Hope for slum dwellers

By March 5, 2009

India (MNN) – After viewing the Academy Award winning film, ‘Slumdog Millionaire,' many people were shocked by the living conditions portrayed. The picture painted of poverty was uncomfortably accurate.

Dave Stravers with Mission India explains the reality of the poor conditions. "People in the slums have a few square feet of space, and sometimes a roof over their heads. [There is] no running water and no toilet facilities whatsoever, not even a hole in the ground. Usually their work is day by day. They'll go stand on a street corner or a place where some people come to hire day laborers, and they typically earn anywhere from 50 cents a day to two dollars a day, depending on the job.

"Kids don't go to school because they work, even from the age of six. They'll go out doing some job, working in a factory or even scavenging on the street. Often there's not enough to eat and conditions are extremely crowded. … It's a pretty grim existence."

While there is a happy ending for the protagonist of ‘Slumdog Millionaire,' this is clearly not the case for all who live in poverty. With all this in mind, the situation may seem hopeless for these slum dwellers; but with the help of Mission India, hope flows in abundance.

"In the past six months, more than 30,000 children have come to Christ through our ministries to children in slums; and actually more than 30,000 of their parents have also come to Christ," says Stravers. "These people are generally living without much hope, but when they receive the Gospel and the friendship of a local Christian, life can really dramatically change for them."

Mission India has reached thousands with the Gospel through Children's Bible Clubs and adult literacy courses. Slum children are given opportunities to engage in tutoring, games, music and Bible stories, many experiencing holding a toy or learning a song for the first time. Once adults are trained through literacy classes, many are able to pass literacy tests, allowing them to earn much higher incomes and rise up out of poverty.

God has softened the hearts of many in India to receive the Gospel as they participate in these ministry activities. "The church in India is growing so fast," says Stravers. "The Holy Spirit has really prepared people in India to hear the Gospel and believe like never before."

The response of local Christians has been equally exciting. Believers are delighted to share their faith and the Gospel in any way they can. Mission India is currently providing training for 100,000 believers who would like to minister through Children's Bible Clubs and adult literacy classes. Stravers notes that "for every three or four that we train, there are three or four more who would love to [be trained]." Although this may keep the ministry busy, an abundance of servants for the Lord is undoubtedly a welcomed problem.

Mission India asks you to pray for connections to reach as many people as possible with their ministries. "The Holy Spirit has already prepared hearts to receive Christ–that work is done. Now it's a matter of just bringing the workers to those people who are ready to be helped."

If you would like to help Mission India in this exciting work, click here.

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