I knew there was something different about her when she walked in the door of the small telehealth clinic our DFN team visited a couple of weeks ago. A tiny but somehow statuesque woman, her piercing eyes met mine then quickly looked down at the floor. While the others chatted and giggled, she remained silent and stoic. The crowded room held our visiting team of seven, a community health care worker, and about five survivors of an ancient ritualized form of exploitation who were assembled for routine health checks. While the health worker checked their blood pressure and blood oxygen levels, the silent woman and I kept exchanging glances.

All too soon, the checks were complete and our time at the clinic came to an end. We gathered outside to take the required group photos (on several cell phones, of course!) and say our goodbyes. The silent woman sought some of us out, including me. Still without saying a word she pressed her cheek into mine in an intimate gesture. It was a sacred moment.

Time stood still for both of us, and I knew God was present.


As the group chatted, I learned a little about my silent friend. It turns out she cannot speak. I do not know why. I was told she understands every word that is said (at least in her native language of Telugu) but she never forms words of her own. Whether this is due to a physical or mental disability, a loss of hearing, or prolonged trauma, I will never know. I’m not sure anyone will. The few details I know about her past are heavy, hard to hear.

She was born in a rural village in southern India. Her family faced extreme challenges due to their low position in society, illiteracy, and poverty. When she was very young, she was dedicated to a deity. This dedication meant she would live as an outcast all her life. She would be sexually abused and exploited by the men of her village. She would bear children in shame, not knowing who their fathers were. She would suffer emotional and physical trauma. She would be confined to a colony set apart from the rest of her village where she lived with other women who endured the same fate. This gentle soul never knew a day’s comfort. Never had a small luxury given to her.

Among her children was a daughter. Daughters are seldom welcomed in this community, especially a daughter born without a father’s name. But this daughter was loved despite her stigma. Loved beyond measure by a shamed mother who could not speak. This daughter was shown a new path, one that enabled her to rise above her circumstances. That path included a loving health worker who guided her to a DFN school where she learned that she was valued, accepted, loved by God, and where she came to believe she could have a life beyond her imagination.

Today, that daughter is a student in nursing school. Imagine it! A shamed little girl, born in a remote village to a destitute and abused mother has a bright future. And she has developed a heart for serving others. When she graduates, she wants to return to her village to serve her community, providing compassionate and ethical healthcare to women who need it most. What a beautiful example of a Kingdom mindset: bringing Heaven to earth, extending grace and healing to whoever is in need.

I do not know my silent friend’s name, but I like to think of her as Lavika, a name that means grace, elegance, beauty.

Those qualities were on display in this woman’s countenance. She spoke volumes without speaking a word. I wish I knew her given name, but God knows it. He knows her name and every detail of her story. He loves her and has suffered alongside her. And maybe, just maybe, part of Christ’s redeeming of creation comes through people like Lavika’s daughter, a girl of humble birth who can change her community with hope, healing, and love.

As we approach Easter and the celebration of Christ’s resurrection, may we notice His redeeming love everywhere. He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!


The certified nursing degree Lavika’s daughter is receiving changes the trajectory of a young woman’s life.

Demand is soaring for this opportunity. That’s where we need your help.

You can provide a vulnerable woman the opportunity to become a nurse, changing her life forever.
Learn more here.