www.cvm.org/ equips and encourages veterinary professionals and students to build relationships with others through the use of their veterinary knowledge and skills so that lives are transformed. (Get to know them at their Meet an Agency post here!)
Here, CVM shares a young woman’s story from their field–with a critical lesson for those of us hoping to bring others to the Prince of Peace.
Goma was a young teenager, working in her parents’ tea shop in urban Nepal. Although her family was high caste by Hindu standards, status didn’t equal wealth. Running their shop, the family barely got by.
Goma was in 8th grade and considered highly educated. Most young people in Nepal think the city is exciting, with cars and tourists, but Goma found it boring, an endless repetition of dirty dishes and kitchen chores. She dreamed of seeing far away places.
One day, a tall good-looking man came into the tea shop. Although Goma never spoke to him, she admired him. He was from the east, five days’ journey away. It sounded exciting.
A few weeks later, he visited the shop again. This time he spoke to her. His name was Laxman–and he invited her to run away with him to his village.
What a radical thought! First of all, he wasn’t her caste. Inter-caste marriages are considered sinful. He was also from an unknown place, with no one to recommend him.
He said he was single, but many men would say that in order to persuade a young woman to unknowingly become a second or even third wife. Was he really even looking for a wife? Or was he just a clever agent for the traffickers who sell naïve Nepali girls regularly to big brothels in India?
Excitement, danger, a chance to travel. Not unlike a fairytale Cinderella, it was all too attractive to turn down for more dishwashing.
They left immediately, without even saying goodbye to her parents and extended family. She knew they would never allow her to go.
Goma hoped Laxman was her Prince Charming, come to rescue her from a life of drudgery.
Cinderella’s Coach Departs
It was Goma’s first long bus ride, bumping day and night across the countryside. She was carsick, and ate little for three days of bus travel.
At the end of the trip, she was surprised to learn that it was two more days of walking to reach his village. There was no road to his village.
Doubts and fear rose up in her mind. What had she gotten herself into? Who was this man and where was he taking her? She could never get herself back from this remote place.
Behold: Cinderella’s Castle
Two days later, tired and dirty, they arrived at Laxman’s home. Poor Goma was in for a shock. None of the women spoke Nepali! There was no one to befriend, no one to tell her where to get water, wash clothes, buy vegetables or other basic chores expected of her. Everyone in this village was of the Rai ethnic group; the women spoke only their own Rai tribal language
Some men had been to school and learned Nepali, but it would not be appropriate for a new bride to be off talking with strange men.
The only good news was that Laxman was indeed single and she his first and only wife….though there were lonely days when another wife might have been a blessing, she thought.
Settling In: A new Life
Goma persevered. She struggled to make their home pleasant and please her new in-laws. She learned to speak the Rai language. She tried to find ways to help her new neighbors and relatives.
In time, her basic knowledge of health and her helpful attitude made her the assistant to the village midwife.
As the most educated woman in the village, Goma started teaching literacy classes for the women-teaching reading and writing, and the Nepali language. Gradually, she was accepted and made friends.
But Goma was never fully accepted as she remained childless. In Nepal, a woman is only fully accepted when she gives birth to a son.
Enter: The True Prince
About that time, something new and revolutionary happened in the village. A church started.
At first, it was just one agriculturalist missionary family meeting with a group of 3 or 4 young men about farming and livestock.
Laxman was one of these first young men. He brought a Nepali Bible home. Goma started to read it, happy to have anything to read. Although there were churches in her home city, Goma had never seen or heard of them.
But here, in the middle of nowhere, Goma encountered God.
After Laxman and Goma became Christians, Goma started a women’s Bible study, reading from the Nepali Bible and translating into Rai as she went along. There was no Scripture in Rai. She continued to teach literacy classes, adding Christian hymns in Nepali.
So Cinderella finally did meet a real Prince, the Prince of Peace and King of Kings. And he granted her the desire of her heart: a son.
After that, Goma and Laxman felt God calling them to ask forgiveness from Goma’s parents for the way they ran away. After nearly 10 years, Goma returned to her parents’ home, asked their forgiveness and shared the gospel with them.
The Moral of Cinderella’s Story
On your mission field, a story unspools behind every person you meet–a story filled with longing, heartache, conflict.
When Paul–one of the most renowned missionaries–spoke to the Areopagus, he asserted,
And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.
Yet he is actually not far from each one of us… (Acts 17:26-27)
Each individual’s setting, the characters in their lives, the storyline–all are written by an Author who’s pulling their stories toward himself.
How will you learn the stories he’s crafted–and help them find their Prince of Peace?
Like this post? You might like