As soon as I walked in the room, I was drawn to her.
I’m sure some of it was the beautiful sari swirling around her. Yet it was more than that. I wanted to get to know her; know her story, her life.
My friends, Amy Carroll and Suzie Eller, as well as myself had traveled to the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove to join Mission India in sharing the work God is doing there. To protect her identity I’ll call my new friend in the beautiful sari Sunitha.
As we sat waiting to share with the attendees the plight of women in India, Sunitha and I began our conversation. This was her first trip to America and she was taking it all in. She asked about my family, wanted to see pictures of them and learn as much as she could about my life as well.
Women … though so much of our lives are different, in so very many ways we are the same.
During our trip to India as a part of the Proverbs 31 Ministries International Initiative, Amy, Suzie and I had seen the hardships women endure in Sunitha’s country. Hardships that were backed up with many facts:
Only 60.6% of women over age 15 are literate.
Women earn 57% of what their male colleagues earn for performing the same work, even if that work is busting rocks in a quarry or picking produce in a field.
Gender is the biggest factor in an Indian baby’s chance of survival. For every 100 male Indian children under 5 that die, 131 females do — victims of neglect, poorer nutrition and second-rate medical care. An Indian girl is 75% more likely to die than a boy.
47% of girls marry before age 18 (40% of child marriages in the world takes place in India).
45% of women are slapped, kicked and beaten with 55% of women perceiving violence to be a normal part of marriage.
1 case of abuse by a husband or relatives is reported every 9 minutes.
After hearing once again of the persecution Indians are going through as they choose to leave behind the hopeless religion of their families and choose new life in Jesus, I thought They are the brave ones.
The thought occurred to me to give my bracelet to my new friend, Sunitha.
You know how it is when you are going to step out and do something that is uncomfortable?
Lord, why would she wear leather when her jewelry is gold? It doesn’t even match her outfit spun in my mind. I tried to find reasons to not do the uncomfortable.
And then I found myself in a small space … just Sunitha and I. (Ok – I’ll go ahead and tell you it was the bathroom!) I knew, God was giving me the opportunity to encourage this woman in the work He had given her to do in India.
Removing my bracelet, I handed it to her and told her, “You are the one who needs to be brave.” She graciously accepted my gift and then being a mom just like an American mother, she asked me to pray most of all for her children. They are the ones who get the brunt when we step out for God. I can certainly attest to that!
That gesture opened doors for a whole lot of fun the rest of the day! After seeing on her face the pain of trying new foods, Sunita and I headed to Asheville in search of an Indian lunch. Later that night … well this happened and we sure had a good time!
Amy, Suzie and I actually join them! You can watch the video on my Facebook page by clicking here.
Mission India, for just $30, teaches a woman in India:
- a 5th grade education in reading, writing and arithmetic
- Health, hygiene and sanitation
- Social awareness and the changes that need to take place in culture
- Economic development – teaching them to become business owners
- Spiritual development – an introduction to Jesus!
Would you partner with us to bring Truth to the people of India?
Click here to see a class in action & be a part of change!
This is Dr. C. He and his wife Dr. K have been a huge part of bringing change to the lives of Indian women for 40 years! His wife writes the curriculum for the literacy programs. So thankful to do this work alongside my dear friends Suzie Eller and Amy Carroll.