Lent Remixed - Week 2: India

March 10, 2014

India is a land of rich history and deep traditions. Many empires have risen and fallen over the centuries, leaving behind historical treasures still sought after today. In fact, Mark Twain once said:

"India is the cradle of human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most astrictive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only!"

But even with all of its beautiful history, India has become a country ravaged by poverty that has created a host of problems including child labor, abuse, orphan care, sex trafficking and malnutrition. In fact, the World Bank stated that India has one-third of the world's poorest people: 32 percent of the population falls below the international poverty line of $1.25 a day and 68 percent of people live on less than $2.00 a day. 

Due to AIDS, malaria, drought, famine, and poverty in general, more than 9 percent -- or 31 million -- children in India today are orphans. Many live on the streets or in slums and are vulnerable to slavery through child labor or sex trafficking. 

The problems in India seem overwhelming -- possibly even insurmountable -- but there are those who are trying to make a dent, however small, to help these children. Organizations including UNICEF, which works to protect children from abuse and disesases like malaria. The Miracle Foundation that works to support orphans and orphanages in India while also offering child sponsorship. And MercyCorps that works to support the poorest communities in India by providing  education, work and medical care. These are just a few of the many non-profit organizations reaching out to make a difference in India today. 

We've decided that we want to help. But how?

Pray. The first thing we always pledge to do each week of Lent is to pray. We believe it is the first, and most powerful, step in seeing change happen. This week we will pray for the children of India. We will pray for their safety, their health, and their well being. We will pray for food to eat and safe places to live. We will remember the children caught in human trafficking, whether through forced child labor or sex trafficking, and we will pray for freedom for those victimized and justice for their traffickers. 

Fast. This week we will live, monetarily, at the poverty level. We will only spend what the average family living at the poverty level in America would spend each week on groceries, gas, and other essentials, understanding that this does not affect the fact that we will still have warm houses to sleep in, cars to drive and schools for our children to attend, as many of the poor around the world do not have these luxuries. For my family of six, we'll be living on $70 this week.

Give. The second part to prayer, we believe, is action. This week we will take the extra money we would have normally spent on our living expenses and give it to an organization that will support orphans in India. But there are also other ways to help out the orphans of India. Adoption in India is currently open to foreigners and many American families have opened their homes to these children. Another less expensive way to support India's children is through child sponsorship. Organizations like World Vision, Compassion International and Wide Horizons For Children are just a few of the organizations offering child sponsorship programs for children in India. In fact, child sponsorship has become so effective, recent studies have shown that sponsored children have a greater chance at furthering their education, employment, and becoming leaders in their communities. 

So much hurt and pain, and yet so much hope. Will you join us this week in praying, fasting and giving for the children of India?

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