Churches concerned about families in India

By April 27, 2009

India (MNN) — The depletion of family life is becoming more or less an international phenomenon. Family life in the United States continues to be downplayed.

A OneHope study in Colombia revealed that children often spend no more than a few hours a week with their parents, and the statistics certainly do not end there. With such a comprehensive sweep, it is no surprise that many Indian families have taken after the trend.

OneHope's Chad Causey explains the predicament for churches in India. "The church is really trying to wrestle with how to bring godly stability to the Indian family in light of all of these disruptive changes that are taking place in their world, and how to proclaim a Gospel of grace with a culture that is so performance-oriented."

With extremely long work and school days, families are unable to spend much time together. Pressure is also placed on families when teenagers working at call centers earn more money than their parents.

In some regions, violence continues to prevail as a major stressor for everyone. And although the situation looks dim, many groups are using these setbacks as an opportunity for ministry.

Clubs have seen exceptional growth in India recently. Children who have nowhere to go after school while their parents continue to work find a safe and relaxing atmosphere at Christian clubs. OneHope is joining this movement by "both fostering and organizing clubs and providing Scripture programs for existing clubs." Results so far have been paramount for children.

"[Imagine] you're in school eight, nine, or ten hours a day as a seven-year-old. And here's a place where you can go, a house right near your school, and there are snacks waiting for you. You go in, and you're going to sit and talk, and you're going to watch a little bit of a movie called 'The Hope Giver.' You're going to talk about what it means; you're going to talk about Christ; you're going to do some activities together. Maybe for just an hour you have this oasis–an oasis of grace and of rest."

Many clubs work hard to create a familial atmosphere for the kids, but not at the expense of building up their biological families. For seasonal clubs, parents are often invited to the last day where they are welcomed to churches or invited to participate in church plants. Many of these parents are not believers, but they send their children to clubs with the knowledge that character and morals will be built in their children. As they begin to come to the churches, hopefully their families will be strengthened and repaired.

OneHope is not only building and sponsoring clubs that have had positive effects on children, but they are also creating new curriculum for the clubs to be even more effective in outreach. Pray that God would guide the creation of this curriculum and use it for His glory.

Great things are being done, but there are still several issues within Indian families. Causey has a unique request:

"Every time you get a solicitation call from India, be reminded that the families on the other end of that call are going through some of the most difficult and trying times, and pray for those folks. Have a heart of compassion, and know that Christ loves them and wants to see families that are being broken by sin made whole."

To learn more about OneHope's work in India or other regions across the globe, click here.


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