Since 1999, Gospel for Asia has been serving in the slums of South Asia to provide food, medical care and the love of Christ to those without access.
Rapidly growing slums, with millions of people living in extreme poverty and struggling for survival, are a huge problem for South Asia's major cities. Up to 25 percent of the population of these urban areas live in slums. Thousands arrive daily from rural areas in search of jobs and a better life, only to become trapped in desperation and hopelessness.
Open sewage, polluted water, lack of health care, illiteracy, superstition, and diseases such as tuberculosis and AIDS are just some of the threats all around them. Every day is a new battle to somehow find a job—or keep the one they have—as laborer, porter, sweeper or house servant. If that's not possible, they must resort to begging, scavenging or prostitution to be able to eat. If they get too sick or too old to work, there is no social agency to help them survive. No wonder many slum dwellers drown their fears and sorrows in alcohol.
Gospel for Asia's ministry to the slums began in 1999, with outreach to four major cities in South Asia. Today, our missionary teams serve in slum neighborhoods, bringing hope by living out His sacrificial love and sharing the love of Christ. They conduct free medical clinics and teach basic hygiene and preventive health measures. They provide literacy classes for adults, conduct tutoring classes for children and hold weekly Sunday schools. They have established hundreds of local fellowships, and thousands have heard the love of Christ.
We also train future missionaries for slum ministry all across the South Asia. In addition to the study of God's Word, classroom training consists of practical instruction in the various aspects of slum ministry. The obstacles are many, but our gracious heavenly Father has great plans for the poor: "Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom ...?" (James 2:5).
Our slum ministry is different from other outreaches because we deal with masses of desperate people who have no means whatsoever to better their situation or escape their surroundings. It takes tremendous self-sacrifice and patience on the part of GFA-supported missionaries to work among them, get to know them and share the love of Christ. It also entails meeting urgent and often unique needs.
It's incredible to encounter believers at churches in the slums. You can easily see by the sparkle in their eyes and the joy on their faces that Jesus has brought light and hope into their lives. And their testimonies tell of the love and power of God that set them free from bondage and sin, and even healed many from sickness.
We want to continue taking Christ's message of hope to those who are outcasts of society.