She was a little girl of probably age four when she held her mother’s hand as she went to a place where people were singing and praying. Little did she know that it was a Sunday school and people had gathered underground there to fellowship and praise the one and only living God. Christianity was opposed then and Nepal was the only Hindu country in the world. Her family were strong Hindus who worshipped idols, and her forefathers were priests of the Hindu temple in Bhaktapur, a town that is known for its strong Hindu culture and influence.
She slowly grew up and as per the Hindu religious custom, she got married at the age of eighteen, to a well-known family who is one of the richest families in town. After a few years, she had two sons and was living happily with her husband.
One day, when her youngest son was three years old, he got very sick. In her home, they had a family tradition of giving the child to have a special relationship with a Hindu god (Hadi gaun’s Pichas). The son fainted for a long time and was almost dying. She ran to the hospital where doctors gave up. Then in the hospital, she saw a woman whom she remembered seeing in the Sunday school that she visited in her childhood. Her memory flashed back to where she had heard the name of Jesus. There was no one to disciple her and teach her about God then. She continued following her Hindu religious practice and lived life, but now all of a sudden, she again met the same lady who was in that fellowship. In one breath, she asked the lady, “Do you remember me? Tell me more about Jesus, I want to follow Him.”
She immediately accepted Christ and started going to Church. She was not afraid of her family, her strong tradition, her husband and the joint family that she was in. She took the bold step of accepting Christ that moment and slowly her son also recovered.
Her name is Rameshwori Joshi. She is an advocate lawyer. She is now studying in the Bible School and is active in prison ministry and prayer ministry. She took the bold step of following Christ in the 1980’s, even though she could have been thrown out of the house and put to prison for converting to a different religion. Nepal had an anti-conversion law then. Her families were rich in their tradition, which was hard to break. The youngest would not get the opportunity to make the decision and her husband was the youngest. On top of that, women did not have a voice then. She was not supposed to express her opinion in front of her in-laws. But she still expressed her voice gently and told everyone that she was going to follow the God whom she had heard in her childhood, who is the creator of heaven and earth, who died for our sins and who loves us.
Rameshwori was well taken care of and rich in the materialist lifestyle, but she took the bold decision of leaving everything behind, and followed Christ. God honored her decision. Through her, her parents and siblings came to Christ. It took many years for her husband to come to Christ, but she never gave up. Finally, in the year 2016, her husband also accepted Christ. Now she is praying for her husband’s side of the family, she has been asking God to open their eyes. They invite her to pray whenever there is a crisis at home but they have not been able to accept Christ yet.
For me, she is a ‘hero of the faith’ because:
- She could have easily chosen the luxury of life and enjoyed the power and success that comes with the wealth. But she put those in stake and followed Christ instead. Her wealth became her Christ and her family saw that. They too, thus followed Christ.
- She could have hidden her faith and believed that women do not have a voice and daughters-in-law are not supposed to break family tradition, but she did not do so. With dignity and peace with others, she put her tradition aside and followed Christ.
- She did not stop until her whole family came to Christ. When I think of her, I think of Lydia in the New Testament, who was the rich woman who brought her whole household to Christ. She too kept praying and sharing her faith until each one of her family members came to Christ. Now she is working on her husband’s side of the family. They are harder to reach out to. But in God everything is possible.
- She is a woman of faith; she tackles her every life situation by putting Christ first. I have seen her faith life. Whether it is her son’s marriage or her husband’s sickness, she has always given her concern to God.
- She goes out to the prison and shares Christ’s love with the prisoners. She is bold in sharing her testimony with the people whom she meets. She is a diligent Bible School student. I am proud to call her my sister-in-law.
*Rameshwori Joshi, Ramila’s sister-in-law*
Article Written by: Ramila Karmacharya