Being home has made me realize more than ever that we humans, no matter where we live on this earth, are unhappy with the portion God has given us. When we were in India we saw very little TV but almost every other commercial was about creams to lighten skin. Here in the USA we lay out in the sun or God forbid PAY to lie in a contraption, to get that perfect tan. Now don’t put this down to me being a woman, it is the truth. We simply don’t like the color we are.
Manju, one of the RGI students, does not realize she is drop-dead gorgeous. She has a gift from God of the perfect skin and color. I would kill for it, and yet as she sat beside me in the car, with broken English (also help from the other girls) she said, “Nani I would love to have your color of skin, even with the spots.” I burst out laughing. “Well, thanks, but no thanks.” I reminded her of my Tea Cup talk. We need to be happy with what God has given us and use it to His glory. Then through tears that had welled, but not yet fallen, she said, “I would be happy with anything if I just had parents.”
Manju has thick eyelashes that nearly touch her eyebrows, big brown eyes, beautiful long hair and a megawatt smile. If her circumstances were different and she had an agent, there is no doubt she could be a model, BUT I am convinced she would trade it all just to have parents.
Her mother died when she was 18 months old. Now her father was saddled with two girls, so he simply disappeared. Abandoned, her extremely poor grandparents felt obligated to care for the girls. Their little mud-brick hut with the broken tile roof was now more than crowded.
The grandfather is a farmer and the girls helped, as they could, their grandmother with cooking and cleaning. After a few years the grandparents could no longer care for the girls, and had no other option, so at 8 years old, Manju and her older sister were sent to a Christian orphanage.
In the years when Loren and I were just dreaming of a girls’ institute we visited Manju’s orphanage. During one my recent Q and A times with the girls Manju said,” Nani, you talked about RGI so I made up my mind that I wanted to attended your school.” She had an uncle who was attending Prakash Boys’ Institute at the time and even at a young age she realized that a good Christian education consisting of Life Skills, Job Skills and Spiritual disciplines such as Starting Point and other biblical studies was her only hope for a self-reliant life. She made it her primary goal and is now studying Computer. She says, “I like the discipline and the rules of RGI. The girls in this hostel are very helpful this was not so in my previous hostel. I have grown much closer to the Lord after coming to RGI and learning the Starting Point course.”
The idea that you can change a culture by giving its’ girls the tools to grow up educated so they can help themselves. It is amazing to see the idea in action, working so well. Remember this face.
Thank all of you for your support of Prakash.