New Horizons for a Shut-in Widow

Priya looked up from a rough stool in her leaky shanty to see who had called out to her.

“Auntie,” the voice came again, “can we come in?”

Priya pulled her broken body to the open door and saw two peaceful young women standing in stark contrast to the unkept slum neighborhood.

When she invited them in, she unknowingly invited joy into her home again.

Exodus of Happiness

Until 2006, Priya’s life had held promise and happiness: She and her husband of 31 years, Tamang, had two healthy children, a son and a daughter; Tamang held a respectable job in a government tax office; they owned a home; and they were among the upper class of society.

Until 2006, Priya's life held promise and happiness.

Until the death of her husband in 2006, Priya’s life had held promise and happiness.

Then everything vanished.

Tamang contracted a serious kidney disease, which required months of expensive treatment. They sold their home—their security for their old age—to pay medical bills, and Priya started working as a maid to earn money for her family. But it was in vain. Tamang died.

From the very day of Tamang’s funeral, Tamang’s family rejected Priya, according to the custom of their area. Some of Priya’s employers also turned their back on her—no one wanted a widow around.

“None of our relatives or our acquaintances ever came to us to support or help us or encourage us,” Priya laments. “None of them.”

Then came the terrible accident.

While crossing a road one night, Priya misjudged the distance of an oncoming motorbike. She awoke in a hospital with two broken legs. Eleven months later, the doctors finally discharged her because she could not afford the necessary surgery to correct the damage.

She would never walk again. One leg, broken in three places, would remain twisted at a severe angle from the rest of her body.

Priya's leg was broken in three places as a result of an accident.

One of Priya's legs, broken in three places, would remain twisted at a severe angle from the rest of her body.

“I couldn’t move. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t go for work,” Priya recalls.

Her husband was gone. Her home was gone. Her status was gone. Her family was gone. Her mobility was gone. And soon, her children’s mental stability was gone.

The trauma of their mother’s accident and of losing their father left Priya’s two grown children mentally unstable. Her son managed to find sporadic work, but the burden of running the home landed on Priya’s shoulders—and crippled leg.

Within the Confines of a Shanty

Nine years passed, and the walls of Priya’s tiny slum hut surrounded her day after day. She scooted around on a crude stool to accomplish the crucial household duties neither of her children were capable of doing. Bitterness and disappointment at how her life turned out crowded her heart.

“Staying inside the house all through the day in a small room is very mentally disturbing,” she shares. “I used to feel like [I was] suffocating.”

Then God sent a breath of fresh air into Priya’s life. Two GFA-supported Sisters of Compassion served in Priya’s area, and when they saw Priya’s despondency and physical ailment, the ladies asked to talk with her.

Priya wept while telling them her story.

A deep friendship started that day between the three women. The Sisters of Compassion returned often to encourage Priya and pray with her and her children. They scrubbed the house, washed clothes and helped the disabled woman bathe. They brought supplies like mats and buckets and even some groceries. The GFA-supported pastor of a local congregation began visiting Priya as well, and the congregation pulled together to help the isolated widow with groceries.

The Sisters of Compassion were a breath of fresh air in Priya's life.

GFA-supported Sisters of Compassion visit and pray with Priya and her children.

Who were these people who cared for her in ways her own family didn’t? Priya was overwhelmed by their love—and by the loving God she learned about from John 3:16.

She began praying to Jesus and asking Him for help in even the simplest matters. Although her body confined her within her tiny hut, Priya communed with the One who spoke the universe into existence.

“I pray to Jesus, and He has never let me down,” Priya testifies.

New Horizons

Priya rejoiced in her new faith, but her problems continued. She was still immobile, and now, she couldn’t attend church to worship with other believers like she longed to do.

Then in June 2015, the Sisters of Compassion carried Priya in their arms to a nearby train station. Soon, they placed Priya into her very own gift from God: an adult tricycle provided by the church.

“I feel so glad, so happy, when I sit on this tricycle,” Priya rejoices. “I thank Jesus. I say, ‘Lord Jesus, it’s only because of You today I am sitting on this tricycle.’ ... I can go outside my home. I can go to church. ... [It] is definitely Jesus who gave me this tricycle.”

Now, Priya’s daughter pushes her mother’s tricycle and brings her to the market, worship services and friends’ homes.

With an adult tricycle, Priya is able to leave her shanty.

With an adult tricycle, Priya is able to leave her shanty and go to the market, worship services, and friends' homes.

Her new church family and GFA supporters around the world have helped provide other gifts too: more groceries, clothing, a winter blanket, mosquito nets and plastic roofing to fix her dilapidated home. Each gift was a reminder of everlasting love.

As time passed, Priya’s deep love for Jesus enabled her to replace bitterness and depression with gratitude and trust.

“I learned in this life that I have to remember and trust Jesus in every moment of my life,” she says. “The moment I wake up ... I remember Jesus and I thank Him.”

Today, Priya enjoys the mobility afforded her by her tricycle, and her prayers reach the heavenly places—which she will see for herself one day, too.


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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.

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