Gabija’s eyes darted from side to side, her shoulders tense. She observed the people surrounding her, heads immersed in God’s Word, and was well aware that everyone inside the church knew how to read and write . . . except her. She tried to concentrate on what the pastor was saying, but she couldn’t ignore her overwhelming desire to read and write—or the shame and embarrassment she harbored over not knowing how.
Looking longingly at the hands of those beside her holding the Holy Scriptures, Gabija dreamed of the day hers would as well.
Gabija grew up in a poor family and was not able to attend school because of their poverty. After she married Ragnar and moved to the city, she found a new world opening before her; a world where education was the key to new opportunities that would lead to a better future. Suddenly aware of how little she knew, Gabija struggled with feelings of shame and self-pity.
Her husband, Ragnar, however, had had little interest in school and had dropped out after sixth grade. But he knew how to read, and being raised in a Christian family, that meant he could read the Holy Scriptures, which was becoming more and more a desire for Gabija.
Whenever Ragnar and his family went to Sunday worship, Gabija would go with them. She’d see people with their copies of God’s Word and wished she could participate more actively by reading it for herself.
A Dream Made Reality
Gabija’s yearning heart leaped when she heard her church was beginning an adult women’s literacy class. Macia, the leader of the local Women’s Fellowship, led the class. It was Gabija’s opportunity to finally learn how to read and write. Embracing the challenge, Gabija mastered the alphabet in her native language within a short time.
The more Gabija succeeded in her lessons, the more she wanted to learn. She soaked up everything she was taught, growing both in her knowledge and in her thankfulness.
Today, Gabija is able to read and write on her own and continues to learn. Most importantly, she is able to read the Holy Scriptures for herself and has experienced the love of God personally, desiring to learn more about Jesus.
Gabija’s longing, pain and shame turned into promise and purpose fulfilled. By following the dream God had planted in her heart, Gabija came to know Jesus for herself and now ministers to others in the same way she was ministered to.
“God is so good to me,” Gabija said. “He took out all my shame and honored me in front of the people.”