My Life’s Heroes

It was 1977, and Karl and I had left Germany in a camper the previous year. Our journey had already taken us through Italy, what was then Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, and India. We hoped to make it to Nepal next, buy a mountain farm there, and settle in a peaceful life away from modern society.

Our budget was tight, and we usually ate at small roadside cafés or bought food from local market stalls, so perhaps it was not surprising that I contracted viral hepatitis. We had reached a lovely bay on the Goan coastline, but unfortunately there was no medical care nearby, and my health deteriorated quickly. Some local villagers noticed my desperate state and took to visiting daily to feed me a diet of papaya and fresh coconut milk. Thanks to their help, I recovered and got back on my feet, 10 kilos lighter, but healthy again.

When we finally made it to Nepal, we eagerly joined a Buddhist monastery for a trial period, but didn’t find what we were looking for. I believed there was something bigger than me, but I was confused. Which God should I pray to? I often wondered while gazing at the multitude of stars in the clear mountain sky.

It was Karl’s turn to contract hepatitis next. By that time, we were back in India, and I drove all night, while Karl was sprawled in the back of the camper with a high fever. In the early morning, I found a lodge where some young European travelers were staying. One of them, David, spoke German, and he helped us find a doctor and a room to rent.

David also decided to stay a few days with us. “Let me read to you from the book that changed my life,” he said when we met the following day.

Reading a short passage from God’s Word became a daily routine while Karl regained his strength. Before David left, he introduced me to his Savior, Jesus, and as a result His words from the Bible became my guiding light from that day onwards.

The Goan villagers were poverty-stricken strangers, but their compassion and concern saved my life. David was a stranger, but it’s thanks to him that I found purpose and direction. My circumstances today are a result of the combined kindnesses of those selfless strangers I met in India that autumn.