As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  Proverbs 27:17

Iron sharpening iron. In Proverbs, this illustration is used to convey what happens when believers in a relationship refine one another for the glory of God. The obedience of one Jesus follower can encourage and inspire the faith of another. 

This idea that two Christians can make an impact even greater than the sum of their contributions is evident in the marriage of two Haggai leaders, Dr. Dinesh Murmu and his wife Anjulika.

Dinesh’s work in the medical field has allowed the family to live everywhere from Sri Lanka to the beautiful island of Mauritius, but their hearts remain connected to Jharkhand, the state in eastern India they both call home. Dr. and Mrs. Murmu are believers, but Christians account for less than 5% of the population in Jharkhand. And the region is plagued with inequity, as nearly half of those in the state live in poverty.

In 2005, while living in Sri Lanka for her husband’s job, Anjulika began to feel a particular burden for marginalized women and children back home in Jharkhand. This burden grew into a call to start Spring of Life Ministries, a group of schools for underprivileged children. Her husband recalls Anjulika’s obedience and tenacity in the early days of the ministry:

“It all started with a dream and a vision and a lot of prayers… when she started the ministry it was a one-person commitment with her father. When I saw her dedication and passion I supported and joined her.”

Dr. Dinesh Murmu

What started with one school and a small group of children in 2005 has grown to five schools across the Santhal Pargana region. Their mission is two-fold: to educate the children academically and to provide a solid biblical foundation. When parents see their children thriving, they are compelled to learn more about the Gospel themselves. Today, Spring of Life Ministries has enrolled more than 550 children.

Dr. Dinesh Murmu, his wife Anjulika and family.

In addition to the schools, Spring of Life has vocational resources for women struggling with poverty or substance abuse. They have even established a chain of house churches led by the ministry’s pastors.

Dr. Murmu’s job recently moved the family to the island of Mauritius. Because the ministry began when the Murmus were living far away, the couple is adept at working remotely. This ability to serve from a distance became critical in 2020, when lockdown measures hindered the back-and-forth travel demanded by their ministry work. Dinesh and Anjulika were able to coordinate broad food distribution efforts for their communities in Jharkhand, and they used technological tools to remain connected to the ministry they’ve poured their lives into:

“We had a lockdown in Mauritius, but we continued Bible lessons online and even preached sermons on our YouTube Channels. Now we reach an even greater number of people through social media and WhatsApp, and many have accepted Christ as their personal Savior.”