Spiritual Practice

Homeless Abuse

Sudha Khristmukti

As I stepped off the train in Mumbai, baggage carriers rushed to get my attention. Among them was a thin teenage boy with a torn T-shirt and dirty pants. I handed him my two suitcases.

When I gave the boy a generous tip and a packet of biscuits, he smiled with surprise. I asked where he lived, and he said that he ate and slept in a corner of the railway station. Then I asked what had happened to his eye, which was closed shut. He told me that after his father’s death, his uncle had blinded him so that he could beg on the streets and trains to make money. He ran away, taking his mother and little sister with him so that the uncle wouldn’t force them into prostitution. He found them a place to live and to work as domestic servants.

Suddenly, my plans for the day seemed insignificant. I took the boy to a nearby restaurant for a meal; then I bought him some clothes, toiletries, and a blanket.

As I left and the busy traffic engulfed my taxi, the boy waved good-bye before rushing back to other travelers, to carry their burdens and his own.


What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering.
James 1:27a (GNT)

ACT ON IT: Sadly, there are millions of children and teenagers on the streets. Some live in your hometown; others live in countries far away. Do some research: Find out how many children in your city are homeless or in foster care. Pick a developing country, and learn about the plight of this country’s orphans. Look for ways to help vulnerable kids both locally and globally.

GO DEEPER: 100 million children and teenagers live on the streets in the United States and around the world. Visit these websites to learn more about teen homelessness and to find out how you can help:

—from devozine (November/December 2011). Copyright © 2011 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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