I had been in India for nearly fifty days when I felt a terrible longing to go to see an old “friend”. I had finished a long day at another meeting; the travel back to where I was staying would be at least an hour and a half return trip. We would nearly pass her little village, “D Block”, along the way. I thought the driver could get me to my destination, but when he could not, I instructed him where to go. I discussed with the young pastor accompanying me that we wouldn’t stay long, so he could return early to his family.
This village was designed as a government project to give land to those in need. The project was successful in many ways, and yet has some very strong limitations for those who live there. Many who had lived in the city were relocated there, as a means for the city to tear down old mud huts within the city limits. That is how my dear friend found herself living there over fifteen years ago. Her name is Mahalakshmi, all of about four feet two inches tall, with silver-white hair and a laughter that fills you with joy.
The first time I met MahaLakshmi was on the streets of an older village, among an old pottery, where she was helping to make small clay pots. She grabbed me and hugged me and imparted to me ALL the love of India in one moment in time. I had visited her small hut (eight feet by ten feet) many times over the years to pray for her. I was blessed with a dear pastor, Hepzi, who knew how much we loved one another and would take me there.
I arrived this day in September of 2013 unannounced, knowing in my heart that she would be there. When we arrived, my heart leaped as though I was going to see the princess of this village. I walked up to the little dirt road to her hut and began to cross the small foot bridge that covered the open drain in front of her home. I was not surprised to see her rounding the corner of her pathway, smiling and laughing and reaching out for the long-awaited hug of the year. We cannot understand a thing we say to each other, but language, for both of us, is not necessary. It is LOVE, the LOVE OF CHRIST, that holds us together.
MahaLakshmi invited me to come into her small hut to pray and as I bent down to go in, I immediately noticed the pathway of the door was filled with containers of all sizes, filled with water. She pulled me into the small quarters and began to chatter as I looked around to see more buckets and pots everywhere. Across her mud floor and then across her small bed, containers were lined up to catch the dripping water that was entering her home whenever it rained. My heart sunk, and I summoned the young pastor to come and ask all the questions that were in my head and heart. To my brokenness and embarrassment, she had been living like this for over a year. I can’t describe to you how neat and clean her little place was, dotted with water-filled containers. “Water saved in buckets” you say; “isn’t that a good thing?” Not so in India; here they are just mosquitoe traps that breed sickness and fever.
I was filled with a righteous anger and wanted to contain all that I was feeling. These widows are God’s daughters of Zion, she is a prayer warrior, and her love and prayers for me, God answers. Where is the protection of the church for the poor and the widow? I gathered my thoughts, “How much will it cost to put a roof on this home?”, I asked, AND WAS SHOCKED when the answer was a mere one hundred U.S. dollars. I gathered the troops and the manpower at hand, the young pastor Aravind, and we put into place a plan that would rebuild the roof so our dear friend could live once again in a dry home.
It took about three weeks to get the workers and the process rolled into place. It took ten days to a gather the proper leaf and about three hours to rebuild the whole roof. We never told “Maha” the plan until it was all put together. Thank you Lord for your favor upon the life of your daughter.
Oh Father, how is it that we forget the needs of the afflicted, the widow and the child? The Truth of Your love is not in how much we do, how much it will cost, but that we do it. Father, forgive us for the unseen things that we do not see, but Lord, convict us to the needs of those around us. Lord bless my friend, Mahalakshmi, her very best friend, Satyavathi, and the thousands of widows across this nation- women who have poured out their lifeblood in prayer for the nation of India. Amen.
To view more photos of MahaLakshmi, please visit our Photo Gallery.