My name is Sindhu and I am 18 years old. I was born to strong Hindu parents in North India.

Growing up, we decorated my family’s home as a temple and all sorts of religious articles were placed in our home. Each day, we would worship a different deity and strongly believed it was very important to please various deities. When things did not go right, we blamed it on our failures in pleasing the deities and we tried to please the gods in better ways. We committed all of our wealth and belongings to please the deities. Quite often, we were instructed to worship the deities through expensive rituals prescribed by our own special village priest.

Ever since my childhood, my parents taught me how I could please the deities better. My life was centered on an environment with very strong fundamental Hindu beliefs. I used to walk around the Tulsi “the Holy Basil” sacred plant and sprinkle water on the plant thinking that each day my sins were washed away and god’s favor was coming upon me.

I used to take a ritual bath and sit in front of a deity for hours chanting the name of the particular deity each day. My parents wanted to plan an arranged marriage for me with one of our relatives. They were told to do the engagement even before I reached my teens. The other family members and the boy didn’t like me at all. My parents had a huge fight with that family asking why they didn’t accept me as their future daughter-in-law. As my parents consulted an astrologer, he said the timing is not good for us and there is a particular planet called Sani graham (planet Saturn), which is causing all this trouble for my future marriage. Next, the priest said these types of family issues could be sorted out with the help of the mother god, Ganges. There are high ranked priests on the Ganges River who could sort out these things.

My parents and I travelled a long way to get to the Ganges. I was taken there a few times when I was a child for special ritual baths and I had great fear and respect for this river. This particular time, my family paid a higher expense for a famous priest to perform special ritual ceremonies. We stayed on the riverbank for a little more than a week. Day in and day out we sought the help of the river god. My parents were desperate for my relatives to agree with their son to get engaged with me for a future marriage. As a child, I did not understand many of the things my parents were pursuing.

Years passed by, but that particular family never agreed to the marriage. As I grew up in my teens, I was feeling very emotionally wounded and began to ponder why my parents attempted to betroth me with a boy whom I never knew anything about and make me go through all this rejection and pain. One day I asked my parents, “Why do you desire me to marry this particular guy?” They said, “He is our relative and both of your palm readings match well. With the effects of the planet sun, we expect it will be alright and we want you to be engaged with this young man.” I could not express any of my feelings to my parents and found it very hard to live with them.

I felt very broken and deeply wounded emotionally. I had nobody to share my struggles with. In school, I couldn’t find anybody who I could share with. I began to question and think, “What is wrong with me and why don’t my parents care how I am feeling?” I felt like no one wanted me in the whole world.

The emotional wounds and feelings of rejection I was carrying were very heavy. It was in that time I heard about Jesus through a church planter in my area. I explained to the church planter my problems about the Saturn planet affecting my life, which caused the entire struggle and problem in our home.

I told him I felt so empty, depressed and no desire to do anything in life. The church planter explained to me, “If you desire Christ you will have true satisfaction and will not feel empty or depressed, but you will experience great peace, which is not found anywhere else.” I asked, “How can I do that? I never heard about Jesus.” He said, “All the planets are God’s creation and not god, therefore they cannot put affects on mankind themselves, but they are supposed to do the job that God assigned.” I said, “Wow, I did not know there is a God above the Sun planet god.” He said, “God sent his son Jesus to give us true peace, satisfaction and joy. He desires nothing more than your body, soul and spirit.” This was eye opening for me.

With great excitement, I heard more about Jesus. His crucifixion, death and resurrection amazed me and I never knew someone died for me. I began weeping and desiring Jesus. The church planter led me through confession and salvation prayer. I still remember that from that moment life was never the same again. I was filled with great peace, satisfaction and a holy desire for Jesus that could not be replaced with anything.

I went back home as a new person, but the desires of my parents for me to marry that particular guy were still the same. I felt it was a waste to run after something not knowing what my Jesus desired, it was not easy to convince them, but I knew the Lord was in control of everything. My home was a dangerous place to practice my newfound faith, but the secret fellowship with the church planter’s family began to increase my faith more.

My parents found out about my newfound faith and began to persecute me. They tried to explain to me why I shouldn’t believe in Jesus and have fellowship with Christians. They said it was a shame to our generation now and to our previous generations. They threw out my belongings and my own mother beat me with a stick saying, “Ever since your childhood, I taught you our religion and you have betrayed us!” They made my life very uncomfortable at home and our neighbors supported them in their anger. I had to walk out because they told me to never come back to our house because they said I had polluted it. They even performed a ritual at home after I left.

The Lord helped me with care by the church planter’s family and they dearly loved me. While staying at their home, my desire for the Lord began to increase to serve Jesus, since there are thousands of people in and around me who do not know Jesus at all.

I’ve been able to grow in learning the Word of God; my love for my family has continued growing with a burden because they do not know Jesus. Pray that the Lord will draw them unto Himself and one day there will be a Christian gathering right in my village.

Now, I am not focused on getting married or worrying about the future, but Jesus is everything to me and I want to love and serve him every day of my life!