This month, I feel led to share this heart breaking, and then heart warming story of a beautiful woman who found love and belonging in Christ Jesus.
I can't imagine being born into a family that not only didn't want me, but actually made up their minds to hate me. But that is the reality for so many precious girls in many parts of Asia where girls are only seen as a burden on the family, especially financially.
This is the story of Ruth.
Ruth's parents already had three girls. They were desperate for a boy and payed a local priest to pray to his 'gods' that they would conceive and give birth to a healthy boy. But when the baby was born, it was another girl, not the boy the family hoped for. The baby's parents were furious. From that moment on, they treated the child (Ruth) with contempt. They forced her to work in the fields when she was as young as five years old; and didn't feed her or clothe her adequately. She did not know love, only the hatred of parents who didn't want her.
My heart wrenches to think of what girls like Ruth go through in family situations where there is no hope and no joy. Where there is very real spiritual darkness, abuse, and fear. Where there is no belief that all life is given by a sovereign God who loves us. But that's exactly the family Ruth was born into.
One day, when she finally summoned up enough courage to ask her parents why they abused and hated her so much, her father shouted:
"You should have been a boy!"
As she grew, her situation seemed completely helpless until one day when she was able to connect with a group of local Gospel for Asia women missionaries. Because of their great love for her, she was drawn to them and began to develop a deep friendship with them. Then women missionaries (sisters) invited Ruth to come to church with them.
That day, the pastor was teaching from John 1:12 and John 3:16:
Yet, to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, he gave the right to become children of God.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not die - but have everlasting life.
Imagine. Hated by your parents. Never feeling loved or wanted in your home. Ruth describes herself as a 'beggar for love'. She was desperate to feel the touch of someone who cared for her - and she only began to feel that through the love of Christ extended through the GFA sisters.
And yet -even more! Learning of a Creator who loves you so much that when you believe in His name, He adopts you into His family. With open, loving arms He calls you child and claims you as His own. A loving Father for Ruth. And for me. And for you.
And then, to learn how this same Father God gave His son to give you eternal life- hope, peace, purpose.
I have to close my eyes and try to imagine myself in this sweet sister's place, hearing these truths for the first time. Feeling them right down deep in her soul. What an overwhelming sense of acceptance and hope she must have felt. The hope of the gospel of Christ Jesus, Yeshua, Saviour.
It changes everything.
This hope led Ruth to a new life and a journey to study at bible college. When she left her family, her father's hatred still ran ramped. She continued to pray and study, growing in her walk with the Lord and finding purpose in sharing her testimony and His love with other women.
After years of training and growth, the local pastors from her village asked her to return home. Ruth was very cautious, for fear of what her father might do to her, but was reassured all was well. Her father was now following Christ and his heart was changed. (Imagine!)
When she saw her father again, he embraced her for the first time in her life. This made me weep when I first heard it because I can't even begin to comprehend what this dear woman had gone through and what that embrace must have meant to her.
Praise Jesus, He is Redeemer.
He is Healer.
He is the One who mends the broken hearted and the broken families.
Praise Aba Father who adopts us as His own and loves us with an unending, unshakable love.
And praise Him for women missionaries like the precious sisters who reached out to Ruth in her darkest hour. And now, for Ruth, who has seen her life and her family restored by the power of the Cross and longs to do the same for others.
As believers, stories like this ought to move us to tears and shake us to the core of who we are. Stories like this ought to inspire us to action - to see the deep need of so many of our sisters in Asia who are literally dying to feel the love of Christ and the hope of renewal and restoration.
This hope can be and is being found through the love of GFA women missionaries who can reach Asian women right in their very own culture and communities. But they do need our support, friends...
Have you considered sponsoring a Gospel for Asia Woman Missionary?
We are so blessed and honoured to pray for and support precious women missionaries in India.