Serving in Faith: World Vision in IndiaKelley Wong, from the Columbia-Willamette Women of Vision chapter, traveled to India in January of this year. While she was there, she took an hour to visit the World Vision India office in Bangalore and met with some staff. They shared with her about the challenges of serving and loving in Jesus’ name in India.
During my hour-long taxi ride from my hotel to the Bangalore ADP in World Vision India, I learned that my taxi driver was Catholic. “50% of people living in Bangalore are Catholic,” he claimed. “Are there any conflicts with people of other faiths,” I inquired? “No, we pretty much live peacefully together. Bigger conflicts lie in the northern part of India,” he replied. He pulled over and waited for me outside the World Vision India office while I ventured inside to learn a different story.
Two men entered the reception area where World Vision Program Manager Joseph Wesley had so kindly greeted me. They smiled and shook my hand. His staff had graciously served tea and cookies to this “spur of the moment” visitor hailing from Portland, Oregon, USA. Joseph explained that the two gentlemen were long-time (20+ years) World Vision India staff. They had just been in one of the worst slum areas in Bangalore. These faithful World Vision staff had been nearly beaten and chased out of this slum by gang members for providing free food and services provided by World Vision in the name of Jesus.
This was a story that would be repeated throughout my travels in India, including a later outing in one of Mumbai’s largest slums. Although talking about one’s faith is not illegal – people of many faiths live side-by-side including Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and Christians – “forced conversion” is illegal. However, the lines get blurred and corruption persists when Christian organizations such as World Vision go into poor neighborhoods and provide life-saving food, education, and medical services to everyone who has need… in the name of Christ.
Other staff joined in throughout my one hour visit. I shared of my other vision trips with World Vision including a trip to Honduras and another to Zambia and Mozambique. I learned that groups of women have similar “savings and loan” groups that are helping them learn money management and breaking the bonds of poverty. As in Africa and Central America, women are leading their families into hope and a better future because of skills being taught by World Vision.
Another key focus of World Vision India in Bangalore is in the area of human trafficking and vulnerable children. Trafficking throughout India takes on many forms including forced labor and the sex trade. It crosses borders and cultures and faiths. Once again, World Vision is a key player in educating people and offering hope. And they remain unashamedly Christian – even when they are persecuted.
I thanked Joseph and his staff with a Pure Grace angel ornament and a few trinkets, brought from Oregon – a very small token for their immeasurable work. We took a few photos before I climbed back into my taxi for the hour-long ride back to a safer world.