Our Senior Regional Manager Corey Bailey explores the culture shock of working with the persecuted Church for the first time.
Panic surfaced, threatening to break through and spill out onto the dirty street around me. I was surrounded by people on every side; pushing, prodding, bumping. The sound of honking cars, and foreign languages filled my ears as my eyes were bombarded by the site of poverty at every turn. A child, with only one eye, clothed in rags, tugged on my arm reciting over and over: “One dollar, Lady? Please? One dollar?” A woman, skin and bones, lay on the ground. Her body would later be removed, as she breathed her last while people frantically hurried by.
I was walking the streets of Kolkatta, India, and I had never seen such need in all my life. I lasted only one hour into my initial outing into the city before, unable to take any more, I fled to my hostel and hid in my bedroom. In the end it was my growling stomach that forced me back out on the street, in search of a place to eat.
You see, I grew up in the suburbs. I had a nice house, running water, a loving family, clothes on my back, food on my table and my choice of schools for education. I was a believer with a compassionate heart. I wanted to help people and share with them the love of Jesus. I had read books about martyrs, watched news stories about those dying from unclean water and my family sponsored a child in Africa. I was aware that there were those “less fortunate.” I just didn’t think about them all the time, and I certainly had never truly seen them. When I finally did, the pain of it all was too much.
As I was seeking solace, trying to plug my ears from the noise, I realized that God did not have the luxury to plug His ears. God does not change the channel, so to speak. He is with the poor, the needy, the persecuted. He hears their cries day and night. He never closes His ears or turns away.
I believe the question is not “Should I be involved with ‘the least of these’?” but instead, “Lord, how can I be involved with the ‘least of these’?” If God cares about the widow, the orphan, the wounded, and the persecuted, so should we. The Bible is packed, and I mean packed, with verses about justice, social justice and helping the hurting. So, take a look around, don’t change the channel. Choose to have eyes to see. Take a moment to intentionally look at what God looks at every day, and see how you can help.
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–when you see the naked, to clothe him…Isaiah 58:6-7
At the end of 2010, we asked our donors to help us build a home for children whose parents were murdered in the 2008 attack against Christians in Orissa, India. The deadly riots that claimed the lives of more than 100 Christians and forced more than 50,000 to flee their homes has many Christians in Orissa still reeling.
This year, thanks to your gifts, we launched an orphanage to take in at-risk children who lost one or both of their parents in this tragedy. One of the children we took in was Gracy (left) – a young girl whose father was captured and brutally beaten by a mob of Hindu radicals during the 2008 riots. Though he initially survived the attack, he succumbed to his injuries and died weeks later in a relief camp. After her father’s death, her mother left Gracy and her siblings with relatives and never returned.
Gracy and the other children in our orphanage are being cared for by two Christian families who not only take care of their basic needs, but love and nurture them and teach them about the love of Christ.
The picture above was taken when Gracy first entered our orphanage, and the picture at right was taken just recently. You can see a remarkable difference in Gracy’s countenance!
Sign up for our e-newsletter this month to read more stories of hope from orphans and other Christians we’ve helped all year.
Two years after Hindu radicals slaughtered more than 100 Christians, believers in Orissa still continue to pay the ultimate price for their faith in Christ. Let me share with you the price that a three-day-old girl paid in Orissa.
Sonadei is a Christian mother who lives in Bendaguda village, Orissa. Her 18-month-old daughter became sick and died on October 27, 2010. The next day, the mourning family and the Christians in their village took the body of the girl to the funeral. Before they could bury her, Hindu radicals surrounded the procession and began to beat the believers. The radicals said that the Christian child could not be buried in India because India belongs to Hindus.
Several Christians were injured during the attack, including Sonadei, who was eight months pregnant at the time of the assault. Though she began to bleed profusely, Sonadei and other believers were forced to flee and go into hiding, still carrying the decomposing body of her 18-month-old daughter.
When they finally arrived safely at another village, Sonadei was able to get medical care. She gave birth to a baby girl on November 4. Sadly, her infant daughter only lived for three days due to head injuries she sustained in her mother’s womb during the attack.
Though only the Father can truly touch and heal Sonadei’s heart, we were blessed to be able to cover her medical costs while she recovered in the hospital.
To learn more, please read our press release.