When the Poor Say, “I Will Give.”

Rosemary initially met Jyoti and Nemati as she participated in ethnographic research on Indian women's childbirth experiences. 

Rosemary initially met Jyoti and Nemati as she participated in ethnographic research on Indian women's childbirth experiences. 

“I want to help people in need.”  I’ve heard statements like this for years from missionaries, student volunteers, church members, medical professionals, construction experts and philanthropists. The all-too-apparent need in the developing world is a poignant motivator for those in the first world who feel responsible for the poor.

“I want to help people in need, especially women.” Although the words are familiar, the speaker is far from the expected. A woman who lives in the developing world, and is herself in need, spoke these words. When I met Jyoti and her family, she told me the story of when she migrated from her village to a distant city in search of work. Today, she lives with her husband and two young children in a home no bigger than a small bedroom. But Jyoti doesn’t allow her life circumstances to define her. She believes she can make a difference in the world.  Jyoti wants to learn about maternal health and midwifery in order to serve her neighbors.

There is an unmistakable joy that emanates from Jyoti and Nemati, particularly when they talk about helping women. 

There is an unmistakable joy that emanates from Jyoti and Nemati, particularly when they talk about helping women. 

As we shared with Jyoti that we would help her become a midwife, she couldn’t stop smiling. She realized the possibility of living her dreams and leaving a legacy of hope and faith for her daughter and her daughter’s daughter.

We are all responsible for the poor in the world. The rich should give to the poor. The educated should teach those who don’t have access to schooling. Those equipped with particular skills should serve others in need. Jesus supports this model.  In Luke 18 Jesus responds to a rich ruler who desires to be remembered for how he has lived: “There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”  But in the story, the man “goes away sad because he was very rich.” He leaves a void for someone else to fill. In our story, Jyoti is filling that void. She is meeting needs of the poor in spite of her poverty. She said ‘yes’ to following Jesus and ‘yes’ to giving all that she can to those in need.

Today, Jyoti and her relative, Nemati, are training as midwives through our organization. Serving as midwives in the 3rd world is much different from our reality of choosing midwife or obstetrician. A birth attendant is not a matter of choice for the majority of women in India, it is the difference of having an unsupported or unattended birth or not.  

Support them with your prayers as they apprentice with an elderly village midwife, attend maternal health classes, study English (the language of India’s medical field), and care for their families. Or do more, and support them through helping us to meet the needs associated with this amazing opportunity.