A Pilgrim’s Progress

This morning a phone call came from Mala, a Christian friend of ours living in India. I was stunned to learn what God is doing there. She told me that on Christmas morning a Christian pastor preached to a large gathering in her small town. He explained the Gospel and the people listened with interest. This is what campus ministry at All Saints Lutheran Church and Student Center had prayed for Mala for a long time.

Mala and her husband sent their three children to Slippery Rock University. Mala stayed in Slippery Rock for several weeks to help her daughter adjust to America. I don’t remember how it started, but she began to come to All Saints to talk. That led to our studying the Bible together, and that progressed into a regular Bible study. A lasting friendship formed. Mala loved Bible study. She was born into a devout Christian family but had married a Hindu. She thought he would soon convert to Christianity, but he and their children did not.

Through the years Mala and her husband came to Slippery Rock to visit their children at SRU and to renew our friendship. Her children came to All Saints for friendship, student meals, and for time to talk about their struggles and successes. They felt comfortable here but did not desire to come to worship or Bible class. In spite of this, the friendship grew and continues to be strong to this day.

In fact, after the children graduated and married, they continue to include us in their lives. They invited us to their weddings and made long drives to see us here at All Saints and at our home. Recently, something important happened. Mala’s son came to say goodbye because he was moving from Pittsburgh to find another job in the East. While here he asked how to believe in Jesus. He happily accepted a copy of the Gospel of John. His father, Joy, was with him and listened intently to what we told his son. He knew we would not hurt his son and was interested in what we had to say.

Life has changed for Mala and her husband. He retired as manager of a huge farm in Africa that grew flowers for the European market. After thirty years Africa had become home, but they were not allowed to stay and had to return to India. Life changed dramatically for Mala, too. She had founded a Christian school for African children whose fathers worked at the flower farm. She taught the children for many years. She provided books and clothing for the children. Now she was back in a small town in India, where there is no Christian church or Christian school. What would she do now?

Mala and Joy were devastated at first. It was hard to adjust to small-town life in India. They felt like strangers in their own country.

Did the prayers offered for them by campus ministry matter? Yes, they did! Mala and Joy’ s families made them feel welcome. Purpose came back into their lives as they decided to befriend an orphanage in their town. Mala will look after the children again. She will teach them to read and tell them about Jesus. She is using three little children’s Bibles that All Saints gave her. She and her husband will do this together.

Not only did a Christian pastor preach in Mala’s town, but things are changing for her children in America. Mala’s older daughter found a Christian church and school around the corner from her home in Boston. That daughter called us recently and told us that she and her husband are considering sending their two children to this Christian school.  Thank God that He does hear the prayers campus ministry offers in Jesus’ name. Please join us in praying for Mala’s family. Your prayers do matter.

Augusta R. Mennell

Campus Ministry Director

All Saints Lutheran Church and Student Center

Slippery Rock PA 16057