Regrets. I’ve had a few in my life. One painful memory has to do with a little girl named Meena. Meena was a beautiful 5-year-old living in Bombay. She had the biggest brown eyes. When the social workers first saw her, she was standing in six inches of sewer water.
Meena was one of the thousands of children who survive by begging on the streets. No one knows if her parents abandoned her or simply died. Her life was sustained by the meager sums she could coax from passersby and the scraps she would often eat out of the garbage piles just to stay alive.
I saw a photo of Meena, and it’s one I can never forget. Later, I learned that she began eating sewage-infested dirt off of the streets. Soon she went into a coma and died.
The sad thing is that there are still children eating dirt to fill their empty stomachs. There are parents who sacrifice their evening meal in order that their children may eat. They are silent victims of poverty, quietly passing unnoticed. In recognition of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty this week, it is important for us to recognize and remember these precious people in our generation who are agonizing over where their next meal comes from.
For Meena it’s too late. My deep regret is that there was no Gospel for Asia-supported Bridge of Hope center in Meena’s slum to help her.
GFA’s Bridge of Hope Program brings hope to children in need in Jesus’ name. It helps provide children with an education and personal help with their studies; it also provides with them school supplies such as books and backpacks as well as a clean and sturdy uniform to wear. Each day they are served a nutritious meal, and every year they are given a medical checkup. But more than this, GFA’s Bridge of Hope Program provides the opportunity for these children to help be a part of stopping the cycle of poverty in their families and in their communities. As these children are educated, they have more opportunities available to them to earn a living than their parents may have had.
You and I did not ask to be born and raised in the circumstances and comforts we have. We could have been born in one of the slums of Calcutta or in a Dalit family in Bihar. God in His mercy gave us the privilege of living our lives with the freedom and blessings words can’t describe. This privilege we have can become a part of the answer for those who are suffering.
So many times, I’ve learned and relearned the reality of the suffering of so many around the world. When I am reminded of people who are struggling so much even to survive, I cry out, “Lord, what is wrong with me? How could I possibly forget?”
We can all get so caught up in our day-to-day activities, that we are unaware of the world in dire need around us. When we notice that tap on our shoulder to see, to understand, to act, let’s not turn our head or close our eyes, but instead let’s open our hearts to feel their pain and participate in being part of the answer.
It is for Jesus’ sake that we act. It is in His name that we sacrifice. But how do we respond? How do we participate? Pray. Seek the Lord for opportunities He has for you to give to help those who are in need and who are helping those in need.
Time flies by and before we know it, it’s all over. We can’t turn back the clock. There’s the final good-bye from this earth and to all the things we thought were so important and held on to so tightly. God has given us the privilege of being His hands and feet to the “least of these” in our generation. Let’s seek to be His vessels today.
For one way to get involved in helping to eradicate poverty, go to GFA’s Gift Catalog.
Click here, to read more articles on Patheos by Dr. KP Yohannan Metropolitan.