Jesus’ Precious Children Who Live Among the Rubbish – Andhra Pradesh, India
Feb 10, 2016 1395
Some of Jesus’ most poignant words were spoken when his disciples tried to clear away the children brought to him to be blessed: “Let the children come to me and don’t forbid them, for the Kingdom of Heaven is made up of people like them.” he didn’t add, “but don’t bother about the children who live on the rubbish dump.”
The young people and children of the rubbish dump are the most destitute of all. Not only are they untouchables, but they have been orphaned and have no home. They live, says Pastor Joseph “outside of society; they do not travel with the common people.” But Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is made up of such people, and the gospel is for them too.
Children come and go from the rubbish dump. It is a hand-to-mouth life as they sort through society’s waste, gathering together the few things they can sell for a little money to buy food. If they find nothing, they don’t eat that day. Life for them is a day-to-day struggle to survive. Illness means suffering and possibly death. Occasionally they may be taken to a hospital, but mostly they are afraid of the society that shuts them out, so they shrink from any help that might be offered them.
There were 25 children living at the rubbish dump recently when Pastor Joseph made a visit. He received a hostile reception. These children and their families have learned to be suspicious of any stranger, for usually only trouble comes from any contact with the world beyond their rubbish dump. “Go away and let us be,” they told Pastor Joseph. Undeterred, Pr Joseph offered them food, since they hadn’t eaten for several days.
After he had fed them, Pastor Joseph then spoke to them of the Gospel story in Matthew 25:31-46. It is, of course, Jesus’ description of how a true follower of the Gospel will live – with love and concern for everyone less fortunate. It was a new concept for them, to know that someone loved them, but the children understood, and having accepted the food, listened to the more stories from the teachings of Christ.
The following day, many of these families brought out their idols in plastic bags to give to Pr Joseph – the pictures and statues of the gods that they had previously worshipped – because now they had decided to worship and serve Jesus Christ along. The idols ended up in the same rubbish dump where these people have sifted through the rubbish for so long.
Now these children come to the Good News Children’s Centre, where they are being taught how to pray, and even how to read, so that they may be able soon to read the Bible for themselves. They are learning that they are not alone after all, that they are loved and cared for, that there is hope and happiness in the world.
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in…”
– Eliezer Gonzalez