-extracts by J. Lee Grady.
The Lord often provides me with a big, fat dose of reality when I travel overseas. It happened this week in India when I looked into the frightened face of Divya, a frail 4-year-old girl. Just a few days ago her poor parents abandoned her in Tanuku, in eastern Andhra Pradesh, because they already had three daughters. They wanted a son. So they dumped their child on the side of a road.
There are already more than 30 girls living in Raja´s house – and
all of them have similar stories. Some were orphaned when their
parents died, but many were abandoned because they live in a
culture that devalues females. Two of the girls were found alive in
trash bins when they were infants.
This week I spent time with Raja, his wife, Padma, and the girls,
and I toured the three-room house in Tanuku where they all live.
More than 10 girls share each room. They sleep on mats. They
have access to two toilets (but no hot water for baths), and they
all have lice.
Raja and Padma have two young children of their own, but they
manage to feed the orphaned girls rice and vegetables every day.
They serve meat only once a week, in very small portions. They
trust God to provide for the girls´ school fees. They also teach
them the Bible and take them to their Pentecostal church on Sundays.
Divya´s story reflects what is happening in India today. Even though
women and girls suffer unimaginable cruelty and rejection, and
even though millions still suffer in indescribable poverty, the gospel
is spreading at an accelerated pace. India´s new believers are not
only planting churches and evangelizing unreached areas but they
are also showing Jesus´ love to orphans, widows, lepers, prostitutes
and people of the lowest social caste.
Every time I come to India I get a much-needed shock treatment.
I realize how spoiled I am. I repent for whining and complaining
about stupid material things that don´t matter. After only a day
here, I suddenly sense a new gratitude for running water, flush
toilets, hot showers, a comfortable bed, reliable electricity and
And even after this attitude adjustment, I still am haunted by my
encounter with Divya. She totally messed me up. I can´t just go
back to my comfortable suburban bubble knowing that little girls
like her are being left on roadsides. Her pitiful cry was my
I believe God is calling all of us to renounce our self-absorbed
American prosperity religion so we can hear the cries around us.
Let´s stop whining and be thankful. And let´s open our hearts to
receive His compassion for the millions of Divya´s who need our love.
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