8 Women in a Semi-Circle
Humbly 8 women stand in a semi-circle before us. They are dressed in their finest saris, gleaming braids falling down their backs, shyly smiling at us. Their work of the last 15 days is displayed before us. Necklaces made of beads, stones and medallions are a crayon box of colors lying on the table. The faces of these sweet sisters in Christ are eager to know our reaction. This work represents an initiative to provide sustainable poverty relief for their families.
As we comment on some of the necklaces and offer our feedback making suggestions for styles, colors and marketing techniques, the larger and more important story emerges. These women from Central India represent the face of modern day persecution—-just because they believe in Jesus. Our team listens to their hard stories of what real life looks like for them. Families and whole communities disown them. Communities and government officials withhold the basics of food and water. They are shunned and abandoned and hated because they accept a God who loves and gives grace. Their faith seems mighty and courageous to us. They are bold. We are now standing humbly before them. We are humbled by how easy our commitment to Christ comes to us, generally with little personal cost. Certainly not the sort of cost that involves our safety or compromises our ability to provide for our families.
One of the leaders of the group tells us that just 15 days ago none of her group knew how to work with beads, how to compose a necklace. Under the direction of a Catalyst staff member she explains they have learned a new skill. Her eyes brim with tears. She squares her shoulders and stands a bit taller as she shares that none of them thought they could possibly be capable, have the talent, to create these necklaces. They are proud of their new skills. They thought they were worthless. Oh how very wrong! They are important and worthwhile people because they are children of God.
So as the attention shifts off us and on to them, we begin to understand the importance of this new initiative and how their future is balanced on its success. This is important work that Catalyst India is doing. It’s not simply a rescue. It’s providing an opportunity for dignity, for a hope and a future.
Please join us as we pray for this jewelry enterprise to have a successful launch. Pray for the believers on the ground in India knowing that especially in the small villages they are persecuted, held in contempt by their neighbors, and at risk for their health and even their very lives. Please pray that God will raise up more leaders to encourage the believers, to come alongside those who are friends of Jesus. Continue to pray for a hope and a future.