Lazarus Thulung thought he was making a trip to eastern Nepal to meet with church planters and weigh options for starting new micro-loan enterprises. In his wildest dreams, he never thought that he would return home with a daughter.
But it was a dream that moved the ServLife Training School Director in Nepal eastward into the village of Juropani, where Thulung would meet Simran, the child who would soon call him “Baba.”
“I was in Siliguri, India with my friend Mark Storm. We’d finished up meetings, and since we were tired, we fell asleep early,” recounts Thulung. “But around midnight, I had a dream about a woman crying for help. In her arms was a small girl.”
Lazarus didn’t go back to sleep. Instead, he prayed, and it wasn’t long before he remembered a family he had met just days ago in the hot dusty village of Juropani. While Thulung had conversed with church planter Shivaraj Rajbanshi, a solemn woman and her little daughter sat quietly in the shade of a mango tree. They listened to the lively conversation, but said nothing until Lazarus turned his attention to them.
The little girl at the woman’s side came from her first marriage to a man in Kathmandu, the woman confided. But since the child was a daughter and not the son that promised Hindu believers a place in heaven, the woman’s husband had deserted her for another woman. Her daughter’s name was Simran, she said, looking wistfully at the sad child.
Without a job and a husband, Simran’s mother tried finding odd jobs in Kathmandu, but often found herself penniless and living on the streets. So when a young man agreed to marry her, she readily accepted and moved to Juropani, where the couple attempted subsistence farming that continually fell short of meeting the family’s needs. To make things worse, there was no school in the village for Simran to attend, Simran’s mother was expecting a new baby and her new husband had little regard for Simran.
As Thulung recalled the mother and child, he felt God urging him to return to the village. So after consulting with his father in Damak and telephoning his wife, Martha, who encouraged him to return home with the child if God led him to do so, Lazarus, his father and Shivaraj Rajbanshi walked the long dusty road back to Simran’s house.
“When we arrived, I shared the dream with Simran’s mother and she began to cry,” Thulung says. “She then said that we were sent by God to help her.”
As the adults talked, little Simran began packing her few belongings. Though Simran’s mother was relieved and hopeful that a new life could be in store for her child, her husband was not present to consent. Thulung, his father and friend heartened the woman by telling her that if God intended Simran to become the adopted daughter of Lazarus and Martha, her husband would rejoice.
The men were right. The very next day, Simran and her family traveled to Damak to meet Thulung. Everyone was happy, all were celebrating, and immediately Simran called Thulung, Baba, which is “Daddy” in Nepali. When she reached the Thulung home in Kathmandu, the child embraced Martha and called her Mamu, or “Mommy” in Nepali.
“God really surprised us,” reflects Thulung. “I have two sons, but now He has blessed us with a beautiful daughter.”