“A bear got his finger, but Jesus got his heart.” That was a caption below a photo in the July 2008 issue of our magazine. It accompanied the story of Padam Shah, a seven-year-old orphan who lived in Mugu—a very remote region in Nepal’s Himalayan Mountains—with his significantly-older brother after their parents both died of tuberculosis.
Padam and his older brother (who was married) suffered extreme poverty, eking out an existence by raising sheep. It was so cold most of the year, and Padam’s ragged clothing was so thin, that he often slept with the sheep to stay warm. Our 2008 story told of how Padam, while one day watching the sheep, was attacked by a bear. He barely escaped—but not before losing his left index finger to the bear.
An evangelist who was preaching in the Mugu region learned of Padam’s plight, and with Padam’s older brother’s blessing, brought him to the home of Trilok and Deepa Pradan, a godly couple living in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu. Trilok and Deepa, who had both grown up as orphans themselves, had been praying that God would allow them to care for orphans, and Padam thrived under their care. He soon gave his heart to Jesus, and before long the family grew to include four other orphaned children, all of whom found sponsorship through Orphan’s Tear after Heaven’s Family director David Servant visited Nepal in 2008. (You can read the original story by clicking here.)
What David didn’t know then was that Padam had an older sister named Mariam who remained behind in Mugu. Padam never forgot her, and he made sure his beloved new parents didn’t either. He prayed for her daily for almost five years, never giving up hope that they would be reunited.
One day in 2011, Padam heard the words he’d been longing to hear: “Mariam is coming to live with us!”
Like Padam years before, Mariam had to learn some fresh skills when she came to her new home, such as how to eat with a fork and take a bath. She also began attending school for the first time in her life.
Mariam now feels like a full-fledged member of her new family in Kathmandu, a process that has been made much easier with the help of Padam. Together, the long-separated siblings are now basking in the love of a mother and father—and Jesus.