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Becoming a Child of God (Part 1)

07.18.18
in Africa, Blog, Community Development, Senegal
When family disapproval is too much, God's grace is more.

“Here are all of our old fake IDs,” my cousins said. “College may be the only time you get to be who you want to be, Jamie.”

I knew what they meant, but I didn’t yet know how true that would become in my life. We come from an Indian Orthodox family, transplanted from India to New York state. In our family, your future is planned for you and any deviation brings dishonor. Up to this point in my life, everyone else had defined for me who I was going to be.

As the fall semester of college began, a new friend invited me to come to a party at her apartment. Little did I know this “party” was a Bible study for college students. I had never seen or heard anything like it before. They kept talking about God’s love for us even when we sin, and I was highly offended. Didn’t these people know that they had to take communion and confess their sin to a priest to be forgiven? I wanted to prove them wrong, so I began reading God’s Word.

As I read, I continually encountered this God of love. The Scriptures said it was supposed to be a joy to be His follower, but I couldn’t comprehend this. I had questions, so I began attending Christian student meetings on campus.

One Sunday, I was walking past the church that many of my friends attended. I heard music like what I had heard during the Christian student meetings, and I stopped in. Soon, the pastor began to preach and directly answered the questions I had been asking.

God was calling me to Himself, but all I could hear was my mother’s words to me before I left for college: “Remember who you are.” For fear of disappointing and dishonoring my parents, I waited. But God pursued.

I soon put my faith in Jesus, and six months later I was baptized. The moment I made that commitment to Jesus, I knew that God was calling me to go to the nations, but I ignored it. I made excuses about finishing school and starting my pharmacy residency, all the while hiding my salvation from my parents.

Then came graduation — a defining moment for every young person but especially for me. It was time for me to go to India with my parents to find my husband and arrange a marriage. But because of my faith in Jesus, I couldn’t. And I knew nothing less than the truth would justify my refusal to go.

At that moment, I had a choice: my family or my relationship with God. I remembered God’s goodness to me and how He is worth every sacrifice. So I chose Him and told my parents about my salvation. This was their greatest shame.

Every day my mother called me, crying for hours on end. My father told people his daughter no longer existed. Though I had chosen God, I began to get angry at Him. I told Him, “I’ve tried following you for seven years. I’ve tried making it work with my parents. It’s not working. I’m done.”

But even in my anger and sadness, God wasn’t done with me yet.

Continue reading Jamie’s story in Part 2.


Jamie served with Crossworld in Senegal for two years and is currently pursuing other locations where she can bring God’s love to life.


The people in this story are real, but their names have been changed to protect their privacy.

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