I met Aneshea outside of the little slum church we led Sunday class in.
She was sitting on the step, clutching her stomach. She was skinny, her hair unkempt and her face had a green tint from a paint that Indian women wear to make their skin lighter. In India, to be lighter is to be more beautiful. In America, to be lighter is practically a sin.
Just kidding, but not really.
Anyways! Aneshea didn’t stay for Sunday class. One of the Indian YWAMers picked some lice out of her hair and she walked home. But I didn’t forget her. And I don’t think she forgot me.
The next time we came to visit, she was sitting on the church step again, waiting for us.
This time she came over, grabbed my hand, like she knew me and led me through the slum as we recruited children for Sunday class. This was my favorite part about Sunday class.
We would walk the narrow path behind our translator, single file, like ducklings, avoiding low roofs and stray dogs, yelling, “Sunday class! Sunday class!”
Throughout my visits I learned that the other girls didn't like Aneshea. They called her crazy and pushed her to the back of the room. Whenever this would take place, she always retaliated and before I knew it people were being slapped and I was to intervene.
I felt obligated.
I later found out that Aneshea was actually a little crazy. When she was younger she contracted typhoid. The fever altered her brain, basically my translator told me that, “her brain got too hot.” Aneshea was known for constantly lying and from what I observed; she often seemed to be off in her own world. It was as if her mind drifted above the tin roof, far away from India. And then, she would get up in the middle of a lesson and leave. Just like that.
But I loved her. I loved her so much. I had no reason to love her.
She was rude, she lied and she smelled bad. But I loved her.
She memorized my name, “Moooly Grraacce McCooooly”. And I memorized hers. I tried my hardest to make sure I loved on her as much as possible when I was there. Talk to her as much as I could. Every visit she was different. Cleaner, more respectful and appeared healthier. And after every visit I prayed for her. It seemed like the only thing I could do. I had to pray for the young Indian girl in the slum, because who else would?
The last night we were there I took a picture with her sitting on my lap.
Another DTS went to India. The same place I went. Visited the same slum that my friend Aneshea lives. I asked Ben, the group leader, to take Aneshea a picture. The one we took together the last time I saw her. Ben knew who she was, he had been the India before, but when they went to visit the slum, she wasn't there. He never saw her and to be honest, I assumed the worst.
But the Lord is good. As I was going through pictures with my friend who was just in India, my heart fluttered with hope. A group picture popped up. There was one tired girl off to the right, her eyes were so sad. But I knew them. Aneshea. Aneshea!
I have faith that this is my friend. That is the girl who stole my heart a year ago. And in one picture she has stolen it again.
It gives me more reason to pray. More reason to pray in faith. Because this picture is a testimony that my God is faithful. My God is loving. My God is trustworthy. My God is the God of me and my small Indian friend Aneshea, who I will continue to pray for. And hopefully, someday meet again.