For over four years Vasantha’s extended family had been trying to find a girl for his marriage. Due to the fact that Vasantha’s father is a drunkard and not capable, his uncle is the one who found Shashi. Vasantha had seen many girls, but none were acceptable. I asked, “What were you looking for in a girl?” He said, “I wanted a girl who was not quarrelsome and knew about Christianity.” I asked, “How did you know she was not a quarrelsome girl.” Matter of factly he stated, “By looking in her eyes.” I think I know what he means, because I have found it is the only evidence they are unable to hide in regards to honest feelings. He went on to say he asked her questions about Christianity and felt good about her responses.
It is very unusual that he was allowed to have this kind of contact with Shashi before their engagement, but Vasantha insisted. He said, “I liked her.” She said she also likes him.
She had learned about Christianity from a village nearby her home with a Christian Hospital compound, and some of the villagers attend a fellowship there. She went to a DVBS as a young girl.
As a wedding gift Sylvia and I gave a photo album of their wedding and reception, and also a picture frame with a wedding picture. On the frame is a Scripture verse from 1 Corinthians 13. Dr. Suresh marked the verse in the NEW Bible we gave him since he had given his other Bible away. He said, “I love” Shashi. (Vasantha in tan shirt with Shashi next to him)
On the way back to Prakash I asked Suresh, “What is meaning of love in Marathi?” There is only one meaning and it more like a friendship type of love. It is very difficult to explain “unconditional love” when they only have one concept of what it means. That is why it is so important that we show Christ’s love to them so they can begin to understand “God’s unconditional love.”
The chief of the village said he had heard news 14 years ago about a doctor who was helping a little boy in another Pardhi village. News travels fast—both good and bad. He was pleased that someone would help a non-family individual.
I thanked him for allowing me to come. He said, “You respect our traditions and don’t take anything from us—you only give.” He added, “You are the sugar in the milk!”
At the request of the village chief we are beginning to translate the Gospel of John into the Pardhi language. Since they do not have an alphabet or written language we will use the Marathi alphabet with tonal differences to write out the book. This will also allow us to key it into the computer so we can publish the completed project. Vasantha has willing taken the task of writing the translation. Shashi will read and he will write. His handwriting is beautiful. Then we will input the manuscript into the computer at Prakash Institute enabling us to make copies.
There is a potential distribution to 400 villagers, including the surrounding villages population. Because they requested this and are doing the work, we do not have to worry about the non-conversion law of India. Some of the villagers have already requested a New Testament in Marathi so they can TRY to read what is written. We distributed several during our last visit.
God Bless the person who invented Skype. It made all the difference in the world. I was even able to Skype with Sylvia from Vasantha’s village on this last visit. I wonder what they were really thinking when they saw her and talked with her??? Looking forward to being home soon, but this has been an extraordinary trip, even with the heat.