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Anila’s* life, like yours and mine, has ups and downs. For a Hindu, however, these ups and downs are attributed almost exclusively to whether you are on the good or bad side of a host of gods.
Hinduism, like many religions, is steeped in the culture of, not only the country, but also the region within that country. If you were to drive up and down any street in America, you would notice churches of different denominations. Similarly, there are gods intrinsic to certain regions of India.
Anila and her family live along the Ganges River in a highly-contaminated section of the historic body of water. Shrines to various Hindu gods and goddesses line the river, and the local community comes here to worship, pray, and offer gifts and sacrifices as part of their daily routine.
The hardships of living life in a region wrought with poverty and pollution are compounded by cultural religious beliefs that offer little assurances and create overwhelming despair.
Mark* and Kate,* TMS Global workers, have been praying for Anila and her family to encounter the living God for almost four years. They have been reading the Bible with her and attending church together. Anila, however, continued to worship idols.
After being introduced to who Jesus is, a typical Hindu follower will add Him to their repertoire of deities. In their homes, next to their icons and idols, they will add the cross. Mark and Kate understood this practice and continued praying Anila would have a radical encounter with Jesus.
Anila’s husband Aryan* had an accident several years ago that left him unable to stand on one of his legs. The family struggled financially because of Aryan’s accident. Much of Anila’s focus has been on material things that she needed but could not afford to buy.
One evening, Jesus came to Anila in a powerful dream.
In her dream, Anila finally had all the money to buy the things for her home that she wanted. She began to go to different stores to buy everything on her list. The problem was that every time the store-keeper handed her the goods she purchased, she would look down at the items in her hands and would only see the face of Jesus.
After going from store to store, and winding up with nothing but Jesus’ face, she left the market upset. On the road home, she heard Jesus say to her, “Anila, stop chasing after these things. Instead, seek Me first.”
Anila recounted her dream to Kate, who remarked, “Anila, do you know that this is in the Bible?” Then, Kate got out a Hindi Bible and read Matthew 6:33: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (NIV). Anila excitedly said, “That is exactly what he said to me!”
Anila realized from this dream that Jesus was real and that she wanted to truly seek only Him. Anila stopped worshiping all of her Hindu idols.
No longer does Anila live with the despair of not knowing whether she is loved, heard, noticed, or safe. Jesus’ perfect love has broken the weight she carried for so long.
*Pseudonyms and stock photo used for security
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