Part three, the final installment of a photo series on the resilience of the human experience. Captured from a recent trip to India.
After a day spent filming five women in the surrounding villages who are involved in a micro-loan program, I was exhausted. We ended this day outside the home of this pastor who was the leader of the micro-loan program. She bustled through the village on her scooter, introducing me to each of the woman I had the privilege of interviewing. When I first met her, I was immediately drawn to the gentle courage that radiated from her smile.
The sun was setting, which meant the light to film was fading. As I was packing up my equipment, my translator approached me. He said, "The pastor wants to share her story with you." I imagined she thought about this request all day. I have learned to never deny the courage of a person willing to share a story. I evaluated the strength of my batteries and the space on my memory cards. Everything appeared to make it through one more shoot.
The translator and I gathered outside her home in plastic chairs. The evening was settling in and all that illuminated our faces was the hanging light bulb attached to a wire.
“Mom, come fast! We got in trouble. We are at home but some people, they locked the home outside.”
Seconds into her story, I was enthralled. In 2004, the pastor’s daughter called her while she was meeting with the women in her village. The men in the village were outraged by the ministry work of the pastor. They showed up at her house to settle the dispute once and for all. Because the pastor was not at the house, the men locked her daughter, son, and mother inside until she arrived. The men demanded that she pack up and leave the village immediately. She was determined to stay, replying: “I have done nothing wrong. I will not leave.”
The men in the village unlocked her house and began to beat her in front of her family and the whole crowd. She remained tenacious. When they realized she was not going anywhere, the men came to their senses. The crowd departed and the men allowed her and her family to stay.
The pastor continued her ministry until 2012, when her daughter committed suicide. This led to a deep depression and sadness that took months to overcome. Through the strength of God, the love of her community, and the resilience of her soul, she overcame the depression. To this day, the whole village accepts her as their leader and family because she has remained steadfast through countless trials. She continues to provide business opportunities for women and education for children in her village.
As the night ended with the three of us sitting outside the pastor's house, I didn’t have words to express my gratitude. All I could promise was to carry the burden to share her story.
Dear pastor, it might not be a massive audience but I will share your testimony as a way to glorify God and encourage humanity towards resilience in the presence of hardship.
YOU ARE ENOUGH.