I have just returned from India and am compelled to share a tragic story with a happy ending with you. After the tragic events inflicted against Christians by Hindu fundamentalists in 2008 / 2009, a group of 61 teen-aged women fled into the forest, seeking shelter and safety from the attacks committed against Christians. Most of them were the daughters of pastors and church leaders. They ran away from everything that was familiar to them – parents, homes, schools, friends.
News of their flight came to the Chairman of the Council of Christian Hospitals, which oversees many of CBM’s development programs in Andra Pradesh. He and one of our CBM staff mobilized financial and human resources in order to rescue the girls and have them delivered to safety. Settled into their new surroundings, another group of men claiming to be Christians proposed to offer the girls a new life. But tragically, the men who offered to assist the girls were themselves evil and corrupt. Some were forced into child labour. Others were sold into the sex trade. But once again, the Chairman of CCH acted courageously and saved them a second time. Currently, the girls, aged 13 – 18 yrs old, are living in a protected environment, having received medical and emotional care. Presently, they are also getting vocational training, some as nurse’s aids, others as lab technicians, with the hope that they will soon be reunited with their families in Orissa.
Their story is a stark reminder of the unconscionable violence against women in India, the tragic persecution of the Church, the brokenness of our World, all combined with God’s amazing mercy as demonstrated through the love and care of concerned Christians. We are the broken and the healed, those who God chooses to use in order to bring salvation.
I am honoured to work for an organization (Canadian Baptist Ministries) which is committed to helping these women as they journey back to wellness.