Nishi’s parents died before she was 8; her brothers forced her to marry at age 16; and four months into her marriage, her husband left to find work and never returned. With a newborn daughter and in-laws who hated her, it seemed any chance at happiness was destined to fail. Then she went home to her family, and that’s when things got really bad.
Woman Mistreated by In-Laws
After her husband left the country to find work, Nishi faced harsh treatment from her in-laws. She worked hard, but they overlooked her efforts. Their treatment became even worse after Nishi gave birth to a daughter.
“They said my baby and I were an unnecessary burden to them,” Nishi recalls. “I did not have any other choice but to leave their house and go and live with my brothers.”
Abuse Continues at Brothers' Home
Recognizing their familial duty, Nishi’s brothers grimly welcomed her into the home, but they quickly began pressuring her to remarry. Nishi refused. When women in Nishi’s culture remarry, their husbands don’t care for the children who come with them.
After her husband left and her daughter was born, Nishi’s in-laws had no use for her.
“Yes, I was young, and had a future of my own,” Nishi says. “But I decided not to marry for the sake of my baby girl. She was growing day by day.”
Her brothers’ wives made it increasingly difficult for her to perform her daily work, too. She strapped her baby to her back, fearing if she left her daughter with her sisters-in-law, they would have reason to complain. Nishi diligently performed her tasks in spite of the opposition.
“There was no time for me to rest,” Nishi remembers. “I could only enjoy time with my child at night. I couldn’t find time to weep except when my baby fell asleep. I always remembered my husband and cried bitterly.”
To add to her troubles, Nishi’s brothers began worrying about their property, afraid they would have to split their inheritance if their sister stuck around. The constant struggles, along with the insults from her sisters-in-law, made Nishi feel very alone.
“I was in trouble, but I could not share my innermost struggles with anyone,” Nishi says. “I built a habit of remaining quiet most of the time, and I kept all my problems to myself.”
A Stranger Offers Hope
Gospel for Asia missionary Ria was on her way to Nishi’s village to share the love of Christ when she spotted Nishi sitting under a tree. With a basket of fodder beside her, the young mother seemed to be taking a work break, but something about her looked grim and even a bit frail. Ria was overwhelmed with love and compassion for her. As Ria prepared a place to sit beside the young woman, Nishi stood up to leave, but Ria urged her to stay.
“Sit with us for a little while,” she said.
Reluctantly, Nishi sat down with Ria and her two friends, and Ria asked about her life.
“After she found we were also ordinary women like her…she gave me her full attention,” Ria says. “I told her about our Lord Jesus Christ. I talked with her about His love and grace to ordinary people like us. If anyone comes to Him, He shall give them salvation.”
Ria noticed that as she spoke about Jesus, Nishi’s eyes began to widen and become filled with a sense of longing for this grace. Nishi was touched by Jesus’ love and mercy for her and her daughter. Although she did not entirely grasp Ria’s explanation, she wanted to know more.
“Sister,” Nishi said, “I would like to meet you again tomorrow.”
Ria shared where they were staying—a house six miles away—and promised Nishi they would meet her the next day. After she prayed for Nishi, she returned to her house. But “the next day” was not soon enough for Nishi.
Woman Seeks Jesus Despite Opposition
By 5:30 the next morning, Nishi was standing by Ria’s house, eager to hear more of the Good News. Despite the hour, Ria and the other sisters made her feel at home. Nishi began to open up to them. She explained her struggles, fears and anxieties, and told them how she wanted to follow the Lord.
“I found a new ray of hope in my life through Jesus Christ,” Nishi said. “I thought deeply at night and came to realize that I finally found someone who would love me and care for me and my baby.”
Rejoicing, Ria encouraged Nishi to start attending their local fellowship. The church was six miles away, but Ria knew of a Christian woman who would help Nishi get there every weekend.
At first, Nishi’s brothers were silent on the matter, but her oldest brother couldn’t hold in his feelings for long.
“The Christian religion is a foreign religion. We should never go after another religion,” he said.
But Nishi wasn’t going to be intimidated any longer. Ria saw the zeal in Nishi.
“Despite oppositions,” Ria said, “Nishi attended the church with her neighbor every weekend. She had a great desire to learn the Word of God and draw closer to the Lord and spend time in prayer.”
Woman Finds Rest in Christ
Nishi continued to grow in the Lord for the next few months. Eventually, Nishi’s brothers kicked her out of their house, so she moved to a rented room near the church.
Rather than feeling alone and frightened, Nishi now has had more time to spend with other believers, and her growing daughter can attend a local school. She has great expectations that God will soon return her husband, too. In the meantime, though, she is thankful for all Jesus has done and the great hope He has given her.
Because they can approach women in situations that men cannot, Gospel for Asia women missionaries are uniquely powerful and effective in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Your support can bring hope to a woman like Nishi.
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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.