Stories & News
You know that one friend?
You know that friend who’s always there for you, no matter what? Available to support you as soon as she finds out you’re in need?
It’s life-changing to have a friend like this. Someone who knows you deeply and is willing to be part of your life for the long haul—through the good times and through the messy times.
That’s the kind of friend 15-year-old Puji needed.
She basically grew up without a dad, since he had been in a government rehabilitation center for the past 12 years.
It all started when his relatives maliciously burned his business to the ground. They went on to perform black magic on him, and he spiraled into depression and alcoholism in response. He became so mentally unstable that his family admitted him to the rehabilitation center, and to this day, he can’t recognize Puji, her older sister, or his wife.
How do you possibly cope with that?
It was so hard. Puji’s mom earned the equivalent of about $4 per day, and a third of her income went to paying rent. The family didn’t know many people in their town, so they didn’t have the support of a good community, either.
Puji needed someone to come alongside her. Someone to walk with her through this difficult situation. And amazingly, she found this thanks to her desire to improve in school.
Given her mom’s financial situation, Puji couldn’t ask her to pay for tutoring. But she really wanted it! She was just an average student, yet she dreamed of becoming a social worker and wanted academic assistance to help her achieve her goals.
So, when a woman named Baanu invited her to the Year-Long Children’s Bible Club she was leading, Puji was thrilled! She attended the very next day.
Not only did Baanu help Puji with her studies, she also welcomed Puji to play games and sing Bible-based action songs. Puji loved it all! She especially enjoyed playing badminton during game time, and all along, she grew in the love of Christ.
What a blessing!
It was exactly what Puji needed. She found friendship in Baanu and community in the other children attending: As Puji opened up about her family’s troubles, all of the children began to pray for her dad! Meanwhile, Baanu stayed in close contact with Puji’s family to encourage them in this valley. Baanu and her mentor even visited Puji’s dad in the rehabilitation center and prayed for him!
Puji and her family had lost their faith in Jesus a long time ago because of all of their problems, but now they were motivated to place their trust in Him again. Puji joined a local worshipping group, began reading the Bible, and memorized many verses from Scripture, finding great comfort in the Word of God.
How has this changed things for the family?
Puji’s dad remains in the rehabilitation center, but Puji strongly believes that one day he will be healed. This strong, faithful teenager eagerly shares her testimony with others, which has prompted some of her friends to join the Bible Club, too!
It’s incredible to see how Puji’s original desire for academic help turned into a new sense of hope for her whole family. This was possible because of the friendship Baanu developed with her!
The care of people like Baanu makes us so excited about the indigenous model for missions. By equipping local believers like Baanu to lead our programs—instead of sending short-term Western missionaries—we’re able to establish lasting Christian communities! (87% of U.S. pastors agree that the indigenous model is the way to go when it comes to global missions!) Leaders like Baanu are serving in their own communities, so they’re able to be present for families like Puji’s even after the year-long program they’re leading ends.
We’re grateful for Baanu and so many others who not only share the Gospel, but also develop friendships that allow them to be a Difference Maker for families through thick and thin!
- Will you join Puji in prayer for her father to be healed and reunited with the family? What an incredible miracle this would be! Pray for Puji’s academic success, too.
- Pray for Baanu and other Children’s Bible Clubs leaders in India who are serving within their communities. Pray for wisdom and open doors as they seek to develop lasting relationships that point people to Christ.
- What friend has stuck with you for the long haul, through good times and bad? Reach out and say thank you!
- Read more about the indigenous model for missions and why it’s so critical for reaching India.