Association of Christian Thoughtfulness (ACT) serves the poor in Mumbai, India. Despite Mumbai’s booming economy, many of the city’s 18.4 million residents still struggle with widespread poverty and unemployment. Many also lack access to education and basic healthcare. ACT partners with churches to teach them how to advocate for the poor and to rehabilitate women who are victims of abuse. ACT also trains lay counselors in churches to care for those with mental illness.

ACT’s lay counselors help women like Sheena. Sheena’s life with her husband and two children was happy until her in-laws came to live with them. They began to fight every day and Sheena’s husband beat her for no other reason than to keep his mother happy. Sheena and her children were moved to a rented house and often left without food. Sheena began to consider suicide.

Desperate, Sheena reached out to an ACT lay counselor at a local church. As the counselor used the skills ACT had taught her to listen and understand, Sheena began to feel comforted that someone had heard her and understood. She began to see herself as a survivor rather than a victim, and she began to have a more positive attitude toward life.

Sheena returned home to care for her husband when he became ill, but his attitude toward her remained unchanged. She began to consider taking legal steps to keep her children safe, but decided to ask the ACT lay counselor to speak to her husband first, even if only as a last resort.

After many sessions with the counselor and Sheena, her husband confessed his abuse to be a sinful response to family pressure and anxiety over a bad debt. He asked Sheena to forgive him. Although they face challenges, the couple is working to restore their marriage and bring their family back together.

Through their work, ACT equips counselors and churches to bring God’s power and wisdom into difficult situations. Please pray for ACT as they train lay counselors and churches who are involved with community development in slum areas of Mumbai.