I am officially sliding into the second half of my stay in India. So far, it’s been a wild and fast ride but also easy to get into a routine with the rhythm of India.
These last couple of weeks I have been busy working with Rani on her month end accounting responsibilities. I also had 4 days of Trauma Competent Care training teaching us about how to better care for children who come from hard places.
V. Bindu is a 15-year-old girl here on campus I have gotten to know and love. She wants to be a doctor when she grows up. Her parents are in the Banjara tribe. They spend their days doing the labor-intensive work of rice farming. Because of the caste system here, her future would have ended up likely the same because they could not afford to send her to school.
Many of V. Bindu’s peers are in the process of being prepared for marriage. Girls in India are seen as an economic burden, not valued at all, and marriage transfers the responsibility to the new husband.
Extreme poverty and poor education opportunities lead a family to marry off their daughters at an early age. With an estimated 47% of Indian girls married before the age of 18, India has the highest number of child brides. While fewer Indian girls are marrying before the age of 15, rates of marriage have increased for girls between ages 15 to 18 (girlsnotbrides.org).
V. Bindu’s parents wanted more for her though. They made the tough decision 6 years ago to send her off to a children’s home so she could receive a better education. That is when God brought her to the Hope Campus.
Now, instead of taking care of a family at the age of 15 or rice farming, she is pursuing her dream to be a doctor where less than 6% of physicians in India are women. With her competitive spirit and the support system surrounding her, I believe she will be in that 6% one day.
Every night after school at 8pm, the girls walk back and forth on the campus basketball court for exercise. This is not a full size court…Just a cement block where we can walk, have girl talk and shoot hoops.
When we were walking one evening, she asked me where I was from. I told her I grew up on the beaches of North Carolina. She responded with, “I’d like to go to the beach one day and if God wants me to go I will go.”
V Bindu has seen God actively at work her whole life. Allowing her to pursue her God sized dreams of being a doctor and turn the tide of cyclical poverty and poor education for her and her family.
If HE can do that, HE can take her to the beach. She trusts God with every detail of her life, not just the big things. I know I could learn to do that more.
When we finished walking, it started lightning. I assumed this was heat lightning because I was dripping in sweat. Then another girl said, “Look, Jesus is taking our picture, smile!” We stopped, looked up to the sky, and smiled. A proud father taking pictures of his kids, I bet Jesus has pictures of all his children all over heaven.
There are endless references in the Bible to God watching out for his children, especially the ones that are defenseless, and he promises to intervene. V. Bindu’s story and Back2Back Ministries is proof that God knows how to rescue the people he loves.
Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement since I have been here. Y’all are the BEST.