|2015 Bihar SOE graduation|
“Please pay for me and for my Musahar people.” This heartfelt plea came from one of the graduates of the Evangelism Resources School of Evangelism in the Indian State of Bihar on February 3, 2015. He was one of seventeen young men launched into the harvest fields after receiving nine months of training in evangelism and church planting.
Why was this young man pleading for his people? The Musahar are among the neediest of all the castes of India. In the local language, the name for their group is literally translated “Rat-eaters.” They subsist on very meager rations of food and can often be found scavenging in fields or dumps.
|A Musahar girl does the dishes|
The founder of one non-governmental organization that works for the welfare of the community said "The condition of Musahars is the worst of the lot. Some of the lower caste communities work as bamboo artisans, cobblers or cleaners, but Musahars are unskilled laborers. This is the reason that they are the lowest rung in the caste hierarchy even in the scheduled castes."
India has provided assistance for “scheduled castes,” people groups recognized by the Indian Constitution to be especially disadvantaged because of their past history of inferior treatment. They are therefore entitled to certain rights and preferential treatment.
But there is one caveat—when a Musahar, or any other person from a scheduled caste, becomes a Christian they lose their government assistance. For many, this is tantamount to a death sentence. Most have no jobs, no income, no property…their survival is gravely threatened. The Church is rising to this task, pairing evangelism with financial assistance when possible. Still, the challenges are daunting.
|Musahar children gleaning in a field|
Into this vast field of need, this brave SOE graduate goes forth to witness and plant churches. He said, “I was much blessed during my days at the School of Evangelism. The Lord enlarged my vision for my people. I dedicated my life to work for the welfare of my people by visiting villages and teaching the Bible. I want to see thousands of Musahar people come to know the Lord. I believe that Jesus is the answer for all the problems that my people face and I believe that gospel will lift my people out of poverty and blind faith.”
This young graduate is not alone. The Bihar SOE has embraced the paradigm of sending evangelists among Unreached People Groups for many years. In fact, the 2015 graduating class represented five different people groups. The school is especially adept at training students to plant churches among oral learners (people who cannot read). This skill is vital to those who would work among the “lowest of the low.”
Please pray for this young man as he puts his training to use, returning to the Musahar people to shine the light of the gospel.
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