|(L to R) Tushar, John, Praveen|
I had just watched a documentary earlier in the day that my friend Naomi Bids had given me. She and her husband have been reaching out to this marginalized community for some time. Quite amazing when I think of the social stigma that surrounds it and the risks they have encountered. However - there love of Jesus compels them to show His love to everyone! After seeing the documentary that she had given me -- I had many more questions - - so I welcomed my time with Praveen and learned quite a bit as to the plight of these different groups. He himself classifies himself as an MSM. He reaches out and helps bring education and awareness regarding HIV/AIDS -- and helps get people the basic needs if he can and can connect them to other advocacy groups as well. They live very cut off from society and are in really tough financial situations. The circumstances that bring most of them to their current state, are very hard.
|(L to R) little Samuel, Naomi, Tushar, John, Praveen|
Praveen told me that his friend and colleague Tushar, who came with him to our meeting - is a transgender and has been helpful at connecting with the Hijiras -- as they do not open up to just anyone. So Tushar has been able to befriend these groups and help pass on some of the education and awareness around HIV/AIDS and also help them gain other help as well. When Tushar dresses as a woman, he is able to be received by the Hijiras and their Guru and is welcomed into the community. He in turn has allowed Praveen to address them as well.
I had the privilege of sharing my testimony with these guys about living with AIDS and also my struggle with my own identity over the years and my faith -- we shared about Jesus and Naomi and her husband Emannuel gave Praveen & Tushar New Testaments and I was able to pray with them.
It was a really special time. I promised them on my next trip to this area -- I will go into the slums with them to meet with the Hijira and to see where they are working!
|(L to R) Little Samuel, Naomi, Tushar, Emannuel, Praveen|
Keep these new friends in your prayers!