This article was originally published in the May 2017 edition of ITMI Monthly.
This morning I arrived in Bangalore, India after a 29-hour journey. I spent the day with David and Taru Raj Kumar Bavigadda. This faithful couple is originally from Andra Pradesh in southern India, but have served all over the Hindu and Muslim country for the past 20 years.
Their ministry has mostly been to Muslims. They moved to Bangalore to work in a slum that is mostly Muslim.
Just today they put on a VBS for young people from this slum area. The community fully accepts the kind and loving couple and their ministry. Mothers of the children are quite grateful that their child will have some positive influence and another necessity…food.
Many slum families are led by fathers that drink most all the family’s food money away. Combine that with the propensity to have children totaling in the double-digits in the home who need to be fed, and you see why David and Taru need to “…put some food in their stomachs before we can teach them.”
Taru’s passion and love for these slum children is unmistakably evident after just a few minutes of chatting with her.
David is a bit more quiet and introspective, but Taru is full of energy, probably from the second her feet hit the floor in the morning. She focuses this God-given passion and energy on needy children from Muslim homes that are deeply at risk.
Taru’s ministry training has pretty much been on-the-job and in-the-trenches, with the exception of the dreams that God uses to give her great ideas and insight.
The story of how she came from a Muslim home and God used a dream to bring her to Him will be told in a later newsletter.
Today’s craft for these needy and lost children was just brilliant. She had them take a small red clay pot and paint it as pretty as they could with sparkly, glittery paint.
Beautifully painted pots.
Taru called one girl up front and asked her if she loved the pot. The girl gushed. “Do you think it is beautiful?” The girl glowed.
Then Taru did something unexpected. She handed the girl a hammer, and asked her to smash it and turn what once was beautiful to “trash.”
The girl stepped back, clutching the pot protectively. She really didn’t want to. With great hesitation, the children finally obey the lady that has proven herself to them so, so many times before.
Smashing their beautiful creations.
“Did that make you sad?” she asks them. Their sorrow is evident as they tell her it made them really, deeply sad.
Taru told them that Jesus came to rebuild the damage and destruction they have been inflicted with in their once beautiful, yet short lives. So she helped them glue the sparkly pieces of their pots in the form of the first letter of their names on a piece of cardboard covered by red cloth, showing that Jesus’ blood makes all things new and beautiful.
Beautiful finished creations.
These three girls came to Taru after VBS and said, "Thank you for giving us Jesus!"
God uses faithful people like David and Taru to reach a people group in the slums of Bangalore, India that most of us couldn’t even safely visit.
In His Service,
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics, (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 4 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.