In 1995, a friend told me about K.P. Yohannan and his ministry, Gospel For Asia. She gave me a book which I quickly forgot about until New Years Day, 1996. On that particular holiday, I had nowhere to go and no TV to watch football bowl games. So, I hunkered down and read the book.
In one part, Yohannan wrote how overwhelmed he felt by the size of India and his meager resources. He cried out to the Lord and eventually the Lord spoke the following to his heart:
“I am not in any trouble that I need someone to beg for Me. I made no promises I will not keep to you. It is not the largeness of the work that matters, but only doing what I command. All I ask of you is that you be a servant. For all who join with you in the work, it will be a privilege – a light burden for them.”
Although I don’t remember the book’s name, I wrote the above response in my Bible. Then, I did nothing.
Fast forward until last year when I received a free copy of No Longer A Slumdog. The title caught my attention and I began reading it. Over the following two hours, I wept and asked forgiveness again and again as the book revealed my selfishness and hardness of heart.
There were stories about Muttu, Asha, Lata, Vichy, Tusli, and other names of poor children I can’t begin to pronounce. I read about a mother who sold her baby for ten pounds of rice. I learned about India’s caste system and how the lowest rung, the Dalits, comprise 20% of India’s population, or 250 million people, and are considered subhuman, worthy of being treated like a dog.
Every word in the book acted like a rock thrown against my plastic Western Christianity, creating cracks in it. Yet, it was this specific sentence on Page 31 which penetrated my heart:
“In India alone, there are 11 million children like Asha who have been abandoned, and 90% of them are girls.”
Afterward, all I could think about were the 9.9 million abandoned little girls. If I closed my eyes, I saw children, but their faces resembled my daughter when she was four years old.
This time, I could not ignore my heart.
My wife and I are now sponsors of children in Gospel For Asias’ Bridge of Hope program. Also, I am a volunteer advocate for Bridge of Hope and a Gospel For Asia Blogger.
In the Foreword to No Longer A Slumdog, Francis Chan wrote:
“I am very thankful for the book you are about to read. It has stirred my heart once again. Living in the West with all its affluence, it is easy to forget about others…”
I recommend this book to everyone and who knows? It may change your life, too.
No Longer A Slumdog can be reviewed and purchased on Amazon for $14.95. Or it can be purchased for a suggested $5 donation from Gospel For Asia.
166 pages. Authored by K. P. Yohannan, 2011. Published by gfa books.