“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; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me.” (Matthew 25:35-36)
Kolkata (sometimes better known as Calcutta) is a chaotic, huge, and very densely-populated city in NE India. Once a key center during British colonial rule, Calcutta has a rich and important history. William Carrey, the famous linguist and Bible translator, and Mother Teresa also spent significant time here.
But more than the history or personalities that have highlighted Calcutta over the years is the struggle that millions here experience as their reality each and every day. Poverty, pollution, contaminated water, malnutrition, disease, and homelessness all feed into the current of this dark stream.
Among perhaps the most neglected of Calcutta’s downtrodden are those with HIV. Ostracized by family and society, how do these people survive? Where do they go? Who will care for them?
Fortunately for a couple dozen such kids, a man lovingly nicknamed “mama” has stepped forward. Once petrified of HIV, he now deeply loves the infected children under his care. This, along with an emphasis on nutrition, rest, and holistic living is bearing fruit and these kids are really blossoming! They are going to school, learning English, playing the violin and mandolin, and making (and selling) crafts. They are just like any other kids.
Practical Christianity. This is what “mama” is living out.
Something is bothering me, however. It’s not “mama”, or the kids at the orphanage, or the facility. What’s bothering me is the line up of HIV infected kids that are waiting for admission to the orphanage. “Mama” looks at me asking for the OK to bring them in, but due to the number of kids that we already are trying to find sponsors for, I hesitated to give him the green light.
Here’s the thing: most of us that are reading this have been blessed, at least to some degree, financially. Doesn’t mean we are rich, but we’re also not living in a Calcutta slum. We have enough to get by, and then some.
Here’s the rub, however: practical Christianity points to reaching out and helping the orphan, the hungry, the homeless. Are we doing that? Yes. But could we do more?
That’s the challenge I would like to throw out there. We’ve got the photos and stores of a handful of kids on our website (https://kidstown.org/children). These are kids that need a helping hand, that need a friend, that need some prayer. Not a big thing, but a meaningful thing. Perhaps you will consider helping one of these kids, or forwarding this email to a friend or family member who might?
Practical Christianity. May this be something each of us strives to live out – on a regular basis – and in an increasing manner.