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An Inheritance of Hope & Freedom

I often say that I have a rich inheritance, but it’s not a reference to family money. My inheritance comes from generations of examples of giving to help others. It’s found in stories about my grandparents, who managed to help others while raising nine children on a farming income. My parents also demonstrated a lifestyle of assistance to others. Most of their help now goes to India, and in a sense, my inheritance is there: within its borders, on the faces of its people. Even now, as I write this, I am on a plane on the way to India!

There, in India, friends have become family, their joys and struggles are mine. Two of our sons (Philip and Stephen) are traveling with me, going to visit family friends they have only heard of until now, and accompanying me to some of the classes Sister India works to support.*

I can see the inheritance in the broad smiles of Indian women, who now have a future and hope that they would never have except for literacy classes which set them free. Free to know of their rights as people and not property, free to read, free to establish a family business. Free to send their daughters to school, too, instead of to the factories or into child marriage. Free to experience God’s love.

As a parent it is my great hope that we will pass this inheritance on down to our children. It is so easy for us as Americans to become busy with our daily lives, feeding, clothing, learning, loving those who are near us. Here at Sister India, we consider it our role to regularly stop and remind ourselves, each other, that we have a precious inheritance to share: yours, mine, ours. Many others also share in this inheritance of giving, and some of their sacrifices have been great. Not all of us can go to India; the classes we support are taught by local Indian people known to us and familiar with the language and customs of the people they teach. But almost all can give something to help, and we all can remind each other of this sacred task.

There are 614 million women in India, and a great many of them are in desperate need of our help. The job is simply too big for a few to take on. But as Sister India team member Charlotte Sanchez is fond of reminding us, if every person in the U.S. gave just $30 to place one student, we could educate every illiterate woman in India, giving them the tools they need to live a life of meaning and purpose. It’s a worthy goal and a beautiful inheritance—will you join us in the adventure?

“. . . for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” ~ Jesus (Matthew 6:21)

*A note to our donors: No Sister India funds were used to finance the guys’ trip to India. Any of our Executive Director’s reimbursable expenses were paid by our Angel Donors—all of your gifts go to support students in the literacy classes!

Deborah Spencer is the Executive Director of Sister India, dedicated to releasing Indian women and girls from generations of oppression and poverty. Learn more and join our cause at


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