Longing to breathe free
By Jen and staff | South Asia
Last year a terrible blanket of dark, choking smog engulfed the city — the worst smog in 17 years. The celebratory firecrackers and crop burning in neighboring states, compounded with exhaust and fumes from millions of vehicles and factories, led to an almost week-long shutdown.
There’s another kind of choking, suffocating imprisonment that many know well: the trap of drug and substance abuse. Few escape; those in its grip breathe the choking smog of bondage, one desperate puff after another.
Pastor S*, a former addict, has been in that place of bondage. And his life mission is to prevent anyone he can from staying in that dark, destructive place. This Bible-believing pastor recently met with workers from an urban development project, which helps connect and train churches in the slums to meet the needs of their communities. Pastor S’s goal: to join forces against drug and substance abuse in his city.
Through connections of the project, Pastor S began to follow up on leads of adolescents struggling with drug addictions. In one encounter, he planned to meet an eight-year-old boy K*. K lived in a shanty in one of the slum colonies, where cardboard shelters, dilapidated homes, and makeshift tents crowd up against each other.
After searching for K’s home among the slum dwellings for two days, Pastor S finally found it—but K had disappeared.
“He’s not here,” K’s mother told Pastor S. “He’s probably out somewhere getting high on fluid or petrol and won’t return home until late tonight.”
The disappointing search for K led Pastor S to many other boys who spend their time doing odd jobs and stealing to satisfy their urge to get high.
The common thread that runs through all their young lives is a longing to be free once again. Before the lies and deception of drugs snatched their dreams, their imagination and yes, their freedom.
In the days that followed, Pastor S tried to take the boys he’d met to the local de-addiction centre, but many didn’t want to go, and their parents couldn’t offer much support. But Pastor S is not easily deterred. He continues to follow up with the boys to build healthy relationships with them over time. He has yet to meet K, but he presses on in his efforts and in prayer until he sees a breakthrough in the lives of these children.
“I want each of these boys to know that his body is a temple of the living God, and it is not theirs to destroy,” he says. “My dream is to see these boys live and breathe free once again. I want them to know this living God and to serve Him by helping those who are also struggling with the same things.”
Pray with us
Pray for the children in the city who are caught in addiction—that God would free them and make them whole again.
Pray for K, that God would reach him and break through the addictions that hold him captive. Pray that God would lead Pastor S to this precious boy and offer him freedom through the living God.
Pray for Pastor S—for spiritual and physical protection, for “God encounters” with boys who need healing and who need Christ, and for a mighty ministry that sets many in the city free from bondage to addiction.
Pray that boys will want freedom so badly that they will be willing to go to drug rehabilitation centres, and that their parents will fight for their young children’s lives.
Pray for the ministry of the urban development project. Pray that the team will touch many lives and expand its ministry throughout the city and country, and that God will create healthy, multiplying connections between local workers like Pastor S and people who can benefit from its services.
Cry out to God on behalf of the slum children like K. These children often have no schooling and little parental supervision and protection, and are vulnerable to many evils: rape, abduction, sex trafficking, drug addiction, exploitation, violence. Ask God to send Bible-believing workers into these hard areas to provide safe places for these children, to teach them trades that will keep them off the streets, and teach them about Jesus.
*Names have been changed.