Profiles in Courage
My friend Rita is not your typical missionary. She is a 61 year old grandmother who has lived in the same city for more than 30 years. She has a job and she owns a home. And English is the only language she speaks. She was married for 33 years, but has been learning to live as a single woman after a divorce four years ago...
Delhi is a wonderful but tough city to live in. It is polluted - they say that living here is like smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. I believe it. I can smell and SEE the pollution. The weather is extreme, 120 F in the summer. Air conditioning is a luxury afforded by few. There is an acute shortage of water. Chaos reigns everywhere. Traffic looks and feels like a video game. Human life is cheap. People die in traffic accidents, of diseases, in childbirth, etc, at a much higher rate than they do in more developed countries.
“Where’s my Daddy?”
The gnawing question was inevitable, but Stayce Smith, then a young mom of 22, was unprepared with an answer fit for a three year old. “Daddy” could be her boss, her mailman, or the coffee barista across town. His identity was known only to God.
Corrina was baptised on the19th July 1987, a few months after the Mumbai church started. Soon after that she had to undergo open-heart surgery on the 4th of September 1987. Once she was discharged from the hospital, she rested for a week and then decided she wanted to attend Friday devotional. She asked one of her brothers for permission. He was so furious, he hit her even though he was aware that she was under post-operative care.
Kelly was my next door neighbor. She was in diapers and crawling when I met her twenty years ago. Though her older brother and sister were good friends of my children I rarely spent time with her. Nearly twenty years later on most Sunday mornings I have the privilege of sitting next to her at church. Sometimes she sits quietly with her head gently resting on her dad’s shoulder until she falls asleep. At other times her dad carries her to her wheelchair where several of us take turns strolling her through the halls so that her voice won’t disrupt the service.
Sometimes the stories I hear in India are hard to believe. They seem to come from a time long ago when women were mistreated and considered as second class citizens. Unfortunately these stories are very real and common.
Susan is a single woman in her 50s. She works as a nurse. In 2009 she was invited to the 20th anniversary of the New Delhi church, She was very impressed by the love and commitment of the disciples. She was soon baptized. A few months later she got a transfer 100 km outside of Delhi to a small town called Simbhavli in a neighboring state. 100km in India entails hours of travel on pothole ridden roads and monstrous traffic jams in rickety buses, not to mention the sweltering heat.
Susan decided to make the most of her new situation...
Lisa Harriman is a single sister in the Northwest Region of the Boston church of Christ. Lisa grew up in Plaistow, NH, as one of eight children, and lived in the country, surrounded by horses and nature.