In Central Asia, our partners are taking care to those who have been broken by a sinful world and showing them the hope of the gospel.
When our partners in India first met Saanvi* in March 2021, they could clearly see the cruel marks of oppression etched into every crease of her face. Her expressions were grim more often than not, but truthfully, her life had given her little to smile about.
Her husband had died about 5 months before the team met her, but the loss was almost a blessing. He had been very abusive to Saanvi, beating her regularly. This abuse left her with frequent headaches and other chronic medical issues. To make matters worse, he had taken out substantial loans to build a nice house for them, but Saanvi was saddled with a debt she couldn’t see any way of paying off.
A Testimony of God’s Goodness
Saanvi shared her testimony with our partners, who graciously translated. “After my husband died, the burden of many different loans came upon me. I started to pray, but I didn’t know what to do about those loans. As I was praying and seeking GOD, I was thinking much about all these loans, and I was very depressed about my children’s future and how to feed them. All these things were too much of a burden in my heart, but God led your ministry to help me.
“By the grace of God, he really helped us through World Challenge and through your ministry. Every month I am receiving a pension from World Challenge, and every month I am getting provisions, food and cooking items. We are also receiving medical assistance. Not only are we receiving physical help but spiritually also. …My children and I are growing in the Lord. By the grace of God, I never expected that I would receive all of these things, but God used you through your ministry to comfort us in different ways. We are very happy about that, and we are praying for you.”
She closed by saying “meeku Vandanalu,” which is a Christian greeting and farewell also used for “Thank you.”
A New Way Forward
World Challenge helps this family with monthly support and any medical needs. Our partners went to her village’s elders and spoke to them about the situation. The elders agreed to eliminate more than half of her debt through the sale of a small piece of property that was partly hers. The team then helped her negotiate transferring the remaining loan to a lower interest rate that will make it feasible to pay off within three years.
Saanvi and her boys attend a Salvation Army church, and the influence of the church leadership and community already seems to be making a notable difference in her spirit and attitudes toward her life. She now has hope for the future, especially regarding her boys. The church leaders try to regularly visit her and mentor her sons, especially now that their father is gone. They reported, “We see her and the boys having a new interest and love for the things of God.”
Like the early church, our partners are stepping in the care for widows and those in need, showing them the love of Christ.
*For our ministry partners’ security, we don’t release names or locations in highly sensitive areas.