India (MNN) — Have you ever been to a slum? Words can't contain what it's like.
There's stagnant water, trash, sewage, and the smell of it everywhere. Spiritual darkness is draped over this place, and demon-possession is common. Pigs roam freely, looking as at-home in the refuse as the people do. Kids under 4 are usually bare from the waist down, and some toddle amid broken glass without shoes or clothes.
But those aren't the only dangers these kids face.
Of Mumbai's 250,000 commercial sex workers, over a third are children under the age of 12. According to the 2005 National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Action Research Study, most of the young girls caught in the sex trade are Dalits–a caste considered "untouchable."
Often these "Untouchables" are slum dwellers.
Brother Mark oversees 17 Bridge of Hope centers and slum ministries in Mumbai that are supported by Gospel for Asia (GFA).
Mark committed his life to this work after seeing first-hand the horrors listed above.
"By seeing all those things, I feel that after I finish my study, I will not do any other work…I will go and work with the slum," he states. "This is my call."
Brother Mark began serving the Lord after being healed of a paralyzing disease.
"I was totally bedridden. I couldn't do anything. I didn't have any hope at all," he recalls.
His illness befuddled the doctors, so they sent Mark back home with his parents. A local pastor and some women missionaries began praying daily with the young man, and within a month he was completely healed.
"It is a miracle that I was healed, and so from there onward I told them that I need to serve God," says Brother Mark. He resolved to "fully commit my life and serve Him, whatever the cost may be."
Please pray for the kids caught up in this world. Even though they're surrounded by indescribable conditions, they're still just kids. Click here for a snapshot of Mumbai slum life.
"Prayer is the most important thing," says Mark. "At the same time, we also need financial support."
Through GFA-supported Bridge of Hope (BOH) centers, slum kids receive a warm meal, tutoring, and they learn about Christ's love for them. These centers also function as tailoring schools for Bridge of Hope moms.