WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World and affiliates like Gospel for Asia Canada) founded by Dr. K.P. Yohannan – Discussing Prisha and the Gospel for Asia Sisters of Compassion, women missionaries who dedicate their lives to bringing hope and God’s love to the most needy and disenfranchised.
The place was filthy. The people who lived there struggled daily to subsist. Their situation was desperate. They needed help, but it would have to come from someone willing to sacrifice their own comfort to come alongside and provide the relief the disenfranchised needed.
What would motivate someone to do that? Only love and compassion. Love can compel you to go. Compassion will compel you to dwell among them.
The people of Punya Basti lived in squalor and the stink of rotting animal carcasses, burning garbage and waste that littered the entire village. Outsiders would do their best to avoid the village because the stench was so onerous. The village had no electricity, no running water and no toilets. Prisha knew this, yet she chose to go there.
When she arrived, the reality exceeded her grimmest expectations. She found naked, hungry children, people covered in filth, mothers preparing meager meals in dirty pots and vessels, and drug and alcohol addiction rampant even among the children. The first drink of water offered to her in Punya Basti was in a glass so dirty that it broke her heart to realize what life was really like in the village.
Yet, when her Sisters of Compassion mentor suggested that she commute from another village where she would be safer, Prisha responded, “I don’t want to live in a different place. I want to stay in the midst of them, in the village, so I can understand their feelings … and they can understand the love we want to show them.”
Prisha’s story is more than one of compassion. It is one of redemption. Compassion is a feeling of empathy. Prisha knew that compassion motivated by love opens a way to redemption. She knew that the people needed to know that someone loved them and that those who loved them cared enough about them to help them learn how to live healthier and more productive lives. Living among them was the first step in demonstrating her love and compassion.
It was not a difficult decision for her to make, but there were times she wondered if it would be one that was difficult to keep. She and the Sisters of Compassion who joined her spent their first week in the village fasting and praying for the Lord’s guidance to show them how to build loving relationships with the villagers. They knew that they had to draw close to them in order to build relationships of trust.
As they cleaned the village streets—one of the lowliest of tasks for the lowliest of people in their country—and as they helped women with their daily chores, and as they helped take care of their babies, those relationships began to develop. Eating meals the locals cooked helped as well. Especially the mouthwatering tortoise and mongoose.
The relationships engendered the kind of trust that caused the people to listen to their advice. Prisha and the other Sisters of Compassion taught them how to bathe, brush their teeth, comb their hair and dress neatly and modestly.
Learning these valuable lessons led to the people accepting them as part of the family. As one of the villagers said, “We love them because they love us.”
Today, more than 1,000 Punya Basti villagers have been transformed by the love of Christ as it has been taught and demonstrated in the lives of the Sisters of Compassion. The village has been redeemed from the filth and squalor in which it was once lost. The transformation from darkness to light began with the love of Christ shining through one life committed to compassion. Now that love continues to transform individual villagers from the inside out as they, too, have come to accept His love and follow Him.
I can’t help but think about how Prisha and the seven other Sisters of Compassion so clearly demonstrated the love of Christ just as He loved us. He set aside His comforts to live among us in our world of filth and shame. He did it so that He would be able to completely understand our desperate situation and build a relationship with us based upon His sacrificial love. It was by doing so that His compassion opened the way for our redemption by having a personal relationship with Him.
Heavenly Father, help us to see the others as you see them. Give us a love for them like your love, a love that breaks our hearts with compassion. Give us a compassion that is willing to act sacrificially so that others will see you in and through us so that they, too, will come to know you and be blessed by your great love. Give us a love that compels us to go and tell others who will receive that love and who will, in turn, go and tell others. Thank you, Lord, for what you are going to do through us.
*Names of people and places may have been changed for privacy and security reasons. Images are Gospel for Asia stock photos used for representation purposes and are not the actual person/location, unless otherwise noted.
Learn more about the GFA national missionaries who carry a burning desire for people to know the love of God. Through their prayers, dedication and sacrificial love, thousands of men and women have found new life in Christ.
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