In India thirteen years ago, Kamala’s husband was brutally murdered and Kamala was left with no way to support her four children and her mother. In the years that followed, Kamala became a Christian and her new hope helped her to overcome her grief, but the everyday stress of how they would get by continued to be almost unbearable.
Desperately searching for a way to support her family, Kamala decided to move from her home in India to Nepal where she knew her husband had owned land. But it was all in vain; Kamala and her family could not find the land, nor any trace of her husband’s family, and eventually they settled on a very remote patch of hillside and began to eke out a living from growing crops.
With no citizenship, no agricultural skills, no legal rights to the land she lived on and no other Christians in her village, life was very hard for Kamala. Each day was an endless cycle of hard work and worry and she began to fall into a state of depression. Kamala was all but ready to pack up her things and go back to India, where at least she knew her neighbours.
It was in these days of despair and hopelessness that a Christian field worker from Baptist World Aid Australia’s partner International Nepal Fellowship (INF) met Kamala. INF had begun working with the local village people to help them identify the causes of their poverty and work together to overcome them. They came to see Kamala, knowing that she was very poor and an outsider in the village, to invite her to be part of their community development activities. This contact with another Christian was like a lifeline for her. Supported in her faith, and now joining in one of the community’s savings groups, she felt that she had been given the ability to stay in Nepal and answer God’s call to minister to the people in her community.
Kamala enthusiastically took part in the training and other activities of her savings group and soon they saw her earnestness and abilities and voted for her to become the facilitator of their group. Although she had been accepted by the community, Kamala was still desperately poor and her new friends were concerned for her well-being. Together with the INF staff, they suggested that Kamala begin raising goats, as the area around her home was suitable for grazing. The group gave her a 5,000 Rupee (AU$65) loan from their collective savings to purchase some goats and with training from INF on how to keep them healthy, she has gained new skills to provide her with security and an extra source of income.
As well as improving her income, Kamala began to share her faith. She said that spending time with the INF staff ‘inspired me to help the people of my community and gave me courage to live out my ministry’. And her witness has been incredibly fruitful. In a village that previously had no believers, there is now a group of at least thirty Christians and together they have just constructed their first church building.
To see Kamala now, it is difficult to believe the immense trauma and difficultly of the last 13 years. She now has food on the table, she is accepted and secure in her community which is going from strength to strength with the help of INF. And most of all, she is excited to see faith in Jesus transforming lives amongst her neighbours.