India (MNN) — In 15 years, India has the worst recorded waves of suicides in human history, according to Dave Stravers with Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India.
“In the last 15 years, more than 250,000 farmers in India have committed suicide,” says Stravers.
Why? Stravers explains, “They’re not suicide bombers. They’re just living in despair.”
The situation for girls in India is also deeply concerning.
“Girl children are murdered for the crime of being girls. More females on the continent of Asia have lost their lives in the last 50 years than the entire female population of the United States. We just don’t realize how incredibly deep this problem is.”
Stravers says the need for the Lord in India is great. “The basic religious idolatry of India really makes these problems worse. Hindus will probably say, ‘We have more than 300 million gods. The idols all tell us to worship or else.’ The doctrine of reincarnation teaches that whatever situation you’re in, however horrible it is, that’s the situation the gods have put you in, and it’s irreversible and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Mission India is working to change that mindset with the hope of Christ. One powerful tool they have is their Children’s Bible Clubs.
Around seven years ago, a little girl named Prajita started going to Mission India Children’s Bible Clubs. Learning about Jesus at the club filled her with joy, and she started praying to Him.
One day, Prajita invited her club leader to come home with her. The club leader shared the Gospel with her family, and eventually her parents and siblings accepted Christ.
“But that’s not the end of the story,” says Stravers. “Starting about two years ago, Prajita as a young teenager began leading her own Children’s Bible Clubs. She actually started three churches in villages that did not have any worshiping churches. By bringing the Gospel to children and then the children would share the Good News with their parents, people would learn about Jesus and learn that there is hope, there is a God who loves them–a completely new message.
“Last year, Prajita also was trained by Mission India to lead an adult literacy class. She brought 45 illiterate adults to fifth grade reading and writing level,” Stravers shares. “About half of them have indicated an interest in following Jesus.”
Prajita’s ministry is extremely effective, especially since around half of India’s population is functionally illiterate.
“This kind of multiplication of impact has just fantastic potential in India,” says Stravers. “This is our dream: that India will be transformed for Christ.”
When Prajita was a child who didn’t know God, someone paid $1 for her to attend Mission India’s Children’s Bible Club. “A gift of $1 will provide training for the teacher, the lesson booklets, devotional materials, song recordings, and of course we do this on a massive scale which is why it’s only $1. The teaching is all done by volunteers,” says Stravers.
Pray that more people like Prajita will be raised up to spread the Gospel of Christ in India.