The Journalist Who Became a Modern-Day Mordecai

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Healing the abused: Lee Grady prays for a woman in Bangalore, India.

For two baby girls in India, life almost ended in a public trash bin. That's where their parents dumped them right after they were born. Why? Because Noor and Parveen are girls—and in India, almost no one wants a girl. Girls are useless, not worthy of being educated, and on top of every other encumbrance, parents have to pay huge dowries when they marry. No wonder the greeting given to an Indian bride on her wedding day is, "May you be the mother of a hundred sons."

In many parts of the world, when a girl is born families literally declare a day of mourning. Newborn girls are often buried alive, suffocated under blankets, thrown to wild animals, burned with acid, dropped down wells or tossed into the ocean. Billboards across India advertise gender-selective abortions. Many girls in China are killed at birth—even in hospitals. Female infanticide is an accepted practice in many countries. If a girl somehow survives childhood, the abuse, hatred and gender-based discrimination doesn't end, even when she becomes a woman.

Thankfully when Noor and Parveen's parents dumped them in a public trash bin, Raja Kumar Undurthi, pastor of Mission Mobilization Church, heard their cries and rescued them. He brought them to Mordecai House, a Christian shelter where 33 girls now live. Every single one of the girls was abandoned by her parents, but here they receive healing from their past, education for their future and encouragement to transform nations.

Who would have thought that these two little girls' lives would be saved due to a former Charisma editor living halfway around the world who had a vision to empower women after editing articles about this. It was the beginning of a ministry that is touching the world.

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One day Raja took Noor and Parveen back to the trash bin so they would understand about their past. While they stood there, a group of people overheard Raja talking—and became enraged. It was not because of what happened to the girls, but because Raja had rescued them. "Why did you let them live?" the crowd screamed at Raja. "You should have died in this place!" they shrieked at the terrified girls.

Modern-Day Mordecai

Sadly Noor and Parveen's story is not unique. All over the world, tens of millions of girls are in danger from the moment they're conceived, explains Lee Grady, president of The Mordecai Project, which partnered with Raja and his wife, Padma, to support the home where Noor and Parveen live.

Grady named his ministry after Mordecai in the book of Esther, a man who challenged a young woman to action and then watched her transform a nation. Today Grady is a modern-day Mordecai who works in Guatemala, Peru, Uganda, India and many other countries where girls and women are oppressed simply for being females. "We go where gender oppression has created injustice and we bring the healing and compassion of Christ into those places," Grady says.

Grady's journey began right here at Charisma, where he served as the magazine's editor for 11 years. He worked on thousands of articles, but one stands out from the others because it launched him into this calling. He remembers: "We were planning an article about women in leadership, and I asked a woman who pastored a megachurch to write about the biblical basis for that. Her response was blunt: 'I'm tired of defending myself.' "

Her words echoed to Grady long after he hung up the phone. Who would defend her, he wondered. Finally the Lord spoke to him: "Why don't you defend her?" Instead of an article, Grady wrote a book, 10 Lies the Church Tells Women: How the Bible Has Been Misused to Keep Women in Spiritual Bondage (Charisma House). It sold more than 100,000 copies in English, Spanish and several other languages.

Please consider donating to The Mordecai Project, India and help put a stop to the horrific atrocities these women face daily.

To donate, visit christianlifemissions.org.

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