“Today was really an eye opener,” Steve wrote from India. “I have never - even in all my travels in Africa, seen anything like what I saw today. I thought to myself, ‘...what has Paul gotten me into?’ "
Steve was visiting the remote area where Paul and Molly’s girls’ home is in southern India. They were in a settlement of about 60 families, located on the outskirts of a larger village.
This larger village, whose dwellers enjoy a slightly higher caste position, is a “hub” for the other settlements around it.
The outer settlement Steve and Paul were visiting had a clear rural “flavor” and lack of development. As “untouchables” they cannot get jobs. They live off the land.
One dwelling in the outer village.
The Holy Spirit has been nudging Paul to reach out to these "untouchables" for a long time now. Untouchables are the lowest caste in India. In India’s caste system, your caste is inherited from your parents at birth.
In India’s caste system, your caste is inherited from your parents at birth.
“Untouchable” is literal. They are considered too dirty to touch dishes and glasses that will be used by those in higher castes. Culturally, it is believed they are there because they "deserve" to be there.
Many were so traumatized, abused and devalued that yelling conversations have replaced ordinary tones. There were people who went immediately to aggressive, in-your-face style communication when they began talking. Some seemed unable to have what we would consider a “normal” conversation.
Citizens of status simply don’t visit these extremely marginalized families. When Steve and Paul showed up, they wanted to “honor” Steve.
Speaking in their language, Paul told them, “If you want to honor this man, don’t give him special treatment. The God he believes in - and I believe in - tells us we are ALL incredibly valuable to him.”
Two women were yelling, slapping and hitting each other. Paul was telling them that he and I, his white friend, were just the same as them. That God created us all and intended every human to be equal in HIS sight.
They were somewhat taken aback by someone of our “status” saying out loud that they were esteemed - just as much as the “god-level” guests were.
I took photos and shook hands and patted on the back and fist bumped. Many seemed to enjoy it.
We were asked to petition the Lord on behalf of a sick, naked boy with mud or paste smeared over most of his body.
Then we were taken to a short grass-roofed shelter that had no floor or sides to visit and pray for a young man that was on his deathbed...if laying out in the dirt on a dirty foam pad can be considered a death “bed.”
He had an infection across his back that has gone bad...so bad that the doctors said they cannot help him. He was sprawled in the dirt, waiting in the steamy humidity to die with a few women and naked children around him.
In a weak, almost soundless voice, he choked out that he had been calling on his gods to save him. Paul firmly told him only the True God could help him.
With clasped hands, the boy repeated Paul's salvation prayer, as about 15 others peaked in from outside through the grass blades.
We don't know if this was just a gesture of fear, or if his heart really was crying out to the One who made himself “untouchable”, so that even the most outcast among us could have a place at His table, but we will know someday.
Paul tells a young man with an infection only the True God can help him.
Reaching the “Untouchables”
“Untouchables” live their entire lives under the suffocating weight of the caste-system’s psychological oppression.
Paul and Molly want to offer these rural bearers of God’s image much more than last-minute opportunities to avoid eternal separation from all that is good and of the Lord.
They hope to see these villagers be taught to have new minds, regenerated by Biblical truths and illuminated by the Holy Spirit inside them as followers of Jesus.
They dream of entire lifetimes that reflect healthy minds, emotions and decisions informed by the truth about who God is, what He has done and who that makes them in Christ.
They envision loving, flourishing family lives putting an end to generations of familial abuse and trauma and bringing honor to the God whose image they bear.
They want to build a culture driven by citizens who place Biblical value on lives, which leads to clinics, schools, jobs and other good reflections of Jesus’ Kingdom.
In a society whose norms are oppressive, educating youth is a powerful place to start.
A Proven Track Record
As a young couple in their early twenties, Paul and Molly made a pivotal, life-changing decision. Without hesitation they accepted responsibility for 19 young girls whose current caretaker couldn’t manage to provide for them any longer.
It was a huge step of faith. Paul and Molly had no earthly reason to believe they could financially provide for 19 girls, several of whom needed expensive operations at the time.
These 19 young ladies were part of Paul and Molly’s family from the word, “yes.” They were, and are, each parented uniquely. Their needs are met thoughtfully and individually.
Their individual gifts, strengths and weaknesses are recognized and encouraged.
The fruits of Paul and Molly’s faithfulness to demonstrate the Lord’s love and affection for each of their girls are becoming evident as the girls blossom into young ladies.
In a culture where women are generally cast aside and overlooked, they are confident and beautiful young women who know they are valued and love the Lord. They are a glowing example of what the Lord’s love can do with a life.
For those who have visited the girls and know them in-person, the effectiveness of Paul and Molly’s Biblical, yet culturally revolutionary parenting practices cannot be doubted.
ITMI's Steve Evers and Board Member, Jon Dekkers, visit with Paul and Molly's girls several years ago.
Paul and Molly’s God-Sized Dream
Paul and Molly have a God-sized dream of infusing the village with a new way of thinking and living with a Christian school.
As ITMI’s Eugene Kalunga, who has operated a Christian school in Zambia for years has testified, educating children from a Biblical perspective is an effective way to reach entire families.
In their homes, students become little missionaries, sharing the truths they learn.
As they left, Steve said to Paul,
“Paul, if you’ve got a heart for these villages and you can identify and equip godly men that want to minister in these villages, that would be something ITMI would be eager to support.”
Paul is already discipling quite a few men within the church he planted and pastors.
Let’s pray together that the Lord would raise up several of them that would be willing to go where few have been interested in going to share the Good News with these villagers.