I recently got back from India. I went with a group from a UK church who are connected to a church in a major city of India. They support the work of the Indian church through donations, but also through prayer and by becoming friends. The trip to India was part of the friendship process, going to meet the people they have been supporting in prayer.
The church in India does amazing work with women who are trafficked and forced into prostitution and with their children who without the work of this church would be at risk of becoming prostitutes and pimps themselves. It all began with one person in the pew praying. Not the minister or elder or junior church leader. One person went home one night, prayed, and God put the young boys begging on the streets on that person’s heart. They couldn’t ignore God’s heartcry for these boys. They invited the boys into their home, to give them a warm meal and a place to do homework. From that started the church’s mission to run a home for boys. They provided them with a safe place to live, a routine of school and homework support, opportunity to play with other boys in a safe environment like a park rather than beside the busy city roads, and three meals a day. This year some of those boys (now men) are graduating with degrees from University. For them, the cycle of poverty is broken.
The church now also runs a home for girls, which I was able to visit. Fourteen girls live there. There mums were all sex workers in the red-light district. Some mums have died from HIV, but some are still alive. Why the women do not leave is a long tale that is best told in person and not in print, but let’s just say that they would leave if they could. Praise the Lord, some of their daughters can leave. Like the boys, these girls are growing and thriving in safety and security. We met one young lady who is fifteen years old. Had she lived in the red-light district, she would have been forced into prostitution by now, but instead she is studying hard at school and hopes to go to University in a couple of years. She dreams of starting a home like the one she has benefited from, so that she can help other girls like her.
There are many amazing stories I could tell you about our trip, about the ways God confirmed and reaffirmed the connectedness of the UK church and this Indian church. There are also some very harrowing things I could tell you about the industry of trafficking and enslaving people. Sex trafficking really is an evil beast – trapping clients, prostitutes, pimps, madams, and children within its claws. Please pray for the work of churches like the one I visited. Please pray that more people can be set free.
Traveling through India, one could easily be overwhelmed by the need – material, spiritual, political, economical. You could easily wonder – where do I start? The most important thing I learned this trip was, start with prayer. What is happening where you are? Ask God. He will tell you, and when He does, act. Don’t hesitate, don’t worry about the ‘right conditions’, etc. As long as it’s an act of love – sommat Jesus would do – just act. The person who opened up their home fifteen years ago, could not have imagined all the work the church would be doing now. He could not have seen the two homes, the after school clubs being run in the slums, the drop in centres for the women in several red-light districts, or the work in prisons. All he knew was God wanted that particular group of boys to be fed and helped with their homework. God sorted the rest – overtime – as others caught the vision, in prayer.
So pray. You never know where God will take you and your church.