From India to Latin America… and to faith in Jesus

Latin American cityOften the means by which a person comes to faith in Christ are unexpected and unique. For Dhiya,* it meant moving halfway across the world.

Weston and Clara are cross-cultural missionaries in Latin America. As part of their ministry, they teach English as a second language and enjoy welcoming the students into their home. The couple love building relationships with the people and are excited to see their students studying the Bible on their own and with others.

Recently they discovered that their ministry is not just to the Latino community. At a barbecue hosted by their ministry coworkers, Clara met a lovely young woman named Dhiya. With her husband, Rais, they had come from India on temporary work visas. The missionary felt drawn to the younger woman, but was amazed when Dhiya impulsively took hold of her hands and said, “You need to come to my house!”

Clara immediately felt that this was God’s way of opening a door for her to invest in Dhiya’s life. She decided to visit the young woman at her apartment. That was the first of many visits. In the beginning, they would just talk about Dhiya’s cultural background.

One day Clara arrived to find her friend cleaning her traditional altar. This gave the two of them an opportunity to talk about Dhiya’s religion. Gradually Dhiya opened her heart more and shared that her grandmother had been a Christian. Although Dhiya maintained her identity with her eastern religion, she had gone to church with her grandmother many times as she grew up. However to Dhiya, Jesus was just another god—one of many in the medley in which she believed.

Eventually, Clara and Dhiya started reading the gospel of Mark together. But it was difficult for Dhiya, with English as her second language. So Clara decided, instead, to use a copy of The Lamb. She had been previously introduced to The Lamb back home in the States by friends who also used it in an ESL program. Weston and Clara had personally found the book very helpful in their own ministry, using it as the basis for family Bible studies.

From the beginning, Dhiya loved The Lamb because of its simple English and beautiful pictures. The two women would read together each chapter and then go through the questions. When they came to the end of the book, they read through the prayer—a personal expression of trust in Jesus as Saviour. As they finished, Dhiya said, “I did that!”

When Clara asked her what she meant, Dhiya explained that she had prayed a similar prayer at her grandmother’s church in India. But she had not fully understood why Jesus came to die until she had read The Lamb. Dhiya went on to say that she didn’t realize that Jesus was the one true God until now. She had always had questions about her traditional religion, but never had anyone with whom she could discuss what she was thinking. Now that she knew who Jesus was and why he came to die, she believed Jesus to be her Lamb, to be her Saviour.

Clara and Dhiya continued to study Mark together. One day Dhiya told Clara that she wanted to get baptized. This was a major decision for her because in India, baptism is a public statement that one had become a Christian and had left one’s old belief system behind. At first, the missionaries were hesitant to follow through with Dhiya’s request. Rais was accepting of Dhiya’s faith, but was not ready to make a similar decision. Weston and Clara did not want to offend Rais by baptizing his wife.

Dhiya loved her husband but wanted to obey God more. And Rais did not resist her decision. He said to her, “You know how serious this is? When you make this decision, you’ll have to stick with it.”

Dhiya was firm. Yes, this is what she wanted to do. So one rainy afternoon, she was baptized in the backyard of one of the missionaries’ homes.

Dhiya loves to continue to learn more about Jesus. She is so amazed that God brought her halfway around the world so that she could have someone to answer her questions about him. The Bible promises that those who seek God will find him (Jeremiah 29:13) and Clara is thrilled to have been able to be part of that journey for Dhiya.

(*Names changed as per GoodSeed policy.)

Staff Writer
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