Despite Panna’s devotion to a pious life, her attitude toward others was easily summed up: If you are good to me, I will be good to you. If you are bad to me, I’ll still be good—unless you keep it up. Then, watch out.
With her vengeful spirit and coarse language, Panna was one of the last people a children’s program would want on staff. But then, she was also one of the last people who would ever apply.
“I hated children, especially the children on the streets who were dirty and untidy,” she said.
Panna figured she had greater things to worry about, like the fact that her fervent religious life had yet to bring her the joy and peace she hoped for.
Just as she was raised to do, Panna worshiped the gods of her faith, and she read the many religious texts available to her. Still, she couldn’t shake a feeling of emptiness.
“I was searching for an unknown thing,” she said.
The Book that Beckoned Her
One day, Panna found her Christian sister’s Bible in the house and decided to add it to the religious texts she had read. Although she didn’t understand everything, she enjoyed reading it. When her sister invited her to meet with her pastor and his wife for prayer, Panna agreed.
The couple was kind to Panna and prayed for her. They gave her a copy of the Gospel of John and a book by a man named K.P. Yohannan. Panna took them home and set them aside for the next few days, but the second book seemed to beckon her. Finally, when she was home alone, she decided to read it.
“I had hardly read two to three pages when I realized I had tears rolling down my face,” Panna said. “I could not imagine the words I read in that book.”
A Message Beyond Imagination
The book explained that God loved her, even with all her flaws, and that He had come to earth as a man to give her eternal life in heaven. In all her religious reading, she had never come across a message like this.
“I sat there thinking about my life and the love of God, Jesus Christ,” Panna said. “I had not known any other God who loves us even when we are in the worst parts of our lives. I could feel the peace of the Lord within me.”
Panna opened her heart to the Lord, and her family and friends soon testified to the change they saw. One of the biggest changes can be seen just by following her to the place where she now works.
Learning to Love God’s Creation
Working in what seems a typical office, Panna coordinates the correspondences between hundreds of Gospel for Asia Bridge of Hope children and the believers around the world who sponsor them. Many of the children come from the very backgrounds Panna used to have no sympathy for, but her love for Jesus has changed her perspective.
“Now, I like children because I know that children are a creation of God, and the Lord loves them,” Panna said.
As she handles the steady flow of sponsors’ letters, she enables children to receive encouragement and to read the words of life that changed her forever.