I’ll be honest, the first time I met with Rahham and heard what they were doing, I was a little confused. It didn’t really fit with anything that I imagined Reconciled World being involved with. However, I was struck by two things. 1) the incredible testimony and humility of the leader and 2) an unshakable sense that God was doing something quite unbelievable and it was worth taking the time to find out if God was calling us to partner together. Six months into the process, I can tell you that we are sure that God has lead Rahham to us as a partner and we are excited to have them onboard.
Rahham runs monthly fellowship groups. Each group is comprised of the outcasts of Delhi society. There is a group of people living with HIV/AIDS, a group of transvestites, and a group of people that scavenge through the garbage to survive. Every month these different groups meet together to learn more about God. Whilst very few are followers of Christ, they meet to worship, memorise scripture, share testimonies, exchange prayer requests and listen to a sermon. And God does amazing things—lives have been saved, people have been healed, families have been restored, miracles abound. Every month, as each of the seven existing groups meet they present their needs before God, and He hears and answers in remarkable ways.
There is endless demand for more groups. For example in the last month a new person started to attend one group. She was so moved by the experience that she invited Rahham to start a fellowship in her neighborhood. They reminded her that it was a worship service, and asked if she had gained permission from her non-Christian neighbors. She assured them that everything had been organised. Rahham’s leaders arrived to find the tiny slum houses were prepared to host a community worship service. Some families were cooking food for a fellowship meal. The largest house had been completely emptied so that as many people as possible could fit inside it. The whole community came out, bringing their sick and needy. One family shared that their daughter had been trafficked. The group prayed, and the next day the daughter returned! At the same meeting, sick people were miraculously healed. The whole story reminded me of the New Testament.
We are excited to be partnering with Rahham. One of the key areas in which we will work together with them is getting the churches of Delhi involved. While they have many strong contacts with churches from their previous work, they have struggled to get churches truly engaged with fellowship groups. Unfortunately many churches live under lies that too many of us believe. “We don’t have time.” “We don’t know how to relate to those people. They make us uncomfortable.” “What if they want more from us than one Saturday morning a month?”
I hear them. The idea of meeting with a group of transvestites, with all their messy challenges, does seem a little intimidating. But God has called us, the church, to the messy bits of society. If Jesus really is our model then it’s the ‘sick’ who we should be caring for, not the healthy (Mark 2:17). If Jesus cared for prostitutes, then why don’t we show the same compassion?
We are working with Rahham to put together a curriculum that will help churches to understand their calling to the vulnerable and how to get started with fellowship groups. It’s a great model that churches could run themselves with a little help at the outset. Most churches have the basic skills needed—lead worship, pray, preach a sermon. Many would find it a bit of a stretch to be praying for such brokenness, but all would benefit from coming back every month to hear how God answered those prayers.
This year we are piloting the program to get five churches starting and running fellowship groups. While it’s a modest start, it reflects about 150-300 vulnerable people and at least 100 church-members being impacted. Once we have ironed out the kinks we hope to replicate it with many more.
Many Delhi churches and individuals are giving towards the costs of the fellowship groups, especially towards celebrations like Christmas and Easter. We are looking to partner with Rahham to provide the resources needed to train churches to run their own fellowship groups. If you want to be part of supporting Rahham’s church training project, please give now. Every donation has a huge impact and is greatly appreciated.