Aside from engaging the youths, the OM team in this remote area also ran tutoring and literacy classes, provided health education for women and discipled new believers—all as a means to share the gospel and make disciples.
As Tabitha started getting to know the young people, she met a teenager named David* and his family, who lived a few houses away from her. Though she gave David and his siblings some Christian books, she rarely had the chance to see David or talk to him more about the literature, but she started sharing the gospel with his brothers. “I also started building a good relationship with his mother, and she showed some interest in knowing more about Jesus. I went to her house one day because I heard her husband was sick, and I was going to give him medicine. When I arrived, I saw David reading the books I gave him, and after talking to him about it I felt really happy that he showed some interest,” explained Tabitha.
Tabitha and a few other OM workers were planning to trek to other villages in the same area where she lived to give out Christian books and share the gospel. For this trip, they needed two young men to help carry the books from village to village. One of their neighbours, who was also a Christian, said he would do it and that he had a friend who was also interested. “When I found out that his friend was David, I immediately started praying because the trek was an opportunity to share the gospel with David and for him to learn more about Christianity,” shared Tabitha.
David agreed to go on a trek with the OM workers and carry the books because he saw it as an opportunity to practice his English with the foreign OM workers, learn new things and see new villages. The morning of the second day of the trek, the OM team and David were reading the Bible together to start off the day. It was during this Bible study that David began to see the new thing God wanted him to learn on this trip. “We were reading the story of the lost sheep and the prodigal son from the Bible and David was also reading. After we discussed the meaning of the story, I asked David if he understood it. I was really pleased when he said he understood everything,” recounted Tabitha.
At that moment, Tabitha proceeded to ask David if he wanted to believe in Jesus and further explained what that meant. David immediately said that he was ready to believe in Jesus after hearing the gospel and conversations about God so many times in the past two days. “I realised that morning that I, too, was lost like the sheep and needed God to find me. I would wonder sometimes who made all these things in the world, and I learned that God created everything. What I heard on this trek answered so many of the questions I had in my heart,” expressed David.
Making this decision to believe in Jesus is no easy choice for people like David, who grow up in a majority Hindu nation and a strong Hindu community. In this context, people who chose to believe in Jesus are often shunned by the community, rejected by their family and face huge difficulty finding a job. Many Hindus believe that if people don’t worship and make a sacrifice to their gods to receive a blessing, protection or to be cleansed of their wrong deeds, something bad will happen to them, or someone in their family will die.
This reality had kept David from becoming a Christian for a long time. “I heard about Jesus two years ago when my cousin became a Christian and he invited me to a Christian fellowship. When I heard about who Jesus was, I wanted to know more and believe, but I was very afraid that if my family found out, they would reject me, and I would live in embarrassment,” explained David.
Though David is still concerned about what his parents will do when they find out he is a believer, he cannot deny that he needs Jesus, who is the only one who died so God can forgive his sins. David gleefully and confidently proclaimed his new-found faith in Jesus: “I did a lot of bad things in my life, but now I know God has forgiven me. I still think about the problems I will face, but I know God will help me. I put my faith in Him, and Jesus put his peace in me.”
Pray for David to continue growing in his new faith and pray that more people in unreached people groups will encounter God and put their faith in Him.
*Name changed for security
Published: Wednesday, 20 December 2017
Credit: Ava Moore