Compassionate Work

February 10 was our first day in New Delhi, which was a stark change from both Chennai and rural Mungeli. Much of what we saw of the city is wealthy and modern. However, we also saw the increasing reality of urban poverty in India in the people living in some median strips and in a huge slum (home to more than 11,000 families, we were told) that almost defies description – hovels and squalor that no person should have to endure. It is among Dalit children from this area that the Indian Samaritans organization we visited does very important and compassionate work, providing after school care that reinforces and expands on school lessons.

We sat in some of the classrooms, and while the language was foreign to us, the children’s smiles were not. The Samaritans, led by Rev. Santosh George, also provide training and employment opportunities for young women, especially in sewing. Two of us had sari tops made by the young women from fabric we had purchased elsewhere. We also visited a Samaritans’ education program in the slum itself and enjoyed talking and singing with the kids. We taught the younger ones “Itsy Bitsy Spider”!

In the evening, we met with the General Secretary of the Church of North India, Alwan Masih, who taught us about the persecution Christians face there, including mob violence resulting in many deaths and great property destruction. He said there is a rally March 10, 2016 about this issue, and I assured him we would be praying for CNI that day. Afterward, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner hosted by Mr. Masih and continued our conversation about many things. It was another long and full but very satisfying day on our pilgrimage.

Rebecca D.

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