Pastor Raju’s Experience of God
Pastor Raju comes from rural Telengana, a state which was recently created in Southern India. For many years he ran a tobacco shop in one of the villages outside the capital, Hyderabad. Although the business made enough money for him to be comfortable, he was fed up with life. Nothing made him happy or made any sense. Every day he would go to the temple to worship his idol and pay the relevant taxes to buy peace, and then he would go home and drink heavily. He soon became an alcoholic. None of his attempts to feel fulfilled made any difference.
One day he went to his priest, told him of his frustration and asked what he should do to feel better. The priest advised him to wear a certain combination of ornaments, a ring, necklaces and a bracelet, as well as to further increase his daily contribution of money at the temple. He did this, but it didn’t make any difference. He could not understand why he was still so unhappy, despite carrying out the priest’s instructions to the letter.
Eventually Raju became so filled with despair he decided to commit suicide. There was nothing worth living for. That morning he steadied himself with a heavy drink then made his way to the train tracks, intent on jumping in front of a train. He waited a while, building his nerve, until he was ready. As the train approached, he prepared to step in front of it. But just as he was about to jump, he heard a loud voice behind him say: “Truly I say to you there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the son of Man coming in His Kingdom”.
Shocked, Raju turned around, but there was no-one there. He was so confused and intrigued, that he forgot all about his plan to kill himself. Feeling sure that this was a voice from the gods, he decided he needed to ask the priest about this. But feeling guilty for having been drinking, he decided against seeing his priest and instead, for some reason he decided to visit his aunt, who was a Christian.
He arrived at his aunt’s and quickly told her about the experience. She immediately took him to see her pastor. As Raju recounted his experiences, the pastor smiled and told him that the words that Raju heard were from the Bible, from Matt 16:28, and that it had been God that had been speaking to him. Then the pastor shared the gospel with Raju.
As Raju heard about God’s love through Jesus he fell to his knees weeping and asked that the pastor forgive his sins. The pastor smiled, and said that only Jesus could do this. That very night Raju accepted Jesus into his life and decided that he would serve God by sharing his testimony with all those around him. The next morning he pulled off all his Hindu ornaments, went out into the village and began telling people about his salvation experience.
Soon after this Raju sold his shop so he could commit all his time to evangelizing the community in which he lives. Over the last four years Raju has brought 38 people to Christ, has got married to a Christian girl and together they have started a church to minister to the new believers in the village. Raju says that he is very happy and peaceful about what he is doing today, despite having no idea where he will get money to provide for his church and family. There was a time when he had sufficient money but no peace and joy, today he has no money but is full of peace and joy. He is committed to serving God, God will take care of the rest, he says.
As Raju never received any theological training, he is now training and equipping himself Biblically through GLOMOS so that he can be more effective in building the believers at his church. He is being blessed by the GLOMOS teaching and materials. Please pray for him to know and learn more about God and His will.