In a small village in the state of Maharashtra, India, lives a woman of 65 years named Praryagabai. She has never been to any school and doesn’t know how to read or write.
But one day, Pastor Rev. Ashish Kharchan told Praryagabai the story about Jesus Christ. Upon hearing about Jesus, she became hungry to know more about this Jesus, the One who loves her.
Some of the Nazarene pastors followed up with her, telling her more about who Jesus is. Praryagabai started coming to Sunday worship services, and even to any other prayer meetings during the week. As a result, she accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord. Following some discipleship, she was also baptized.
Because of her bold decision to openly embrace Christ, she faced lots of opposition from her family and her own society. Praryagabai was constantly being persecuted. People stopped all communication with her. But she said, “I have found the real God who is alive, and even if you trouble me, kill me for that. I don’t mind because I am already 65 years old. I have to die someday, and even if I die today, I don’t mind dying for Jesus Christ.”
Though she didn’t know how to read and write, and though she was very poor, she saved some money and purchased a copy of the Bible.
That Bible was stolen from her. Praryagabai cried many tears for the loss of her Bible. But she was determined to bring the Scripture back into her home. So she worked on a farm as a day laborer, saving the money to purchase a new copy of the Bible.
Although she didn’t know how to read, Praryagabai was a very wise woman. She came up with a clever plan: She would go and sit under a tree near a road where students would pass on their way to school and back. While seated there, she would call one of the students and ask them, “Would you kindly read this aloud for me, please? I will give you two rupees ($0.02).”
While the student read the Bible aloud, expecting to earn his two rupees, several other students gathered around them, listening to what was being read.
Praryagabai did this every day. Thanks to the promised payment, the students would eagerly help her by reading. Through her innovative strategy, the gospel was preached to an entire village.
Very soon, people working for an adult literacy program reached this village. They started adult literacy classes and Praryagabai enrolled. She learned the alphabet in the Marathi language and slowly learned how to read and write. Today, she is 70 years old, and has finished reading the entire Bible twice.
Praryagabai still attends every prayer meeting all over the district. If a preacher asks someone to read a passage from the scripture, she is the first to find it and reads it aloud.
Rev. Vinay Gaikwad, the district superintendent of the Mid-Maharashtra District says, “I am so very blessed and encouraged by the life of [Praryagabai].”
Praryagabai is an example that there is no excuse for not sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is nothing that can stop us from sharing the gospel: Illiteracy; abandonment from family, relatives and society; persecution and threats to our life; even poverty. Nothing could stop her from sharing the gospel.
It is a responsibility of every believer. Praryagabai understood it and decided to obey the call to grow in Christ and share Him with others, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
This Snapshot has been written by Rev. Rajiv Yangad and Rev. Vinay Gaikwad.