It is funny how a seemingly plain ol’ event can really be a spiritual encounter. Today I went out with my two little girls to pick up some vegetables from a nearby shop a minute’s walk from our home. As we ambled down the lane I noticed a lady up ahead with her baby tied to her back with her shawl. Then, as we turned the corner, we could see that she had stopped farther ahead on the road to adjust her baby. Another woman was helping, holding the baby on her back for her while she cinched her shawl tighter and tucked the ends in. As we came upon them, I could overhear their conversation.
The second lady was asking the first about her baby and how old it was. We were both quite surprised to hear that the ‘baby’ was actually over two years old. It looked like a nine- or ten-month-old infant. The second lady, in Nepali fashion, continued to ask questions of this complete stranger about the child and why it was so small and how it behaved. I, since I am living in Nepal and it is quite fine to do so, stood by and listened to the conversation and added my two cents. It was clear from listening to the mother speak that she had no idea what exactly was wrong with her child, but she was coming from a monthly doctor visit at the charity hospital.
“What does she eat?” I queried. The mother admitted that the child ate only a little rice.
“Is she still nursing?” I asked further, and I was assured that the little girl was still getting milk, albeit not very much.
As we walked along, she turned the questions to me, the familiar questions of where I lived, where I was from, how many children I had. Then came the ever-present shock at the fact that I had four children. She told me I looked like I had just gotten married and asked the perfect strangers who were passing by if that was not so. They assured her it was, and that they could not believe either that I had four children. And so our friendly conversation went as we approached the point where I knew our ways would separate.
“Can you read?” I asked her, as I pulled a little picture tract of the gospel out of my pocket.
“Is that a church book?!” she asked excitedly. “I went to church a couple of times. I liked what I heard and they gave me some rice, but my husband told me not to go back or he would beat me.” From the little conversation we had had, I had already learned that this was not an idle threat.
“It is a Christian book,” I assured her. “Can you read it?” She could not, but she answered that her children could read it to her. As she took it, she asked me if it was okay to put this ‘church book’ in her bag with the baby’s extra pants and cloth diapers. I smiled that it was just fine to put it anywhere she could carry it.
She went on to tell me that she really wanted to learn more about “the Christian religion” and that for the last five months or so she had stopped worshipping idols and stopped wearing a tika (the red dot Hindus wear on their forehead).
Did not my soul rejoice within me when I heard those words?! Here was someone that the Lord was already dealing with, who wanted to learn, who had taken some steps, and who was being shown more mercy to slowly lead her to Himself.
“Pray to God every day and ask Him to show you Himself. He will. He wants you to know Him,” I told her. I asked her then how often she came to the hospital with the baby. Every month, was the answer.
“Please come by my house the next time you come to the hospital. We can talk, and I will make some tea. It will be so nice to visit,” I pressed her.
As we parted, she brought her hands together in the meeting or parting fashion, and said, not the Hindu greeting, but the words that Christians say upon meeting or leaving, “Jai Mashi.”
She then left and I watched her walk a little, thinking about how she is open and even eager to learn of Christ. I felt like I wanted to grab her and bring her to my home right then to keep her from slipping away. Then I thought, Slipping away from what? God obviously is already caring for her and trying to bring her to Himself. I am just glad that I got to be a part of it. Now is the time to pray.
Please pray for Daya. Daya means mercy.