Priya sat down under the huge mango tree on the farm where her nani [Hindi for grandmother] lives. She picked up a ripe mango and peeled it with her fingers. Then she bit into the sweet, juicy fruit. When she finished eating it, she slid down onto her back and looked up into the tree. It was cool in the shade, and Priya grew sleepy. Soon she was fast asleep.
While Priya was asleep, she dreamed that Satan came to her and told her that the mango she had eaten would make her die. While still dreaming, she prayed that God would make Satan go away. “I’ve given my heart to Jesus,” she told Satan. “I belong to Him.”
When Priya awoke, her cousin was standing nearby. He told her that they must go to Nani’s house. Priya stretched and walked with her cousin to her nani’s home. “I had a strange dream this afternoon,” Priya told her nani while they worked together to prepare dinner. After she told her grandmother about her dream, she added, “I believe God is protecting me from Satan.”
Priya’s nani looked concerned. “We must visit the goddess in the temple to be sure that you’re safe,” she urged.
“I won’t bow down to an idol!” Priya said. “I believe in Jesus, the living and powerful God. How can I forsake Him for an idol made of stone?” Nani said nothing more about Priya’s dream, but Priya knew her nani was thinking hard.
Priya’s mother wasn’t an Adventist when she married Priya’s father. But she had heard about Jesus and knew in her heart that Jesus was the living and true God. She learned that God loves her, and in time she gave her heart to Jesus and became a Seventh-day Adventist Christian.
But Priya’s nani didn’t become a Christian. All she understood were the idols that she had worshipped all her life. And when Priya told her nani about the dream, Nani was worried.
The next day Nani took Priya to a fair. Priya enjoyed the happy sounds of children and the spicy smells of samosas [sah-MOH-sahs; pastries filled with spiced vegetables or meat]. As she and Nani wandered through the festival grounds, Nani saw a small temple with a wood carving of a snake god inside. Nani pointed toward the temple and said, “Let’s bow before that idol so you will be delivered from your bad dreams.”
Priya cringed. “Nani,” she said urgently but kindly, “I don’t want to bow down before an idol. I believe in the living God, Jesus. He will protect me from the devil and all evil in this world.”
Nani was disappointed, but at last she agreed. “OK,” she said. “Believe in your own God.” Priya took hold of Nani’s hand as they continued walking through the festival grounds.
Since that day Nani has never tried to force Priya to worship an idol. In fact, she’s never talked about her gods to Priya again.
Priya wishes that she could invite her nani to worship in an Adventist church, but there isn’t one in her village. “I pray for my nani and my cousins and aunties who live in that village,” she says. “I want them to know that Jesus is the only living God, the true God who loves us and wants us to live with Him forever.”
Priya attends an Adventist boarding school several hours from her family’s home. She likes her school because she can learn so much about Jesus there. “Every morning and evening we have worship in our dormitory,” she says. “And I have religion class, too. Some children in my class are not Christians. They worship the same gods my nani worships. Please pray that they will open their hearts to God’s love while they are at the school. I want them to learn that God loves them.”
This quarter part of our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help build more classrooms at Priya’s school so more children can study there and learn that God loves them.