Asha from Arungabad

by Jen

I looked out into the country side of Arungabad and saw a woman wearing a colorful dress with ruffles and adorned in gold ornaments. I jogged toward her.

“Sundir!” I said. It’s the word for beautiful in the Murati language.

“Can I take your photo?” I asked when I reached the woman. I lifted up my camera and pointed.

She nodded. As I snapped pictures, I learned her name – Asha. She was one of many women doing road work out in this small village a couple hours outside the city of Arungabad.

I smiled at Asha. Then I returned to my flurry of hand gestures and Murati phrases (of which I knew only about 10) as I tried to communicate with her.

Soon, it was time for our program of skits, puppets, songs and a message. The believers of the village were ready to go inside for the program.

“Can she join us?” I asked one of the pastors, nodding towards my new Hindu friend, Asha.

He nodded. During our performance, I kept noticing Asha smiling at me. Our eyes met a couple more times. As our performance ended, we invited people forward for prayer. Our team made a line at the front of the stage and prayed for the many people who’d come forward.

I kept looking for Asha. But she was nowhere to be found.

Just as we were about to leave the village, Asha appeared in front of me.

“What did you think of the message?” I asked her through a translator.

“I felt God’s love for the first time in my life,” she said.

My heart leapt after hearing this. I urgently prayed that this would be just the beginning. I prayed that she would leave this place a changed woman. We hugged goodbye. I climbed into the van for the journey back to Arungabad.

Asha smiled and waved as we drove away. I thanked God for this special encounter.

First her beauty caught my eye… and then God brought beauty to her heart!