I knew this ‘Amma’ from my childhood days. I don’t have many memories of those times, when she first came to our house. I think she came when I was a five-year-old. Only later as I grew up did I know that she was from a very small village near my town, Mettur, where we lived. She came to help us in our household chores.
Back home in her village, she told me several times, she never knew what a bathing soap was. She did not have access to education of any sort. She came to our small town, after marrying a man who was working as a watchman in the one and only boy’s school in our town. I used to laugh aloud whenever she narrated her experience of going to a cinema theater in our town for the first time. She thought that the hero and heroine were really doing private scenes in front of everyone. She could never grasp the fact that it was a pre-recorded act which was displayed on a screen. She screamed and yelled at the people who were watching the film. She walked out of the theater in a huff and did not know how to walk back to her house. She had lost her way.
When she came to our house, she had a different problem altogether. She had white patches all over her body. She was a Leucoderma patient. As a young wife, she was ridiculed by her husband. He hated her and started having affairs with other women. In desperation, she ran from pillar to post: to temples and mosques. When she came to our house, she saw us worshiping another God, thought was one among the 30 crores of gods and goddesses in India. She observed our lifestyle and started to make this simple prayer: “Jesus…if you are the true God, please heal me from this disease. I want my husband to love me…”
My mom had told me later, how everyday this woman would come and show her the size of the white patches getting smaller and smaller. In a few days, her whole body regained its original beauty. Joyfully, she joined us in the same church we were worshiping. Later, she also got baptized. From then on, she had a steady growth in her spiritual life. I praise God, this ignorant woman found her way to heaven.
Another incident stays fresh in my mind. I was a bigger girl then. My parents had gone away for a short visit outside the town leaving me and my brother in her care. She stayed with us for the night. That night, I witnessed her private prayer life. In the midnight, I could hear her naming some nations of the world like Greenland, Iceland and so on. I was thunderstruck. She was praying with tears for those countries. I could not wait for the morning to come. With great excitement, I asked her, “Amma, how do you know the names of these countries, which I am learning only now in my Geography classes at school?” I was awestruck, because she could not repeat the names of the countries in the morning. It did not take me too long to realize that the Holy Spirit had put the burden in this simple, illiterate woman to pray for the nations of the world.
Years later, after my marriage, I watched a video named, ‘Transformation’ which highlighted how gospel penetrated into the difficult cold countries in the Arctic area. I got goose bumps all over my body and thanked the Lord for this simple woman and her prayer life.
Whenever I teach on the subject of ‘Missions’ and what it means to be a ‘World Christian’, I never forget to tell my students about this amma whose life impacted me in my childhood. I have told about her in India and the countries, wherever I have visited so far. Her name is Rukmani. We never called her by her name. To us, she was our ‘Amma.’ Isn’t it true that God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong? (1 Corinthians 1:27)