A Strong City

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An air raid siren borrowed from WW II wailed a warning to move away from the edge of the platform. Moments later, a monsterous train blew into the station pushing a cloud of dust and brake stink that swallowed a thousand waiting passengers. The trick is to stay focused, guess how far down the platform your car will stop, be there before anybody else, throw something through an open window to save your seat and then force your way through passengers disembarking through the same skinny door. There are 45 of us. Vikas saw a window go by that was missing it’s security bars, the train was slowing but still moving faster than we could run. Vikas is a tall guy and this is his home state: he led the charge. We bounced off people running toward us or standing in our way until we caught up to the special window. Two other students grabbed Vikas and lobbed him in through the window where he scurried to save 45 emptying seats. (I filed the last two minutes of imagery into my inner dictionary under two headings: ‘chaos’ and ‘India’.) We were heading to Ajmer in the state of Rajistan to preach in one of the most exalted Hindu and Islam strongholds – a place of pilgrimage for both religions.

By mid afternoon, we are in four teams, ministering in different slums; hundred year old slums, full of crying babies, naked kids, and drug addicts who grow up to produce more crying babies, naked kids and abandoned women. Overwhelming!

Most of our Bible students come from one Indian slum or another. Yet, they ask the same questions as my western mind, “How can we save so many helpless children? How can we feed so many starving widows?”

Great ministries have worked faithfully on these problems and hundreds of thousands have been helped. But is there an end? Jesus said not.

With breaking hearts, we take the gospel to the poor. We’re like Vikas who will lead the charge, jump through the window, save seats for the rest of the team. Another young student concluded his day with, “I will invest my life in saving as many of these children as I can.”

But it’s not our money that saves them, it’s our investment. Jesus’ supporters traveled with him as part of the team, they were there. “We’ll take you there” is our media mantra and you’ll be able to watch this day on Continuum TV. Maybe that’s as close as you can get, but this story can help connect you to your great commission destiny.

We’ve emptied our pockets, and we’ve got a lot to think about as we fall asleep on the floor of an old mission base. The dank, mosquitoe infested building was dedicated by a Scottish missionary who ministered in these slums 50 years ago, probably to the great grandparents of the kids who now run naked and hungry here.

As ministry communicators we are taught how to make you feel good for helping, and promise that we can completely eradicate the problem with your help. But I would rather show you the real thing and let you wrestle with the same questions as our national leaders, girls and boys who grew up in these slums and were delivered by some stroke of destiny are now being trained and are going back in on purpose.

Proverbs 10:15 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city; The destruction of the poor is their poverty.

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