Jeni studied the curling lines and shapes on her grandson’s homework paper. With a sigh, she handed it back, knowing a great treasure lay within those squiggles and loops, but she lacked the key to unlock it.
Years earlier, poverty had hindered Jeni from attending school, leaving her illiterate in a world filled with written information. While many children took education for granted, Jeni longed for the opportunity to attend school.
Gospel For Asia says many women, like Jeni, also have never learned to read. They hunger for God’s Word, but can only stare at the pages of the Bible, unable to read them.
According to Gospel For Asia, Jeni’s lack of education impacted her childhood and adult life in a multitude of ways. Illiteracy deprived her of the joy of reading stories—both to herself and, later, to her five children. Unable to read newspapers, the current events of her nation had to reach her by word of mouth. Street signs were useless when finding her way around a new area. No reminder notes or shopping lists could be written. What’s more, Jeni could have looked straight at the written name of Jesus and never have known it.
Although Jeni was blessed with good health, her husband succumbed to an illness when Jeni was only in her 20s. As the sole provider for her children, she worked hard to learn tailoring and managed to earn an income through her stitching work. But without literacy and basic math skills, Jeni and other women like her were often cheated by dishonest shopkeepers, making already tight budgets even tighter.
As years passed, Jeni’s children married, and she became a grandmother. Even then, her illiteracy troubled her.
Jeni felt ashamed of her inability to read or to sign her own name, and she had no idea the gift of literacy—and eternal hope—was just around the corner at a local church.
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SOURCE: Assist News