Experiencing the Christmas story in the slums of Mumbai
According to the Hindustan Times (2010), 60 per cent of Mumbai, India lives in slum shanties, “even brick and cement houses are built in an unplanned manner with limited access to civic amenities”.
Slum children in Mumbai, are facing many challenges such as illiteracy and unemployment. Many adult slum dwellers are addicted to alcoholic habits and immoral acts. Some are suffering health issues such as AIDS and other long term illnesses. Thus, their children do not have good education, good clothing, good housing, safe water and good health.
There are few good people in these conditions but they are in finding it difficult to protect their children from bad influences. In such a situation, AEF India comes alongside these families to introduce programs and activities that foster the long term benefits of education, employment, social discipline and spiritual upliftment. Central to all our activities is prayer.
Vacation Bible Schools
We conduct regular Vacation Bible Schools (VBS) and Children’s Bible clubs.
We thank God for nearly 1,500 children who participated in the VBS and were blessed. Our hearts are filled with joy for the children who have committed their lives to Christ through the VBS. Because of this program, new children began to come for the Sunday school and their parents also come for the prayers meetings.
Testimony from Shilpa, Mumbai “I am a teen age girl born in a traditional family and live in small huts at Shivneri which is a slum. I have my father, mother and siblings. We stay in a slum which has no toilets, safe water, electricity and hygiene facilities. I never heard the name of the Lord Jesus Christ earlier. Recently, I came to know about the Lord Jesus through my Sunday school teacher. I was going to the Sunday school cum-Day-Care centre. The lessons I learned has touched me and changed my life. I shared my experience with my parents. My testimony has impacted my parents greatly. Major impacts took place in our lives; my father stopped his alcoholic habit; he got a good job; we received healings; they believe the Lord Jesus Christ; my parents started to come for the regular prayer meetings; we do not have fights at home but have God’s peace and blessings. I praise the Lord Jesus who has heard the prayer and blessed us with His heavenly blessings.”
Christmas in the slums
In 2016, we arranged Christmas parties to reach the children during the Christmas season. The Christmas programs were held in all the various fields in several Mumbai slums and the villages of Tamil Nadu and Odisha. We welcomed all the children at the door steps, by sticking star stickers on their cheeks as a gate pass to enter inside. We asked the children to come in party wear. We started the program by singing a happy birthday song to Jesus, following we sung two new songs “Hello Friends” and “Mere liye ek dost hai” (there is a friend for me). The Bible verse from Luke 2:10 was explained with a skit on “The Hope of Three Trees.” Later we distributed prizes to the children who participated in the programs and performed well in all the activities.