Louise: “What do you want Bunny?”
Bunny: “I want a bible!”
Louise: “Well we don’t have Bibles now, come in the evening”.
Evening came and we forgot and Bunny forgot. Next week Sunday Bunny was at the door again. I need a Bible. We searched everywhere but realised we ran out of Telugu Bibles completely (Telugu is one of the most common languages in India after Hindi). Not that Bunny can read at this time. He just wants a Bible that he can carry to Church. Yes Bunny doesn’t belong to our fellowship but to another down the road.
So the question is why would Bunny ask us for a Bible why not at his Church? Well that is one of the problems in many Churches. The love, support and care is in short supply. Church for many in India remains a place where Christian rituals are carried out. That is why God has called me to go around and show pastors the right way, the way of the Lord Jesus Christ. If they accept our counsel then things for Bunny could be very different… but as usual we had to turn Bunny away empty handed…
Sorry Bunny we don’t have Bibles. Bunny was disappointed and we let him go. We continue to search in our house and we found one used Bible; but it won’t matter to Bunny that his Bible is a little worn out for wear, as long as he carries a Bible.
So who is this Bunny?
His real name is John Bunyan.(Read who is John Bunyan here) Yes, can you believe it? I prayed for Bunny even before he was born. He grew up before my eyes. Bunny must be almost 5 years old now. His dad died two years ago. So cute… I love this boy. I admire His strength. I see also how he tries to make up for the things he lacks. Like having a dad.
Bunny has a little sister called Neelima (she is just 2 years old). She comes occasionally to ask for some money from us. She was just a few months old when her dad died.
Bunny and Neelima’s father was known as Anil, he was 23 years old when he passed away. It was sad to loose Anil. He never made a commitment to Jesus, rather he said if Jesus heals him he will change his life and even take baptism. Anil never made right because a week after he said this he died.
Lydia the Widow?
Anil’s widow (Bunny and Neelima’s Mother), Lydia is 21 years old. She was left to survive in her mother-in-law’s house with two very small children. Life is terrible for the children. Lydia is often in fits of anger, violence, vulgar and shameless rage. Lydia carries many burdens and hurts in her short life. She is a very beautiful girl.
Lydia like Anil, also has a depressing story; she lost her father just before she lost her husband Anil. Lydia now faces what so many young widows in India face. They are often societies outcasts – rejected by many. Lydia’s inlaws gives her much trouble. All this so they can force her to leave their home. She is seen as part of the family’s misfortune and burdens.
Lydia’s story is the norm in India. Since their son died there is no need for Lydia or her children. They fight with her every week. She fights back and tries to stand her ground as much as she can.
We as her Christian neighbours do our part to assist and protect Lydia. It is very hard to break through such cultural behaviour entrenched in India for centuries. She can’t go back to her parents’ home cause there her blood-brother is in control and in India you just can’t go back home once you are married as a woman.
I remember when Bunny was small, Lydia had struggled with post-natal depression (not that anyone cared to know what her problem is) and she tried to commit suicide. She tried to hang herself in a hut opposite to where Raj and I are situated.
After the failed suicide attempt she tried to go home. Lydia was beaten by her brother very badly, that Lydia had no choice but to return to Anil. This was all the life that Lydia knew… it is constant mistreatment and lack of compassion from husband while he was alive; it was the poor treatment from her in-laws and the constant abuse from her own blood brother when she tries to get to the home where her mother stays.
The reality of life in India – this is Lydia’s Struggle.
Lydia, Bunny and Neelima – this is their story. This is the treatment they receive while living in a country they call their home.
Sadly there is little we can do as a ministry to intervene with Lydia’s in-laws. Interfering in family issues is considered taboo. It is so hard for us, as her Christian neighbours, to watch Lydia’s life spiral out of control… many women in India commit suicide if they find themselves in Lydia’s shoes. The weight of knowing Lydia might take her life is very sobering. Being a widow makes you a mockery in society. You are hated because of the burden you place on the community. You become a victim wherever you go. There is no help in India for woman like her.
Even Lydia would go to the authorities such as the police to file charges of abuse against those who would mistreat her; the chances are that the police too will harass her because she is considered “bad luck”
Lydia’s struggle has finally drawn her into a life of prostitution. Her children have to be fed and clothed. She must eat too in order to take care of her children. While we have always helped Lydia as much as we can, it is just not enough. It takes a village to raise a child.
Raj and I would love to buy a full month’s basic groceries for her but we cannot. We do our best. It doesn’t help to ask neighbours to stand together in solidarity with Lydia and each contributes to her for a better life.
Hindusim has taught them to take care of yourself only – for Christians with Hindu backgrounds it hard to let go of this stronghold of a belief. Sadly the shallowness of the undiscipled Christians in India, keep Lydia from knowing the full blessing of God’s love.
Lydia is just one of the very few ladies we have met but needs help in a proper manner. Giving a little bit of money for the month is not enough. Lydia needs healing first. So I have been praying for a while now for God to give the proper opportunity so I can call Lydia to my home and just talk to her and love her and direct her. Lydia will also need a good job – it is difficult to find work for an Indian widow. We are going to do our best with Lydia through the power of the Holy Spirit. We ask for your prayers and support to help Lydia so she can put the children both in school; and then she can get a job.
Healing should be holistic – get her life in order, and bring inner healing and deliverance. Love isn’t just Words…but deeds. However by faith, we praise God for taking Lydia to her full purpose. I declare that a wonderful testimony will come from this family and the families of many others in India. We have worked with others like Lydia before and we know what God is able too.
God be glorified