When you imagine the life of a 12-year-old girl, what do you think of? A life full of laughter with friends and encouragement from parents during a season of growth?
Sadly, this is far from what Elina was experiencing at this age. Elina’s dad, Babul, earned his income driving a van and spent the money he earned on alcohol; he regularly came home drunk. The reason? He was angry with his wife for having three daughters and no son.
Babul hated his daughters. He abused his wife for not giving birth to a boy and would often beat Elina and her sisters, too. The three girls spent nights sleeping on empty stomachs, having nothing to eat due to Babul’s habits.
The family’s poverty required Elina to drop out of school in sixth grade. However, she was determined to make use of her free time. Though she was known to be mischievous and didn’t treat others well, she had a caring heart: after dropping out of school, Elina wanted to ensure that her younger sisters could continue their studies.
Each day, Elina collected the plastic garbage she found in the streets and sold it to a plastic company. She walked all day under the hot sun, carrying a heavy bag on her back to put trash in. Her new life as a rag picker was a small source of income and left no happiness in her life.
Then, one evening, Elina was collecting trash in the street as usual, and from a distant house, she heard children singing. She walked that way and peeked inside to find a group of children singing songs, which Elina assumed was a school with enrollment fees. But then, one of the girls inside – a friend of Elina’s – saw her and shared that this was a Children’s Bible Club, free to attend.
The next day, Elina passed by again while she was collecting trash, but this time she set down her bag and walked in. She headed to the back row and watched all the activities. She did this for three days and the Bible Club leader, Sakhi, encouraged her to enroll.
As Elina became a regular attendee, Sakhi started to mentor her. She shared Bible stories with the children, encouraged Elina to have better behaviour, and helped her academically. Elina liked Sakhi and paid close attention to what she taught. Finally, Elina had something to look forward to each day and was learning about her loving Father.
Gradually, the lessons Elina learned helped her to become more respectful of others. Her parents noticed a change in her behaviour at home and paid special attention to Elina.
Elina started attending a worshipping group and leading songs at services. Now that her parents were interested in their daughter, they started attending the worshipping group, too. Amazingly, Babul even reduced his drinking!
Please pray for Elina’s studies and that her parents will receive Jesus as Lord.