I recently met a wonderful woman by the name of Mary. She is lovely and fascinating, caring and intelligent – basically all of the things I want to be when I grow up. We met through a mutual friend at a women’s ministry event at my church, and as we were working with our hands we got to talking about our lives.
Mary has a daughter roughly the same age as my oldest, and she stays home with her children, like I do. However, unlike me, Mary was born and raised in South India. At the age of nine she accepted Christ and began to serve the Lord by distributing information about salvation to the people she would see in the streets of her home town.
Now she is an adult living in the U.S., but she still has a heart for those people in her native country who do not yet know Jesus. She and her husband travel back frequently on missionary trips, and on one such trip she had the privilege of teaching English to the teachers at Infant Jesus School in Yercaud Hills, Salem District, Tamilnadu, India.
Infant Jesus School is a private Christian school that caters to the educational needs of 60 villages surrounding Yercaud. They offer a basic, affordable education for children ages 3 to 10, teaching English, Tamil (their native language), math, history, geography and science. The majority of the children attending Infant Jesus School are sons and daughters of agricultural estate laborers and drivers.
These teachers were very shy because they had such little knowledge of the English language and needed someone who was willing to work with them at a beginner level. They themselves had only received education up to the 12th grade, and while some of them had basic teacher training, none could speak or write in English.
When I asked her why she felt compelled to teach these women, Mary offered this:
“Their individual desire to learn English motivated me to be their main tutor for 5 months and enabled me to sow into their lives with their first English lessons, so that they [could] learn to speak and write English. Once they overcame this major hurdle of learning basic English, their confidence level built up tremendously and they became a huge source of encouragement and support to their own family members, neighbors and their communities. The bottom line is to reverse the concept of English being a foreign language[,] to English becoming a local language.”
At the end of the training, they were given an assignment. They were asked to write, in English, a children’s folktale that they had grown up hearing. Once these were complete, Mary gathered them up, along with the accompanying artwork produced by the teachers, and brought them back to the U.S. to be published.
Truth Tales is a compilation of 15 children’s folktales from India.
The stories are sweet and easy to read, and like most folktales, are followed by a moral. They reflect a rich culture, and are written in a way that children of all ages will enjoy and understand them.
The profits from sales of Truth Tales will go to build schools in the remotest villages in India and SriLanka.
If you are looking for a gift for an elementary-aged child, or you want to help out this beautiful ministry, you can purchase the book directly from their ministry SOAR for Greatness here.
Or you can order it from Amazon in paperback or Kindle format here.