In India, discrimination against women is a fact, as is the killing of female fetuses and babies. But facts can be cold. The story of these four sisters pictured is not. It’s heartbreaking. But please don’t stop reading. These sisters are also living examples of God’s grace.

Ages 7 to 11, these girls are fatherless, even though their father, Raju, is alive. When the youngest girl, Krupapriya, was born, instead of celebrating the family mourned.  Raju refused to see the baby. He walked out that day and never returned. They now live with their elderly grandparents because their mother is also absent; she works long hours as a maid.

Almost everywhere in India parents want sons, not daughters, because males are considered more valuable. Males typically have exclusive rights to inherit the family name and property, and are viewed as additional status for their families. Also, many religions have rituals which can only be performed by males for their parents’ afterlife. All these factors make sons more desirable. Moreover, expensive dowries for daughters further discourage parents from having girls. UPDATE: CNN just covered this issue as a front page story. Click here to read it.

Studies by groups such as UNICEF show that India is “missing” as many as 50 million women and girls, apparently killed or aborted simply because of their gender. Laws are on the books in India against many of these practices, but are rarely enforced.

God, however, has intervened in the lives of Krupapriya and her sisters, Priyanka, Haripriya, and Surapriya. They are part of a David C Cook J127* club at the day care center they attend. They are finding new life in Jesus and are learning the life-giving principle of freedom through forgiveness.

The clubs meet three times a week with lessons and activities covering life skills, character development and spiritual formation. One recent lesson was called “Down with Anger.” The club’s leaders, Auntie Suneetha and Uncle Ashkay, explained how God has forgiven us of all our sins and so, in turn, we can forgive others. They asked each child in the club to write the names of people who had hurt them on a piece of paper, forgive them, tear up the paper and throw it in the trash.

All four sisters wrote their father’s name, Raju, on their papers but refused to tear them up, so deep was their hurt and anger. Later in a private counseling, the club leaders listened sympathetically as Priyanka told the girls’ story. Auntie Suneetha agreed that forgiving their father was very difficult but, if they could forgive him and let go of the bitterness, Jesus could free them from anger.

One by one, they all decided to follow Christ and forgive their father. Now they remember Raju in their prayers and hope to see him rejoin their family one day.

This is just one of many stories of redemption we hear constantly from Cook’s J127* clubs. Sadly, many abandoned children in India end up in orphanages because of violence against, or murder of, their mothers. The J127 curriculum is custom tailored to address this painful situation. Both girls and boys learn biblical teaching about the value of females in God’s eyes.

J127* is an extraordinary program. It dares to bring God’s redemption and healing that counter some of the harshest cultural practices. Your support* is making expansion of this program possible. It is reaching new groups of hurting children every month. We just received word that a group of orphanages in Mexico is adopting the program to serve more than 1,000 emotionally wounded children there.

Update: In 2018, David C Cook transferred oversight of the J127 clubs to an in-country partner which continues to shepherd and grow this program. By supporting David C Cook’s Life on Life curriculum, you will be helping support this program as well.

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