Friday, September 2, 2016

No Longer 'Alone in the Crowd"

       Feeling alone when you're surrounded by people--it's not a pleasant feeling. 
       It happens to alcoholics who sit in bar after bar looking for that special connection with a real person, but only finding it in a bottle. It happens to the introvert who attends event after event, always staying on the fringes, the outside, looking on but not being a part of. It happens to the church hopper, the person that tries church after church looking for something, but never staying long enough to find it. And it happens to those who, through no fault of their own, are placed in difficult situations. They all lose hope. They lose all hope.
       But there is a cure, a remedy for hopelessness and some lucky people find it, or it finds them. God is still at work calling people to him, calling peoples too him.

       You see, the cure is not a pill or a shot. It's not a session with one of the TV therapists, or a talk show hostess who invites people to share their sad story and then gives them a package of things, usually including a $izable check,  that are meant to solve the problem. No, the solution is not a thing, it's a person. A person by the name of Jesus.
       Shiuli's parents arranged her marriage, a common practice in some parts of the world. At 14 she was a bride, by the age of 21 she had three children. She was also a widow.  A lingering illness stole her husband from her, stole a father from her young daughters. A difficult situation for anyone to be in, but it gets more complicated.  To find work, Tarun had earlier decided that he and his child bride would move to the Capital city of Katmandu, a city of 700,000 people. With her husband working, and she staying at home to care for the children, and then, when he got sick, her husband, she had no time to make friends. Tarun died, she had no family nearby, and no friends to whom to turn for help.

         It looked like a hopeless situation, and then it got still worse, one of her daughters got sick, and died. Hopelessness. 

         In Nepal, as in several other countries in that area of the world,  there are several religions to choose from, and Shiuli decided to try them all, but nothing seemed to help, there was still no hope, until some missionaries stopped by and talked to her about Jesus. I don't know if Hinduism was one of the religions she tried, but I've often said that it's fairly easy to talk to Hindus about Jesus, they quickly accept him as another of their many gods, they'll pray to him for some things, but they have other gods to whom they regularly pray for prosperity, good health, good luck, good jobs, and well you get the picture. 

          But these women missionaries made an impact on Shiuli, they talked about being followers of Jesus and invited her to join them. They shared the hope of the one, true, and eternal God, and at long last this hopeless young woman was able to find hope. She has found companionship, and in Jesus has found what she was looking for.  As part of a GFA church she has friends, fellowship, and community. She's growing in her faith walk, and she's no longer alone in the crowd. Read more about Shiuli's story here.

       A caveat here is that there are thousands of women like Shiuli, arranged marriages are only a part of it. Some of these women are widowed, divorced, or abandoned. They have children to care for, and because of cultural taboos they often can't or won't speak with male missionaries. Shiuli was lucky enough to ave women missionaries, with God's help find her and introduce her to Jesus.

       Pray for more women to be called to the mission field in Nepal. Visit  Gospel For Asia's  website for more information on other ways in which you can help.

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