Mitch Wiley brings us this firsthand update from a South Indian slum — the home of “Baby Grace” and the focus of Crossings Ministries’ Beyond Effect in 2010. Mitch will serve his second summer on Crossings Summer Staff upon returning to the States in May.
It’s still surreal for me when I am sitting with Grace, reading from a Storybook Bible. I was a student at Crossings the Summer of 2010. The theme was “ADOPTED.” God completely changed my life that week. I remember the crazy story and the pictures of “Baby Grace,” an orphan with a crippling birth defect, left on the doorstep of a believing family. With feet completely turned in, she was totally written off by society. But with hearts full of love and compassion, the family took her in and eventually adopted her. Their love was demonstrated in a sacrificial, life-changing way, much like God has done with us.
Grace Samuel is now 3 years old, speaks English (and some Tamil), and is one of the most headstrong and passionate toddlers you’ll ever meet. Her feet are nearly normal and don’t stop her from running around all over the house. Her aspirations include being a hairdresser — my hair is her hair of choice — and a Cricket star — though she can barely hold the bat! What really strikes me, though, is her leadership potential: She isn’t at all shy, but speaks her mind. She’s extremely social and can interact with anybody. She has been given opportunities that she would have never had if she not been taken in by a loving family and supported by Crossings. Who knows what her impact for the Kingdom may be one day? I can only imagine.
The family-run slum ministry/feeding program continues to tutor dozens of children from ages 4 to 15 every night. Moreover, God has been doing something amazing with the 17-21 year old guys. Several guys in this demographic — largely dismissed by the church because they are too rebellious and flaky — have come to know the Lord. Fifteen young men recently prayed to follow Jesus within the last week and promise to bring more people to the church in the near future. This obviously brings up needs of discipleship and follow-up that may be difficult with the currently available manpower. Please pray for this young generation of men in this Indian slum. They are not highly educated and work modest jobs. (Remind you of anybody Jesus was with?) However, they have the potential to reach thousands of people living in the slum. Please pray for their passion in Christ to increase, for discipleship, and for the hard hearts of so many Indians to be softened by the Gospel being proclaimed by the family’s ministry.