Unexpected Gift Exchange

Mahavir stared at his gift. Proper shelter for his family was just within his grasp, but something troubled him. He came to the GFA-supported Christmas gift distribution in desperate need of tin sheets, but now that he had them, he realized he faced another problem.

How would he ever get the hefty tin sheets to his hut, hidden away in a remote village? Mahavir needed transportation, but that called for money—and money was exactly what he didn’t have.

Mahavir saw other happy men and women leaving the gift distribution with their new treasures. Though he needed this gift badly, what could he do if he didn’t have the means to take it home? Approaching a man who had received a pair of piglets, Mahavir hoped that, maybe, just maybe, he would be willing to trade.

Mahavir with one of his pigs

The gift of piglets began transforming the lives of Mahavir and his family, providing a tangible avenue to escape poverty.

To Mahavir’s delight, the man agreed to trade his piglets, and he left the distribution center praising God who alone is wise. When Mahavir took the little piglets all the way home he had no idea his family would forever be changed.

Poverty-Laden Lives

Mahavir, husband and father of three, was a man of faithfulness in his walk with the Lord. Although his little family was deeply impoverished, he trusted God and prayed his Heavenly Father would not let them starve.

Because jobs were difficult to come by, Mahavir frequently traveled to find work. Often his wife, Malli, had to leave their little ones behind with Mahavir’s father to find work as well. Somehow they made due with the rice rations they received from the local authorities. Nevertheless, days without food were not uncommon.

Although their family is very poor, Mahavir and his wife are determined to help their children get a good education.

Although their family is very poor, Mahavir and his wife are determined to help their children get a good education.

But God was not distant from this family. He held their hands and walked with them as they toiled. He had a perfect plan to rescue them out of poverty’s clutches. He began to move on hearts across the globe to provide for needy families in Asia.

Much More than Bacon

Malli was so happy when her husband came home from the distribution with the piglets. She never expected anyone would think of her poor family nestled away in her tiny village. But God knew this family well. As Malli looked at the squirming pink creatures God had provided, she knew her faith in Jesus was being strengthened.

Mahavir and Malli worked hard to take good care of their pigs; which grew big and strong as the result of two things: cooked pumpkin and a lot of prayer.

Mahavir and Malli worked hard to take good care of their pigs, which grew big and strong as the result of two things: cooked pumpkin and a lot of prayer.

Mahavir felt a strong sense of duty in taking care of the piglets God had given him. Whenever he was home he would trudge into the forest to collect wild plants for his pigs to eat, and when he was out of town for work, he would send money to his wife so she could feed the pigs. She would prepare rice with wild plants for the pigs to feast on, and the piglets grew.

In fact, Mahavir’s piglets grew so large and fast that many in his village began to think Mahavir was giving them vitamins. But Mahavir only had two little secrets to account for the size of his pigs: cooked pumpkin and a lot of prayer.

“My pigs are growing very fast,” Mahavir said. “It is because God is blessing me.”

God did bless Mahavir’s piglets, and as they grew in size, they also multiplied. Mahavir sold the pig’s offspring. With the money he earned, he was able to save up enough to purchase tin sheets. The needed item he couldn’t bring home earlier was now made possible through the gift he had exchanged.

Coming Up from Poverty

“As I was very poor before,” Mahavir explained, “I used to worry a lot. I used to think, How will I feed my family? … But now, since I have been given piglets, all the worries and everything has been taken away.”

Mahavir is able to provide for his family

Mahavir was able to improve his house and made plans to add on another room. He was also able to buy school clothing for his son, and now his wife can stay home and take care of the children. He has plans to expand his pig farm with the three piglets he currently has. He hopes these piglets will give his family a little more financial stability in the years to come.

“As I was very poor before, I used to worry a lot. I used to think, How will I feed my family? … But now, since I have been given piglets, all the worries and everything has been taken away.”

Piglets Result in Deeper Faith

Mahavir’s daily life was not the only thing that improved though their Christmas gift—his faith grew also.

“My faith has increased, and it has become stronger than before now,” Mahavir said. “Before I used to have doubt. … But after getting these piglets, I really have seen the works of prayer and what faith can really do. My faith is growing day by day.”

Mahavir prays with his family

Mahavir’s faith grew after seeing God’s provision through the gift of piglets. During their family devotion time, they sing a worship song or two, and then they join in prayer for various prayer concerns. However, they can't read the Bible because none of them are able to read or write.

Mahavir and his family will reap the benefits of those two cute piggies for the rest of their lives as they remember God is with them and He hears their prayers.

“The Lord is always with me,” Mahavir said with confidence. “I believe that He will be always with my piglet also, and I believe that my family will not hunger.”

The villages in this region are nestled in hills surrounded by thick forests.

Mahavir; his wife, Malli; children; and father begin their day together with the Lord.

Mahavir received pigs as a Christmas gift. He and his wife, Malli, diligently care for their three pigs. Cleaning out their pen and feeding them takes a lot of work!

Mahavir's three pigs will grow up in a very short time. Eventually, they will multiply and may even grow large enough to sell for a very nice price as he has need. These pigs are like a growing bank account!

Mahavir goes to the forest every day to collect leaves and roots for cooking slop for the three pigs.

Here, Malli prepares to cook food for their pigs.

Malli fixes dinner for their pigs on the porch of her village house. She and her husband discovered that one of the reasons their pigs were healthy and growing faster was because they mix pumpkin in the pig slop while cooking it. The pigs seemed to like it very much.

Malli feeds their pigs twice a day.

Feeding pigs takes a lot of water! Like this woman, Malli has to walk to the river to fetch water for meeting the needs of her family. Cooking pig slop also requires water from the river. The women in the village make this mile-long trek each way for water, several times a day.

At the river, the village children can be found playing in the water whenever they get a chance.

Washing clothes and dishes in the nearby river is also normal for the people in this remote area.

Once the vessels are full of water, the women have an arduous walk back to the village carrying pots and jugs full of water.

The river is almost a mile away from the village where Mahavir and Malli live, so going to the river to wash and bathe requires a long hike up a steep trail. Water is carried in pots balanced on their heads, and baskets carry everything else.

A large banana leaf serves as a dinner plate for the family. Rice and dhal, a type of lentil, are very common foods in this region.

Malli gathers many varieties of vegetables and plants from the forest for the family meals.

Whenever he gets a chance to earn some extra cash, Mahavir takes advantage of the opportunity. On this day, he and a friend use a bamboo raft to travel a couple of miles up the river to an area where they will cut logs into boards for a local businessman.

It's hard work cutting logs into boards using a large hand saw! The extra money Mahavir and his friend earn will be a big help to the family.

Mahavir and his family are very active in their local church. This place of worship is constructed out of bamboo, which is plentiful in their area.

Mahavir and his family are so happy the Lord provided them with piglets. This gift has truly transformed their lives and is helping them break free from poverty.


Read More GFA World Articles


Counter-cultural Love Seeks Out the Rejected

Rushil, 55, sat at the marketplace, hoping his begging would earn enough to take care of his and his wife's needs. He'd stretch out his arms to passersby, showing them his hands and fingers that had been eaten away by leprosy. All that remained were the parts nearest to his palms.

Keep Reading

A Drop in the Ocean

"I used to get scolded [by my] school teacher," reflects Ashima, pictured above. "Sometime my teacher used to ask me to stand outside the class as punishment because I didn't bring needed things like paper, books, pencil—whatever is needed in the class. ... I used to feel very ashamed and discouraged."

Keep Reading

What My Faith Had Seen All Along

My 12-year-old heart felt it. It was real, yet so distant and vast. I was swept away by the incredible love God held for precious people in Asia, and I was heartbroken. There was nothing else I could do but kneel on my bedroom floor and weep and pray for those who didn't know the love I knew.

Keep Reading


View All Departments from this issue of GFA World


*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.

Previous Article Next Article

Hide this / Don't show me again

None