How do you forgive those who hurt you? How do you live for the Lord when you live in a slum?
The Ganapavaram Slum is near the small town of Chilkurpet next to a busy highway linking the city of Guntur to other big cities in India. The town is surrounded by cotton and green chile farms and has become the center of newly opened cotton factories.
Hundreds of laborers come from different parts of the Guntur district and work hours on end at the cotton packing depot, spinning mills and textile factories. Chilkurpet has suddenly woke up to the new industries and factory workers flooding their town. With this industrial revolution comes prostitution.
Uncle Vijay and Aunty Pavani hold Bible studies with children in this area using David C Cook’s Life on Life curriculum. The children have been growing steadily in the Lord and have been learning how to deal with pain, honor their bodies, and how to manage anger and how to forgive.
During a lesson on forgiveness, the children were asked to take a piece of paper and write down the names of those who had hurt them. Later the children were asked to tear up that piece of paper and forgive those who had hurt them. The children were also asked to write down names of people so Uncle and Aunty could pray for them.
During this exercise, Uncle Vijay noticed a lot of the older girls (aged 12-15) had written down names of several boys. In this community, it is odd for the girls to have such contact with boys, so Uncle Vijay decided to use the next class to talk about what was happening and see how he and Aunty Pavani could help.
The next week, Uncle Vijay and Aunty Pavani met with the girls and began talking about the hurt they had experienced. One after the other, the girls told similar stories. During vacations, their parents would encourage them to find work.
While working they would get friendly with boys from town or those who came to town to work in the new factories. The girls would meet with the boys secretly, have phone conversations and get emotionally attached. It would always lead to a heartbreak which was especially difficult as the girls could not share what happened or how they were feeling with anyone.
Because of the love and care of Uncle Vijay and Aunty Pavani, Anusha, Swarna, Teja, Bhavani, Keerthi, Deborah, Annamani, Srilakshmi, Koteswari and Suvarna have found a safe place where they can talk. Because of the lessons on forgiveness in the Life on Life curriculum, these girls have not only learned how to forgive those who hurt them, they also learned how to live lives of purity dedicated to the Lord, even in a slum.
If you want more information about David C Cook’s Life on Life Project, visit www.lifeonlifeproject.com.