As we were starting Metro Effect, I thought it would be good to prayer walk the entire city of Delhi. So I started doing some research to see how I could most effectively pray for the city as a whole in 5 half-day prayer walks. During my research, one fact blew me away, and I have not been able to stop thinking about it. Out of ten million Delhi slum dwellers, only 0.2% are Christian. A people group is considered unreached if it is less than 2% Christian, and Delhi slums are 10 times worse than that. The poor might be coming to Christ in other parts of the country, but in Delhi, the poorest of the poor have the least access to the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. This is tragic.
I began the prayer walk today by visiting two of Delhi’s largest slum areas. And if reading a number on the internet rocked my world, you can imagine what it was like to experience it firsthand.
Here is what I found:
It was a little difficult to find, but as I got close, it became obvious that I was in the “right” place. We’ve been in India over sixteen months, so we’ve seen a lot of poverty. But this was a completely new level. There’s no way to adequately describe the emotions I felt as I walked through the slum.
But also hope, because I know a God who can change all this.
For now, the people don’t have any true hope. It was difficult to walk down the narrow alleys, not only because there was an incredible amount of hustle and bustle, but also because the roads were filled with sewage rivers of garbage and human waste. I was amazed that everyone around me didn’t look horrified. But this is normal life for them.
As I got into the heart of the slum, I found a large Hindu temple. I hate Hindu temples. After spending some time in India and seeing the oppressiveness of idolatry, I am getting closer to hating false gods as much as I should. The fact that false gods were at the heart of all this devastation was not surprising, but it filled me with despair, anger, and hope for change all over again. I didn’t see a single Christian church or ministry in this area.
I walked out of the slum with tears in my eyes over the harsh conditions and lack of Christ that I witnessed. But my tears were also for those who might help us reach these areas. If we recruit people to work in harsh slums similar to this one on a daily basis, it seems that we might ruin their lives. But we know that God loves the people in this area, and we know that God will give his servants power and joy to overcome the forces of darkness.
As I approached the Bhalswa slum, I passed a cloudy trash mountain with a giant Hindu temple at its base and countless birds circling the rubbish to scavenge for food. Delhi doesn’t have good waste management systems, so they pile all the trash as far from the city center as possible. They tried to do the same thing with poor people, and that’s how the Bhalswa slum was formed.
Since Delhi is the capital, the government tries to make it look really nice and pretty on the surface. So they forcibly dumped tens of thousands of the city’s poorest people like garbage behind the trash mountain to live in some of the worst conditions imaginable. But one man’s trash is the King of King’s treasure, and I am so excited that we might be able to help the unwanted find love, hope, joy, and eternal life. This is just the beginning of a dream, so it’s a long road ahead. I didn’t see any Christian groups in this area either. But who knows what God will do?
Will you pray with us for people in Delhi slums?
Prayer for Delhi Slums
Dear God, please transform the slums in Delhi into places of life, love, laughter, and the knowledge of You. Please raise up thousands of Christians to dedicate their lives to reaching the slums in Delhi for You. Thank you for creating each person with an indestructible value that is so evident, even in the filthiest of circumstances. Please give the people hearts to believe in your Son, Jesus Christ, so that they might spend eternity in a place quite the opposite of what they are experiencing now. We love You and trust You. Amen.
For Reflection: Isaiah 58:6-12