When it rains in a slum just outside the metropolis of Meerut in India, only the mosquitos are happy – and maybe the small children. They love to play in the water-turned-mud that runs between their living quarters, closely packed shelters held together with throwaway plastic, wood and metal. Parents, who want better for their families, hope for a day their children will have safer places to enjoy.
“We don’t have anything here. We don’t have land. We don’t have a house. Nothing. This is everything,” says Kunal* as he motions around the spot he and his family call home. About 5,000 similar structures house the members of two tribal groups that are trying to seek out a living in this squatters’ land. With very little education, and few employable skills, it’s a challenge even to hope for a different kind of life.
Pastor Rohit*, his family and church members are reaching out to this community by bringing the Gospel as well as practical items these families can’t afford, like blankets and food. One of his church members says about his relationship with those in the slum, “Christ went to every person…there was no one too low or too high. There are few people that come to help people like this. That is why I decided to work here.”
By investing time and resources here, church members are building relationships and the people in the area are beginning to respond. Kunal and his family now attend services at the black plastic and bamboo building where the church body gathers. He says, “I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. He has transformed my life. My children were sick and when we prayed…our children were healed.” Experiences like that give him hope for the future.
*Names have been changed for security purposes.