Posted by: janpierce | October 18, 2010

Thomas and Akanksha

       It’s just a month until we leave for India and there is so much to do first. I’ve been thinking about all the ones we love over there and how their lives have changed since we met them. When Roger met Akanksha she was just a little girl of about nine years who had been living and scavenging at the dump. She came to the orphanage through a summer Bible camp and in time changed her name to Akanksha, Hope, because Ilamma is the name of a Hindu goddess. Then at the age of about 14 she ran away from the orphanage and married her cousin, Kalyan. They had been promised by their parents in marriage at birth. Their tribal group, the Buduga Jangam, used to be folk singers, people who traveled and sang old folk songs, rang bells and blessed people in exchange for alms. They also wove grass mats and ate things like birds and snakes. Now they are mostly day laborers in the rice fields. They still live in very simple homes constructed of whatever is available, plastic, pieces of metal, boards, and the like.

We were fortunate to be able to find Kalyan and Akanksha soon after their marriage through an older cousin. Now they have finished a year of Bible School and are enrolled in a different Bible school this year. Kalyan, meaning happiness, but also linked to  a Hindu god, changed his name to Thomas and they both want to serve God. It really is a miracle that we have been able to keep in touch with them. We help them with small daily living expenses and their room and board is free through the Bible School. Akanksha will deliver their first baby sometime in December and we hope to visit them after our son’s wedding in Bangalore.

What will God do with this young couple who come out of abject poverty, but are willing to serve Him? We’ve learned to look past the poor living conditions and the appearances, to the hearts of the people and their vision for ministry. May God bless this couple and their family. We trust that God will use them to share the love of Jesus with their people and we count it a privilege to be part of their lives.


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