T ambura knew the rice was an act of love, but she only felt pain at the sight of it. After all she had sacrificed for her youngest daughter, Paadini, this is how she would repay her, by following another God, praying and fasting and offering handfuls of rice to her God for Tambura’s salvation. Tambura wouldn’t have any of it. She took her daughter’s offering to put it away and end Paadini’s antics, but before she could, she suddenly fell to the ground.
Mother Raises Children to Worship Deities
As a single mom, Tambura had been heavily devoted to the wellbeing of her four sons and daughter. After her husband died, she grew and sold vegetables to keep them well fed, but she knew a good life depended on more than fulfilling physical needs.
Tambura took great delight in worshiping her deity. Every day, she cleansed herself and burned incense in front of the god’s image. She taught her children to perform the rituals as well. As a family, they offered sacrifices, read holy books and fasted with great fervor.
For Tambura’s youngest daughter, Paadini, however, the rituals never seemed to bring any peace. When she grew older, the family’s problems mounted, and Paadini became seriously ill. None of the gods answered her family’s many acts of appeasement, and Paadini began to doubt the gods’ powers.
As she struggled with these frustrations, Paadini talked with a neighbor who shared the love of Jesus with her. At first, Paadini was troubled by the message, unsettled by the truth. She needed to hear more, so she began attending a church led by a Gospel for Asia pastor. Over time, she began to understand who Jesus was, and her faith increased. When God healed her, Paadini chose to follow Him.
For Tambura, the decision was devastating.
Mother Begs Daughter to Renounce Christ
Tambura pleaded with Paadini to return to their deities. When that failed, she tried intimidating her daughter into reversing her decision.
"Why have you forsaken the god of our ancestors and embraced the God of the lower class?" she asked. "Stop acting weird—otherwise, the local people will mock you, look down on you and treat you with contempt. Each community has its own god, so forsake the Christian low-class God and come back to your own faith."
Paadini wouldn’t budge, however. In fact, she only grew stronger in her new faith.
With despair, Tambura stopped trying to convince Paadini of her mistake. Paadini was her daughter, but Tambura would no longer treat her with the same affection as before. With Tambura’s sons gone and married, she and Paadini lived alone in the house, each one made miserable by the other’s faith.
Mother Falls Sick, Daughter Prays
Despite Tambura’s hostility, Paadini persistently shared the love of Jesus with her mother and prayed for her regularly. Every Sunday and Wednesday morning, Paadini set aside the handful of rice she would have eaten and fasted and prayed for her mother to know Christ. When she attended church, she would bring the rice as an offering.
Tambura found out about Paadini’s fasting, and one evening, she took the reserved rice, intending to put it back in the rice container. But as she did, she slipped and fell, breaking her right hand.
Paadini comforted her mother and shared the Good News with her again, but Tambura rejected the message just as firmly as she had before. Still hopeful, Paadini asked her friends and church members to join her in prayer, and soon God grabbed Tambura’s attention again.
Tambura began having difficulty breathing, and though her regular doctor prescribed medication, her health remained the same. Just as they had when Paadini fell ill, Tambura’s gods did nothing to help. Feeling discouraged and worried about her prospects, Tambura finally broke down and asked Paadini for advice.
Daughter Points to Jesus for Healing
Paadini encouraged her mother to trust Jesus and then took her to visit another believer whose prayers for healing were often answered. After praying, the man told Paadini, "There is nothing to worry about. She will be all right by tomorrow."
That night, Tambura had a strange dream.
In her dream, three beggars stood knocking at her door. When she opened the door, Tambura told them she had nothing to offer them because she was very poor herself—and she was sick to boot. Still the men insisted that she offer them something to eat, so she welcomed them inside and told them that if they were willing to eat just a handful of rice, she would be happy to serve them.
After eating the rice, the beggars began to leave, but one turned back toward Tambura.
"For the kindness you have shown toward us, I want to reward you," the man said. "You will be healed from your sickness. Do not harden your heart anymore, but trust in Me. I am Jesus Christ, whom you refused to welcome into your heart."
Dream of Jesus Heals Mother, Brings Her to Christ
Tambura woke up immediately after the dream confused about what she had seen. She went to Paadini and began to tell her what had happened, but as she did, she realized something was different! Her breathing problem was gone. More than that, Tambura felt truly healthy. Her daughter’s God had healed her.
Overjoyed and filled with relief, Tambura eagerly prayed with Paadini, placing her trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. At last, Paadini’s prayers and days of fasting were answered as her mother chose to follow Jesus with her whole heart.
While they rejoice for the new life they have found in Christ, believers across Asia continue to fast and pray for their families to know Jesus as well.
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