Leaving the American Dream
I, Sudhakar, currently work as a Scientist at Emory in the field of Advanced Biotechnology and my wife Manitha is also a Scientist in India. We have two children.
I was born and raised in an Indian village farmer’s family as the oldest among three brothers. Mother and Father were hardworking farmers and because of their help, I could finish my schooling. During the Master’s program I was provided a fellowship, and later, qualified through the national entrance exam for a fellowship from the Indian Government to secure my PhD. Later, I married my wife and relocated to Atlanta, GA, to complete my postdoctoral studies at Georgia Institute of Technology. Meanwhile, my wife, Manitha, was at Rice University, Houston, for her Postdoctoral studies.
While I was growing up my parents told me that since I was doing well in my studies, as well as being the oldest son, I should take care of my brothers and whole family. I was the only one engaged in higher studies in my whole community. I was burdened with the expectations of my parents, the uncertainty of the future, and how I would care for my whole family.
Being away from home, since the 8th grade, I missed family horribly and felt so much loneliness. Friends were everything. Due to all the burdens and stress, I started smoking cigarettes heavily with my friends and that affected my health in different ways.
All these years, though I had done well in my studies, earned a PhD, and conducted great research in the field of stem cells and regenerative medicine, I was broken inside and found no contentment with my knowledge of science or success in the field. I was trying to find my identity in science, knowledge, success and self-glorification, by chasing the American Dream, but in reality I was longing for bold love, acceptance, peace and contentment of my soul. Inside, I was burdened, filled with hopelessness, and darkened in my ways.
Meanwhile, I was carrying all the expenses for my brother’s marriages and helping in their businesses. I started to care for my own immediate family and no longer carried the burden to cover the expenses of all my extended family. My wife started seeing tremendous changes in my life. I had stopped smoking and I started waking early to prepare myself for the day.
We started thinking about returning to India to work among the people to care for the oppressed and outcast, to be a voice for the voiceless, and to defend the poor and oppressed. I have always loved the poor, but I also knew their hopelessness and brokenness. In India, the poor have been oppressed in so many ways such as: religion, cast system, dowry system, superstitions, poverty, political system, hierarchy, corruption, illiteracy, injustice, debts, diseases and natural disasters. The oppression manifests in crime, violence, prostitution, gangs, goons, burglaries, religious riots, terrorism, honor killings, and human trafficking. The poor live in hopelessness and utter darkness. Their innocence and illiteracy becomes an advantage for the ravaging wolves. They are totally helpless. There is no guide and hope for them.
With zeal and passion, we resigned our jobs in the USA during October 2011, and returned to India to serve the poor.
The Work in India during 2011-2013:
We found jobs in the Scientific Profession in India while we started working among the North Indian migrants. We also invested in a cancer charity, where we support children suffering from cancer. We encouraged broken families from different religions. We also did some work among the slum dwellers to educate the children and empower the women.
In the slums, we were reminded and felt the impact of untouchability, poverty, spiritual oppression, brokenness, darkness and hopelessness.
Connections with Grace Klein Community:
During 2013 I returned to Atlanta to do my research and met a couple of the servant leaders of Grace Klein Community, based in Birmingham, AL, through our common friends and African missionary brother and sister. Our friendship has grown so strong through Oak Mountain camping trips, as well as multiple fellowship opportunities. Many members of Grace Klein Community have become so dear to me and I have learned so much, from their lives, the love community, their serving hearts and their humility. When a community family hosted me for a couple of days, I was overwhelmed by their love and caring.
Current Vision, Mission and God’s calling:
While in Atlanta, my burden has become so heavy for the slum people.
Under the care and oversight from Grace Klein Community, we want to serve the slum dwellers. Our goal is to begin serving the slums in December 2016. There are 116 families in the slum and we would be training children for their higher education as well as planning empowerment programs for the women.
I really appreciate Grace Klein Community for giving us this opportunity to partner with them and entrusting us under their care. Members of the community will invest emotionally and spiritually in the lives of my family, encouraging us, and overseeing the funds given to support our service efforts. I thank you for being a member of Grace Klein Community and partnering with us in our obedience as you come alongside us. We cherish your investment in us!
If you feel led to contribute financially, please share a one-time or monthly donation to support us in our ministry.
Here’s how you can give:
Checks can be mailed to:
Grace Klein Community, 1678 Montgomery Hwy #104, Birmingham, AL 35216
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Memo: Pearls of Slum