|Meera (in white) and friends|
Hijira is the Hindi term given to the eunuch's here or the transgender community. Being introduced to the community in Bhubenaswar through Sura Samal from Love and Serve India has been an amazing opportunity. He has laid an amazing foundation of love and respect which is the bridge that I was able to walk across to share my story. Most people avoid this group and they are extremely marginalized. But Jesus came for everyone -- and everyone needs to know that God loves them and how would they know unless someone tells them?
The Hijira typically have a guru who is the leader -- and in this case that would be Meera. The other Hijira's usually live in the same place, share food, etc. Their work mostly consists of begging on trains, and for some it is prostitution. Meera is probably the most visual person in Orissa and has been activist for this community -- organizes rallies, etc. After the verdict came down on the Supreme Court Ruling--Meera's group was the one that was leading the rally and was on the news etc. For me it was a bit weird to watch them marching down the street, see them on TV and the next day, be at their house.
So on Saturday afternoon, I had a chance to share my story with them about dealing with homosexuality and my struggles with that and also about testing positive for HIV and then developing AIDS and ultimately surrendering to Jesus -- and then sang them a song. Afterwards I asked them if they had any questions -- they asked me about living with HIV, about medications -- we spoke about the challenges with them now getting tested because it is "illegal" for them to have sex with men so if they test and are asked about their sexuality, they could be arrested. A bit crazy.
For me this was a huge step in boldness in declaring my journey and how Jesus has changed me internally. They listened pretty intently and I tried to focus on Jesus and also share my challenges -- you pray and throw things out their by faith -- I believe seeds were sewn. A few of them have prayed to receive Christ in the past but having the ability to disciple them or even have a church for them to attend has been a challenge. It will take a very supportive pastor. So excited that some in the area are starting to come along side Sura -- even after our workshop.
I asked them if I could pray for them afterwards and they said yes and all bowed their heads. That is what really impacted me is the respect that they had for God and I could see that the Lord is drawing them . . .very beautiful in the midst of a very crazy life.
|Praying for Hijira|
They found out it was Sura's b-day and had to run to the corner store and get him a cake and sing him happy birthday -- that is a real reflection of their affection for him as well. They absolutely respect him.
|Sura having B-day Cake with friends!|
So let the party continue . . . we went back to Sura's and he had birthday cake with his wife and daughter and the 35 young girls that live in their house!!
|Birthday Cake & Presents at Home|
When I saw their physical space and the slum they live in and even when I was walking out -- I had to stop and say -- this is their home -- this is where they go to sleep and hang out -- I am leaving, they are not -- crazy -- no one else in the whole area had electricity -- so the others will be able to connect up to their source as well. They all got hugs and were wanting to take a picture.
|Meneka in yellow t-shirt and brown coat.|