“When the AIDS stage sets in, the child is thrown in the Ogeru River or left at the sea shore at low tide so that at high tide the body is swept away. I have seen several cases with my own eyes”, says Pastor Suryanarayan Murthy.
He pastors the Church of Living God in the small town of Chilkurpet. 30 families from poor backgrounds meet at the church which has only one wall. Chilkurpet lies on the busy highway that links Guntur to other big cities around India. This town was always known as a Sugali town; a backward tribe that is nomadic in nature. The people worship spirits and engage in animal sacrifices and also drink the blood offered to the Gods. With the recent industrial development, the women are forced into prostitution. The notorious fame of being a famous red light district comes with a heavy price; it has the highest number HIV positive women and children.
Pastor Murthy grew up in this small town in a Hindu family. He dropped out from school, ran away from home and kept all the wrong company. He went to jail several times; but once he was framed for a murder and spent 5 years in jail. It was there that he met the Lord and God called him to serve his own people. So after his prison term he planted a church in his old neighborhood.
When he noticed the plight of positive children in his area, he was moved and decided to do something about it. He identified 42 HIV positive children around the town. The church raises support for these children. Once a month they are able to provide nutritious food for all of them. Due to lack of funds, every week Pastor is able to provide eggs, milk, and healthy food for only 10-12 HIV positive children. He also started a Sunday school among the children of prostitutes. However he felt that something was lacking, he wasn’t making a breakthrough.
It was during this time that Pastor Murthy met Anand, a Program Coordinator at Guntur. Pastor Murthy realized that Life on Life was just what he needed to fulfill his vision among these hurting children.
Today there are three groups meeting in this area. There are eight volunteers who conduct the clubs – two of the clubs take place in the half-built church. Through the Church of Living God, lives are being transformed.
For more information about the Life on Life Project, visit www.lifeonlifeproject.com.