This article was originally published in the July 2017 edition of ITMI Monthly.
This time, that’s not how the story goes.
Sometimes we are asked to wait on God’s timing longer than we’d like. Israel waited on God to rescue them from slavery in Egypt for 400 years. This time, God did something different.
David and Taru both grew up in orphanages in India. Taru doesn’t know why her family left her where she grew up when she was a baby. David’s father worked at the orphanage where he was raised, but was so poor that the orphans were better off than his own children, so they were raised with the orphans.
Why David and Taru Risked Everything
David and Taru had been living across the dumping ground from a Muslim slum in Bangalore, India for some time.
They’d seen how the women and children were neglected and abused by their money-squandering husbands, yet were forbade to work outside the slum.
Unable to leave the slum to earn income, they were trapped. Some o the men have multiple wives in multiple households and children numbering the double digits.
The children of the slum aren’t provided schooling, so they’re likely to live their whole lives in the slum.
They’d also seen how Christians were fearful and unequipped to share the Gospel with Muslims, and David has a passion to train other Christians to share the Good News with Muslims.
They had been in a employee-like role with another ministry organization for quite a few years. But when the organization wanted to relocate them to Northern India so David could manage something they were doing, David and Taru risked everything and said they couldn’t go.
They knew God had called them to demonstrate and declare the Good News in that Bangalore slum.
And that was why God needed to move quickly.
David and Taru had lost their income and needed support immediately.
ITMI Board Members, Erik Thompson and Jon Dekkers, visited India with ITMI Director, Steve Evers in 2015. Prior to the pastors’ training conferences they taught and visits to Paul and Molly’s ministries, Erik stopped to visit a friend in Bangalore.
That friend introduced Erik to David and Taru, just about the time they were leaving the safety of their organization to follow God’s call.
Erik came home and suggested ITMI help David and Taru. They needed support pretty quickly.
But there was something in the way.
That’s not how ITMI works.
We can’t take general requests for support. It’s not wise.
Instead, we wait for God to reveal potential partners through the ministries of our existing partners.
That gives us a chance to watch them for awhile. To get a feel for their caliber of character. To see that they are already faithfully ministering effectively. We build relationships slowly.
Before we “go public” with the partnership, we often test the waters by gifting a small amount of money for a specific ministry purpose. This may happen several times before we begin telling supporters about a new project.
Before declaring a partnership, Steve will visit them and their ministry in person, with feet on the ground, at least once. And with Steve’s ever-growing list of places to visit, that can take awhile.
In David and Taru’s case, it took almost a year and a half for Steve to get back to India (it just so happened that this all fell on a year when Paul and Molly, our other partners in India, spent a big chunk of time here dealing with visa and health issues.)
But Erik was touched by David and Taru’s ministry. The Spirit had moved him. He knew David and Taru needed support - now. And he felt God was prompting him to do something about it.
So Erik and his family supported David and Taru for that year, giving ITMI time to build the relationship and do our due diligence.
What happened when Steve visited?
Well, needless to say, Steve was impressed.
He walked the slum with David - a place where a non-muslim westerner should not have been able to safely go - and was blown away.
They so trust and respect David and Taru that they accepted him and even responded to his energetic and outgoing Johan-style demeanor, just because he was with David.
So, what exactly do David and Taru do?
David and Taru have a tiny, two-room, tin-roofed ministry “facility” they use to demonstrate the love of Jesus to the slum.
They use it to teach the women to sew, enabling them to earn income without leaving the slum.
They teach as many slum children as they can how to hold a pencil and recognize letters so they can attend school. They are currently trying to help 12 children who they’ve taught find transportation to a school outside the slum that will accept them.
David also travels to the rural areas to train rural pastors how to share Jesus with Muslims.
Muslim women learning to sew.
ITMI's Steve Evers and David Kumar encourage a group of women.
Taru declares and demonstrates the Gospel to the children of the slum through VBS.
David and Taru are uniquely positioned to reach a large group of Muslims in Bangalore, India - that are completely shut off to anyone else - with the love of Jesus.
We’re looking for people who want to be a part of that. Is that you?
About the Authors
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.