Sometimes I can put the sights and sounds of India in the back of my head somewhere. Sometimes I can ignore the pulling in my heart toward that place, the men, women, children. The never ending fields of rice and women in saris bent over, harvesting it. The women in saris serving me tea, giving all they have just to put a smile on my face and some nourishment in my belly. I can put it away for awhile, but the tug is always there.
Today, the tug is fierce. If you are on Facebook, you may have seen the picture floating around of a father standing on his daughter’s dead body. It was cruel and horriffic, but so utterly symbolic of what is happening in many parts of the world as we sip our lattes and drive our mini vans to soccer practice with a car full of iPod listening, gum-chewing tweens.
It’s when these two worlds collide that I am jolted awake most often. I just finished reading K.P. Yohanan’s book, “No Longer A Slumdog“. Gospel for Asia is reaching out to impoverished children, starting centers around India called “Bridge of Hope”. They provide water, education, micro finance training, health and hygiene classes, etc. We are doing all of these things in Southern India as well, but they are doing it on a much larger scale, over a large portion of India. The stories he told in this book are awful. In one story, he said that a group of mother’s travelled to a local market to sell their 50 children. They were not trying to financially benefit from the sale of their children, they were just trying to keep them alive.
He says, “Some are shocked by the statistic that there are 50 million child laborers in India alone, or that 1.2 million children are trafficked as slaves and prostitutes every single year.”
I pray every day that God would shine His light in the darkest places of India and around the world. In corners and alleys where children are being bought and sold. In fields where children as young as 4 and 5 are working 12 hour days only to get one bowl of rice at the end of the day. I pray that God would give us the tools to reach these children, tell their stories, speak up for those who can’t.
The tug is fierce today, and I can’t get away from it.
If you want to read the stories that Rob and I have written about church planters in India, our book Share the Well is available on Amazon here If you can’t afford the $20, let me know and I’ll hook you up. Every penny made goes back to India to help men and women church planters in Southern India.