Last year I met a woman with two names.
Her old name, the one her parents gave her, is “Nagalakshmi” — a name that refers to a Hindu god and is roughly translated “wealthy snake.” But when I met her at one of our literacy classes, she introduced herself to me by saying, “My name is Lydia, after the godly woman in Acts 16.”
Lydia is a “Banjara,” one of the poorest and most despised tribes in India. Last month, Lydia graduated from one of our literacy classes. She proudly read me a Scripture passage from her lesson book. Like millions of girls in India, Lydia never went to school — not one day. So you can imagine that the past year brought big changes!
Not only can Lydia read and write now, but she knows Jesus, was baptized, and took a new name in recognition of her new life in Christ.
Lydia told me, “My 4-year old daughter Aisha will start school next year. I want her to have opportunities that I never had.”
Lydia isn’t the only one with a new name. Her husband also came to know Jesus and was baptized. He used to be “Krishna” (another Hindu god), but now goes by “Emmanuel.” Lydia and Emmanuel and their family now attend the new church in their neighborhood. Lydia’s face beams, and it’s easy to see that they have a joy and hope that they never experienced before.
There are Lydias in every one of our literacy classes … and being discipled by our church planters and hearing the Good News from their kids in our Bible Clubs. I’m thankful for your passion to see them experience new hope in Christ!