Posted April 30th, 20105 Comments
The unsuspecting man was waiting at the platform for the next train to take him to the next meeting. Fully immersed in the article he was reading in the newspaper, he didn’t notice when young Syed brushed past him and took the wallet right from his back pocket. What would turn out to be a difficult day for the man was for Syed, a very lucky day. There was enough money in his new found treasure to buy some food and even more importantly, to buy some drugs. These two things would keep him satisfied for at least a day. But what tormented Syed would be what happens when tomorrow came and the satisfaction was dried up.
This is not how Syed thought his life would end up. At the age of 14, he was a beggar, a thief, and a drug addict. But what other choice did he have, this must have been his karma, the gods must have been angry at him and the best he could hope for was to do better in the next life. At least this was what he was taught. Syed grew up in a small village with two older sisters and a father who loved nothing but his alcohol. An angry man, he would come home drunk every night and unleash his wrath on the three children. Not being able to withstand the physical torture any longer, he and his two sisters ran away to the city of Mumbai. They did not know where they were going; they only knew that what was to come had to be better than what they were leaving.
With just enough money to arrive at the Bandra train station in the big city of Mumbai, they soon realized that this would be their new home. With no one to receive them and no money for a place, they slept on the train platform beside the stray dogs. It was not too long before the siblings resorted to any possible tactic to survive. At first, it was just begging for food and money from strangers but this was not enough for them to live. They then turned to stealing whenever they could, whether it was from stores or individuals. Life became all the more worse for Syed when one day, his two sisters disappeared and he was never to see them again.
The despair of loneliness crept into Syed and all the food and money he could steal could not take this away. To be rid of this despair, Syed began taking drugs and before long, he was addicted. He would numb the pain and experience pleasure but it would never last long enough and left him feeling even more desperate once the effects of this drug faded. Deeply saddened and tormented and with nowhere to go, Syed resigned himself to believe that this was his lot in life and joy and peace was not his fate. This was until one day; Syed came in contact with a small team from BTC that was walking through the train station. Sitting by the station, he noticed that this team was walking through the station and spending time talking and what it seemed to be praying with others that were in his same situation. Rarely did anyone talk to one of them unless it was the police barking at them to move from their place. But here was this group of folks that had come intentionally to spend time with those that the rest of society had discarded. The team noticed Syed staring intently and started walking toward him. Syed did not know what to expect, only that he longed for something, not sure what, but something that he did not have and something that all the drugs he could buy could not fulfill. The team came to him and began explaining why they were here and what was propelling them to do this. They then started speaking of this God that was the one true God that knew him by His name and loved him so much that He paid the penalty for all the wrong that Syed had ever done and would do. Syed didn’t understand all of this but he definitely wanted to know this God that they were speaking of. The unimaginable then happened, the team told him about Bombay Teen Challenge and the home they had for young men and women like him. With fear and a hope he had not known before, Syed agreed and went with them.
That was seven years ago, it has not been an easy road as BTC has had to help him overcome his addictions and the hurt he has gone through. Combined with the physical pain of withdrawal symptoms was the emotional pain of learning to love and be loved. Syed, overwhelmed by all that confronted him ran away from BTC. One year later, Syed returned of his own accord. When the Lord redeems, He makes whole what has been broken.
Syed successfully graduated from the rehabilitation program and then completed high school. The Lord has given him wonderful skills to play the guitar and write worship songs in the Indian language of Hindi. In March of 2010, Syed graduated from Bible College and is now on staff at Bombay Teen Challenge. Syed’s life is a testimony of a God who relentlessly pursues His children with love and mercy. We have only begun to see the great plans that God has for Syed’s life.