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Dalits Welcome in Church

December 13th, 2013

 

Church Service

At churches where GFA missionaries serve as pastors, Dalits are able to freely worship alongside all members of society.

“The Dalits are so appreciative of the Christian community, because we don’t show any kind of partiality or discrimination against them,” explained Gospel for Asia field leader Janu Madhu. “And when they come into our churches, we welcome them with open arms.”

In Uttar Pradesh, India, Dalits (“Untouchables”) have lived as outcastes in society for thousands of years. Now, GFA missionaries are reaching out in Christ’s love and accepting them as equals—something the Dalits have never experienced before.

Janu and other GFA missionaries have a burning desire to see the Dalits come to a true understanding of their worth in Jesus’ eyes. Dalits are enslaved to a rigid caste system, and many of them have no hope for a future.

“Not only are we sharing the Gospel message and giving them Bibles, but we are also helping meet their physical and educational needs,” Janu said.

“Jesus never said anything about a caste system, and we want the Dalits to know that Christianity respects everyone,” Janu shared.

The churches where GFA missionaries serve as pastors welcome people from all caste backgrounds. And they especially want the Dalits to know that there is a Savior who values and loves them.

GFA missionaries in Uttar Pradesh also strive to change the Dalits’ extreme social disadvantage through various practical ministries. These programs demonstrate the Lord’s care for their well-being.

Because most Dalits in the state are illiterate, they have no way of earning even meager wages. High-caste field owners often force them to work long hours of back-breaking labor for just a few cents a day. But through GFA’s Bridge of Hope program, their children can escape this awful fate.

More than 5,500 Dalit children in Uttar Pradesh joyfully bound into BOH classrooms each day. They are receiving an education that will enable them to break through the bondage of poverty when they grow up.

Their parents’ lives are also changing dramatically. Several times a month, they meet at the center for literacy and hygiene classes led by GFA workers.

“We are also helping to meet their physical needs through Jesus Well projects, community outreach and the Women’s Fellowship,” Janu shared.

Along with Bridge of Hope, Women’s Fellowship plays a vital role in ministry to the Dalits. Several women’s fellowships have started literacy classes and citizenship training for Dalit women. Every hour, three Dalit women are raped, and GFA missionaries want that statistic to dramatically change.

“We inform the women about their rights as citizens. Most of them have no idea what rights they have, because they are illiterate and have no way of informing themselves,” Janu said.

All across Uttar Pradesh, Dalits are learning that they are valuable: As they walk into church buildings and are treated as equals. As they become educated. As their needs are met. And as they hear of a God who loves them more than anything.

Janu requests prayer that the Uttar Pradesh government will continue to expand the Dalits’ civil rights. He also asks for prayer that the Dalits will come to fully understand the love of Christ.

 

This article was originally published by Gospel for Asia. To learn more about Gospel for Asia, click here.

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