Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | July 25, 2013

God Made Me Upside Down

Kolkata, India | 24 July 2013

Pastor Rudra is a man who is living his dream among some of the most impoverished people in Kolkata. His highest ambition is to become a man of no reputation by serving God’s purposes in the obscurity of a squatters’ slum called Udayan Pally. I first met Rudra three years ago at the canal that separates an upscale development near Kolkata’s International Airport from the slum that has captured his heart.

Pastor Rudra

As Rudra and I walked across a wooden bridge that leads into the slum, he stopped for a moment, surveyed the ramshackle mess in front of us, and said, “This is my dream village. 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.” And then he introduced me to the place and the people of his dreams as we walked toward the school he has started in the midst of abject poverty and suffering. His school is appropriately named New Hope.

Rudra Panorama
This morning, our team of students traveled across Kolkata to spend the day with Pastor Rudra and to serve the students at New Hope. Every time I visit Pastor Rudra’s school I am impressed with the progress of the hundred-plus students who faithfully attend classes every day. And, every time I see the packed school-house, I wonder about how different things would be for these kids and their families had God not had a man like Rudra to count on.

Rudra Girl Pic
Rudra and his wife are both educated and very intelligent individuals who were on career paths to make lots of money and live comfortable lives. But then, as Rudra tells it, “God made me upside down.” God indeed turned Rudra’s world upside down when He tapped him out for a tough assignment. Rudra and his wife both quit their jobs and started down a path of living by faith in order to devote full-time to caring for the people of Udayan Pally.

Rudra Scripture Card
Rudra is making remarkable progress and so are the children in his care. Every child in the school presented our team with a red rose and scraps of paper with handwritten Bible verses that they have memorized. Our team presented Bible skits and taught the children lessons about how much God values them. All of this in the little school-house that is hotter than an oven. No one complained. The joy and laughter within the walls of the little school-house made it worth it all to be there.

Soccer - Zach Kick
In the afternoon, our girls stayed at New Hope to engage with the women enrolled in Rudra’s vocational training program. Our boys walked across the canal to an open field to play soccer with some local teenagers. The fact that it was raining did not matter at all. Our guys had a great time playing soccer and dodging the occasional water buffalo that tried to join the game.

Soccer - Zach Share
After almost two hours of running and slipping and sliding up and down the puddle-ridden field, all of the guys stopped to talk with one another. Zach represented our team well by sharing his personal story of following Jesus. Our new Hindu friends listened attentively and then thanked us for traveling so far to play soccer with them and tell them about Jesus. Before leaving, we invited them to our evening showing of the Jesus Film in Udayan Pally.

IMG_1075
We returned to our guesthouse soaked to the bone and with muddy feet. Again I thought, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news” (Isa. 52:7 and Rom. 10:15). We returned encouraged by what God is doing among the poor in Udayan Pally. Things are slowly changing for the better there because God turned one man’s ambitions upside down and gave him a more noble purpose. Rudra is indeed living his dream and, as a result, is helping the poor in Udayan Pally to realize theirs.

Soccer - Muddy Feet

PS | Read an inspiring post by Kingsland student Ana Gutierrez about our time in India.


Responses

  1. thank you for blessing us. we are great full. pray the villagers who saw Jesus Film may know more about Jesus Christ and may accept Him as their personal Savior.

    • We will continue to pray for you and the people of Udayan Pally. Thank you, Rudra, for sharing your story with our students. You are an inspiration and an encouragement to us. We enjoyed our time with you.


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