Stories

Raji: Hope for a Widow

Raji is 45 years old and already a widow.

Her life up to this point has been quite a journey—starting with a childhood filled with poverty.

Raji’s parents hadn’t been able to pay for her to go to school, so when she became an adult and needed a job, she worked for a man named Naksh and his wife. She did chores and kept up the house, and though her work opportunities had been limited, this job seemed to be a good fit.

Naksh and his wife took good care of Raji, who took her responsibilities seriously and enjoyed working for the couple.

In 2002, life was turned upside down for the entire household. Naksh’s wife developed serious health problems and passed away. Naksh was overcome with grief, lonely, and distraught.

Raji continued to work for Naksh and keep up his house, maintaining her positive reputation as someone with a soft demeanor and hardworking attitude. All the while, her parents were receiving one marriage proposal after another for Raji. However, they couldn’t pay a dowry and her marriage was put on hold.

A few years down the road, Naksh asked Raji to marry him. Raji was reluctant at first. She was in her early 30s, and Naksh was 57 years old. But eventually, Raji accepted the proposal.

Naksh took good care of Raji, and she thanked her deities for her marriage. However, the people around Raji did not share her contentment. Due to her prior work for Naksh, others disrespected her.

And yet, this was nothing compared to what Raji experienced many years later when Naksh passed away. Raji was left as a widow dealing with financial troubles and emotional stress.

She was constantly belittled, simply for being a widow. Her community stopped her from attending social events and placed religious restrictions on her. She was no longer allowed to perform certain rituals to her gods, and her relatives insisted that she wear plain, simple attire. When she didn’t follow their instruction, they completely cut off their contact with her and made her the subject of gossip.

Raji tried to find strength in her religious practices, visiting several temples in search of relief. However, she couldn’t find any comfort or joy in her religion. Soon, her heartache and pain were so severe that it took a toll on her health and she became physically sick, confined to bed. Raji concluded that she was worthless, helpless, and hopeless.

But God had a plan for Raji’s life.

In a time when everyone else shunned Raji, Church Planter Shanu came to visit her. He prayed for her needs and shared the Gospel, leaving Raji with a renewed sense of strength.

All of a sudden, she began to trust that Jesus would take care of her. She began to attend a local worshipping group—and she started to recover from her sickness!

Though Raji still faces challenges from community members due to her widowhood, she is relying on Jesus and finding her joy in Him.

Will you pray for God to use Raji mightily in His Kingdom?