India and South Asia are two of the biggest regions for human trafficking on the planet. Christian women and girls are particularly vulnerable in India, where they are often viewed as “lesser” citizens. Growing up as a Christian living in India, 19-year-old Reena had grown accustomed to persecution from a young age.
“Nobody wanted to play with me because they were Hindus and I wasn’t,” she told Open Doors USA in a recent interview. “When I didn’t take part in their rituals, they would scold me for it. After school, I just came home and entertained myself.”
Reena explained how her parents were also treated poorly by the locals simply for professing their Christian faith.
“They had to walk a few kilometers (about a mile) to get water from the river,” Reena shared, explaining that her parents were very honest with her about the suffering she was to endure for choosing to be a disciple of Christ. The teen quickly learned to embrace persecution gladly for Christ’s sake.
“My parents explained that persecution will come when you are a Christian. And I wasn’t jealous of the Hindus because Jesus gave me joy inside,” she said.
After leaving home to attend school in another village, Reena decided to stay in a youth hostel, as is customary for students. After attending school for a while, however, her family’s money ran out. Reena decided to get a job teaching, but she soon found herself being exploited — getting paid less and less, until she was eventually forced to work for nothing.
Things quickly got much worse.
The school’s headmaster invited Reena to a teachers meeting where he offered her some Indian candies. Then, she passed out.
“I don’t remember anything after that,” Reena said.
After being held against her will for a number of days, Reena said she managed to escape from the headmaster. She was understandably reluctant to explain what happened to her while she was held captive, saying that it was too traumatizing to recall.
Eventually, after a 14-hour train journey, Reena returned home. Her parents immediately rushed her to the hospital. Reena had been sexually abused, and was suffering from a deep bout of depression as a result. She began to talk to God, utterly dismayed at how he could let this happen to her.
The depression, guilt and shame only darkened, and Reena felt totally lost. But one day, she attended church, where a pastor prayed for her. It was then that absolutely everything changed.
“I was really touched by God,” she told Open Doors. “When I came home, I was overjoyed and shared what had happened with my Hindu friends. I wanted them to come to a similar church service and also experience God’s healing power in their lives.”
“I realized that if I opened the door of my heart, that Jesus would come in and dine with me,” the teen continued, citing Revelation 3:20:
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
Reena knows that despite her ordeal, with Christ she can move into a hope-filled future.
“My future is very bright,” she declared. “I will share the gospel with non-believers.”
“I want to thank all those who supported me through prayers,” she added.
(H/T: Open Doors USA)