And then I heard the voice of the Master: "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?"
I spoke up, "I'll go. Send me!"
(Isaiah 6:8 from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)
Real life heroes do exist. We read about them in the newspaper, hear their stories told by TV and radio reporters, and sometimes we see the Hollywood version of their stories at the local movie theater. Yes, they certainly exist. Unfortunately we usually only hear about the flash in the pan heroes: the fireman who risks his life to save the family pet. Captain Sully who safely landed his plane in the Hudson River, Todd Beamer who 15 years ago proved himself a hero on United Airlines Flight 93 which had been hi-jacked as part of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
But what about everyday real life heroes like Nitya Balji. A real household name, right? Everybody has heard of Pastor Nitya. If I were a real spin-master you would be nodding your head in agreement, acting as if you knew of this man. But he isn’t internationally famous, he hasn’t won a Nobel Prize for his work in the slums. You probably don’t know the name, but Pastor Nitya is a hero.
This is a man who dreamed of a shack by a sewer. He probably didn’t understand the dream at first, but then he realized that God was speaking to him. God needed someone to go to the slums, and do ‘for the least of my brothers…” God needed someone to minister to the poorest of the poor, and was asking “Whom shall I send?” Nitya responded: "Send me,”
And he went. He stepped into the slum, millions of people, people that God loves, living in deplorable conditions; abuse evident at every corner, begging the norm, hopelessness and despair, alcohol abuse, no chances for education, sanitation lacking, and in the middle of this, Pastor Nitya knew that he was at home. This place was where he had been called to serve. So he moved to the slum and dedicated his life to serving in that forsaken place.
He started with the children. They soon shared God's love, the love that Pastor Nitya had shared with them, with their families. And now there is a thriving fellowship. Hope where there had been despair.
We look at the slums and wonder how they could exist, how people can survive in those conditions. We might not be able to imagine it, but for many people, (up to a billion by some estimates, and projected to double within the next generation) it is a way of life from which they see no chance to escape.
Gospel for Asia sponsored pastors and missionaries bring a new light and a new life into the slums. As they serve, they educate children, open schools, teach women job skills, offer addiction counseling, and above all share the Love of God with people who are desperate, without even realizing it, to hear the gospel. Watch a film clip of Pastor Nitya’s story HERE and pray about how you might help Real Life Heroes minister to the poorest of the poor.