The meager change landed next to her with a short clang.
Twenty-two-year-old Magashwari had just finished washing the clothes of an upper caste family in Southern India in exchange for a few coins they tossed her way.
Because of her blindness, she’d been told and treated like she didn’t matter by her family and society for so long that she believed it.
One family doing laundry in the slums.
Another view from the slums in India.
As for her lower caste family, it wasn’t that they didn’t care for her, but they had been swimming in the waters of their caste-based society for so long that they’d accepted the lie that as lower caste members, they have lower value and that blind Magashwari had even less.
And they’d treated her that way - maybe without even considering the hopelessness she’d been driven to.
Rejected. Isolated. Hopeless. Blind. Purposeless. This was the theme song of her life.
ITMI partner, Paul.
Then one day there was a knock at the door.
ITMI’s Paul, whose last name we don’t disclose for security, had been led by the Spirit to plant a church in the area. On this day he and one of his disciples were knocking on doors, looking for those who might need the hope of the Gospel.
What they found was someone who was more in need of it than they could have known.
As their story of a coming kingdom where all have value as God’s image bearers unfurled, Magashwari began to hope again. As Paul’s family and the community of believers lived as a preview of that kingdom, treating her as a fellow citizen of it, that hope grew.
As she learned about its forever King and His mission, she began to see a purpose for her life and a passion to give others the good news she had found.
Magashwari still works for pocket change for the upper caste families who take advantage of her. She says, “I’m doing the same things, but I’m a different person now.”
She walks two miles - no small feat for a blind woman - to the bus stop in order to get to the church gathering and services on Sunday.
Walking the streets of India is no easy task.
She rarely misses an opportunity to be with them. Her loving devotion to Jesus is inspiring to the other believers, and they are praying with her about how they can help Magashwari find a better source of income.
Magashwari began to talk to the women she came across as they sat in public together chatting. At least 10 people have been added and baptized into Paul’s fellowship through her. Her own mother and aunt were among those who came to Christ when they saw the transformation of God’s work in her life.
While Magashwari’s story exhibits these things in a more physical way than most, the reason she has found a place to belong in a family of believers is that we were all once blind, lost, rejected, hopeless and purposeless.
Jesus, in His compassion, redeems us, gives us a family to belong to, a purpose to live for, and a place in a story that is bigger than our own; the story of the Missio Dei - the God who is on a mission to redeem and restore His broken, yet beloved creation.
Want to know more about Paul and Molly's ministry in India?
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics, (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 12 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.