Lord, how long will You look on? Rescue me from their destructions, My precious life from the lions – Psalm 35:17.
There’s nothing worse than when a child goes missing. All sorts of horrible thoughts go through our minds and we fear the worst. When I read about Nadish, my heart went out to his mother. His attitude to his schoolwork reminded me of my son’s. My son is seven and he doesn’t take his education seriously. He prefers to play and draw although he is very smart. His father is hard on him because he knows that he has potential and can excel in school if he just gets serious. Nadish’s mother wanted what was best for him and that is why she scolded him. He was given a opportunity that other children didn’t have–an education in the Bridge of Hope Centre in India. There are children, like my son who are in good Christian schools being taught by dedicated teachers and they take it for granted.
Like most children, Nadish didn’t liked being scolded. He ran away from home and found himself in a large city railway station in India. I can’t imagine how scary it must have been for this nine year old boy. He must have looked like a waif, surrounded by strange faces in strange surroundings so far removed from the home he shared with his mother. Perhaps, the enormity of what he had done came rushing over him. Perhaps he wished he hadn’t run away. Perhaps he missed his mother and would have preferred being scolded by her than being in that strange and scary place. Perhaps these emotions are what made him go with the elderly man who befriended him. Perhaps the man made him feel safe. Nadish went with him to his home village.
And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light – 2 Corinthians 11:14
Nadish found himself plunged into a world he never imagined he would be. Forced into slavery, he spent the next two years living as a prisoner and cleaning up animal waste. I wonder what went through his mind when he was locked in a room near the animals he cleaned up after and got very little food to eat. Was he wishing that he was home like the prodigal son who wished he was home when he was living in squalor after wasting his money? Was Nadish wishing that he was with his mother, doing his schoolwork and eating a good meal? He had left a haven for a hovel.
Meanwhile, Nadish’s mother was beside herself with grief and worry. She had lost her husband to cancer and now one of her sons was lost too. The staff at the Bridge of Hope Centre prayed fervently for Nadish.
For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers;
But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil – 1 Peter 3:12
God answered their prayers. Two years after his capture, Nadish and a new boy escaped because their landlord forgot to lock the door to the room where they were held captive. Nadish had turned twelve years old thirteen days before. He and the boy ran to the nearest police station and gave evidence against their captor. Hopefully they were able to arrest him so that he couldn’t enslave another child.
Nadish is now back home with his mother and participating in Bridge of Hope again. The horror he want through is still with him. It is a mental struggle for him so he needs your prayers. Pray that he will be able to concentrate on his schoolwork and catch up on what he missed.
Nadish is one of the more fortunate ones. He is no longer missing. He is safe with his family. There are other children out there. Some are abducted by strangers and forced into slave labor while others are trafficked and exploited in the sex trade. Then there are those who are sold to families to work as domestic help. This reminds me of Cosette in Les Miserables. She was forced to work as a domestic and she was under the age of 10. She was beaten and hardly fed. The cat was treated better than her. Meanwhile her mother, Fantine was under the impression that the couple who had her daughter were treating her well. Fantine died never knowing the truth or seeing her daughter again.
The statistics on missing children are staggering.
- In India it is reported that 45,000 children are missing each year
- Close to 13 million children younger than 15 years are in India’s workforce. This is more than any other country in the world. Some estimate that the real number is closer to 100 million.
- In Thailand nearly 1 out of every 10 children between the ages of 10 and 14 are working instead of going to school
- In Bangladesh, it is estimated that 27 percent of children ages 10-14 are working in hazardous work conditions
- In Sri Lanka, the fishing industry is one of the most physically punishing forms of child labor, keeping children in slave-like conditions and out of the public eye
- UNICEF estimates that 4,500 children from Bangladesh are trafficked to Pakistan each year while thousands more are sent to India and the Middle East.
Thankfully, Gospel for Asia is doing something to stop these atrocities. They are working among South Asia’s most endangered children.
You can make a difference. You can give what you can to rescue children on the streets so that like Nadish they can learn about Jesus and be reunited with their families. Help to rescue a child from the streets of South Asia. If you are interested in sponsoring a child, check out this link.
Another way you can help is through prayer. Gospel of Asia offers these prayer suggestions:
- Pray for children to be rescued, reunited and accepted back into their families.
- Pray for the physical needs of the children. Most do not get enough to eat, and the physical labor they are forced to do can cripple their bodies. Pray for the Lord to provide for them and protect them from harm.
- Pray for the girls—and boys—forced to work in the sex trade. Ask the Lord to bring the brothel owners’ and customers’ misdeeds into the light and for the love of Jesus to permeate those dark places.
- Pray for a radical attitude shift in South Asian society so citizens of these countries will demand an end to the exploitation of children.
Prayer is the most powerful tool we have, let us use it and then watch God do amazing things.
And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them, Because they trust in Him – Psalm 37:40.