If you came over from Encouragement for Today, welcome! I’m so glad you read my devotion, He Never Gives Up, and decided to visit my blog.
Here I’m sharing a story about a woman whose life was changed through the literacy program of Mission India,
the Proverbs 31 Ministries International Initiative partner this year.
I probably shouldn’t admit this, but sometimes when I am looking at Facebook or Instagram and I see all the pictures, it overwhelms me. With a quick swipe, I can get past the sad story and move on to the pictures of my kids or my friends. The ones that don’t make me feel a certain way.
Today, I don’t want to share with you a sad story, but an empowering one! A story that makes me happy whenever I think of her’s.
Emerging from the van, the stench pushed me back. Having never witnessed deep poverty like this before, the raw sewage and animal waste filling the trench-lined streets caught me off guard. Even the smell wouldn’t extinguish my excitement for the day, though. This day, my friend Amy Carroll and I, as a part of the International Initiatives team with Proverbs 31 Ministries, were witnessing first hand the life change God was bringing to small, slum communities through the work of Mission India.
Steps from our vehicle, John, our Mission India host, led us to the home we were invited to visit.
Slipping off my shoes, I stepped across the threshold and there she stood. Strong. Beaming.
Her poise seemed so out of place.
The soft, delicate blush-shaded sari swirled around her slender frame as Sunita stood at the entrance of this home greeting us. Her gentle, yet sparkling eyes twinkled as a smile graced her sun-worn face.
Her poise was so out of place in this residence of deprivation; her loveliness set amidst scents of sewage and sights of scarcity.
John introduced this woman, who is now recognized in her community as a leader, a woman who brings change. She has not always been.
Several years prior to our meeting, Sunita had become a student of a literacy class sponsored by Mission India. Unable to read or perform basic math skills needed for daily living, Sunita was held captive by poverty. From a social class that has for centuries been told, over and over again that they are uninvited; considered worth less than nothing. The cows roaming the streets of this village were of greater than worth than she.
Sunita is not alone nor is her group of people small. Hundreds of millions of Indians are trapped in poverty simply because of the origin of their birth. Sunita has another strike against her: she is a woman. She has been told from her very beginning that she has no value; she is an untouchable.
Then Sunita was invited to a literacy class by Mission India, where she would be given the one thing she had never experienced: opportunity. She took it.
In this Bible-based class, Sunita gained not only the power to read and calculate; she was invited to meet Jesus. Her life was transformed when she said “yes”. Lies spoken over her and to her were slowly stripped away and she began to truly see. She began to see just how the One True God saw her, as His precious daughter, the one He was compelled by love to come for. She learned that she was not worth less than nothing; she was worth more than rubies!
This was what I saw beaming through Sunita’s smile; peaceful joy radiating there. Eyes that before would have only looked at the ground now looked me in the eye. She is of great worth and now she knows.
Through our translator we began to hear her story. With this new and powerful knowledge, Sunita’s heart began to burn to bring this transforming truth to the women of her community. She didn’t succumb to the scarcity mentality that Lysa speaks of in chapter 10 of Uninvited. Instead, she wanted to spread this good news and success with as many as she could! She recognized immediately the truth that God made us for giving.
Sunita became a non-formal teacher, bringing the knowledge she had gained to the poor in her slum society. When five families in her class came to know Christ, she was inspired to become a project manager, overseeing five Mission India literacy classes.
Sitting in the classroom that afternoon, I could see the same sparkle I had witnessed in her eyes on the faces of each beautiful Indian woman in that room. They had gained knowledge; they could read to their children; calculate their costs at the market. But they had come to obtain so very much more: the knowledge that they are valued.
What changed Sunita was truth. Truth changed the way she thought about herself and when her thinking changed she changed.
There is an abundant need in this world for your exact brand of beauty. Sunita is living that out.
I am so honored to be pictured here with Amy, Sunita (the project manager of the literacy class),
and the beautiful teacher and her son.
Today I want to share with you a video telling the story of just one woman whose life has been dramatically changed when given the opportunity to learn important life skills and even more importantly about Jesus!
Some literacy classes graduates start home-based businesses and increase their income. Today, I am giving away to one commenter a necklace and earrings made by one of the literacy classes as well as a copy of Uninvited: Living Loved When you Feel Left Out, Less Than and Lonely.
To enter for a chance to win, share how Sunita’s story impacts you or simply say, “I’m in!”
Are you interested in learning more about Mission India? It takes only $30 for one woman to receive a year of literacy classes.
Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Uninvited, is impacting this beautiful ministry and others.