Slum hope pioneer's Norfolk Bible link
An Indian church pastor who works in the slum community of the city of Chandigarh, has been studying at The Way Of The Spirit Bible College in South Norfolk, since last September. Kevin Gotts reports.
Pastor Kartar Singh’s early years were very different from his recent time in Norfolk. Born in a Himalayan village, Kartar was raised as a Hindu for 20 years. He got himself a bad reputation and left in search of a new home and job at the age of 20.
From a nearby room he was befriended by Bal Krishan a pastor, who shared the Christian gospel and gave Kartar a New Testament bible. Kartar asked many questions, including, “Is the Bible the truth?” Kartar decided that it was and offered all he had to Jesus - he experienced a huge transformation in his life.
For the next seven years Kartar worked as a teacher in computer science and also physical education, then moving to Chandigarh to work as a pastor at the Shalom Family Church.
The neighbouring slums, and the effect on the poor and neglected children, deeply impacted Kartar, who said: “I have a heart for the poor and needy children of the slum.”
He investigated further and, after some time, built support from parents so that he could read Bible stories, teach Christian songs and offer advice on health and hygiene. A major effect was that some 30 children were enrolled at a local school, and subsidised to continue their education. This subsequently led to Kartar attending parent-teacher meetings at school on behalf of the slum children
While there was some persecution, including stone-throwing and beatings, the community supported the children and Kartar. The children have been bold in prayer, with parents seeing positive changes. Pastors Kartar and Bal surprised the police by forgiving the offenders.
In 2004, Kartar married Ambika
who also helps in a growing ministry, with members of the slum community with support from Neelam Krishan,
Bal’s wife. They offer prayer and counselling at a local hospital leading to healing from addictions and sickness. A ‘Father’s Heart Day Care Centre’
for the slum children has been started in a rented building.
Kartar’s time in Norfolk, which ends in late March, was through an invitation for further study at The Way of the Spirit Bible College, near Norwich, which he describes as, “Life changing and has built up my faith in Jesus Christ.”
He will continue to share his vision for the slum children with other people. This continues the historic links with the College including Course Director Richard George’s visits to India and the work relating to the translation of the Bible reading course into Hindi.
As to the future, Kartar returns home in March to be with his wife, sons Samuel and Shaun and to continue the ministry and also meet the growing demands from other slum dwellers.
He will be needing funds for a suitable building to accommodate the ‘The Father’s Heart Day Care Centre’, teaching facilities, the church and support for widows and pensioners.
Pictured top is pastor Kartar Singh outside the Word of the Spirit College in Norfolk and, below, an Indian family with shoes they have been given through his work.