Words of Hope: Mumbai

Mumbai is a city of 28 million people. There were slums and poverty everywhere we went. People live in tin slabs with tar paper roofs and tarps on the hardened mud floors. Chickens cower in metal crates prepared for sale. Their bodies are chopped into bits of meat and scrapped into small plastic black garbage bags. In Mumbai, we met with workers helping women and children escape tremendous suffering, poverty, and violence. As we walked around the slums, we saw diseased dogs, open sewage, rubbish, garbage, and filth beyond description. Yet, we saw radiant people who loved and served Christ amid the squalor.

We sat on a scrubbed mat in the middle of the squalor, the bed neatly made with washed and recycled bedding. A mother and her daughter lived in the shanty without a door that locks well, no air-conditioning, running water, or electricity. The mom worked day and night to give her daughter money for schooling. The daughter just finished a master’s degree in social work traveling two hours to school on buses where people pack so close in they cannot sit down for the entire ride. She worked full time while getting her master’s. She wanted to get her master’s in social work to help those in her slum community come out of the sewers and into better living conditions. Her mom beamed at her with pride. We sat crossed-legged on her mud floor as she happily served us packaged cookies and water. This is the true communion, I thought. For me, to host a feast would cost less than what these cookies and water cost her to serve us. On her face was a radiance and joy that I rarely see in the USA. We came to serve the poor and instead found our own poverty.

 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.” – Matthew 6