Several weeks ago, we linked to a variety of “Mormon pioneer” stories, both of early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as modern Mormon pioneers. Bindu Sabbavarapu’s story was one to which we linked. She has given us permission to share some of her story (and photos) here.
Bindu grew up in India, where the predominant religion is Hinduism. Although she showed some interest in Christianity even as a young child, she hid that interest because of her father’s strict Hindu beliefs and activity. Ten years ago, Bindu’s friend introduced Bindu to missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A little meeting with a handful of Latter-day Saints and four Mormon missionaries began a process that changed her life.
“I never thought of becoming a Christian until I met the missionaries and learned more about the Church. I learned from the scriptures and understood the standards of the Church like going to church regularly to renew the covenants, communicating with our Father in Heaven through prayers, the Word of Wisdom, Family Home Evening, serving, and teaching one another and many more. This is what I wanted in my life. Learning more about the gospel drew me closer to Christ, and the testimony I gained about the Savior played an important part in my being part of this true church for which I am eternally grateful….”
But there have been many social and cultural barriers that Bindu has had to overcome through it all. It took a while to summon the courage to tell her family about her baptism and to help them understand her choice to become a Latter-day Saint. Another barrier came when she wanted to get married. The expectation of an arranged marriage was high in both families. She and her husband-to-be both felt the Spirit guiding them to marry someone in the Church, but it was difficult for their families to understand. Over time, though, Bindu and her husband have been able to share more about why the gospel of Jesus Christ means so much to them. And they recognize and are grateful for all that their parents taught them.
“[M]y parents taught me good principles in life. They were God-fearing and taught me to be honest, to dress modestly, to study well and much more. I would like to say those were the basics that prepared me to embrace the gospel in my life.”
Bindu and her husband have a strong conviction of the reality that God answers prayers and can help guide our lives. As they have faced many difficult decisions, Bindu says:
“Every decision we took in our lives was through fasting and prayer. My husband and I have always experienced amazing blessings by counseling with the Lord and we never went wrong when we involved Heavenly Father in the decisions we took….[My husband] is a great example of putting the trust in the Lord and following the promptings of the spirit. I have seen that time and again in all the decisions we have taken in our lives so far.”
Education was very important in her family of origin and is also important in her own little family now. Bindu has an Information Systems degree and had great success with her professional pursuits. She also received a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree while her husband was also pursuing his education. Self-reliance is a principle she feels strongly about.
But she says the “best thing that has happened” in their lives is their daughter, and she feels the great responsibility to be a good parent. “Being a parent, I realize that it is very important to teach my daughter to do the right thing. I am glad I am not alone in this journey. I am grateful for the help and counsel that I receive from that Lord and from my dear husband to teach my daughter.”
You can read more from Bindu here.