To the Least of These

Post a Comment » Written on January 4th, 2011     
Filed under: Community Development
My understanding of what these words mean has been greatly enhanced due to my experience with members of the Covenant World Relief Commission as we traveled to India this past July.  One of my most poignant memories was our visit to the commercial sex workers and eunuch areas in Pune.   The Hindustani Covenant Church, through their Covenant Social Service arm, has put hands and feet to Jesus’ command to love our neighbors as ourselves in their outreach to these people of India who are considered to be the untouchables of their culture.  This is particularly true of the eunuchs, who have been able to enjoy almost none of the benefits of the rest of their society.

The definition of who exactly is a eunuch is debated, but eunuchs are typically males who have adopted the lifestyle of a female, often because they have been castrated (willingly and unwillingly) or were born with the sexual characteristics of both a male and a female.

The eunuchs have organized into a “third gender” which has given them the support of one other and an acceptance which they have received nowhere else.

However, they are considered to be a non-person, as they can claim to be neither male nor female, and because of this have not been able to get passports, drivers licenses, bus passes, health services and other benefits available to other members of their culture. They are considered to be the lowest of the low, and are treated with abuse and violence almost anywhere they go.  They are unsafe even with the police, and endure the most shameful degradation. Many of the eunuchs are commercial sex workers as they cannot get hired for other work.

In Pune, Covenant Social Services is in regular contact with the sex workers area, especially through their support of two amazing people who have given their lives to live with and advocate for the eunuchs and other commercial workers.  Pana, a eunuch, and Rajesh, also a former sex worker, have come to faith in Christ.

Pana (left) and Rajesh (right)

Pana has a wonderful story of her conversion, which came because a pastor in India happened upon her after a very violent night in the bar where she had been a dancer.  This pastor told her of the love of Jesus, but then continued to be in contact with her, offering her support and care as none else ever had.  Pana accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior and now she and Rajesh continue to live in the sex workers area in Pune, offering them the love and care that comes from the light of Jesus in them.

Pana has become an advocate for the eunuchs, obtaining for them the right to obtain bus passes and other services which previously were denied them. She and Rajesh teach the sex workers not only about the love of Jesus, but also about protection from STD’s, and how to obtain medical help when needed.  The sex workers come to Pana to get advice and support and see her as a safe advocate and a truly loving human being.

Members of Covenant Social Services visit and support Pana and Rajesh in their ministry with the sex workers.  The contrast of darkness and light is so apparent in this ongoing battle between the forces of shame, hate, violence and despair and the redeeming light of the love of Jesus, which has no boundaries, for which there is no outcast, and for whom there is no untouchable.

*written by Mary Lakner, Covenant World Relief Commission Member

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Report This Post

Leave a Reply

Report This Blog