Kumari [koo-MAR-ee] wondered about the new neighbors who had just moved in. They were friendly, but somehow different from the people in her small mountain village in northern India. One afternoon as she walked home from school she had an idea. She hurried home and ran into the house. “Mama, may I go visit the new neighbors?” she asked.
“Yes,” Mama answered. “Mrs. Singh [sing] has invited us to come over. But be good.”
Kumari hurried down the road. She found Mrs. Singh sweeping the yard. “Welcome!” she said. “I’m so glad you have come to visit.”
Kumari chatted with Mrs. Singh while the woman worked. Then Mrs. Singh said, “I have some things to do in the house. Come inside, and we can talk some more.” Eagerly Kumari followed Mrs. Singh into the house. Everything was neat and clean. Colorful pictures hung on the walls, but they were different from the pictures of the gods that Kumari had seen on other people’s walls.
Then Kumari’s eyes fell on a picture of a man hanging on a cross. “Who is that man?” Kumari asked, pointing to the picture.
“His name is Jesus,” Mrs. Singh replied. “He is the God we worship.”
“But why is He hanging there?” Kumari asked, puzzled.
“Sit down, and I will tell you the story,” the woman said. Kumari listened intently as Mrs. Singh told the story of Jesus.
Mr. Singh came home and sat down with his wife and Kumari. “Would you like to stay and join us as we worship our God?” he asked Kumari. “I think you’ll enjoy the songs we sing.”
Kumari enjoyed hearing the lovely songs about Jesus. Then they read from their holy book, the Bible, and prayed. She noticed that they talked to their God as though He were a close friend. How different their worship is from ours! Kumari thought. There are no idols, no burning incense, no ringing bells, no reciting of mantras, and no offerings of fruits, oil, sweets, and flowers.
After worship Kumari thanked the Singhs, then hurried home for dinner. She liked this young couple and decided to visit as often as she could, especially around sundown, when she could join their worship. Soon she could sing the Christian songs with them. Often she found herself singing the songs as she worked around the house.
Kumari’s father noticed that Kumari was spending a lot of time at the Singhs’ house. He decided to go with her and meet his new neighbors. He introduced himself to the young couple, and they invited him in.
“Your daughter loves to hear the stories we tell her from the Bible,” Mr. Singh told Kumari’s father. “Would you like to know what this holy Book says about Jesus Christ too? I’d be happy to teach you.”
Kumari’s father was interested, and father and daughter began going together to the Singhs’ home every evening to learn more about God. Sometimes after worship Father would send Kumari home while he stayed to talk with Mr. Singh.
Late one night as Father was returning from a Bible study, he noticed a crowd of drunken men walking toward him. Some of them were carrying sticks. They surrounded Father and began to shout and wave their sticks in the air.
“What are you doing with these Christians?” one man demanded. “You must stop meeting with them!”
“No, I will not stop,” Father replied.
“If you don’t stop,” they threatened, “we will kill you and your family!” The men began hitting Kumari’s father with their sticks. Others kicked him. Kumari’s father fell to the ground in pain. The men gave him a few more kicks and then left him to die.
Kumari’s father was not dead; he was unconscious. When he awoke, he hurt all over. He struggled home and told his wife what had happened. As she treated his wounds, he told her, “I am not going to stop learning about God! They are teaching the truth! We will follow the Lord Jesus Christ, and no one can stop us.”
Many of Kumari’s neighbors heard about Father’s beating and became curious about the Singhs’ God. Some of them began taking Bible studies. Now Kumari’s family and many of their neighbors worship the true and living God.