Monday, 9 October 2017

Eradicating Illiteracy

South Asia (image sourced)
India’s illiterate population is the largest in the world at 37% of the global total, according to UNESCO. Female literacy, specifically, is less than 50%. As dire as these statistics are, the numbers may also be padded to reflect a higher number of literate Indians, as children who are enrolled in school are often counted as literate, even if, in reality they, cannot properly read or write. Several reports prove the problem of illiteracy is pervasive, with a recent analysis by GMR placing India among the 21 countries with an extensive learning crisis.


Sunitha is thirteen years old. When drought damaged her family’s crops two years ago, her father took a four-month loan from a money lender. The rate of interest was 30% for three months. Unable to pay back the loan, Sunitha’s father had to escape with his family.

Today, standing by one of the stop lights in Delhi, Sunitha rushes from one car to another, hoping for someone to buy one of her towels or umbrellas. She struggles to walk properly, and her hair is a listless, red color--a clear sign of malnutrition. Nearby, her mother is cooking meal on the pavement, using dried wood and cow dung. They even sleep here at night. “We are fortunate if we can afford one meal a day,” she said. Today is one such “lucky” day for them. Lunch will be wheat rotis with red chili pepper to suppress hunger.


Studies have shown that illiteracy leads to poverty, bonded slavery, child marriage, underpayment for goods and services, low esteem, economic bondage, and intergenerational illiteracy. Empowering adults to become literate and encouraging them to let their children receive education is a critical step towards empowering hundreds of millions of oppressed people in India.


Compelled exists to take the truth of the Gospel to the unreached and to love our disempowered neighbors in the most difficult places of South Asia. To this end, Compelled operates several literacy centers in various parts of South Asia. Trained literacy workers, with the permission of the village head or tribal chief, host evening literacy classes for the villagers. Each literacy center usually teaches anywhere from 20-75 adults. Over a period of 18-24 months, these adults will be able to read, write, and do basic math. As minds open up to new ideas and possibilities, these villagers work with our missionaries to educate their children. S*, a Compelled senior leader commented, “Through education, it is possible to break the intergenerational oppressiveness within [just a] few years. We work hard to eliminate the structural causes of poverty and oppressiveness through literary work.”

Mihir, who is from the K* tribe, said, “Now that I am able to read and count money, I can sell my produce directly in the nearby town. I earn a fair price.” Others echoed Mihir’s statement, adding their commitment to ensure their children pursue education and viable economic pursuits.

Pastor K*, who oversees the literacy work explained, “At the end of every class, the literacy worker will offer to pray. Over time, it is inevitable that the villagers hear the Gospel in a clear way. The healing of the mind along with the healing of the soul is a powerful combination to heal this broken world, here and into eternity!”  


Sundar belongs to a tribe based in the mountains of central India. When Compelled started hosting evening literacy class in his village, Sundar was very excited. He eagerly learned to read and write, eventually moving on to develop basic math skills. Within two years, he transformed from a shy young boy to a confident young man.

And an even greater change was happening within him. At the end of each literacy class, when he heard the words “Almighty God” prayed, it always gave him a peace he could not define in words. Sundar, along with a group of young men, started to ask more questions and understand the truth of the Gospel. Soon, he gave his life to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Today, Sundar earns a good wage from the sale of his produce in the market. He has a solid house, with a tin roof--the first in his village. His confidence has allowed him to interact freely with the people of the town. Not long ago, he decided to run in a local election for a position that influences several villages and won! In light of all of his accomplishments, Sundar said his greatest joy is simply being able to read the Word of God.


We urgently need at least 225 literacy kits. Each literacy kit will contain a solar light, a mat for people to sit, blackboard, set of slates and chalk and a signboard that advertises about the literacy class. It costs US $ 55 for one literacy kit.

We request you to please consider helping provide one literacy worker with a kit, to enable him to take the light of the Gospel and the light of literacy to the most oppressed in South Asia. To donate, click here

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Flood Relief

Monsoon brings life to India. Farmers laugh when rains finally arrive. Hydro-electric dams and drinking water reservoir find replenishment for the entire year. Dying rivers once again begin to teem with life. This rain water will allow people, crops, and animals to live for the next eleven months.
Flooded Village. Photo Source: IE

However, monsoon can also bring death.

The rains this year has been in excess. Rivers are flooded. Several villages are inundated by water. More than 70 people have already died. Many homes have collapsed or ravaged by flood. Tribes in many places have started to move higher up into the mountain forests.  Weatherman predicts continuing heavy spell of rains; this means more destruction.

Odisha is one of the worst hit areas. IET has a significant presence in hundreds of villages in this state. Tens of thousands of people have been rendered homeless in eastern parts of India.   Pastor

Khosla says, “Villages are inundated with water. Grains and crops are destroyed. People have nowhere to go and nothing to eat. Most have escaped with just the clothes on their back. Some are still marooned and have to be rescued.”


Our field leaders are preparing to begin relief work. The immediate need is to provide clean drinking water, basic food supply, blankets, tents, basic food supplies and medicine where needed. One thousand relief kits containing these things are being prepared to be given out in the next twenty-four hours.


I request your prayers.

For online donation please click here 

One relief kit containing clean drinking water, basic food supply to last few days, blanket and one pair of cloth will cost about $ 24.


Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Lamp has been lit.

India has 122 major languages and 1599 other unique languages. Thirty of these major languages has more than 1 million native speakers each. Hindi, the largest has 366 million speakers. That is about the population of the USA and Canada put together. 

Each tribe and people group in South Asia has its own unique language. For the sake of governance, most state (province) also has a provincial language. However, there is a great gulf between the ‘heart language’ and ‘state language.’


The village of PKote spoke only their unique ethnic language. So, they have remained isolated from the rest and did not participate in any progress. They were being left behind. Even the children of this village did not attend the school in the neighboring village. The walk through the forest to the school was not the challenge. But, these children could not understand the state language that was used in the school. Their village spoke only their unique language. And, no one here knew how to read or write any language. They lived a very primitive life in every way.
One day a Compelled missionary was told about this people. So, he decided to visit this village. He could not converse with the people. So, he smiled a lot and drank the water that was offered to him as a sign of welcome. He felt a unique burden for this village. So, he started to pray for them and also kept visiting them regularly. Over time, he began to develop their trust and friendship. Meanwhile, he found someone who spoke both languages.


The missionary one day met with the elders of PKote. He shared his willingness to teach them to read and write in the language of their province. He also explained that he would also train them to count, so that they could sell their produce at a fair rate in the village market. They were excited and agreed.
Soon, every evening the Compelled missionary would go to this village with his paper charts, chalk board, and the Bible. They met under a tree or in someone's hut; and every night he would teach them one alphabet at a time, one number at a time. 

Initially, thirty villagers committed to attend the classes. As others saw the progress in these thirty, more showed interest to join in these literacy classes. A literacy worker, on an average, conducts classes in 2-4 different villages every week.

Today, a large number of villagers at PKote have learnt the state language. They can read, write, and count. The villagers have now started to engage with the government agencies towards progress. Most of the children now to go school. Above all, the witness of the missionary and the Bible stories that he would share has already led 60 people to commit to be disciples of our Lord.

The missionary brother leading the literacy worker in this region sums it well, "The lamp has been lit in this village. The light has entered their minds and spirit."