India (MNN) — An encephalitis outbreak in India has killed 400 people–mainly children–in northern India.
Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India has multiple Children's Bible Clubs in the area, and the ministry's president Dave Stravers says they are waiting for more news about the impact of the outbreak on their Bible Club participants and leaders.
The Bible Clubs continue not only to run, but to change the course of entire families.
Stravers says Mission India has found that children at their clubs often become the best evangelists. It's not that they're going into the streets preaching the Word, but they bring their lessons home.
"These are the poorest of the poor and least influential of the influential. They are poor children in slums who have no influence; if they go missing, their parents might miss them, but society as a whole hardly takes notice. But God is using these children in remarkable ways to bring the Gospel into many communities in India," says Stravers.
Just last week, Stravers was alerted by a Bible Club worker about a nine-year-old girl who had never gone to school before. Her family was so poor that she was forced to work on the streets all day rather than learn. When a Children's Bible Club moved in near her, however, her mom let her attend.
"[She] began learning to read in the club. She made friends with the teacher. She heard Bible stories. She confessed Christ, and memorized the Bible verses. She said that her favorite verse is Romans 5:8. She is now attending a free elementary school in her area, and she's convinced her mom to come to church with her on Sundays. Her mom has not yet put her faith in Christ, but the young girls has brought the Gospel into their home."
If this story follows the pattern Mission India usually sees, the mom–and perhaps other family members–will be involved in the church soon and will hopefully accept the Lord.
"An [adult] evangelist can come to a place and try to speak to adults, and he may get resistance or suspicion. But a child doesn't have suspicion," explains Stravers. "The child goes home, and his parents have no suspicion of their child. So the parents are innocently hearing the stories, and the Word of God does its work that way."
The Bible Clubs are relatively cheap to fund. It costs only $1 to send a kid to the 10-day Bible program, then after school programs follow. Children are transformed, and so are entire families. That makes for entire families sharing the Gospel. Only God knows how many come to Him out of the faith of one small child.
Despite the low cost and the high eternal value, "We actually have a waiting list of about 10 million kids right now," notes Stravers. Funding is needed to send more kids to clubs. You can be a part of this ministry. Click here to learn more.