All it takes is one look to notice Maya’s beauty. She radiates confidence, intelligence, determination, and kindness. Her smile literally can light up a room. Sure, that’s a cliché saying, but hey! It’s completely true. It takes a lot more than a simple look, however, to fully understand what Maya experienced within the first 441 days of her life.

Maya was born on Christmas day in 2003. Her birthplace, Andipatti, is a beautiful valley surrounded by the Western Ghats Mountains.   When Maya was born, close to 23,000 other Indians shared this same hometown. Now, nearly 100,000 people call Andipatti home.   The population may have increased by over 300%, but this town lost three of its members during that time span.

Before Maya was 15 months old, her father, who was very drunk at the time, killed her mother. Afterwards, he also passed away. Without any family or community member to look after Maya, her chances of survival looked grim until God sent a man named Simon Peter, who, in hindsight, saved her life. Having heard of the Daya Vihar Girl’s Home nearly 30 miles west of them, Simon Peter decided to drive Maya there to see if there was room for her. Praise God that there was more than enough room for Maya!Maya 2

Maya’s journey once she arrived at Daya Vihar wasn’t always easy. She struggled with anger and listening to authorities get more. Gradually, the love of Christ spoken and expressed tangibly through other Christians broke through to Maya’s heart.

Now, Maya is at the top of her class in school and enjoys memorizing Bible verses. Out of 35 other girls, she was the first to memorize John 3:16. The hardest part for her to memorize was, “shall not perish.” She kept saying “shall nail polish.” Of course, once she realized what she said, she would explode with laughter and then lose her place. Then, it became the running joke and she would say it on purpose. That did not, however, reflect her lack of knowledge of what that famous verse meant.

A breakthrough moment for Maya came when she was willing to accept that she was beautifully made, both inside and out. Whenever a Boaz staff member or one of her house parents would speak truth and love into her life, she would listen skeptically. She would be quick to point out her dark skin when she was told she was beautiful and loved.   “No Sister! You are beautiful,” she would say as she looked down at her own skin. “Look. Very, very dark.” Finally, after months and months of reminding her of her worth in Jesus Christ, there was evidence that God had been working on her heart that whole time.

What was the evidence? It was a simple “thank you” in accepting a compliment that she was beautifully made in the image of God. The conversation was short and it would have been easy to miss the transformation that was taking place.   But, there was no doubt that the chills and the intensified heart beat were anything short of the Holy Spirit saying, “Maya understands. I am her beloved and she is mine.”

Maya’s life has been hard. She’s already known more loss, disappointment, and sadness than some will in a lifetime. But Maya realizes that she has been chosen, adopted, pursued, and redeemed by the blood of Christ.

This truth hasn’t wiped away her painful memories or experiences. It has, however, helped her cope with her past and dream of her eventual destiny in Heaven… a place where one day will be better than 10,000 days elsewhere… where disappointment and sorrow will no longer be a part of her life.

Maya has chosen Jesus Christ.

And the best is yet to come for her!