Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | January 8, 2016

Joy in Udayan Pally Slum

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 five 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
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, God 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.

This week, Kay Smith and a team of women from Kingsland are in Kolkata serving with Pastor Rudra at the school he started in Udayan Pally slum. Kay is our missions ministry’s point person for our justice initiatives in India. She is no stranger to the challenges of serving the least of these throughout the City of Joy — from Mother Teresa’s homes to the slums to the aftercare homes where we care for young girls rescued from the commercial sex trade.

Rudra's Smiling Kids
Earlier this week, Kay posted a photo on our Go Beyond Kolkata blog site that brought a smile to my face. The kids in the photo are dressed in lab coats we provided for them to wear while our team teaches them science lessons. They will learn some basic lessons this week about how they are fearfully and wonderfully made. And, best of all, the kids in the photo are all smiling.

The smiles on the faces of the kids are in stark contrast to the ugly and dangerous context in which they and their families struggle to survive. Their smiles brought a smile to my face. As I studied the photo I thought about another contrast. Whenever Christ-followers arrive on the scene to serve others, their labors of love tend to make even the most desperate people smile. This is indeed in stark contrast to what happens when terrorists, like those who have dominated the news in recent months, arrive on the scene.

Kay’s photo of the smiling kids reminds me that worldview matters. Among all of the worldview issues that impact whether people smile or weep is the sanctity of human life. As Christ-followers we value life and believe that every human being should be treated with respect and dignity. ISIS and their ilk have shown the world what little they have to offer and how they devalue life. We are committed to showing the world the joy that is found only in Jesus.

In addition to serving in the slums, Kay and her team will hold worship services in the midst of one of Kolkata’s most notorious red light districts. And, they are also reconnecting with several of our justice ministry partners in Kolkata. Follow the adventures of Kay and our team at our Go Beyond Kolkata blog.

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