Stories

Shifa: An Abused Wife and Determined Learner

No matter how hard Shifa worked as a servant, the income she earned was no use. While she was trying to provide a living for her family, her husband, Drishnu, was stealing her wages to purchase alcohol. Her job was merely funding Drishnu’s addiction—while he didn’t go to work at all.

Beyond stealing Shifa’s wages, Drishnu regularly came home drunk and abused Shifa verbally and physically.

Shifa was at a loss, especially concerned about her 15-year-old daughter’s future. At times, Shifa thought about how different her life could have been if she’d been educated. At least it would have allowed her to find a better job that paid enough for the family to live on.

The more she contemplated her situation, the more hopeless she felt. Finally, Shifa had had enough. She left her husband and daughter and went back to her parents’ village, searching for peace.

Within weeks of leaving her house, Shifa received terrible news: Drishnu wasn’t giving their daughter proper food or care, so she had come down with a fever and stomach ache after days of starvation.

Shifa rushed back to her daughter and was shocked to see her condition. She brought her to the hospital for treatment, doing her best to care for her daughter alone.

In the midst of this dark time, Shifa’s return to her home came with positive news: An Adult Literacy Class had started in the neighborhood just a few days prior. Shifa knew this was exactly what she needed! As she continued to care for her daughter, Shifa enrolled in the Adult Literacy Class.

The class’s joyful atmosphere made it exciting for Shifa to learn. After never having gone to school before, she gradually learned how to read, write, and do simple math. Meanwhile, she formed a trusting relationship with her teacher, Izma, and asked her to pray for her daughter’s health.

Shifa was thoroughly enjoying the Literacy Class, but Drishnu was angry to see her attending. He told her to stop going, and when she continued to attend, Drishnu showed up at the Literacy Class drunk—and beat his wife in front of the class.

Izma stepped into the chaotic scene and helped Shifa escape, but the incident occurred again on another day. Shifa fell sick after this and had to stay home from class to recover. She continued to practice reading and writing at home, and meanwhile, Izma went to the village elders seeking protection for Shifa. They took the request so seriously that they came to Shifa’s home and encouraged her to keep attending the Literacy Class.

Soon after, Shifa received another group of visitors. Local leaders were walking through the neighborhood to collect signatures from voters, and both Drishnu and Shifa answered the door. Drishnu signed their paper, and then the local leaders handed Shifa an ink pad so she could stamp her thumbprint—the common solution for illiterates who couldn’t sign their name.

To her husband’s amazement, Shifa asked for a pen instead, and she signed her name on the piece of paper. Drishnu couldn’t believe what he was seeing, finally curious about what his wife was learning. The local leaders were impressed, too—and they told Drishnu to stop abusing her for attending the class.

The very next day, Shifa returned to the Literacy Class. She was eager to pray to Jesus, just as Izma had prayed for her daughter before. Shifa started to pray for her daughter’s complete healing, and there was improvement in her health within just a few weeks.

Soon after, Izma shared the Gospel and Shifa received Jesus as her Savior! Moved by the power of prayer and already growing spiritually, she began to pray continuously for all kinds of things—and eventually, Drishnu gave up his addiction to alcohol and found a job!

Shifa is finally living in peace. She and her family attend a prayer group together, and Shifa is putting her new literacy skills into action by reading the Bible.

At Shifa’s request, will you join her in prayer for the salvation of her husband and daughter?