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Dowry Castaways
"A bruised reed He will not break..." Isaiah 42:3

Most marriages in India are "arranged" between two families. The groom's family expects the bride's family to pay a dowry up front in money or property for the privilege of marrying their son. In some areas of the culture, the most important piece of the marriage agreement becomes the size of the dowry.

Dowry CastawaysIf the bride's family cannot pay the expected dowry by the wedding day, the father of the bride must pay the balance in installments. The bride's father could be making dowry payments for several years. Sometimes the groom and his family will make demands for more money than first agreed upon. They will attempt to force the hand of the bride's father by beating the girl and kicking her and her children out of the house. In this culture, the daughter and her children cannot move back in with her parents or it will bring disgrace upon the family. Her father will send her back to her husband - sometimes with money, but sometimes without it. The father is aware that his daughter's life could be in danger. It is more important in his culture that he save face. These young women and their children have no escape route from this brutality.

Dowry CastawaysIf the dowry is not fully satisfied, the husband will sometimes decide to get rid of the wife with a "kitchen accident." If she dies, he can keep the dowry from her family and begin the search for another wife. Not all of the women die immediately from their injuries. If a woman survives and leaves the hospital, she and her children are homeless. She is viewed as a liability since her injuries prevent her from working. But these young mothers are not concerned for themselves; their desperation is for their abandoned and at-risk children.

Dowry CastawaysWe at Emmanuel are stepping out in faith to care for these abandoned women and children. We need help to feed, clothe, house and educate the children; we need help to care for the mothers who require ongoing medical attention along with help with their personal care. We do not know exactly where the funds will come from, but we know our heavenly Father is more than willing to provide for these wounded women and their innocent children. They need the Savior too! These women have already experienced the fires of hell; we do not want the eternal fires of hell in their futures. We are currently caring for 19 castaway burn victims and 33 children. The children are all between the ages of 5 and 9.

Please pray that the children of these burn victims will find their way to Emmanuel and, ultimately, to the Savior. Pray that God moves on the hearts of young Indian husbands to change their view of women and marriage, and adopt a heart to build their families as God intended.