Nov. 14, 2011 Gospel for Asia
Saved from Her Own Family
Madin Bibi was a slave in her own family.
She never really had a chance for any other kind of life.
Madin was just an infant when her father, Padmakar, died. He was a farmer and day laborer who took good care of his small family, which included Madin's older brother, Sonte. His death literally broke the family apart and sent Madin's future in motion.
When Padmakar died, his wife, Hamsa, did whatever she could to provide for her children. As a widow, Hamsa was scorned by society, and no one stepped forward to help. Even seeing her desperate struggle could not change the hearts of her husband's family.
In Hamsa's country, widows are blamed for their husband's death. So his family eventually kicked Hamsa and her children out of the home she had shared with her husband. Hamsa left the village a penniless widow with two children and moved back into her mother's home.
This living arrangement lasted only a short time. Hamsa remarried and left her children behind with her mother. Sadly, this is a common practice in many South Asian cultures. The widow often sees no other hope and is desperate for someone to care for her. However, the new spouse does not want to take responsibility for the children from her previous marriage, so she has to decide between marriage and her children.
Abandoned and Left as Orphans
Madin and Sonte were crushed to the core when their mother left. Although they were living with their grandmother, they both felt like orphans. Similar to widows, orphaned and abandoned children are treated with contempt, and their lives are filled with disgrace. That's exactly what happened to Madin. Since she was a female orphan, she was viewed as doubly cursed.
Madin and Sonte's grandmother was also a widow, yet she did the best she could to love and care for her grandchildren. Still, they often went without food, which stunted Madin's growth. Her grandmother's age made it difficult for her to work or take care of the household, so Madin took on those responsibilities, too. She cleaned the house, cooked meals and went to work to earn money to manage the household.
As the only male in the house, her brother had taken the leadership role and ruled the house with an abusive hand. If Madin did not do her chores at home or go out to work and earn money, the small girl suffered a beating at his hand. Millions of girls—and grown women—are treated the same way throughout South Asia. They come to expect such harsh treatment and know of no other life.
A Dutiful But Sad Little Girl
Madin performed her duties at home and then ran off to gather firewood, fetch water and do whatever kind of work she could find. But she really wanted to be at school with the other kids her age. The little girl looked longingly at them in their uniforms on their way to school.
Madin's grandmother was deeply concerned about her granddaughter's life and her future. There was a GFA Bridge of Hope Center in their village, so the grandmother visited and talked to the staff. With tears filling her eyes, she shared her granddaughter's plight. The staff immediately invited Madin to enroll. The little girl was thrilled when she heard the news!
Madin's hopes for an education were cruelly dashed when her brother forced her to take care of the house and go out to work rather than coming to the Bridge of Hope center.
One day she left the house as usual, but rather than going to work, she went to the Bridge of Hope center instead. When Sonte found out she had not followed his order, he grabbed hold of her and beat her terribly. The wounded little girl was totally broken and without hope. From that day on, she was obedient to do what her brother commanded. She lived like a bondservant in her own family. Madin's grandmother was upset with Sonte's treatment of his little sister but felt powerless to do anything about it.
Seeking her out
When Madin stopped coming to the center, the staff went to the family's small house to check up on her. Everyone happened to be at home when they arrived, so they talked with the entire family and even had the opportunity to tell them about the love of Jesus. Madin's grandmother asked them to pray for her family, especially Madin. The fearful girl sat motionless during the entire visit, afraid to say anything even though her heart was breaking.
A few days later Madin's grandmother visited the center again. This time she told the staff the whole story about Madin's life and the abuse she was suffering. The grandmother told the staff she desperately wanted Madin to come to the center and learn about Jesus.
The Bridge of Hope staff earnestly prayed with the grandmother. The staff was encouraged to see little Madin in the classroom the next day and were amazed when she began regularly attending the program. Although they never did learn what happened to cause such a drastic change in Sonte, they are merely thankful God answered their prayers and saved this little girl from the torment she suffered at the hands of her own brother.
Today Madin's family supports her and the efforts she is making to obtain an education. They don't make her work anymore. Instead, they are happy seeing her grow in knowledge, character and faith, thanks to the Bridge of Hope center.