Ambojwadi is located in the western Mumbai very close to the Malwani area. The region actually is a slum area and mostly has a very big span of land. Most of the people here, are Bhaias (i.e. those belonging to Uttar Pradesh state), They are Hindus. Hence a maximum of people here are Hindus. There are some Muslims. Some temples and mosques found. Very fewer amounts of Telugu people can be noticed People believe in superstitions, witchcraft and black magic. They are under the cover of illiteracy. Ambojwadi is located in the western Mumbai very close to the Malwani area. The region actually is a slum area and mostly has a very big span of land. Most of the people here, are Bhaias (i.e. those belonging to Uttar Pradesh state), They are Hindus. Hence a maximum of people here are Hindus. There are some Muslims. Some temples and mosques found. Very fewer amounts of Telugu people can be noticed People believe in superstitions, witchcraft and black magic. They are under the cover of illiteracy.
Special development activities are not active in this area. People cannot get proper amount of water. They have to walk down several kilometers to get water for themselves. They have no schools, dispensaries or any other kind of amenities. They have no social personality to look after their needs and to inform the government about their conditions. Though the problems they have are no less. The government sometimes carries out demolitions in this are and demolishes all the hutments. People have no other alternative than to migrate to other areas. In these conditions the life here is full of hardships. The population of this area is 85000 hutes. As the settlements have started only since last nine to ten years.
The Mumbai Churches of Christ ministry adopted the Ambojiwadi area with an aim to preach the Word of God to the Telugu people. Bro. Shanti Kumar had been assigned to visit this area. He has worked hard to preach the Word of God door to door. Mrs. Shanti Kumar also helped them in this God's work. In course of time a Church was started. The Church has no building, The people gather in an open ground and Worship program is carried out. Bro. Shanti Kumar is working hard in this area. Sometimes evangelism program and night evangelism meetings are also being arranged in this area.
Bro. Shanti Kumar has been conducting some good activities like Bible study and personal visits to people in the area. He visits all the members of the Church and some of the local Hindu people. Once Bro. Shanti Kumar and Bro. P.D. Prasada Rao sat in a rickshaw at Malwani. They asked the rickshaw driver to take them to Andheri. In the rickshaw both of them started talking to each other and sharing their experiences in preaching. As they were talking the rickshaw driver asked both of them that what they were talking about. Bro. P.D.Prasada Rao answered that they were both talking about Lord Jesus Christ. The rickshaw driver said that is Jesus Christ God. Bro. Shanti Kumar explained to him that Jesus Christ is the saviour of the world. He told him that Jesus Christ came to this world shed his blood and saved us from the sin of the world.
The rickshaw driver said that being a Hindu he didn't believe in such kind of stories. Bro. P.D. interrupted him and said that this is not a story; it is the truth, the Gospel of Christ. The rickshaw driver said that recently he went to Sai Bababa's temple (Saibaba is considered to be a saint who preaches equality in all religions) at Shirdi located in southern Maharashtra. He offered his hair to Saibaba, which they called as sacrifice.
Bro. Shanti Kumar preached him that hair is not something that when shaved can be considered to be a sacrifice. Hair is a component of his body tissues, which grow again. They are not living part of his body. God has given man a heart and this True God asks you to give him the living part of your body. He wants him to give your heart to the Word of God. He wants man to listen the Word of God and to come towards him. Bro. Shanti Kumar asked the rickshaw driver, "How much did you spend in visiting Shirdi?". The rickshaw driver answered that he has spent about Rs. 10,000. And then Bro. Shanti Kumar asked him tell me what this pilgrimage has added to your life which was not there before. The words started reviving the rickshaw driver's mind. And he said nothing. Then Bro. Shanti Kumar said that believe in true God, you'll not have to spend even a rupee to sought him. And what will He add to your life… peace, salvation, spirituality, freedom from sin, love and on. By the time both of them reached Andheri the rickshaw driver learnt lot of things through them. The rickshaw driver asked them that he wanted to know more about Christ. I asked him where he was from and he said that he live in Ambojwadi. Bro. Shanti Kumar said that he preaches in Ambojwadi area. The rickshaw driver asked Bro. Shanti Kumar to visit his family every week.
After about three days we went to his house along with the preacher's team. They found that there were three more families residing very close to them who were very well known by this family. These families are also rickshaw drivers by profession. Bro. Shanti Kumar requested that the other three families should also be called for the daily study. Bro. Shanti Kumar started talking to them and asked them question like " How did they justify themselves believing in idols made up of clay?" and "What will happen after they are dead?" these questions left them dumb.
Bro. Shanti Kumar said that it is only through the Bible that they can learn about the eternal God. The almighty that loves them and wants them to be saved and to be his child. The words pierced down into their hearts bringing out a curiosity to hear more. He said that true God does not reside in mud, clay and trees but resides in ones hearts. He is a loving God and has given his son to die for our sins. The words ran down through them and they realized that they have been missing something in their lives. They asked Bro. Shanti Kumar to visit them regularly.
Bro. Shanti Kumar visited them personally every week and preached to them the Word of God. Slowly the families grew in faith and they learnt more about God. I am also used to visit these families frequently. The families used to receive him very well. I have preached to them the need for Baptism and what it means to be a Christian. The message touched their hearts and they obeyed the Gospel.
Prior to accepting Christ these people were blind in Hindu faith. They were superstitious and believed in witchcraft etc. They used to wear a kind of black thread around their neck which had a piece of metal that had some script or picture designed on them (called as tabeez or mala in India). Some used to wear a rectangular box like metal with a cap, which had bears hair (the fur of bear animal) packed inside. They believed that such kind of practices helped them to be away from bad influences. But after they learnt the truth they casted them away in the sea. Now they believe that God is their shield and that no bad influence can touch them.
God has blessed these people. They are experiencing the changes in their lives. They now know that prayer is powerful and they are attending the Church regularly. They are learning the Word of God.
The Mumbai Churches of Christ ministry is trying to reach out hundreds of such people all around in the Mumbai and Thane districts. Please pray for the Ambojwadi.
Yours in Christ