Mela was the daughter of a highly-respected village priest who loved her dearly—and was teaching her to become a leader among the village women. He raised her to follow many gods, protectors of various aspects of life. Mela was obedient and humble, following in her father’s footsteps.

Mela also learned the importance of cleanliness at the temple. As a wife and mother, she carefully maintained her own home, a value she happily shared with others. Mela often visited with neighbours to talk about how to keep their houses clean and families healthy.

During a neighbourhood visit, she met some Christians. They were noticeably different from the other neighbours Mela visited.

Soon, her focus shifted from cleanliness to Jesus.

She visited a local house church to see how the Christians worshipped Jesus. She became so fascinated with their faith that she gave it her full attention and started telling her husband about what she was learning.

When Mela’s father found out, he was so opposed to his daughter interacting with Christians that he reported her to the village leaders. But Mela couldn’t be stopped. She met Mukai, a local champion starting a new church in her neighbourhood, and their conversations strengthened her growing faith.

Fearing her actions would damage his reputation as priest, Mela’s father banished her from the village. No one in the village was to communicate with Mela’s family until they renounced their faith in Christ.

Unwilling to give up Jesus, Mela and her family took refuge in a hut in a nearby rice paddy. During this time, Mukai prayed fervently and encouraged the family through their struggles.

Requests to return were denied, but eventually, all of the Christian families in the community came together in support of Mela. After many pleas on Mela’s behalf, her father gave in: Mela and her family were allowed to come home — provided they kept their faith to themselves and not share it with others.

Mela and her husband remain steadfast in their new faith and are working to rebuild their lives after the chaos they have faced.

But Mela cannot obey her father’s order to keep her faith to herself: she continues to visit her neighbours, but now her message is about Jesus!