Slum Projects and Ministry to Muslims

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Joy and Tabitha have been apart of the Saturation Church Planting India team since its inception.  This Godly couple has faithfully modeled the values of SCP in the way they have creatively and intentionally addressed the needs in their community and used that as a platform for their witness.  They took me to the neighborhood where they pastor a church.  Many in their congregation are from the impoverish community around them.  Homes are dilapidated.  Families are broken.  Alcoholism is rampant.  Abuse occurs frequently.

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We were guests in the home of one of their church members Antoinette who has been a believer for 20 years now.  In addition to raising three children of her own, she opens the doors of her tiny home every evening for 30+ young children to come for tutoring.  The home is a modest 12×8 foot room that she tutors in, a tiny kitchen, and a rusty ladder that leads up to a loft where the family bunks together.  Because many of the parents in the neighborhood are illiterate, Antoinette has the sole responsibility of helping them complete homework tasks.

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Antoinette (left) and Tabitha

  Joy and Tabitha stopped in her tiny home to encourage her and pray for her and for her alcoholic husband who often beats her and recently caused her a traumatic brain bleed.  And still, she smiles and serves and exudes the joy of the Lord.

Antoinette graciously offered us cold juice as we sat cross legged on the floor in her home, door open inviting a breeze to keep the stifling heat at bay.  Neighbor children peeked around the door frame giggling at the white woman in the neighborhood.  Antoinette kindly introduced her neighbors.  Privacy is a commodity that no one can afford with paper thin walls and no locks and bolts.  Her life is an open book and her home has an open door.  And the presence of Christ is evident to all who are graced with her smile that shows contentment in the Lord even in the midst of such a troubled life!  God is taking the broken pieces of her life and using her as a vessel to minister to those around her.

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Joy and Tabitha also took me to a facility they have acquired to offer sewing/tailoring classes for young girls in the surrounding predominantly Muslim community.  30+ school drop-outs between the ages of 13 and 20 come to learn a trade that will be marketable and potentially provide them an alternative to working in beer bars or prostituting themselves.  In a society that devalues women, it is imperative they have means for helping support the family.  A woman from Joy and Tabitha’s church trains the girls and equips them with the skill and knowledge to begin a business of tailoring on their own.  A current need is for sewing machines to provide girls with whats needed to branch out on their own and begin a business.  Machines are $100.

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In addition to setting them up to be contributing members for their families, these girls are also being mentored and witnessed to.  Their day opens with prayer before sewing classes start and some of these girls have begun coming to the church and taking the truth back to their own homes.  Meeting this need for young girls has opened the door to be a witness to the Muslim community.

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Tabitha and Joy have a vision to do much more among the people they have been called to share Christ with.  Tabitha is a doctor with a vision to open a dental clinic which would operate on a sliding scale.  Orthodontic care is not readily available and is generally too pricy for those less affluent.  Under her vision, she would be able to charge fair prices to the wealthy and then offer dental care to those who cant afford it at a steeply discounted rate.

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Additionally, they are in the beginning stages of opening a micro business.  Scripture embroidered on pillow cases, pouches and T-shirts will be a way to send the Word into homes and to generate employment opportunities for even more in the impoverished community.  Meeting these basic needs opens the door to relate to needy people and to develop relationships that set the stage for them to encounter Christ.

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