asking for forgiveness Indian student Maggie nurses her father. She feeds him, dresses him and washes him. Not so long ago, her father systematically abused her.

“I hope that he will show repentance before his death. I believe that God has a plan with our family, and so I care for him, instead of shutting myself off from him.”

Maggie was in the Netherlands in January and told us her life story:

I grew up in the slum Nichu in Kolkata. ‘Nichu’ means lower. Not because of it’s location, but because of our low mentality. The people who live here are penniless, and almost no one believes that his or her life can improve.

We had a small house, without toilet and bathroom. It was very noisy — traffic sounds, lots of fights and people watching movies.

I talk about it as if it were in the past, but I live still in the same house, in the same neighborhood.

“There was no sense in dreaming.”

When I was young, my father had a good office job. I loved him. But as I grew up, I noticed that he wasn’t there for me. He never loved us. He lived in our house with us, but that was all.

He almost always spent his salary on alcohol and gambling. When I was 5 or 6 years old, he lost his job.

I knew that there was no sense in dreaming. My situation would never change. There was no prospect of a better future, so I did not dream.

Sex industry

When I was 5 years old, I was taken into a Compassion child development center, which was run by the Salvation Army. When I was 15 years old my father left. He simply disappeared. We didn’t know where he had gone or why.

We soon discovered that he had debts. His creditors began to threaten us. They threatened that they would kidnap us and sell us to the sex industry. My mother no longer dared leave us home alone and stayed with us all day.

Because of this she could not work and our food was soon gone. Fortunately, I was fed every day at the child development center. I decided to secretly fold my lunch in my dress and to take it home with me.

Beaten with a belt

When I was 18 years old, I thought that everything was my fault. That is what my father always used to say to me. He beat me, called me names and blamed me for all the misery.

At some point I started to believe it more and more, and felt more and more responsible. This is why I sacrificed my food for three years and gave it to them.

When I was almost 19 years old, my father came back unexpectedly. He had been gone for 5 years. We thought that he had changed perhaps, that he had work and would bring money home.

But he was more addicted than ever. He drank a lot and beat my little brother with a belt. Later he started to beat me and my mother.

I was broken

Thankfully I was allowed to participate in Compassion’s Leadership Development Program. That meant that I could accomplish my dream: to become a teacher. I want to help children, understand their situation and be a mother to them. I can do something for them.

And yet this wasn’t just an opportunity. I also experienced it as a burden since I had to study a lot and could not use that time to earn money for home. During the day I was at school, in the evening I earned some money and at night I studied.

Letters from my sponsors

My father was angry that I was going to study further and worked that off with the help of his belt. But my teachers at the center were like fathers and mothers to me. They were always there to listen to me and love me.

In that time I felt inferior to the other children. But they taught me that I truly belonged.

As a result, I grew to believe that I am important and can make something of my life. My sponsor’s letters also played a very large part in this. They were like love letters to me.

Hope for forgiveness

In spite of everything that has happened, I want to look after my parents. My father can no longer run and talk, because he has had a number of strokes. Before, he called me names.

When he did that, was I furious. But now I take care of him. Sometimes I am angry when I think about what he has done to me. But I feel that God asks me to take care of him.

I want be there for him until his death. I hope that he will accept us in the last period of his life and will ask for forgiveness.

God’s promises

Poverty is a virus that eats at people. It’s very difficult get rid of it. It is only possible if you are very resolute. You need someone who will continue speaking truth to you.

When things are difficult, I think of God’s promises. I think about how He has promised never to leave me and that He has good plans for me. That helps me through it. I also remind myself that my troubles are only short lived.

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7 Comments Add a Comment
  1. S Maine
    Apr 1, 2013
    at 10:11 am

    Praise The Lord!!!

  2. Jeff Hoerr
    Apr 1, 2013
    at 10:44 am

    Wow! What a story! I am so thankful that this dear young woman was able, by God’s grace and provision, to be rescued from her poverty and sad condition. I am thankful for the CDSP and LDP that Compassion offers! I pray that many more children may be rescued in the same way that Maggie has been.

  3. Mary Ricciuto
    Apr 1, 2013
    at 12:49 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. This makes me realize how important that our sponsor letters are to our children. I will make sure that I tell my children about God’s promises and the plans that He has for all of us. God is certainly using you and I know that you will be a wonderful teacher someday! May God Bless you! Mary

  4. Lori Price
    Apr 1, 2013
    at 11:23 pm

    Maggie, May the Lord continue to bless you and to use you as you live out your life committed to Him! Thank you for sharing your story. I feel so blessed that the Lord has allowed me to sponsor a child. I pray that it is making a difference in the life of the child that I sponsor as we exchange letters and pray for each other from across the world. God is indeed Sovereign. Thank you Compassion International!

  5. Apr 2, 2013
    at 8:04 am

    “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Zechariah 4:6

    Surely, that is the only way a story like this could evolve. All the might and all the power we ever need come through His Spirit!

  6. Apr 10, 2013
    at 2:25 pm

    Wow. I don’t know that I would have the strength. What amazing courage and faith!

  7. Angelica
    Aug 20, 2013
    at 1:07 pm

    Maggie, you are a very strong person with a kind heart. God wants us to be merciful and you are the greatest model of mercy. We can all learn this from you. Thank you and God bless your kind heart.

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