Our team spent three days with the village of Udyan Pallay near the New Town area of Kolkata. New Town is an area where it is estimated that 20 million new people will move over the next few years. Nestled in this up and coming building area is a desperate slum village. Goats in shirts run around while little children are completely naked. Small fires burn in the corners of the lean to homes to cook food. A dirt path full of rocks and litter make up the streets where the villagers mill about. Men sit outside and play cards and drink most of the day. A few are cobblers or are produce merchants or have found some other way to eek out a living but the majority expect the women of the village to leave and find some sort of work.

The work available for the women is very sparse and the pay is very, very little. Children are left unattended and to fin for themselves leaving a high probability that they can be stolen or run away.

There is a light in this village called New Hope. Pastor Rudra Singh and and his wife Mita have given their lives to help this village. They have opened a school and they are able to teach from a Christian world view in the middle of this Hindu village. The team spent the mornings teaching school and Bible stories. They even did sience experiments which left a few children wondering if our teachers were “magic.” the children learn quickly and those that we have taught before have come a long way over the last two years. Several on our team noticed this time that there were more boys and that many of the girls that we have seen before were not there. We were told that lots of girls have been forced to go to work or marry as a child bride.

Last year people from Kingsland assisted in opening a sewing center in the village to teach women a marketable skill. Wednesday we had the great privilege of seeing the first graduating class of 10 women. We planned a fun afternoon for them and finished with an official ceremony complete with a certificate, pictures, food and a gift, the women were very proud of themselves. They asked us to pray for the girls in the village. “We do not want to raise our daughters here in this place. It is not safe” is what they told us. The only answer they see is to send the girls away. Our team was very burdened by this thought thinking that community involvement and neighbors creating answers together as village would be a better way so that girls can grow up with their mothers.

In the evening we set up a mobile theater in the school and started the Jesus Film. slowly the members of this Hindu village began to trickle in. Our huge team left so as not to be a distraction. Pastor Rudra reported that within minutes the room was full with about 65-100 people in attendance. The village people were so intrigued that they asked for him to show it again sometime but in the large field nearby so more of their neighbors could come.

Pastor Rudra, Mita and their team will begin to follow up in the homes of the villagers over the next week. There is such a darkness there and this film seemed to bring some light…the same light that shines at the end of the the road where the New Hope school sits. Pray for this village as they begin to learn community and skills that will help them better serve one another as well as their families. Pray for Pastor Rudra and Mita as they work to serve the needs of this desperate community.photo (20)

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