In the mornings we do prayer walks: at Saint Thomas Mount, the Brahmin (high caste) district, Chennai’s temple complex, government buildings, and schools. And each afternoon and evening we go to a different village.
The villages are about an hour and a half away, set in the jungles at the base of the mountains. It’s so green and beautiful and haunting and ancient. The people are goat herders and rice farmers.
The women and children immediately latched on to the DTS girls, while the guys tramped off to play cricket and soccer with the men. We sang, played games, blessed homes, named babies, danced, and watched the sunsets together. Then, we went to the center of the village as about 100 people gathered around to watch fire-spinning, hear a testimony and the story of Jesus. One of our guides translated. These villages had minimal contact with the outside world. Each was unique, but one thing characterized each and every village we went to: the people had never heard about Jesus. They had no concept of who He was. No idea of the God of love, peace, joy, provision, healing and other Father-like qualities. Our team had the opportunity to introduce these people to Jesus. In my preparation to give the gospel that first evening, I was at a loss. This was likely their one opportunity to hear about the freedom they could have in Christ. How does one tell people everything they need to know about God in 10 minutes?
So as I began, I listed out God’s characteristics: He is one, He is holy, but He is personal, He is good, He is our protector, He is our healer, He is powerful, yet He died for us. And then I explained our need for a Savior. On my part it was a feeble attempt, and naive, and seemingly impossible. Yet shouldn’t we all attempt something impossible? I asked the crowd, “Would anyone like to meet Jesus?” Four kids between the ages of six and 15 timidly raise their hands. We prayed together. God worked. It was precious. But even more than that, it was powerful.
The hardest thing is to come to grips with what those young Christian kids now face. Who will teach them? Who will encourage them when persecution from friends and family sets in? Who will continue to tell them about the God they have placed their trust in? Who will give them a Bible?