This article first appeared in the November- December 2011 issue of the ER News from the Fields. The names of these young ladies have been changed to protect their identity. Persecution is rampant in Chhattisgarh, India. Anti-conversion laws make evangelism very dangerous. Visit this page later this week for an update on their progress!
“No, please, don’t send me away!” Little Paavai’s tears and pleas made her family relent. They would continue to allow Paavai to live in their home in spite of their shame. Born with legs too thin to support her weight, the little girl pushed herself with her hands across the mud floors of their home. The child had three strikes against her in the remote Indian village. She was born to a low-caste family, she was “crippled,” and she was a girl. The custom of expensive dowries made many Hindu families name their girls “Nakusa” in Hindi, meaning “unwanted.”
Not far away, in another village, another young girl struggled in very similar circumstances. Danna was afflicted with polio as an infant. She could not walk or even care for her everyday needs. As she remembers those days, she writes, “To be born crippled in a Hindu family is a curse. Nobody loves you, nobody cares for you; you are always not wanted. Even dogs and cats were being nicely taken care of, but not me.” Each girl received the life-changing gift of a wheelchair, lifting them out of the dust and enabling them to attend school. Each was able to complete the 12th grade. And each had a life-altering encounter with the love of Jesus Christ.
Paavai attended a three-day evangelism crusade by graduates of a School of Evangelism sponsored by Evangelism Resources. Though God’s plan did not bring physical healing, His touch brought to Paavai ’s life something she had never experienced – joy. Accepting the truth that Jesus loved her no matter what her condition, Paavai accepted Christ as her personal Savior.
Danna also had few joys in her life, save one. She loved to listen to the radio. When she found a Christian station, she learned of the love of God and His compassion for her. Faith arose in her heart alongside the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and Danna committed her life to Christ. Her family was enraged by her decision, and began to torture her in an effort to make her recant her newfound faith. She refused. A Christian family learned of her predicament and sponsored her escape. They funded her training in the School of Evangelism, where she gladly enrolled.
To Danna’s surprise, she met a kindred spirit there. Paavai became her comrade, and together they received the love and affirmation of the Christian community. Dedicated to their training, each was transformed, determined to make a difference in the world in spite of the enormous challenges presented by physical limitations. Upon graduation the girls parted ways, each returning to her home village. Paavai began a prayer ministry, traveling by wheelchair from village to village praying for the sick and demon-possessed. God is wonderfully answering prayer! She has started three churches, and has set a goal to begin nine others within the next three years, making a total of twelve.
Danna began in her “Jerusalem,” and by the miracles wrought through prayer, the power of the Living God was a mighty testimony. She won her family to Christ! Together, the band of new believers has started four churches, with converts all coming from among the low-caste Hindus. There are many seekers who come to hear the messages taught by the “crippled” woman from their own caste. Their goal is to begin eight more churches within the next two years. Danna writes, “People accept me, love me, and care for me now. It is all because of Jesus, who taught me in the School of Evangelism and equipped me for His service.”
Danna praises God for her SOE training, which has strengthened her faith. She asks for our prayers for her and her ministry. In Galatians 3:13-14 the Apostle Paul wrote, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.’ He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.”
Paavai and Danna have been released from the curse of sin, and are rising above the curse placed on them by their culture. Now they are spreading the blessing of salvation to their people through the power of the Holy Spirit!
2012 Update: We will be publishing an update very soon with more details about these courageous ladies and their ongoing ministry in Chhattisgarh.
To learn more about Evangelism Resources ministries, visit our website at www.erinfo.org.