Prisha had heard about this village before.
Punya Basti’s residents lived in squalor with no electricity, running water or toilets.
Most of the villagers left for months at a time to find low-paying work and beg in other areas, but they still couldn’t afford to feed their children three meals a day—much less provide for them to go to school.
According to Gospel For Asia, alcohol and drug abuse ran rampant, even among children, and fights commonly broke out. On top of all this, outsiders despised the villagers for their low caste and lack of hygiene and education.
Prisha had come to Punya Basti to serve as a Sister of Compassion, a woman missionary committed to sharing Christ’s love in practical ways, specifically among poor and marginalized people groups.
Pastor Hoob’s (pictured) ministry was strengthened even more when the Sisters of Compassion came to Punya Basti and start to serve the women in the community.
GFA pastor Hoob Kumar, who served in the village, was having difficulty ministering to the women.
“The ladies didn’t know how to wear clothes properly,” Pastor Hoob recalls, “and the mothers weren’t bothered that the vessels they cooked with and ate food from were not clean.”
Moreover, the women couldn’t open up to Pastor Hoob because he was a man. He knew they needed someone to come alongside them, educate them and listen to their struggles, so he asked his leaders to send Sisters of Compassion to Punya Basti.
Knowing she was called to go where others wouldn’t, Prisha agreed to go. Out of consideration for her safety, her leader said she could commute there each day from a nearby village that would have safer, more comfortable accommodations, but Prisha wanted to live with the villagers.
“I don’t want to stay in a different place,” she told him. “I want to stay in the midst of them, in the village, so I can understand their feelings . . . and they can understand the love that we want to show them.”
Immediate Challenges Require Unswerving Faith
But living among the villagers wasn’t easy. They rarely bathed or washed their clothes. Drunken fights broke out frequently, with men and women shouting vulgar words.
When the landlord of the house Prisha stayed in offered her and her fellow Sister of Compassion water, Prisha looked at the glass in shock.
“The glass that she gave [us] really smelled very bad. We were not able to drink from that,” Prisha remembers. “Seeing this glass, we were really broken, and we didn’t have anything in our hand to give them. All we could do for them was just pray to God Almighty.”
Prisha and her co-worker knew adjusting to this culture would require more than one prayer, though. They dedicated their first week to fasting and praying; then they began finding ways to help the villagers. They started by sweeping out the village’s filthy drains.
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SOURCE: Assist News