snake charming magic ends

Todd Rutkowski, Sep 14, 2017, 12:05 AM
Todd Rutkowski National Catalyst of Vineyard Emerge

They live in Northern India on the outskirts of Dehradun. For centuries, as a people, they found their livelihood in snake charming. You may have seen them featured on the pages of National Geographic. Walking the streets of India I have witnessed their magic. They carry their snakes in baskets and wow their onlookers with their imaginative control over this ever so crafty creature. It is a sight to behold though you best have a handful of Indian Rupees should you stop to gaze.

This people historically are a nomadic people migrating throughout India for their livelihood. In the early 1990s the government gave them plots of land to set up communities. Many of these plots of land surround Dehradun. In recent years the Government of India has come under pressure from animal activist groups and has now banned the practise of snake charming. With their nomadic life halted twenty years ago their centuries old means of support has now ceased.

The snakes go free and a destitute people group emerges as the casualty.

Sanjay worked for a NGO that provided literacy work for many of the snake charmer children. About 3 or 4 years ago, working as a church planter, Sanjay returned to serve them in their injustice and loss. He reconnected to the many teenagers (mostly girls) of the families he once taught as children. Bringing along Vika and some others they began to help these people with micro – enterprise business while teaching the women skills for enterprise.

Over time Sanjay began to see that the teenage girls, he once taught as children of this community, showing interest in the story of Jesus. Many of them becoming followers of Jesus. However, they live in a culture of arranged marriages and most of them had been promised to their future husbands since they were 5 years old. Four years later these now 18 or 19-year-old young women are stepping into family lives not of their making. What will faith look like for them now?
Sanjay prayed, trusted God and remained silent.

Over the last year many of the young women were excited to see their husbands choose Jesus or make room for them to host spiritual meetings in their homes. The seed of the Kingdom of God took root in them and is bringing life and spreading life. In the last year the story of Jesus has spread through many former snake charmer's communities as a result of these young women. Five churches have sprung up through the passion of these young woman as miracles and deliverance are taking place in their husbands, siblings and extended families.

Once a snake charming community, founding the practise of mesmerizing snakes, they have now found they have been mesmerized by the great and wonderful love of God in Jesus.

As my friends Sunny and Vika Gilbert from Dehradun and I sit together here in Asia, them sharing this story with me, I pass it along to you with a great realization that the Kingdom of God is most exciting at its expanding edges...

Todd Rutkowski