The Gospel is taking hold in the world and the youngest believers have found themselves on the frontlines of faith. Nine year-old Rushita and eleven year-old Rukmini are two disciples of Jesus battling for their faith.
The girls live in a slum and attend the Life Club, one of 239 Clubs covering 7,000 children in India. The Clubs are the hallmark of David C Cook’s orphan initiative.
“There was no peace in our home,” said Rukmini. “My parents were furious about the Club. Arguments broke out often. My dad scolded my mother for not keeping an eye on us.” The girls’ parents were strict Hindus who worshipped idols and regularly attended temple. They had much disdain for Christianity.
In the Life Club, the girls learn about Jesus, grow in character, and gain valuable life skills, such as handling money, building healthy relationships, and spotting traffickers. They also begin to understand the importance of forgiveness and are led to process hard emotions such as anger, rage and despair.
For Rukmini and Rushita, the songs, games and skits offered a respite from a bleak life in the slums. “We enjoyed story time the most,” said Rukmini. “We recently heard about Zacchaeus, a ruthless tax collector. For obvious reasons, not many people were fond of him, but Jesus chose him out of all others. Grace came upon Zacchaeus and his home and they were changed. It helped me believe that things could be different for my family.”
The two girls continued to sneak out to the Club in spite of the strife. When their father found out he beat them. Their refusal to give up Christianity made him more strident in his Hindu faith.
“That day I decided to stop attending the Club,” said Rukmini.
Our father is a daily laborer and we just manage to scrape by, but suddenly something went wrong and he wasn’t getting work. We slept many nights without food. My parents continued to yell at Rushita because she still attended the Club. They said the family was suffering because the gods weren’t pleased by her decision to follow Christianity.
One morning the girls woke up to find that their mother had deserted the family. “I was broken and lost,” said Rukmini. “By now I started to believe we were actually suffering because we chose to follow Christ. But God was not done with us”.
One day Rushita came home with our Club leader, Uncle Narendra. (Auntie and uncle are terms of respect and affection in India). Uncle Narendra met my father and spoke with him. Rushita and I watched from afar. Our Club friends and leaders were praying for us.
By the end of the week, a miracle had happened: Mother returned and we were reunited. I was so happy. I hugged my mother and cried. I then started visiting the Club again—and now guess who is excited to learn about each new story we learn? My father! Just like Zaccheus, the Lord’s grace is coming upon our family!
Consider sponsoring a J127 Club and following a group of children like Rukmini and Rushita as they grow to be strong disciples of Jesus. Please lift them up in prayer as they represent the faith in a difficult place, and pray for their parents’ salvation.
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.