As India celebrated its national heritage recently, some of the country’s neediest people were given help and hope by teams supported by Gospel for Asia (GFA).
Hundreds of GFA-supported workers in different locations went out into their local communities after marking Republic Day – when festivities occur across the country – to share the love of Jesus through acts of kindness and compassion.
They gathered and disposed of garbage in slum areas, cleaned railway stations and other public areas, and distributed sleeping mats to those forced to spend their nights laying on the bare ground.
Many recipients were touched by how workers took time to reach out on one of India’s three big national holidays, honoring the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect in 1950. Some of the groups took part in local flag-raising ceremonies, which occurred throughout India, along with countless celebrations.
“As we celebrated the rich cultural heritage of this country, we wanted to take the opportunity to demonstrate practically how very much God loves the people of India, and especially the poor and needy,” said K.P. Yohannan, founder and director of GFA. “It was a tremendous privilege to reach out to so many people and receive such a warm welcome.”
In Tamil Nadu, GFA -supported workers cleaned the area surrounding a busy railway station, prompting one person who witnessed their efforts to join in too. “Whenever you people work like this, please call me,” she told them. “I would like to join with you all.”
There was a similar response when GFA-supported women’s workers visited some villages in Central India, where residents had allowed garbage to pile up near their homes, creating a stench and presenting a health hazard. The visitors gathered up all the rubbish and disposed of it.
“I feel guilty seeing you cleaning the surroundings of my house,” said one woman who picked up a broom to help.
A local shopkeeper agreed, thanking the visitors and telling the women, “If all our community people worked in this manner, there would be no garbage in front of our homes.”
Bus depot employees in Western India were so appreciative of the work done by a GFA-supported team that visited their location that they served refreshments afterward as a thank-you and later dropped the group back at its destination in one of the depot’s vehicles.
Some of the helping-hand groups shared a community lunch with locals after completing their tidy-up efforts. Meanwhile, in Southwest India, GFA-supported workers gave out sleeping mats. “We were very happy to receive them,” said one of the beneficiaries. “It’s a basic need. It used to be difficult to sleep on the floor at night, but now we can do so comfortably.”
The Republic Day activities were just one way GFA-supported workers are able to touch people’s lives, said Yohannan. “We wanted them to know that they have not been forgotten-that they have value and are loved and cared for by God,” he said.