I’ve never been angrier in my life. I’ve also never felt so helpless.
I was standing in a vast rock quarry in Northern India, and I knew this was a moment that could potentially change me forever. Growing up in the United States in a comfortable home, attending a comfortable church, and living a fairly comfortable life, the fact that the world was a big, scary place was more of a vague concept than a stark reality. But being there in that place that reality was crushing in on me like an emotional weight.
My friend, Shampa Rice, had brought my film crew and I here to witness a great injustice.
Modern day slavery, sanctioned by the Indian government, was unfolding in front of me. Day in and day out, for their entire lives, whole families were being forced to gather rocks and beat them into gravel, then haul that gravel into trucks to be hauled away. The rocks never depleted, and the trucks loomed ever present. They had a quota to fill. Otherwise they weren’t getting paid. And since a quote needed to be met, that meant that all hands needed to be on deck to complete the task. I saw children as young as 3 or 4 hammering away at rocks, doing their best to help the family survive.
Shampa was trying her best to help these people, setting up a school nearby where the children could get an education, but it was a hard sell because letting a child go to school would mean two less hands to work the quarry.
And then there was the incessant “tink, tink, tink” sound that you could hear everywhere you went.
It was the sound of hammers hitting rocks, and since these people had to do this same thing over and over again for decades, many of them would become deaf by early middle age.
The enormity of the quarry was what really blinded me with anger, because it literally reached as far as the eye could see in both directions, with thousands of people hammering away, hauling, and basically looking miserable. And there was nothing I could do about it.
Technically it’s not slavery because the people are getting paid, but the amount they are paid is minuscule, of course. These people are barely surviving, and in these conditions, they won’t survive for long. I remember picking up two rocks and holding them in my hands, making an inner vow to never forget this, and also to be a voice to these voiceless people. I still have the rocks.
I think more than anything else in my nearly decade long foray into making documentaries, the thing that has changed within me the most is a full realization of the horrors, pain, and sorrow that so much of the world must endure everyday.
Whether they are working the rock quarries of India, begging on the streets of Tanzania, or selling their bodies in Thailand or Brazil, the life being lived by millions around the world isn’t just horrible, but also fairly hopeless. None of these people will be able to work their way out of this predicament. A prostitute can’t simply leave her profession because she has no skills to get a decent job. It’s a vicious cycle that will not end until Jesus returns.
It’s often easy to start to feel guilty for your own charmed life, but that won’t help anyone. My job is to be a voice for the voiceless, to introduce people to the kind and loving God of the Bible, and to inspire people that so much more is available to you through the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said that the poor would be with us always, but that doesn’t make it any easier to stomach. How God can deal with all the pain He sees is one of the great mysteries to me. Thank God there will be an end to the pain at some point.
In the meantime, those of us who claim Jesus as our Lord and Savior can do our part, however big or small, one person at a time.[likebtn dislike_enabled=”0″ icon_dislike_show=”0″ tooltip_enabled=”0″ white_label=”1″ rich_snippet=”1″ popup_disabled=”1″ share_enabled=”0″]
This Story is From:
Father of Lights. You can watch this story as it unfolded because we captured it on film. See this and more stories in the full movie available now.
Darren Wilson is the Founder and Director at WP Films, a media company with a very clear mission: ask questions about God that no one else will. He has traveled the world since 2006 creating various feature-length documentaries, including Finger of God, Furious Love, Father of Lights, Holy Ghost, and Holy Ghost Reborn. Darren is also the author of the books Filming God and Finding God in the Bible.