‘Whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me’
Having visited India many, many times I am still struck by the vastness of the country. The crowded population, the divide between rich and poor, the affluence and the poverty. I have visited India’s richest states and the poorest; seen India’s iconic buildings and been to remote rural villages where people live in mud huts, people living in luxury and those so poor they live beside roads with no shelter at all.
You could be overwhelmed by so many things in this continent, but the one thing that strikes me, that causes my heart to break, is the poverty of the masses and the fact that many of them have to beg just to survive. They have no benefits system as we do here in the UK, no help to supplement wages to be able to live and eat, no free health service to support them when they are ill. The result is devasting on families there. How can they survive?
If we think too long and hard about this, we could become numb to the whole situation and actually say, “well what’s the point of helping them, what can we ever hope to achieve? The problem is so great.”
I have seen old people begging in the streets, young mothers with their babies asking for money to feed them, children on the streets begging and children chasing your car knocking on the windows, but only recently has my attention been brought to the stories behind these faces. Why?
The story which grabbed my attention
Before Christmas, Samuel Joshua, one of our Asian partners, brought to Vision for Asia’s attention the plight of six boys who had been sold by their families to owners of a stone quarry. Sold because they had no money to feed the rest of the family. These boys were subjected to hard labour, fed very little and their health issues were ignored.
The response we received from the generosity of donors here in the UK was amazing and these boys were released from this bondage before Christmas.
Embracing a new project area
This was a new area for us to focus on and it wasn’t until Samuel Joshua brought the next group of children to us that I realised the Lord had answered a prayer for me. I had been asking what can we do that is new in 2020? I believe this is the answer … releasing one child at a time from a life so devastating and debilitating that they have been thrown into through no fault of their own.
This second group Samuel spoke to us of were four boys and three girls. Each one was forced to beg in the mornings and, in the evenings, the boys were sent to the bars and the girls were used as prostitutes. Again, these children had been sold to their owners by parents in desperate need. We had money available in the charity to help release these children also.
It is heart breaking to think that through no fault of their own these children are abused and ill-treated even starved and maimed. All of this is illegal in India but not enforced by the authorities. Over 25 million children are in bondage in this way.
An overwhelming, but worthwhile, task
The task is overwhelming and yes, as we release some we know that the owners will be looking for other children to replace them.
My prayer is that the children who are released and are now able to go to school will grow up to be the very people who will work to stop this trade in human lives and make the authorities enforce the law as it should be. After all, they know what it is like to suffer in this way and are so thankful that someone has cared enough to set them free.
Who knows we could be saving the very person that might make this happen in the future?Marilyn
Samuel Joshua has placed these children we have helped to release into children’s homes where they will be clothed, fed, educated and given any medical help they might need.
A lesson from the Lord Jesus
For those reading this blog thinking, “what is the point as they will be replaced”, I would like to quote the scripture Matt 25:31-40 where Jesus is saying how we will be judged in the end times;
35 ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison [bondage – my words] and you came to visit me [set me free].40 The King replied ‘Whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me’Jesus’ words in Matthew 25: 31-40
This is a project area which we have taken on as our appeal for 2020, calling it “one child at a time” and remembering those words of Jesus – “whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine you did unto me”.
Join us in helping to release children from a life of hell into a life of rest and peace, safety and love.
Make 2020 a year when many more children will be released from a life of misery!