Christian Daughter Forced to Marry Unbeliever
Stock photo by Gospel for Asia
Weddings where Tamarai lived were several-day affairs filled with color, tradition and family. For Tamarai, though, her wedding was just a countdown to the day she was forced to marry a man who didn’t even follow the same religion.
As if their faith meant nothing, Tamarai’s Christian parents expected her to give up Jesus for this man’s gods. Feeling like she had no other choice, that’s exactly what she did.
Parents Give Daughter to Unbelieving Man
Despite living in a part of the world where being a Christian carries heavy risks, Tamarai’s parents still claimed the Christian faith as their own—even though they never took it seriously. They were safe in their own community, so they attended church and said they followed Christ. When it came to making decisions, however, God was far from their minds.
Tamarai’s parents married their daughter to this man, thinking it was a good decision, but it was only the beginning of Tamarai’s troubles.
New Marriage Brings Hardship
After Tamarai married Paandu, she dutifully began following his religious traditions and worshiped his gods.
Her new husband wasn’t home much. He worked all day and spent his nights drinking alcohol. Meanwhile, Tamarai began suffering dizzy spells and pain throughout her body. Her doctor didn’t know what was wrong, and her health worsened every day.
As the years passed, she had two children, whose care added to the problems of her alcoholic husband and unexplained illness.
Woman Seeks Answers in Secret
Wahab, a recent Bible college graduate, and Ibraheem, a Bible college intern, were new to full-time ministry, but they didn't hesitate when a local believer asked them to visit a woman named Tamarai who had been sick for more than a decade.
"We are serving the Lord, and we came to know that you have not been well for a long time," they said when they arrived at her door. "We would love to pray for you."
After they prayed, Tamarai began pouring out her life's story to them.
"I was born and brought up in a Christian family, but my parents had no fear of God in their lives," she began. "They were living a worldly life. Due to that, there was no blessing in our family."
As Tamarai told her story, the men listened thoughtfully, and then encouraged her to put her faith in the Lord and not lose heart.
"Our God will make all of this right in His time," they said.
Tamarai was encouraged and asked them to come back. When Paandu found out, he forbid any more visits, but Tamarai continued inviting her friends in secret and began attending fellowship meetings.
She received a Bible, which Paandu also forbid her to read, but Tamarai couldn't be dissuaded. As Wahab and Ibraheem continued to pray for Tamarai to have true faith in Jesus, she began to change—and her pain began subsiding, too.
Woman Stands Firm in Faith
As film team members, Wahab and Ibraheem had equipment to show a movie about the life of Jesus, and they began fasting and praying for the opportunity to show it in Tamarai's home. One day, while Paandu was out, they got their chance.
As Tamarai and 15 others watched, she felt the Lord speaking to her heart, calling her to love Him. From that day on, there was no question: Her faith would encompass her entire life.
Tamarai began spending time in prayer and rejoiced as Jesus brought her complete spiritual and physical healing.
Seeing his wife healed after a decade of suffering, Paandu stopped voicing his objections to her new faith, and he even came to church a couple of times.
Tamarai prays that one day he will embrace Jesus, too, but even if he doesn’t, she’s ready to stand firm in her faith. Because of two young men’s efforts, she knows truly serving Jesus is greater than a Sunday-morning ritual.
“If I had to forget my husband,” she says, “I would do it for my Jesus.”
Bible college students are well trained and ready to minister to people like Tamarai—and those who have never heard Jesus’ name once. You can be part of their stories.
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*Names of people and places may have been changed for privacy and security reasons. Images are GFA stock photos used for representation purposes and are not the actual person/location, unless otherwise noted.