Sunday, July 6, 2014

Soni's Story

Our journey with Soni Lakava Kamble began in October 2013 when we began to correspond with her through Compassion International. We knew she lived in The Miraj Red Light District. We knew that her mother was a commercial sex worker. More than that, we knew instantly that this little girl was special. Both Jonathan and I felt an instant connection to her. We could never have guessed how her story would play out. God began working in our hearts last month to learn more about Soni and her community.

June 13, 2014
I have felt burdened for our Compassion child Soni. We received a letter in February saying that she had been very ill and was in intensive care. After an inquiry to Compassion, we heard that she is doing better, but takes medications that make her feel very weak. Still, my heart is uneasy.

I have been doing a lot of research about her community online and have found a lot about the amazing ministry of her church to the women and children in the Miraj Red Light District
I even found these pictures of our precious Soni on the Facebook page of a church who sent a team to her community. AMAZED! I am hoping to connect with team members to find out more about Soni.






June 14, 2014

Connected with some team members in reference to Soni. I am so thankful to have formed friendships with people who have met and loved our precious child! They visited her home at the request of Pastor Timothy to deliver food. I discovered this:

The name of the child is  Soni Lakava Kamble. She is very beautiful but always calm and quite. The mother's name is Lakava. No fathers name is given to Soni because mother is sex worker.

Mother Lakava is living with HIV/AIDS, but still she works as a sex worker because of the acute poverty. From each customer she gets $1. After the customer goes the pimp takes his share, $.50, from her. With this amount the mother finds it very difficult to take care of Soni. The mother is physically very weak.

Soni has two sisters older than her. One is named Malawa. She is age of 16. She is also sex worker. Malawa is also physically weak. But we have not taken HIV blood test. In this red light area there are 40% women and children living with HIV/AIDS.

Since 2012, Soni has been getting help from Compassion; therefore, we are able to take her from time to time to Miraj Medical Center Wanless Hospital for CD4 count and ART treatments. We want to thank the Lord, and Compassion because medication and hospitalization are very expensive especially for people living with HIV/AIDS. Soni is also provided with food in the center.
I am happy to inform you Soni sings songs of Jesus and she has learned to pray. She knows the Bible verse “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” The Mother also learned that Jesus Christ is the Lord of the poor and sick. Though there is pain, sickness, andloneliness in life, God is great he speaks to the people who are staying in another country and sends help to us.

Dated 15 to 20 May, 2014  Soni was readmitted at the Wanless Hospital because she had a high fever and intake was nil. On 20th May she got discharged from the Hospital. Day by day she is getting weak. When I see her health I can say that she will not survive for long. I visit her and family in the red light area of Miraj daily. The pain of the child and family is very great yet they love Jesus and pray, because people who love Jesus have helped them in their difficult time.
 
Crushed.
 
June 15, 2014
Began praying towards going to India to visit Soni. We can't seem to find dates until late September. We are hoping that Soni will pull through until then.
 
June 17, 2014
More news from India, thanks to our friends:
We have admitted Soni Lakava Kamble in the Panchgani Hospital for HIV/AIDS treatments. the hospital is 100 kilometers away from Miraj. The hospital is very famous for HIV/AIDS treatments. Please pray for her.
More prayers for Soni. Hurrying plans for India. We so much want to go and bring a smile to her sad face. We wish we could be at the hospital with her just holding her sweet hand.
 
June 18, 2014
I spent a long time in prayer today for Soni. I stopped at the store and bought about twenty get well cards for her. I poured my heart into each one--pictures, verses, and prayers. Even if she never receives them, God heard the prayers. I had to write about the tough things in these cards. I wrote that I prayed for her healing--and had to come to terms with the fact that for Soni, that might mean perfect healing in heaven. I can't be sad for her if that is the case. I know she is scared, so I wrote to tell her about how wonderful heaven is. I have been writing to all the children this month about fruit...but Soni's letter is different...
"In the book of Revelation, the Bible tells us that there is a beautiful tree that grows in Heaven. Heaven is a beautiful paradise that all of us who believe in Christ will get to enjoy after this life on earth is over. It is filled with amazing things, including the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life will be planted by the river of the water of life that sparkles like crystal. This tree will produce twelve different fruits--one for each month. We will be able to eat this fruit! I am excited to know that you believe in Christ, because one day, we will enjoy heaven together. I love you very much, precious daughter!"
For this little girl who has always only known squalor and hunger, I hope that this picture of heaven will calm some of her fears.
June 20, 2014
I am encouraged because even though Soni lives in the obscurity of poverty, her name has been heard all over the world. I have been encouraged by friends and family who have sent prayers and photos for me to send to Soni. Here are some...

Dear Lord, I pray that you watch over Soni and bring healing to her body. Help her to trust in You at all times. When she is weary, strengthen her body. When she is weak, remind her that You are strong. Remind her daily that You love her and You have a plan for her life. In Jesus' Name, Amen, Love from the Reynolds
 
Dear Soni, You are such a blessing to your Sponsors, Kim and Jonathan and now to many of us who are lifting you up in prayer. You are so special in God's eyes and are loved deeply. Father God, please bring your healing power to Soni so that she and her family may testify to that power. You are so good Lord and we bring Soni before your throne and boldly ask that you heal her body and bring total restoration to her. We thank you in advance for what you will do and are doing and that you hear all of our prayers. We are thankful that you know Soni, your child. Give her your courage and strength to trust in You. We love you. In Jesus' Name, Amen With Much Love, David and Beth Robinson

Dear Soni, Kim and Jonathan love you so much. They have asked us to join them in prayer. Here is our prayer for you: Heavenly Father, watch over your child Soni and restore her to that perfect health which is yours alone to give. Relieve her pain, provide all of her needs especially her need for healing and salvation, guard her from all danger, restore to her your gifts of gladness and strength, and raise her up to a life of service to you.
I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen--The Yearwoods


 
June 23, 2014
Happy 9th Birthday, Soni! Heard that the Pastor was going to visit her, taking her a cake and some flowers. I wish I could see her smile at such a gift! I am so amazed by this Pastor--He is truly the hands and feet of Jesus to travel 100 km to see this little girl. She has worth and value to our Father, and the pastor is preaching that to her by his love; she is not just the nameless, low-caste, HIV infected daughter of a prostitute
 
June 30, 2014
Prayers continue for Soni. Hoping that no news is good news! I dropped all of her cards in the mail today.
 
July 1, 2014
Jonathan wrote this letter for Soni today. Such beautiful words. It bothers him deeply that her last name, Kamble, labels her as a fatherless child.
Dear Soni,
Hello, my beautiful princess. How are you? I pray to our God that He takes care of you and brings you comfort. It hurts me to know that you hurt and that you have been sick. I pray that God would bless you and bring a smile to your beautiful face. I love you so much, my child.
I wrote a letter to you not long ago about the stars and the moon. I told you that we live in a big world, but God still loves you and knows your name. I want to tell you another story about stars. It comes from the Bible. Do you remember Abraham? Abraham was a man who loved God, and God called Abraham His friend. God made a promise to Abraham that he would have many children, as many as the stars in the sky. At the time, Abraham didn't have any children. In fact, he had to wait a long time before he had that first child with his wife, Sarah. Abraham named that child Isaac. God told Abraham that his many children would come through Isaac.
One day, when Isaac was a little older, God asked Abraham to offer Isaac to Him. If Abraham gave Isaac back to God, he wouldn't be able to have a bunch of children through him--but Abraham said yes. Abraham said yes to God because he knew that God would not lie. God had made a promise to give him many children. I wonder if Abraham thought of the stars when God asked for Isaac. Maybe God darkened the sky of all light but the stars. Maybe when Abraham looked up at the stars, he saw God's promise written in the sky.
My love, does God make promises to you? Does He keep His promises? He promised to love you. He promised to save you. He promised to never leave you. He promised His Holy Spirit would be in your life. He promised to bring you into His kingdom. One of my favorites is that He promised to give you a new name. Can you imagine being called "Soni, child of the King," or "Soni, Beloved of God," or "Soni, Chosen," or "Soni, Redeemed by Jesus"?
Soni, my precious child, the next time you look at the stars, I want you to remember four things about God's promises. I want you to remember how many promises He has made. I want you to remember how big His promises are. I want you to remember how beautiful and glorious they are, and I want you to remember that they will never go away. I want you to see God's promises to you written in the sky. God loves you, baby. You are always His child.
My love, if I could, I would give you my name. I would love to be able to call you my child--but your Heavenly Father has something greater for you than anything I could ever give. The Creator of the Universe calls you His daughter. We love you so much sweetheart. Be strong, my girl. Never give up. I send you all my love, all my heart, and many hugs and kisses. I love you like crazy.
Love,
Jonathan
July 3, 2014
The world fell apart in the crowded Chick-fil-A drive through. I am thankful for the connections we made--thankful that the news was passed along--
Blessed are those who participate in the first resurrection.
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life . Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die” John 11 : 25- 26

We are very sad to inform you that on 2nd July 2014 , Soni Lakava Kamble died in the Lord in the Hospital.

We give thanks especially to Compassion and her sponsors for helping her and strengthening her weak faith, providing resources for her medicines.  She went through pain and suffering, but she had faith on Jesus Christ. She had taken heart and said boldly, "The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want."
Her mother and sister said in Marathi language please say thanks to her sponsors and Compassion Intl. who helped us in a very difficult time of our life. Because of this help she had very dignified death and funeral. Soni Lakava Kamble' s mother, Lakava Kamble, and Soni's two sisters, Paru Lakava Kamble and Malawa Kamble, have folded  their hands with gratitude  for the support and tender care that was rendered to Soni . Her mother witnessed , that before Soni died, she was often saying prayers with folded hands. Please pray for her family and the community.

May her soul rest in peace.

 
July 6, 2014
So now we go on. Our hearts hurt, but not for Soni. Our precious daughter in Christ is now WITH Christ. There is no more suffering for her--her battle is won. We are yet burdened for her family. A death like this must be crushing for her family and community. 40% of the women and children--likely more--are suffering from the same illness. It saddens me that they face a similar fate. Jonathan and I still want to go to India. We want to sit in Soni's home and hug her family. We want to encourage her friends, family, and church--and let them know that Soni's life mattered, that she was important, and that God has heard her story--their story--and is imprinting it on the hearts of people all the way around the world. I need to continue to be a voice for the little ones of this community.
To learn more about this community and about how to support a child like Soni, click here:
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

7 comments:

  1. What a beautiful tribute to Soni. I'm amazed at seeing God's hand and timing. Your letter about fruit and heaven and Jonathan's letter about being a child of God were beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with us.

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  2. Heartbreaking, can't imagine the emotions you have gone through this past month. But what a difference you made in Soni's life and for her family.

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  3. My husband and I recently started sponsoring our first Compassion child and I couldn't imagine having to sit by and watch her go through this. I appreciate you sharing the words that you sent to Soni because I often feel like I don't have the right words to say to our Compassion daughter in Bolivia. I'll be praying that God's hand is on Soni's family and the other women and children in her community.

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    Replies
    1. Loribeth, I often wonder what all the little snippets of my life that I share with our kids actually accomplish. Then I remember their reality--the squalor, the hardship, the hunger, and all the other devastating affects of poverty. I remember that a day spent berry picking with my family is like a little taste of heaven for them--so I share that day, and they can experience it too. Through our letters, we give them access to another world, even if just for a minute. We remind them that somewhere outside of the radius of their existence there is a big, beautiful world. We encourage them to dream and hope. We remind them that God sees them--because He connected them to a person on the other side of the world, strangely and miraculously. Your words matter. I don't think it much matters what you say as long as you say something.

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  4. Well done. Sweet Soni. You lived your nine years to God's glory.

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  5. Dear Kim,

    Now that you have returned from India, I can only imagine the "reality" of meeting Soni's family and friends and those who knew and loved that precious child. My heart breaks for all who treasured her young live, including you and Jonathan and your children . . . I don't have anything else to offer that is new . . . but I wanted to say how sorry I am for your very real loss. Soni was blessed to have people who loved her dearly and showed her the love of Christ . . . Love, Cindy Sterling

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