Hansini steeled herself against the pain of another blow. Soon her body would turn all shades of black and blue, but her attacker wouldn’t be satisfied. He wasn’t simply angry like the others. This man was desperate. At 17 years old, Hansini had shamed the entire village by her actions, but everyone blamed him. Now he was determined to see his reputation restored—no matter the cost.
Hansini’s village wasn’t much to look at. The people were poor and most struggled for daily survival.
Still, they had some things to their credit: They were faithful to their traditional deities, and though their lifestyles wouldn’t suggest it, they belonged to highly distinguished clans.
Between working as daily wage labourers and scraping together meals, the people still managed to look down on the lower castes. As if their status weren’t bad enough, many in the lower castes had deserted the traditional religion and begun following Jesus, making them even more disgraceful.
Although most villagers wanted nothing to do with the low caste people, however, there were a few who had given up their reputation to join the Jesus-followers. To her family’s dismay, Hansini was one of them.
From the beginning, Hansini’s parents, Badal and Deepti, strictly opposed her new faith, but their stance did little to calm the rest of the village. The teenager had brought scandal to their doors and something needed to be done.
Old friends became hostile to the family, who received no end of scolding from neighbours and extended relatives.
“You have let your children run so free that you cannot even make them obey you,” the village elders told them.
It didn’t matter that their son and younger daughter still behaved respectably, or that Badal and Deepti worked hard every day. Their own beliefs were of no consequence because Hansini’s actions had overshadowed them all.
The villagers were disgusted when the lower castes began following Jesus and meeting as a fellowship.
One day, Badal couldn’t bear the humiliation any longer. Hammered by the scorn of his neighbours, the man snapped, and he beat Hansini with all the fury and shame he felt. But even as the dark bruises began to show, Hansini stood firm with a determination no one understood.
When her brother and sister begged her to come back to their religion, she just told them more about Jesus and asked them to join her instead.
The neighbours were disgusted, and the family could only wait helplessly for Hansini to relent and clear the family name. After three years passed, though, it seemed she never would.
Despite the village’s protests, Hansini refused to give up her faith in Christ.
One day, Hansini came home with a surprise from her church’s Christmas gift distribution program. It didn’t make sense that the poor, lowly believers could give such a nice gift, but the gleam of the new sewing machine was undeniable. Hansini didn’t waste any time in putting it to use.
She began sewing and selling mosquito nets, and Badal and Deepti watched in amazement as their wayward daughter started earning a significant income. Rather than using it for her personal gain, she took care of her family’s bills.
“Jesus Christ is the giver of all good gifts,” Hansini explained to her parents, “and it is because of the love and grace of Christ that our family is able to overcome all our financial struggles.”
As they looked at what they’d received from the daughter and the God they rejected, Badal and Deepti realized how wrong they had been. Together, they decided that if Jesus could love them while they rejected Him, then they would serve Him no matter what the neighbours said.
And as word spread of Hansini’s success, the neighbours had plenty to say.
The sewing machine Hansini received from her church allowed her to support her whole family.
After three years of hostility, the villagers weren’t about to ignore this new development. With their objective in sight, they closed in on the girl who had defied them, and they asked her one simple question:
Would Hansini teach their children to sew, too?
The young woman happily agreed.
Today, Hansini teaches classes six days a week, borrowing a second sewing machine from a fellow believer, and hopes to share the love of Jesus with her students.
In the meantime, the villagers have stopped their hostile actions and some are even coming to church, eager to learn more about the longsuffering love of Christ. After seeing it clearly demonstrated through Hansini, it’s not so shameful anymore.
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With many peaceful blessings
This poem was written by my friend, Ted Hughes, when he was nearly 90 years old!
Come in, Mr Hughes,
I have all your news,
And I’ve fully considered each page,
Although you look pale
For an octogenarian male,
You’re surprisingly good for your age.
A spoonful of rum
For your vociferous tum,
No fantasies should you engage,
When you feel ‘fit to kill’
Keep taking the pill,
But you’re really quite good for your age.
Tho’ you’re weak at the knees
And you spill when you sneeze,
Calm yourself and try not to rage,
Ignore golf course calls
When your putting appals,
‘Cos you’re frightfully fit for your age.
You seem out of touch
As you lean on your crutch,
I’m afraid that you’ve now reached that stage,
As you gaze at your bed
Don’t wish you were dead,
You’re alive and so good for your age.
Just think of the past
As long as you last,
‘Til your real self-bursts from its cage,
Absolutely no doubt
The old body’s worn out,
But you’re oh so good for your age.
Go home now, dear boy
And think of the joy,
All those years of minimum wage,
The times when you could
Contribute much good,
Keep it up, all is well for your age.
I knew Ted for many years. The last time I saw Ted before his death, just after he had reached 92, he took me for a gourmet meal at a restaurant in the New Forest.
Despite my offer to take us in my car, Ted insisted on us going in his car. As we sped through the Hampshire countryside at speeds well in excess of the speed limit, I closed my eyes and said a prayer!
Somehow we managed to arrive safely – the angels must definitely been with us that day!
With many peaceful blessings