife who had built three schools. But that plan didn’t work out and the ladies ending up going alone.

On the women’s first day in India, they went on Garstin Bastion (GB for short) Road, considered one of the world’s largest sex trafficking roads with several hundred brothels and an estimated 1,000 sex workers.

“Here are these four moms in a little bubble from Flower Mound who end up in India on the largest sex trafficking road in the world; we had no idea, Lancaster said.  “We thought a brothel was like Miss Kitty in ‘Gunsmoke’ – just fun, not dangerous.”

“When we were there we went in and walked up the stairs; and, it was a dark, black, filthy, smelly winding staircase. You couldn’t see anything and it was small. It was terrible. As we climbed up the stairs, the first thing we saw in the room where we were supposed to go to was a toddler chained to a wall.

“We walk up and see slimy, slimy men and wondered: ‘what are we supposed to do here.’ We kept going in and one of the prostitutes wanted to leave with us. We had no idea what we were doing there. We had just landed. We stayed until the police ushered us out.”

The next day the women met the well-educated couple who chose to live across from these slums and help the people living there the rest of the world often chooses to ignore, Lancaster said.

“At one of the schools, one of the moms put her four-year-old little girl’s hand in my hand and wanted us to buy her for 200 American dollars,” Lancaster said. “In India, if you are a widow, you are less than a dog. Her husband had a liver disease and she was the only one providing for them and thought the little girl would be better off with someone else and she would be better able to take care of her husband with that money.”

That’s all it took for the women to decide they must do something. They first arranged for the little girl’s safety then purchased hundreds of Indian scarves which they used to help tell their story when they returned home.

“We told everyone – our neighbors, our friends, our church, our schools, anyone who would listen,” Lancaster said. “People gave us money and we would give them scarves to remember the little girls; and, by December we were back there opening our first safe home for the little girls.”

On a large bookshelf in the middle of their new Argyle home, the Lancasters placed pictures of the first group of 10 girls to live in the home; and, another of them four months later. The differences were staggering as they went from scared, shocked and quiet to smiling, happy and relaxed.

Today, the home houses 29 girls.

But, the Lancasters and KCP didn’t stop there. The organization soon raised more money to build and open their own ‘slum school.’ Since then, they’ve added another safe house and 15 schools educating more than 4,500 children. The organization also helped encourage the building of more than 130 churches. Plus, it supports 50 widows and more than 150 children with monthly food rations.

“It is so exciting,” said Lancaster. “We have several large schools with 400-500 kids in them and we have several little schools scattered all over the area. It takes so little from us to make a world of difference to change a child’s life; to change a family’s life. It costs about $100 a month to take care of the girls in the safe home and about $25 a month for a child to go to school.”

Carol Lancaster said she serves as the organization’s ‘mom,’ making sure everyone is taken care of during the couple’s bi-annual trips back to India. Ken serves at the leader who teaches and trains on-site leaders and teachers.

What do the Lancasters plan for the future?

“We want to have 200 schools in just that area and 25,000 children in the schools,” she said.

For more information about the Lancaster’s efforts, visit: kcp.org.

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