Day 3: One in a Billion

Sarita's Story

India's children need the Gospel's message of hope: Children's Bible Clubs are bringing this hope to millions of boys and girls across India each year! Each $1 that you save in your suitcase will help another boy or girl in India go to a local Bible Club, where they will enjoy games, worship songs, Bible stories, and prayer. Here is the story of one little girl whose life has been transformed through a Children's Bible Club.

My name is Sarita. I am 12 years old.

Right now, I live in a slum in a city about 220 miles (350 km) east of Mumbai, in the state of Maharashtra. I'm the youngest and I have two brothers and two sisters.

I never got the chance to go to school because my parents don't work. They expect us kids to earn money. But we don't work a regular job - we make more money stealing.

The kids in my neighborhood taught me how to steal when I was eight years old. We would go to public gardens, markets, bus stations and railway stations to look for rich people and steal stuff like their cell phones. Then we sold them to customers at a low cost.

I could get as much as 800 rupees (about $20) for each phone - that's more than my dad could earn in two weeks!

We knew it was wrong to steal, but we had no choice. And after we stole something, my parents would sacrifice a chicken to our god, hoping that we would be forgiven.

One day the police caught me in the act. They slapped me and frightened me. My parents came to my rescue and begged for my release. They said, "My children are starving and poverty is forcing them to steal. Have mercy and leave them alone!"

The police did let me go - but they kept the valuables I had stolen for themselves.

Once, as I was walking through a neighborhood looking for opportunities to steal, I noticed local boys and girls smiling and laughing. I followed them as they walked to a Children's Bible Club. The next day, I visited the Club. I saw the other children singing songs and enjoying games, and I wanted to be a part of it, too! So, I joined the Club.

One day, I told some of the other kids in the Club about how the police had caught me stealing again. My Club leader overheard me, and she told me that stealing was wrong. But I told her that if I gave up stealing, my parents would punish me. Or, worse - throw me out of the house.

At the Children's Bible Club, I have learned so much about Jesus Christ. I know that He is the true God!

My favorite verse is John 8:12 - "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'"

I want to keep learning more about Jesus, and I don't want to steal anymore. But my parents are completely against Christianity. Please pray that my parents' hearts will be opened to knowing Jesus as their Savior.