If you wandered along the narrow corridors that serve as "streets" for foot-traffic only in a rough slum in a city on the other side of the world, you might see some shocking sights.
Adjacent to a city in India lies the massive grouping of makeshift shelters haphazardly sardined together.
If you were to traverse into the heart of this area, you'd see men lying in drunken stupor, right there in plain view! Next to them, it wouldn't be unusual to see a child squatting to use the bathroom.
There is no place for these precious little ones. No proper rooms or kitchens. All is in the open air as families live on top of each other in an over-populated jumble.
Shoved aside by their city, the people who live here are treated though they have less value to their caste-system society than the ragged clothes they wear. A child growing up here has even less value to his or her people, although that hardly seems possible.
But Paul and Molly's church declared, "You are valuable. You matter!" when they offered a VBS for the children of the slum.
For these slum children, VBS is not another activity squeezed between sports practice, music lessons and tutoring. No, for these children, VBS may very well be the only organized child-centered activity they ever experience.
And they eat it up, from the first day to the final performance.
"As soon as it came time for these very poor children to perform, the thrill that lit up their face was a complete joy to witness!
Impossible to keep the tears from streaming as you watched these precious little ones dance in a crowded, filthy space with all their hearts!
To see such joy from a sincere heart in the midst of so much poverty and heartache is one of the most precious things about India."
That was just in one area. Paul and Molly's church, Harvest Bible Chapel, gave VBS to over a dozen areas of their city! Just over 1,000 children were reached with the glorious message of the Gospel!
Many of their families heard about our great Savior on closing day, too.
But that's not all!
Paul and Molly's family of Indian believers collectively have a number of outreaches in India. One "arm" of their outreach is the sports ministry.
"By the grace of God," they share, "we were able to run summer sports camp in 22 locations around our city. Teens all over would come to learn soccer taught by our coaches in the morning and hear of the love of God many for the first time."
One of those locations was a special-needs home with marginalized, unwanted children. Often, at one of these sports camps, it will be a teen's first time they have been called "valued" or "loved."
Often at one of these sports camps, it will be a first time they have been called "valued" or "loved."
"We have seen these hardened youths break down in tears with this 'foreign language.' They are so hungry for love and acceptance, and we praise God that they get a strong sense of brotherhood--right away--in our camps," say Paul and Molly.
"Not a day goes by," they continue, "wherein we don't thank God for your love and prayers for us! Lord bless you and we love you!"
Paul, Molly and their 23 children.