By Carla Ellis
It was a hot and sweaty day in the desert of Rajasthan, India when my Indian friends and I arrived at the village. From the outside it looks like any other village, but behind the walls lives a group of people desperate for true unconditional love.
The Rajnats are known as “The King’s Dancers”. During the dynasty period they danced for the royal families, but when the dynamics of India changed, so did the future of the Rajnat people. Societal norms forced the Rajnat women into bar room dancing and prostitution. They are born into the most devastating business in the world, which often begins at the age of 12.
We had been ministering alongside our Indian friends in one of the Rajnat villages for months, but this day turned out to be the most challenging. After arriving at the village we began asking the ladies if they would like to make jewelry with us. They said, “No, we must work,” reminding us once again of the horrific life that chained them.
Then I spotted a ray of hope in the distance. A young lady named Rakia came and greeted us with her beautiful smile. Every week I had been praying that God would somehow give me an opportunity to minister to Rakia. Not only was Rakia born in the brothel, she was also born deaf and mute. By pointing to the necklace and tools I asked Rakia if she wanted to make one. She quickly nodded her head to say yes. “Finally God! Thank you,” I whispered. Rakia took us over to a wooden bench sitting outside her small concrete home. Just as we began to start, her mother called her away from us.
A strange man took her by the hand and led her into a room only inches from where we were sitting. In seconds her demeanor changed from happiness to hopelessness. She was being led once again into the depths of despair, realizing she was moments away from despicable shame and abuse.
We were devastated! I wanted to scream. I wanted to pull her out and save her! But there was absolutely nothing I could do. I felt so shallow and helpless. I was so confused about why God allowed this and extremely angry that Rakia’s mom allowed this! How could a mother do this to her precious daughter? Everything in me wanted to let her know what an awful person she was!
Then she asked me a very challenging question, “Can you help me?” I hesitated. “Help you? I don’t think so! You just gave your daughter to that man,” I thought to myself. She showed me her hands. They were very dry, cracked, and infected due to the harsh conditions endured in the desert. I must admit I did not feel very sympathetic or loving. I did not want to help her; I wanted to help her daughter.
Then the Lord spoke to me, “I did not send you here today for Rakia only. I also sent you here for Rakia’s mom. She needs your unconditional love, too. A love that shows no record of wrongs, a love that forgives, even when a person has hurt you or someone you love.”
Suddenly, Rakia’s mom looked completely different in my eyes. I began to see her as Jesus does, beautiful and desperately helpless without Him. Forced to watch her own daughter be raped by strangers day after day, she was also shackled by the generations of sin that have stolen happiness and hope from her family.
Then something occurred to me. I remembered I had the exact medicine that Rakia’s mom needed in the car. I had forgotten to leave it at one of our schools earlier in the day. Realizing it was not a mistake, but divine intervention, I ran to the car and got the medicine. Putting the medicine into Rakia’s mom’s cracked hands, scarred by the hardships of life, I prayed that she would find freedom in God’s amazing grace and that I would find freedom to share his unconditional love.
Although your journey may not lead you to the deserts of India, there are people in your path every day who need a touch of God’s love. Some are easy to love, others not so easy. My prayer is that God would give all of us divine encounters with those who need it most desperately.
Carla Ellis and her husband, Rev. Joel Ellis, are Assemblies of God World Missionaries and currently serve as part of the Global Operations team at Global University, with Joel as Vice President of Global Operations. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.