Bad news clogs the airwaves these days. Fatigue has crept in as wars, civil unrest, persecution, and families torn apart vie for our attention. Yet in the midst of chaos, God is still in control and still performing miracles.
Eleven year-old Sindhu is one of those miracles. She lives among the 1.7 million people who dwell in slums in Hyderabad, India. Yet Sindhu is not invisible to the God of the universe. She is a daughter of the King.
Sindhu comes from a home where Hindu gods are feared. Her father was struck by tuberculosis; her mother supports the family by picking through trash in a massive garbage dump in the midst of their neighborhood. They believe their suffering has been determined by karma, a Hindu belief that you suffer for the bad deeds committed in a previous life.
Two Christians, a married couple named Sunitha and Vikram, are called to minister to children in this area. Since many don’t attend school—and those who do receive a poor education—they began a tutoring program in the evenings. In addition to providing education, Sunitha and Vikram also run a David C Cook J127 Club. (The children call them auntie and uncle, terms of respect and affection in India.)
The children participate in Club three nights a week. These evenings are a bright light for those living in darkness. Kids get to be kids—a safe place to laugh, to play games, and to sing. They also learn about a heavenly Father who loves them and longs to have a relationship with them.
Auntie Sunitha and Uncle Vikram provide a safe, nurturing environment for the children. The kids love their Action Bibles and each can tell you about a Bible hero who overcame insurmountable obstacles through faith. They’re also taught character and life skills — everything from hand washing (tough in a slum area with little water) to spotting traffickers (a necessity in this area).
Unfortunately, Hindu extremists control the area where Sindhu lives and spread information about the Club. One day, neighbors complained that children were being converted to Christianity. As a result, Sindhu’s mother stopped her from going to the Club. When Auntie Sunitha didn’t see Sindhu for a couple of weeks, she became concerned and went to visit the mother. The visit, however, was not welcome. Sindhu’s mother launched a verbal attack that stopped the Club leader in her tracks.
Young Sindhu finds much comfort in knowing God. She understands how much He loves her, and she believes He rescues those who love Him. Sindhu trusts God for all her needs. She makes a point of collecting the neighborhood children to attend the Club. Her faith is infectious.
It was this faith that impacted her family. One morning soon after the incident between her mother and Auntie Sunitha, Sindhu’s uncle called to say he was in desperate need of money. His daughter was born prematurely and the hospital would not treat her unless they came up with a large sum. Sindhu told her uncle not to worry. She was praying to Jesus for a solution. Her mother laughed as Sindhu knelt and prayed. Then her mother went house to house begging for money.
The next morning her uncle called again. He asked to speak to Sindhu. He told her that Jesus had heard her prayer and they received the money. The baby was safe.
The incident brought about a great change in Sindhu’s mother. She allowed her daughter to attend the Club again. She also requested that Sunitha pray for her husband’s battle with tuberculosis. Auntie Sunitha introduced them to a church. The family began to attend regularly.
One December day, Sindhu’s father passed away. This came as a great shock to everyone. Auntie Sunitha said, “I was sure Sindhu’s mother would stop going to church, but the Lord is working in her life. Her faith is stronger though her husband died. Sindhu’s conviction and prayer made all the difference in her family.”
These are miracles. The Lord is impacting people in darkest places on earth. Please pray for Sindhu and her family. Also lift up Sunitha and Vakrim. Disease, garbage, poor sanitation, and homelessness discourage most people, including Christians, from serving in these communities. These two individuals are heroes in our eyes and they covet your prayers in this challenging mission field.
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.