The Suffering Little Children
Dr. Valson Abraham
I wish you all God’s richest blessings in 2016.
Whoever receives one such child in My name receives me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it is better for him, that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depths of the sea.” [Matthew18:5, 6].
What profound words, spoken by our Lord. To welcome a child in the name of Jesus is to welcome Jesus Himself. That is to welcome the King of Kings, the Maker of heaven and earth, the God given order of the universe.
To reject or neglect a child brings sobering judgment. In Jesus’ eyes, such travesty means to reject the king of Kings, to reject the Maker of heaven and earth, to reject the God-given order of the universe.
In India such travesty happens all the time.
Take the life of Meena, for example. In her 11 short years, Meena (not her real name) has lived a life of tragedy. She lives in Ludhiana. She cannot read or write. When she was barely six years old, she went to work with her mother, cleaning the public toilets and latrines. Using little more than a broom, tin plate and a basket, Meena cleans faeces from public toilets and carries them to disposal sites.
Often, her job involves lowering Meena into filthy manholes to unclog the sewage. Sometimes Meena is submerged in the junk for hours at a time without protective gear.
Other young boys and girls like her have died from carbon monoxide poisoning. She receives no health risks; she receives only a rupee or two a day.
Maybe Meena is the fortunate one. A few years ago, her older sister was dedicated as devadasi, or “female servant of god.” In blunt terms, she is a temple prostitute. Patrons and priests use her to satisfy their sexual urges in the name of religion. Daily, she is raped in the name of the deity to whom she was dedicated against her will. Recently, she was auctioned into a brothel in Ludhiana. Meena hasn’t seen her since.
Unfortunately, the life led by Meena is too common. Too often, little girls [and boys] like Meena scavenge and slave like the Israelites in Egypt while a few yards away, college-educated men in white shirts and ties work at computers and think nothing of the atrocity that goes on under their noses.
Did you know that more than half of India’s children aged 6-14 do not go to school? Instead, they participate in the labor force, like Meena.
Did you know that India has 25% of all the world’s child deaths, or that one of every 11 children dies before the age of five? Did you know that almost 2 million Indian children die each year before reaching their first birthday?
Of every 100 children born in the world today, 19 are born in India. Of 100 children born in India, 63 are unregistered, 25 are not immunized against any disease, and 16 have no access to pure drinking water. 47 will suffer from malnutrition before age three. Of every 100 who begin first grade, only 52 will reach the fifth grade.
Those children who suffer malnutrition often suffer their whole lives from physical and mental deficiencies that otherwise would not have touched them.
Did you know that almost 10 million children wander homeless on the streets of India, living in railway stations, in danger from sexual predators and violence?
At least 5.1 million people live with HIV/AIDS in India today. More than 1 million children under 15 have lost one or both parents to the epidemic. In years to come, the rising AIDS curse is sure to swell the numbers of orphan children on the streets.
“Whoever receives one such child in My name,’’Jesus said, “receives me.”
I am happy to say that Meena’s life has changed. One of our evangelists and his wife discovered Meena and her mother. Meena went to a school taught by the evangelist. For the first time, she learnt how to read, write and do arithmetic. Her teacher said she was a talented girl with a gift for words. She received new clothing to replace her rags, given by other Christians in the name of Jesus. She has learned to bathe and wash her matted hair. Today, she is eating nourishing food.
Recently, Meena looked long into a mirror and tears came into her eyes. For the first time in her eleven years, she realized that she was beautiful.
While this is happening, Meena’s mother is going to special classes that teach her how to use a sewing machine and become a skilled seamstress. When she has learned this skill, she will vastly improve her income. Through all of this, Meena and her mother are learning about Jesus. They learn that Jesus invites all to come to Him, including the poor. God has healed Meena of asthma and deep infections caused by her dangerous work. God is beginning to heal the deep hurts in her mother’s life.
Both are well on their way to recommitting their lives to Jesus Christ.
Happily, we can say that the story of Meena and her mother is being repeated thousands of times daily in and around Ludhiana, in the past 13years, our evangelists have opened and taught more than 120 schools in the slums of Ludhiana for thousands of Dalit children like Meena. More women are learning new skills that vastly improve their children’s living situations.
Today, boys and girls are finding God through Jesus Christ who created them to live as His children in dignity and fulfillment. They are learning to read their Bibles and pray. Some of the most powerful prayer warriors in India today are little Dalit children who have learned from experience that God hears them and meets their needs.
There are other ways that India Gospel Outreach is reaching out to neglected and rejected children. In Uslampetty, Tamil Nadu, more girl babies have been sacrificed than in any other region of south India. Today, IPC has evangelists in the region preaching the gospel. Among the new Christians is a lady who sacrificed her six daughters in infancy. Her life has changed, and she is now a strong witness for Jesus, reaching out to women with girl babies, salvaging untold numbers of precious lives.
India Gospel Outreach also has an out reach to deaf children, to, mentally handicapped children and to tribal children. Many of our Christian women sew clothing for poor children and give of their time to teach. But we need the men, too! This year, we ran a Vacation Bible School for more than 400 children on our new India Bible College and Seminary property. Everyone has a skill they can contribute to the next generation,
There is more that we want to do that we need to do. It is my desire to reach the street children of Mumbai, the child victims of AIDS, and all others the Lord places on my heart.
What needy children has the Lord placed upon your heart? They are all around you, if you have eyes to see and a heart to feel. If every believing member of our congregations reached out to help just one child in need in their neighbor hood, we would go a long way to solving this great national problem. Remember, if you aren’t helping the little ones around you, you are hindering them because they have no one else but us.
You can be sure that that these children will bless your most humble attempts to love them, with heartfelt love and gratitude. And you will experience the hand of God, helping you and blessing you in ways you never dreamed.
After all, it was our Lord who said, “Whoever receives one such child in My name receives me.” Will you put your faith to work today?
Father God, help me in a practical way to love the needy children around me, even as you love them, even as you love me. In the name of your Son, who lived [and lives] among us as a child. Amen.