Loving and Leading in the Slums
Gospel for Asia Newsletter

January 2013 • Vol. 9, No. 1

Loving and Leading in the Slums

When Akshay Sharma moved away from home 14 years ago, he couldn’t imagine the impact he’d make on his new city.

A Bridge of Hope project director, Akshay has a unique life story, but he shares something in common with all other Bridge of Hope project directors: a passion for blessing children and their families with Christ’s compassion.

Teacher and Disciple Maker

1998 marked a milestone in Akshay’s life. That year, he made a commitment to follow Jesus and moved more than 800 miles away from home to work at a Christian school. During his eight years teaching there, he got married and joined a team of believers dedicated to telling others about Jesus.

Akshay shared the Good News while visiting hospitals, handing out literature and visiting people’s homes. As he ministered, he witnessed four families embrace Jesus’ love. Among them was Ajith, a young man who later joined a Gospel for Asia Bible college. While visiting Ajith at the college, Akshay heard about Bridge of Hope and decided to become a staff member.

Akshay took on the difficult task of starting a Bridge of Hope centre in one of his city’s most underprivileged neighbourhoods—a slum. That was six years ago. Since then, Akshay and Suvali, his wife, who serves as a social worker at the centre, have watched children become competent young adults. Three students have graduated from the centre, and nine students have received a year of computer training.

Still dedicated to proclaiming the message of Jesus’ love, Akshay and Suvali regularly visit the students’ parents and pray constantly for them. Seeing Jesus’ love through the couple, many have put their faith in Him. In fact, Akshay now shepherds a fellowship of 15 people, including Bridge of Hope parents and other staff members.

Opposition Didn’t Stop Them

Akshay’s faithful ministry hasn’t continued without trials. While travelling to church one day in 2011, he nearly lost his life in a vehicle accident that left him unconscious for two days and injured his wife and two sons.

God restored their bodies, but they’ve have faced other hardships in the form of opposition. One time, a group of anti-Christian extremists set up an office near the Bridge of Hope centre, attempting to intimidate the ministry. But the students’ parents made sure the extremists couldn’t cause harm, showing their support for the Bridge of Hope staff members who nurture their children.

Through such challenges, God has sustained Akshay and Suvali and used them to transform children’s lives—and entire families! In only six years, they have left an indelible mark on their slum. Your prayers and support for Bridge of Hope are helping transform communities like this with Christ’s love.

More from Gospel for Asia:  GFA World Updates