News

Garments for God´s Glory

June 12, 2014

Through her sewing ministry, Namdita mentors young women and helps them develop skills that will lead to employment opportunities.

To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. (Isaiah 61:3, NKJV)

Betrayal was the least of Namdita´s* worries when her husband left her for another woman. She wondered how she could possibly provide for their three small children on her own.

Given the circumstances, she eagerly accepted whatever menial jobs she could find. Namdita labored in factories and in private homes. She worked herself to the point of exhaustion. It was therapeutic in a way, keeping her from thinking too much about her broken heart.

She desperately looked for comfort and sought it through various religious rituals that were practiced in her Hindu village in Uttar Pradesh. Nothing gave her the peace she longed for.

But God had a special message of forgiveness and healing for Namdita, and He delivered it to her through an evangelist from a local Indian ministry. After hearing the gospel, she accepted an invitation to attend a worship service at the evangelist´s church.

That was 20 years ago. Now a passionate evangelist herself, Namdita is a spiritual leader in her church and community. She conducts prayer meetings at her home twice a day for people in her village. And with support from the same ministry that helped lead her to Christ, she oversees a sewing school that serves as a platform for sharing the gospel with other women.

The business of saving souls

For Namdita, the brokenness she experienced as an abandoned wife took a long time to heal. Although her husband did not return, God was faithful to Namdita and to her three children. She was able to continue raising her family because she had acquired valuable skills needed in the workforce.

Her personal heartbreak–and gratitude for God´s provision–are what fueled Namdita´s desire to help women believe in themselves and develop their full potential.

Vidya became a follower of Christ and introduced her parents to the Savior.

When the Indian ministry began a tailoring training program for teenage girls and young women in Namdita´s village, she jumped at the chance to pass her knowledge along to others. The aim was to give underprivileged or undereducated women employable skills that would help them earn extra income to support their families. Vocational classes would also present opportunities for students to hear about Christ´s love and receive Him as Savior.

Namdita knew this was God´s special calling for her at this time in her life. She teaches the class to groups ranging from five to 15 students. Funds for the sewing machines, fabric, thread, and other course supplies are provided by Christian Aid Mission.

Stitching seams may help these women find jobs, but Namdita is most delighted when her students put their faith in Jesus Christ and allow Him to sew the torn places in their hearts. She encourages them through the ups and downs of marriage and child-rearing. Inspired by her example, they, too, have come to know Jesus and experience release from both emotional and spiritual bondage.

A teenage girl named Vidya* enrolled in one of Namdita´s sewing classes. Vidya had multiple health issues, and her concerned family took her to several temples and witch doctors to seek deliverance. Even after offering the recommended sacrifices, Vidya´s health did not improve.

Namdita was worried, too, and asked the girl to come to a prayer service in her home. At first Vidya was reluctant, fearing her staunchly Hindu parents would not approve. She decided to go secretly, however, and felt a great sense of peace that brought her back to the prayer circle repeatedly.

During one of these prayer gatherings Vidya began her own spiritual journey with Christ.

Later she started accompanying Namdita to church services—until her parents found out about it. They beat her and ordered her to stop attending the Christian worship center. But Vidya´s deep and growing faith in the Lord kept her coming.

One day Vidya told her mother she wanted to give an offering at the church. Her mother was distressed to learn of Vidya´s intention and urged her not to act foolishly. Then Vidya´s mother suddenly became sick and her condition worsened. She realized it was she who was opposing God, not her daughter.

Convicted, she asked Vidya to go to church that day and give an offering. Vidya obeyed, and her mother´s health was restored.

This episode became a turning point for Vidya´s parents, who gradually opened their hearts to the gospel. They no longer prevent Vidya from attending church, and her faith in the Lord is growing stronger.

Some of Namdita´s “success stories”

Christian Aid Mission has helped the ministry start similar tailoring centers in the inner city of New Delhi and has provided sewing machines for some of the graduates. As with Namdita´s outreach, leaders report that over 60 percent of the women in the classes are receiving Christ.

Northern India is one of the least evangelized sections of the country, where missionaries face opposition from Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs. Praise God for the sewing centers and other community-based programs that are breaking down the walls of hostility and making the gospel message accessible to all.

The ministry would like to purchase additional sewing equipment at a cost of $80 to $100 per machine. Typical startup costs can vary from $3,500 to $5,000. This covers the expenses of a master tailor, two or three machines, and class materials.

*name changed


SC: MIR