I am going to try to tell the story of Amma. She is called Amma because it means "Mother". Amma is a woman who is probably in her 60's but she looks like she is in her 90's because of the difficulty of her life. She was a prostitute in Bangalore. She had a daughter named S. (just calling her S. for safety sake) who also became a prostitute in Bangalore. S. also has a daughter who will be of age to become a prostitute this year. S. ended up marrying the man considered to be the worst drug lord in the province. S.'s husband was hunted down by the police and violently killed, leaving Amma, S. and S.'s daughter caught in a dangerous situation. S., fearing for Amma's life, placed Amma at Rahab's Rope. Our second day in Bangalore S. and her clan of prostitutes that follow her (almost like a gang situtation between rival prostitute groups) was supposed to come to Rahab's Rope but did not make it. That left Amma and the staff of Rahab's Rope. I was pretty disappointed. I mean we came ALL THE WAY TO INDIA and the group of women didn't show up! Well, Jane and Teresa said, "if there is just one we will continue". That one was Amma. We started the time with some singing and then Jane began to share a story that God had given her 3 years earlier for a womens conference. It is the story of the woman at the well. If you are not familiar with the story in is in the book of John chapter 4 starting around verse 7. Jane used the facts that are in the Bible to create a story that "could have" happened to the woman at the well. I am going to try to recount the story as best I can:
"The day I met Him I was finally at the end of my ability to cope with life… I wanted to die. I hadn't always felt this way, no, long ago I had hope of a much different life, a happy life. You see, I was promised to Malpar. He was going to be a good husband to me and take care of me. We were going to have a good life together, but then suddenly my father died. This sent my mother into a deep pit of despair. She didn't eat or drink or move during the day. I would beg her to come back to us, but she couldn't shake herself out of her darkness. I did all I could around the house, trying to help take care of my 4 sisters and my brother. I even began going to market trying to find a way to save money and only buy the food we absolutely needed. I met a man at the market. He was so kind to me, he would talk to me and walk around the market with me. I began to look forward to going to the market so that I could talk to this man, oh, I missed my father so much. One day this man invited me to his house for dinner. We have a good meal and talked about many things. I was enjoying the meal so much until he began touching me. I didn’t know what to think, but he told me that this is what fathers do with their daughters when they are older. I was so confused, I lay their in the darkness, screaming on the inside. He kept telling me that it was a good thing, but if it was a good thing why did I feel so terrible on the inside. When I was leaving he put some coins in my hand and told me that they were for my family. He also said that there was plenty more available. As I walked home trying to grasp all that had taken place I realized, I was ruined. I would never be able to be the woman I was again, all of my plans turned to dust. I decided at that moment that I would die to that part of me. I would do what it takes to care for my family, I was already ruined, I would just close that part of me off completely. Well, it didn't take long for me to become known as "that kind of girl" around our small villiage. The women that used to go to the well with me, now pointed and whispered as they passed by. I began trying to go to the well during the hotest parts of the day just to avoid having to deal with the stares and mean comments of other women. I was on my way to the well that day... the day I met Him. I was crying out in my mind, "God, why won't you just let me die? I just want to die, please, please let me die". Then as I approached the well, I saw that someone else was there, not only was someone there but it was a man and a Jew. Samaritans and Jews do not interact, I could only hope that I could draw my water quickly to avoid this man. Then He spoke to me with a voice that sounds like many rushing waters and said ““Give Me a drink.” I was taken by surprise and said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. He answered and said to me, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” I said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” He answered me again saying, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” I said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” He said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” I answered and said, “I have no husband.” He said to me, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” I said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” He said to me, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” I said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Then He said to me, “I who speak to you am He.” My life was changed that day… I met my Savior.”
As Jane ended the story, Amma began to weep openly. She started saying “that is my story, you just told my story.” Shoba and Jane talked more with Amma about who Christ is and how much He loves her. Then Shoba asked Amma if she wanted to know Christ as her Savior and when she said yes and reached out for Jane’s hand a cry of praise erupted from our group. Shoba was so overcome with emotion that it took her a few minutes just to compose herself enough to translate for Jane. The India team and staff of Rahab’s surrounded Amma, Jane and Shoba and prayed as Amma received Christ. Then when Jane went to anoint Amma’s head with oil Shoba told Jane to pull off the Bendi (dot between the eyes that represents Hinduism). As Jane went to peel off the Bendi, Amma reached up and ripped it off with passion and threw it. Then we all got up and danced, thanking God for our new sister in Christ.
Not only did we get the honor of being there for Amma’s introduction to her new Husband, but we were able to be there for her baptism as well. What a blessing! Praise God! Please join us in praying that Amma's grandaughter will be spared the life of prostitution and that Amma will be able to share her faith with her family.