This story, told to Matthew by one of the two sharing believers, was one of many similar incidents that happened between 2005 and 2008. Global partner Matthew and Evie and their children live in a spiritually-charged city in South Asia. Pray for them as they share the Untold Story and support the work of the national churches there.
The two new believers walked deeper and deeper into the ancient gully. Some of these gullies were easily a thousand years old. The crevasses were narrow, damp, and filled with heavy smoke from incense and open fires in addition to the cremations by the river. Most people in these gullies have never heard the name of Jesus. Three or four story homes hung out over the gully, which looked like a narrow winding ravine curving up ahead. The day was winding down and the locals were out, getting chai, talking, and shopping. Every third building was a temple, and there were many Brahmins sitting by them, waiting for eager paying customers.
The believers went in twos. Their small house church had been founded with a view toward multiplication, so sharing was part of its DNA. Some of the new believers who had no work spent all of their time sharing. Many in their house church had experienced some remarkable healing to bring them to the point of believing in Jesus. Two went deep into this hostile territory and into “hard ground,” knowing that the one who had saved them would help and protect them. They continued walking together toward the holiest place in all of Hinduism at the top of the hill.
The believers faced many hostile looks when they shared. But one father listened. He invited them to come for dinner that night. Many conversations and dinners followed at which the whole family listened to the believers tell them stories from the gospels. The believers would hear stories about Jesus in their weekly worship and would then share these same stories with their open friends. They would wait to invite them to believe in Jesus until later, but the family was very interested. In fact, the family had begun inviting neighbors to hear what the new believers were sharing. Before long, two, then three families were gathering when the believers came to talk about this Jesus.
But soon the situation changed very dramatically. The family who had welcomed the believers said that terrible things were happening to them. At night the family would hear voices and terrible noises. They began to get sick. When the believers came, the father, who had welcomed them, changed. He would become possessed and scream at them. He would go out into the street and accuse them. He would become violent. This continued for two weeks whenever they would visit. The believers determined to fast and pray and they asked their tiny house church to do the same.
What they found out was that a local priest was sending a spirit. The priest would cut himself or sacrifice animals, offering the blood to entice the spirit to terrorize the family. The father grew worse; the possession was happening nightly. The father began cutting himself and breaking their belongings. After two weeks of this, the believers confronted the priest and warned him that the God they served was the true and living God and that he was powerful. The priest did not listen, and the cursing continued.
The next week the priest’s daughter and son fell ill. The daughter immediately died. The son was on death’s doorstep. The priest stopped cursing the family and the father became well. The violence ended; the hostility was gone. Seeing the change, the family and some of their neighbors believed in Jesus and formed a small house church. To this day, they believe and actively share their witness in that neighborhood. The church began to grow. The gospel had come and taken root in the ancient gullies of the mecca of Hinduism.
Experience “The Untold Story” at the 2014 Global Outreach Conference. Partners are bringing stories of God’s work in lands near and far. See brochures in our lobbies or go to tenth.org/goconference for details. Register via AccessTenth at tenth.org or contact Kari at [email protected] or x240.
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