Hope in the Slums
first published: Dec. 29, 2005 – Gospel for Asia
The village’s name means “Village of Snake Charmers,” and the people are constantly treated as worthless. The few children able to go to school are sometimes told, “You will never improve; you will remain snake charmers throughout your life.” But the two GFA missionaries want them to know the value they have to the Lord.
Danip and his family are laborers and earn about two dollars per day by boiling tar coal, digging ditches and carrying mud in road construction—on days they find work. They are one of around 500 families in this slum that all came from Rajasthan state looking for work.
“There are many beggars residing in this village,” said Raji. “They beg to feed their family. Some of them make their livelihood by selling henna, an herbal paste used to decorate women’s palms. Some are rag pickers. They pick up anything they think will sell which includes bottles, plastic, torn shoes, metal, etc. Some collect old newspapers and make them into paper bags to sell for packing groceries.”
“There are richer people on the other side of the village,” Raji went on, “But they won’t have anything to do with these people.” The villagers are not only poor, but most are low-caste Dalits, “Untouchables.”
Through several ministries, including Sunday schools, literacy classes, medical camps, and leprosy ministry, Raji and Jasingh are finding slowly opening doors to share the Gospel with slum dwellers like Danip, who live with no hope. And in the short time of their ministry there—about four months—40 people began attending the church services.
“We want to tell them Jesus loves them no matter who they are or what situation they are in,” Jasingh shared. “They need to know what the Lord has done for them.”