‘My God will heal you’
Saree has agreed to tell us her story. We meet her in a safe location, far away from her hometown. She starts by telling us how she met Jesus. As a young child, Saree was deaf.
“I was bullied at school for being deaf,” she says in a still voice. “They scolded me: ‘You are deaf!’ It made me so sad.” Because of her disability, she had a hard time listening and studying at school. Her parents tried everything to heal her. “We went to the hospital, to Hindu temples and even to people who practiced witchcraft. Nothing helped,” she shares.
But one of Saree’s aunts had something different in mind and convinced Saree to go with her to church. “Your family members are not believers in the true God,” she told her niece. “But I am. Come with me. My God will heal you.”
Saree vividly remembers that day—the first time she ever set foot in a church: “The people were singing songs, and the preacher taught from the Word of God. I heard a little bit of sound, so I could understand a little of what was being said and sung. The songs made me happy.”
After the sermon, the pastor and a few other people prayed for the young girl. Saree is still visibly moved.
“First they called me to the front. I was a bit afraid and actually wanted to run. But I still went. While they were praying, I could hear sounds. Slowly, the sounds became louder and louder. I also felt something coming to me. It came closer and closer. It was the presence of God. Then the sounds became really clear. I could hear everything. I was incredibly happy.”
‘Your God is not our God’
Afterward, Saree’s aunt explained who Jesus is and what she needed to know about following Him. Then she told Saree’s mother about Jesus.
Saree looks down as she remembers what happened next.
Instead of seeing the miracle of her daughter’s healing and coming to faith in Him, Saree’s mother became irate.
“Your God is not our God,” she told Saree’s aunt. “We are not going to believe in your God. People in your church die too. So we won’t go to that church.”
Later, she warned Saree not to go to church and spelled out the consequences: “The villagers can cut us off,” she told her daughter. “We won’t be able to buy any food or drinks anymore, and nobody will talk to us.”
But Saree, having been healed at church, secretly went back to the place where she had found new life.
“My elder sister was the only one who knew,” she says, “but my brother also found out. He caught me many times on a Sunday after I came back from church.”
She grows quiet but continues: “He and my father beat me and dragged me into the house. One time, I was carrying a Bible. He took it, threw it into the mud and beat me with a stick. Later I collected the Bible, wiped it clean and gave it to another believer. He kept it safe for me.
The situation continued to escalate. Pretty soon, she was enduring regular beatings. “Almost every time I went to church, my brother and father beat me,” she says.
Then came the day everything in her life changed.
“About three months ago, they were fed up with me. My brother and father yelled: ‘If you continue to go to church, we will punish you!’ They beat and kicked me badly. Then they gave me some clothes and pushed me out the door. My father said, ‘You are not our daughter anymore.’”
The choice that cost it all