75 Years of Lives Changed – 2006

 From Zero to a Hero

The crowded streets seem to press in as our taxi made its way between the maze of cyclists, auto rickshaws, pedestrians, cows, and cars. I was in the ancient city of Old Hyderabad in Central India. Merchants shouted their wares.

Unlike most places in India where women’s brightly colored saris dot the landscape, I could only see women dressed in black, from head to toe, some even wearing black gloves. Heads glanced my way, eyes peering through the two tiny slits in their head coverings. I wanted to talk with these women and hear their stories.

Sadly, the differences in both appearance and culture erected a wall between us that I dare not cross. My heart sank as I left the old city, longing to have an entry point into their lives with the good news of love and freedom found only in our Lord Jesus Christ. Two days later as I sat in our Partners International South Asia Summit meeting with some of the most outstanding Christian women leaders in India, a young woman named “Hepzi” was introduced.

Our South Asia Area Director Tom Chandler said Hepzi serves in Old Hyderabad. He told about the tremendous work that our Lord is doing through this sister. Aha, I thought. This is the entry point into the lives of the women I could never reach myself. My heart soared as I recognized anew the power of partnership with indigenous women leaders like Hepzi. She instantly became my hero!

The interesting thing about Hepzi, like most women leaders serving in the least Christian regions of the world, is that they are genuinely humble. Hepzi seemed totally unaware of just how mighty she truly is in God’s service.

As she shared her story with us, she said “I am only a zero!” Not so, we affirmed, as we presented her with the gift of a study Bible and a verse specifically chosen for her. With tears streaming down her face, she said she had never received such recognition. Hepzi may feel that she is a ‘zero’ but Jesus Christ has made her a hero!

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