For the past 30 years, a brutal civil war has ravaged the island of Sri Lanka, and soldiers aren’t the only ones who have struggled to survive through the many years of fighting. Countless women have been left without husbands, sons and brothers because of the war.
65-year-old Ishya’s husband and three of her sons were all killed in a devastating explosion, leaving Ishya alone to care for her daughter and youngest son.
Ishya worked multiple labor and farm jobs so she could provide for her children. Once they were old enough, they both got married and moved far away. As Ishya grew older and was too weak to do physical labor, her only way left to survive was to beg.
Ishya asked others for food, sometimes walking throughout the day and into the night looking for something to take away her hunger. Adding to her hardships, Ishya developed an excruciating pain in her chest.
One day her chest hurt so badly, she had to stop her usual search for food. When she found a small hut decorated in saris, she hoped it would provide her with rest.
Once inside, Ishya realized the hut was actually a Christian church. She sat down and began to cry as she wondered if this unknown God would do anything to help her.
Ishya looked up from her tears a few minutes later and saw a man standing in front of her. Because she had gone into the hut without permission, she was afraid what the man might do or say, but the man, who was the pastor of the small church, spoke with kindness to Ishya and gave her something to eat when she told him she was hungry.
Ishya told Gospel for Asia pastor Dayaram about the pain in her chest, and he prayed for God to heal her. Then he shared the hope of Jesus with her. Ishya slept soundly that evening and her chest didn’t hurt at all.
The next morning, she went to the church again to tell Pastor Dayaram that his God had healed her body.
“My God can be your God as well, if you accept Him,” Pastor Dayaram responded.
That day Ishya made the decision to trust in the Lord.
Since she was healed, Ishya has not had any more health problems. She doesn’t have to search for food anymore, because the Lord has faithfully provided her daily bread.
Often Ishya can be found praying in the church. Although she doesn’t know how to read or write, Ishya has no trouble talking to the Lord.
“Until I die,” Ishya says, “I will follow Jesus.”