The kids were lining up in the narrow dusty "streets" of Modi Road slum in Bangalore, India in anticipation. The sweltering heat didn't deter them, though there wasn't much shade.
What were they waiting for?
VBS at Deepam Center. Deepam Center is the small facility where ITMI's David and Taru Kumar operate their outreaches for the women and children living within the boundaries of the slum.
These boys from Modi Road slum - a place called by many “Little Pakistan” - in Bangalore, India were glad they got to participate David and Taru Kumar’s VBS.
A mother and her son peel garlic inside their shanty. For 8 hours of work, they will make less than $1 total. Some of the women are forbidden to leave their lean-tos...except to come to Deepam Center.
This is a glimpse into the lives of the people David and Taru minister to in Bangalore, and shows how valued the opportunities are that are offered by David and Taru.
Children from the slum line up outside Deepam Center, eager to participate in the VBS program David and Taru are doing.
But not everyone who wanted to could come in.
...because the tiny rooms inside Deepam Center were at capacity. Think 75 kids in a room 10 x 10!
Not everyone who wanted to could come in and hear the Good News. So they stood outside the gate and listened.
"Children and parents are waiting to come in. We felt so sad we were not able to take them," shared David and Taru.
Members of the Modi Road community crowd in for the opportunity to learn about the Jesus of the Bible who laid down His life for them.
The participants really enjoy Taru’s Holy Spirit-inspired activities and crafts. Activities designed just for kids aren’t commonly available, especially to children growing up in a slum.
A man from the community came to Deepam Center during the program to see what was going on.
"What are you doing?" he queried.
Would he cause trouble for this Christian ministry in a country that is increasingly hostile to believers in Jesus?
Taru told him they were teaching the children about Jesus with crafts and activities. He looked around and commented, "No one comes here and helps our children. No one." But you are here. Look at them smiling and enjoying!"
He noted the smiles on their faces and their recall of the Bible stories being taught.
During craft time, the boys constructing lifeboats from sticks to help them internalize the counter cultural concept that we need the rescuing work of Jesus on the cross.
For those not immersed in a country and culture with Judeo-Christian history, understanding of basic salvation concepts has to be built and reinforced.
The Spirit has given Taru many beautiful and creative ideas to reach women and children with these concepts, which she uses during the programs.
In the video below, Taru teaches the children about Jesus through a song, complete with motions!
David, Taru and those who support them have been given a powerful ministry with the Kumars' unique access to this community.
This is a place where not just anyone could come into and begin teaching about Jesus. But this faithful couple has been welcomed in and granted favor.
And if the groups standing outside the gate means anything, they are even being begged to offer more.
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.