Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | July 7, 2011

The Path to New Hope

Kolkata, India

Life is difficult in the slum village of Udayan Pally — a ragtag community of mostly Bengali Hindus located not far from Kolkata’s international airport. The people there live with no electricity and get their water from tube wells located dangerously close to their latrines. Scantily clad kids run and play in the narrow paths between shanty homes, skillfully avoiding puddles of raw sewage and garbage. Heat and rain only add to the misery of life in Udayan Pally. But, in spite of all of the difficulties the people must contend with very day, many in this impoverished huddle of humanity cling to their hopes and aspirations of a better life, if not for themselves then for their children. That’s where my friend Pastor Rudra comes in. Rudra started a school in the heart of this slum to provide the children of the least of these with the opportunity to get an education. He has a God-sized vision of reaching the entire village with the message and love of Christ. And he is doing it one child and one home at a time.

This morning our student team ventured to Pastor Rudra’s school, appropriately named New Hope School. We walked along the narrow and slippery path to the school in the rain and arrived with muddy shoes and feet. No problem. Every care melted away when our students saw the sixty-five children crammed into the little school building paid for, in large part, by our missions ministry. We helped to teach math, spelling, colors and shapes, and more to smiling and eager learners. I was totally impressed by the progress these school kids have made since our visit here last year. The noticeable improvement is a testimony to the success of Pastor Rudra’s intentional education plan. New Hope is a no-nonsense school. Rudra knows that these children must get the very best education possible if they are to have any hope of leaving the slums. The kids enrolled in the school are held to a high standard and work hard. We are also prepared to work hard at Pastor Rudra’s New Hope School every morning while we are here.

Our students spent the afternoon learning about slavery and human trafficking. I invited one of my friends who leads a major initiative to combat human trafficking in South Asia to speak to our students. He talked about the challenges of bringing new hope to girls trapped in the unimaginable hell of forced prostitution. The challenges of rescuing these girls and bringing their oppressors to justice is not as easy as it looks on television. The plans of the rescuers are often frustrated by corrupt police officials and savvy lookouts that alert brothel owners of suspected raids. But, in spite of the difficulties and setbacks, they have managed to rescue more than four-hundred girls from brothels in South Asia. Tomorrow, the girls on our team will visit the aftercare home that we fund. They will spend time encouraging the young victims — reaffirming their worth as human beings created in the image of a God who loves them.

As I write this post, our student and sponsors are all in bed, tired from a combination of jet-lag and long hours of service. It’s been a good first day in Kolkata. Today, we learned that the path to New Hope School and the path to new hope for the victims of sex trafficking are both challenging. Nevertheless, we are determined to do our small part to walk that path and to bring new hope to children in the slums and to the young girls rescued from the clutches of evil. Tomorrow, we will also offer hope to the least of these who reside at three of Mother Teresa’s homes. We are grateful for the opportunity to be here and to be Jesus with skin on as we walk the path to new hope.


Responses

  1. Very humbling… thanks for sharing. Praying for you guys.

  2. Omar, my heart is humbled by the work you are doing. May God bless the work of Pastor Rudra and the children’s ability to learn. May they be freed from destitute poverty if it is the Lord’s will.
    Susan Priest

  3. Deari Omar,
    Glad to hear about the school your church sponsors.
    We know something of the life Bengalis live as a home we stayed out in Salt Lake employed children to wash floors, cloths and cars all for a few Rupees. They had come from Bangladesh. We did not approve of our friends exploitation of children.
    So praise God for Pastor Rudra’s school that gives the children a chance of an education to break free from poverty. Bless the students for their efforts despite recovering from jet lag.
    Oh how great it is that Kingsland is part of the solution for rescuing girls from the “sex trade”. We pray the ladies will encourage those girls whom they meet and show the love of Christ. We pray the powers of the evil one will be destroyed and occult activities be cast out.

    Every Blessing to you all

    Paul & Sarah

  4. Omar, please tell the group that I will miss them this week in Nicaragua. Our group of upcoming seniors will be praying for them every day. We leave early in the morning for Managua. Once again, I am privileged to spend a week in Nicaragua with another fantastic group of students.

    Blessings,

    Doyle

  5. So proud of all the students! Praying for you all.

  6. The images remind me so much of my childhood in Mexico, Omar. Village homes were made of bamboo, pieces of wood with overlapping pieces of plastic, adobe bricks, you name it. Some of the huts had old pieces of clothing woven into the frames too. The worst structures were the pieces of corrugated tin slapped together. They became very hot in the summer.

    It is hard for Americans to conceptualize these things so it is wonderful that you take young adults on trips like this to introduce them to the world of the look of poverty on macro scale.

    Thank you for all you do, for such a compassionate heart.

    Tammy

    • I love walking along these muddy paths. It’s an experience that always opens my eyes and softens my heart.


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