T he man raised the machete high over his head and brought it down swiftly onto the neck of the animal. As Nabhanya watched the blood spill across the floor, she dared to hope it would relieve her pain, but she knew that would be a miracle. Her family had spent a lot of money on her treatment, but nothing had come of it. Now this goat was her last hope of salvation.
Nabhanya had already lived through similar suffering years ago, but instead of her stomach, it had been her leg causing her unrelenting pain. A neighbor suggested she visit a church and trust Jesus for healing, so she did and was healed.
Impressed by Jesus’ power, she had added Him to the other gods she worshiped, but the church was too far to attend on a regular basis. Soon time and hardship seemed to erase all memory of the miracle and the God behind it.
A few years later, Nabhanya, her husband and their three sons moved to a new village, and Nabhanya’s problems returned with a vengeance.
Mother’s Stomach Pain Adds to Family’s Problems
Nabhanya and her family filled their new home with carvings and pictures of the gods they worshiped, but Nabhanya’s husband, Lakshan, was a violent drunk who regularly turned the reverent atmosphere into one of war.
Lakshan beat his wife and children and even fought with his neighbors. Moreover, his spending on alcohol drove the family into poverty, which became a greater issue when Nabhanya’s health began to suffer again.
Just like her leg pain before, Nabhanya’s stomach pain came with no explanation and no sign of relenting. The family pulled together what money they had left to treat Nabhanya’s illness, visiting medical doctors and witch doctors, but no one had a cure.
Believing bloodshed might make their gods listen, Nabhanya and her family bought hens to sacrifice before their images. When that failed, they offered goats and other animals. None of it subdued the pain, and an exhausted Nabhanya soon lost hope of ever being whole again.
Mother Confides in Bible College Students
Three miles away, hope was exactly what Gospel for Asia Bible college students were learning to offer. As part of their training, the students often go out to share God’s love in local villages, including Nabhanya’s community.
One day, Nabhanya met a group of students, and as they talked, she began sharing about her stomach pain. She thought about her leg and wondered if she should ask Jesus for healing again.
The students prayed for Nabhanya and invited her to come to the church at the Bible college. Nabhanya agreed, and after a Sunday morning service and a week of the students praying, she began to feel better.
Encouraged, Nabhanya continued attending the campus chapel every Sunday, and the students continued praying. One month later, the pain was gone.
Nabhanya rejoiced at the miracle and began worshiping Jesus in response, but she didn’t add Him to her gods like she had before. This time, she chose to worship Christ alone�"which is why her family chose to turn against her.
Husband and Sons Forbid Mother’s New Faith
After Nabhanya’s decision, Lakshan forbade her from attending the Bible college’s church. Her sons threatened to throw her out of the home if she attended services and said they would brutally beat anyone who came to pray with her.
When a student came to pray with Nabhanya, her oldest son, Daksha, spoke so roughly about the student that Nabhanya, ashamed of her son’s actions, stopped going to church for a short while. Soon, however, she returned to church in secret, and she continued praying for her family.
"I believed and worshiped those images more than my husband and sons," Nabhanya said, "but God picked me up from the pit of image worship and stiffness, so I believe God will change their hearts."
Nabhanya could no longer invite students to her home for prayer, but God provided an ally within her own family. Daksha’s new wife, Talikha, quickly realized Nabhanya was a believer, and, after gathering her courage, revealed that she, too, followed Jesus.
Prayer Turns Family to Christ
With weekly encouragement from the students at the Bible college’s church, the women began praying together in secret. Over the next three years, the men in their family took notice of the change happening in their own lives as God met their needs.
"Did you pray for me with my mother?" Daksha asked Talikha one day. "I am getting more work than before."
Daksha’s question and his response encouraged Talikha who shared this with Nabhanya. They thanked God and continued praying.
Daksha is still opposed to his mother and wife’s faith, but Nabhanya’s second son, Omswaroop, has begun sitting with the women and listening to their prayers. And Lakshan and their youngest son, Sachet, regularly take Nabhanya to the Bible college church�"even attending services.
Lakshan loves hearing the way the students and other believers interact with each other and worship Jesus, and their lives motivate his interest in Christ. Through their influence, Lakshan is recovering from his alcoholism, too.
"It is written in the Bible, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you and your household will be saved," Nabhanya said.
As she and Talikha continue to pray, they see more each day how God is turning that promise into reality.
GFA Bible colleges give men and women the training they need for a lifetime of sharing God’s love with people like Nabhanya and supporting them in their faith. You can help equip a new generation of national missionaries that will take the Gospel farther than it has ever gone before.