It is the end of February in Iowa, but it still winter as evidenced by the continued snow cover and frigid wind chills. It is a difficult time in which to thrive.
Plants are categorized by their cold-hardiness. Winter-hardy plants can remain healthy even through a cold winter. Some plants, like tulips, actually require a period of cold in order to thrive and bloom in the spring. In a similar way, we may dislike the adverse conditions of the winter seasons in our lives, but they are sometimes necessary to our thriving!
In January, six women joined a team from Valley who travelled to India for a leadership conference. We were privileged to meet with a group of 28 Indian women from 8 different states across northern India where Christians number less than 2% of the population. These women live as believers under levels of adversity that we can only begin to imagine. Yet if you had been able to drop in on our prayer meetings to hear their voices raised in fervent praise you would have been as amazed as we were at how they thrive in their faith! Let me tell you a little of the story of two of these women.
Sangita comes from a Hindu background. Her husband regularly drank and gambled. Their first baby died in a full term breech delivery where she had only the help of village women. For three years she had no other child. Her in-laws started to talk about finding another wife for their son-one who would be able to produce children for him. She did everything she knew to do, worshiping their idols, fasting and making vows to the idols to try to get pregnant. At that time she and her husband came in contact with Christians and were eventually saved and baptized. They continued to live in the family home with their unbelieving relatives, experiencing much resistance to their new faith. At one point she became very ill and felt she was dying. But through answered prayer she experienced healing. A short time later she became pregnant! They dedicated their first born girl to the service of the Lord. She is now 16! Sangita's husband is also now serving as a pastor.
Lata was raised in one of three Christian families in her village which ostracized them to try and persuade them to return to Hinduism. They were forced to live isolated from the rest of the community. The biggest issue for these families was arranging marriage for their daughters. Lata prayed for a long time for a Christian husband. One day she asked the Lord boldly for arrangements to be made THAT day, and it happened! She recently married a pastor and is now expecting their first child.
If you would like to a have a prayer card with the photo and requests of Sangita, Lata, or another woman from the conference, please call or email the Women’s Ministry office.
Becky and her husband, Dave, have attended Valley Church for seven years. Having grown up in Malawi, Africa where her parents served as missionaries, Becky's love for the people of the world began at an early age. Becky and Dave served as missionaries themselves in Bangladesh. She now continues to use her passion for the world through the Valley Global Outreach Team. Becky also serves on the Valley Women's Ministry Leadership Team.