Beliefs that cost lives Our partners in India offer primary education to over 650 children from tribal villages, through 13 centres, some of which are the very first schools in these villages. These villages are very remote and insular and villagers often follow a belief system rooted in witchcraft. As this very sad story indicates these beliefs can lead to tragedies. Anika Anika was a very bright and intelligent student and started attending the centre in her village in 2014. Initially she was very quiet and timid in class, never putting her hand up to answer questions and needing much encouragement. In fact she would burst into tears if directly asked a question. As a consequence her learning was slow, even though she attended regularly. However by the third term of her first year, she had begun to really enjoy reading and singing songs. The next year, she began to shine gaining 84% in her 2nd term evaluation. With praise from her teacher she became more confident in and around school. Falling ill In December 2016 she became sick with a fever. Her parents asked the local witch doctor for help but nothing worked. The teachers begged Anika’s parents to take her to our partners' hospital for free treatment. Eventually they agreed and she was successfully treated for anemia returning home a few days later. Her parents refused to believe that the hospital had helped and burned sacrifices in thanksgiving. A month later she became ill again and her parents again refused to take her to hospital and sought more help from other witch doctors. Her conditional deteriorated until she became critically ill. Finally the teachers and village leaders forced the parents to take her to hospital, however it was too late and she died on route. Responding The impact of Anika’s death has had a devastating effect on the whole village. In response the teachers gathered the villagers together (as shown in picture) and reminded them of the free health care being offered to all through our partners' hospital. As our partners state tribal customs and witchcraft beliefs are endemic in these villages and their ministry is really trying to enable people to accept that these practices are not only pointless but often contrive to work against them. Spiritual Warfare This story is sadly not an isolated incident and our partners throughout the world share very similar stories. A significant part of their ministry is helping people to accept that God can be a living, loving presence in their lives and modern medicine isn't something that is evil but a blessing from God. Pray with Us We ask that you pray for our partners and their ministry and that God will use the experience of Anika’s death to change the hearts and minds of many in these villages. Everyday we lift our partners and their work to the Lord as we pray into particular issues that they face. If you would like to be part of this ministry, please click the link above and join us.