Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | July 8, 2010

Justice and A Dream

South Asia

“God, give us the audacity,” Erin said in her prayer this morning, “to do for You what we have never done before.” Her words refreshed my heart because they summarize the essence of what it means to go beyond. Our students have come to Kolkata to serve with abandon – to do more than they have ever done for God and His purposes. These students want for their lives to be described by terms like audacity and dangerous surrender, and they are willing to live accordingly. These students are not interested in warming pews but in discovering and doing whatever it takes to engage with a hurting world. As I looked at our students in worship at our morning devotional, I thought once again about the lyrics to the song “By Our Love” – particularly the line that says, “You will be reaching long after were gone, and they will know you by your love.”

This morning, some friends who work on behalf of the oppressed spoke to our students about how they work to secure justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of oppression. Our students learned about what life is like for girls, some as young as five years-old, who are raped for profit – not once, but as many as twenty times a day. According to India’s CBI (similar to our FBI), there are as many as three million prostitutes in India of which forty percent are estimated to be children. My prayer for our students is that each of them will support justice initiatives for a lifetime and that some will choose a career path in a justice-related field. I don’t underestimate what God can and will do through the lives of the students who sat and listened to this morning’s heart-wrenching presentation. I could not help but think that I was in the presence of those whom God will raise to champion the cause of the oppressed.

This afternoon our girls shopped for the remaining items they will need for their work at the aftercare home we support. Our team will do a variety of activities with the girls who reside there. My friend Holley, who lives in New Delhi, and others with her have come to Kolkata to assist our team. One of the most creative tools they will use is an ornate henna-tattoo that is designed to share the story of God’s love. This is important because the first thing that the evil people who oppress these young girls do is to systematically destroy their self-esteem. They repeatedly rape these girls to break them down, to make them feel worthless, and to rob them of hope. Like their father the Devil, their agenda is “to steal, to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10). Our prayer is that God will use our girls to affirm the worth of these young victims of sex-trafficking.

Pastor Rudra

While our girls made final preparations for their assignment, our boys and I accompanied Pastor Rudra to the village of Udayan Pally. This impoverished village has no electricity or running water and is separated from one of Kolkata’s newest upscale developments by a murky canal. As we crossed the canal and walked into the village, Pastor Rudra turned to me and said, “This is my dream village.” He paused, pensively surveyed the shanties before us, and continued, “God has called me to serve the poor and my dream is that He will use me to tell this entire village about His love.” One of the first things Pastor Rudra has done is to start a school in the village. Today, he gave me the unexpected honor of dedicating the school building and cutting the ribbon to officially open its not-yet-in-place doors. Our boys sang with the children, led them in games, and taught age-appropriate lessons on math, vocabulary, and the alphabet. Starting tomorrow, we will work at this school every morning and then serve at two of Mother Teresa’s homes in the afternoon.

We have had a very good day learning about justice and caring for the poor. I am inspired by the commitment of people who work to counter illegal sex trafficking in places like West Bengal. I am blessed by Pastor Rudra’s big dream for the village of Udayan Pally and the practical ways in which he is showing God’s love to those who reside there. And, I am grateful for Mother Teresa’s legacy that continues to draw people to Kolkata to learn how to find and to care for Jesus in His distressing disguise. My prayer is that each of us will leave here firmly committed to champion the cause of the oppressed, more compassionate and responsive to the least of these, and determined to dream big for God.


Responses

  1. We are sobered by your comments. How grateful we are as parents that our children are learning so vividly what God means when He says to minister to the broken hearted. We are heading out to pray for you all at Kingsland.
    Love you all sooooo much! (Hugs to that tall redheaded kid 🙂

  2. I am so proud of our seniors. I had such a great time with them in Nicaragua last year. I am so confident that God will use you all to minister and serve the least of these. Know that you are in my prayers. Erin, I love you and thank God that you have the privilege to serve. Tomorrow I leave for Nicaragua with our juniors. Seniors, pray for the juniors as we travel back to Nicaragua and serve at House of Hope and Los Brasiles. You guys ROCK!

  3. Pastor O, Tonya and I pray that the mighty hand of our God would be upon you, our young people and the full team as you all serve Him. He has a great plan for the people you all will be serving so that He can bring His plan to pass. Thank you and the team for your faithfulness to His great calling.

  4. I so enjoy reading your commentaries Omar – thanks for writing them!

    The thing that is so amazing about the God we serve is….just as we think “we are” doing something wonderful for someone else….He turns the blessing to us and does a work only He can do! From Glory to Glory into the likeness of His Son! It’s hard to comprehend the sights, smells and sounds your team is experiencing – but after living in India I can only imagine our youth are being challenged beyond what they ever dreamed or imagined. Blessed to be a blessing…….

    In His Name

  5. Two thumbs way up to God for making a way for IJM and the young ladies of KSM to minister at the aftercare home.

  6. Hi many thanks again for wonderful blog.
    Every blessing to you and the team.
    Do you know you are part of fulfilling prophecy of many years ago. In a prayer meeting in Kolkata over 10 years ago a prophecy was given that peoples from many nations would come to Kolkata to bless & pray for the blessing of the people of Kolkata.
    From your blog I can see that many have a heart to bless the poor and seek justice.
    I pray that for many it will not be the last step but just the first step in bringing Justice to those who the world shuns.
    My niece is part of a Tear Fund team Kolkata working with Emmanuel Ministries working with children and those with HIV.

    Sarah & I continue to pray for you all. We can’t wait for next exciting and uplifting instalement of your trip.

    God Bless

    Paul & Sarah Beniston Brentwood Baptist in the UK

  7. A life changer DeColores Roxana

  8. I’m keep reading all the posts.

  9. Pastor Omar, I am Donny Latorre’s grandmother (Tonya’s mom) and just wanted you to know that I am praying for you, Donny, and the teenagers under your care (as is my Bible Study group). I believe that each of these young adults will be profoundly affected their entire lives by this experience…and I am sure they will have a huge impact on those whom they touch during this ministery. God Bless you and these students!

  10. Our God is a Great and Awesome God and He has a plan for all of us, including Kolkata. These 12 days present an opportunity for these students to be used by God in a way they never imagined. It is my prayer that God stretches them beyond their limitations to do His work and that He is glorified and that Kolkata is blessed. Ultimately, these kids will receive God’s blessing by doing His work. Lord, take our kids to places only you can! Thank you Omar for your availability to do God’s work and keep the updates coming!

  11. Omar,
    I didn’t read this post before my query on the one above it!

    India sounds somewhat like Cambodia and Thailand as far as trafficking children.

    Tammy


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