Mandeepa grabbed her treasure and veiled it under her arm with her scarf. It was treasure many women in Asia never have the chance to own themselves. Mandeepa kept the precious tool out of sight from the villager’s prying eyes while on her journey. When she reached the church, Mandeepa took the precious workbook from its hiding place and gathered with other eager women there. Mandeepa’s long-awaited dream was being fulfilled.
Mandeepa’s childhood was far from carefree. Her daddy died when she was only 3 years old. Her mother and five siblings moved in with their grandfather, but their situation remained difficult. Her mother toiled alongside their grandfather in the fields, and little Mandeepa’s future was marred by poverty.
Because of this, Mandeepa and her siblings never had a chance to attend school. All her siblings, one by one, were married at a young age. Like so many other poor daughters like her, 13-year-old Mandeepa started to work as a household maid in order to support her mother. Later, her mother arranged a marriage for her, and she began her life as a wife, and along the way, a mother to a son and daughter.
When Mandeepa was 16, she received the Lord Jesus as her Savior and began faithfully going to a church lead by GFA-supported pastor Jahi. Pastor Jahi had given Mandeepa a Bible of her very own—but Mandeepa couldn’t make out what any of it said. She longed to read the words written by her heavenly Father, and the fact that she couldn’t discouraged her greatly.
Her husband couldn’t help her either because he was also illiterate. Their daughter, fortunately, was able to attend school and learn, but it pained Mandeepa’s heart that she couldn’t help with any of her school work. Every year the desire to read and write grew stronger in Mandeepa’s heart.
There are more than 250 million women just like Mandeepa who are illiterate today in Asia. Like her, they can’t read God’s Word for themselves or help their children with their homework. Medicine bottles, road signs and important papers are undecipherable, and in a society growing dependent on written words to communicate, illiterate women struggle to thrive.
In addition to experiencing problems in daily life, many believers struggle to grow deeper in their knowledge of their Savior because they cannot read the Scriptures. Their inability to read leaves them vulnerable to those wanting to take advantage of their ignorance.
Medicine bottles, road signs and important papers are undecipherable. . .
Mandeepa’s dreams to learn to read and write became reality when the Women’s Fellowship in her church started literacy classes. Nothing would stop 32-year-old Mandeepa’s ambitions to learn how to read and write, even when the villagers would tease and mock her as she walked to classes with the workbook in her hands.
“Are you going to college?” they would joke and ask her why she needed to learn at her age.
Despite the mockery, Mandeepa did not give up. She put her books under her arm and concealed them behind her scarf to hide from the villagers’ remarks.
After a year of learning, Mandeepa could finally read the Bible she received from her pastor 16 years prior. One of the very first things she did with her new skill was memorize John 14:15 which says, “If you love Me, keep my commandments.”
She was excited at what she learned and today continues to advance as she attends classes regularly.
The Lord fulfilled Mandeepa’s desire through the Women’s Fellowship and her hard work. Now she carries with her the treasure of education—something she never had the chance to receive as a young girl.
GFA-supported women’s literacy classes open up a new world to women within the church. They learn to read and write, and they also learn basic math skills as they work through each level of the workbook they receive.
Pastors' wives and women missionaries often serve as teachers, so students also have the opportunity to grow spiritually under their mentors.
You can be part of strengthening women like Mandeepa in their walk with Jesus by giving more women the chance to read and write.
*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