Brother Thomas’ congregation is about 150 people. But these are not ordinary people. They are gypsies. Gypsy’s are not well liked people. They are the scum of the earth, basically. But Brother Thomas converted the leader of a band of gypsies, and the leader went back and reached over 50 more students for Christ. Some of the students started a Bible Bowl team and memorized several books of the New Testament. After a very short time, they placed second in the annual national competition.
In all, over 600 in the gypsy community have been reached with the Gospel. But since they have become Christians, their children are not allowed in the school. The gypsy group leader who Brother Thomas first led to Christ has lost his brother–he was killed for preaching. Brother Thomas has been in jail twice himself. When they are there, they sing songs to Jesus.
Brother Thomas says, “We are facing more opposition and more persecution, but many more are coming to the Lord.”
I don’t recall his name. I’ll never forget his story.
He was the Chief of Shiva Sena, a Hindu extremist group that is likened to Al Qaeda. It was his job to kill all Christians and to train other extremists to do the same. His office was in a warehouse stocked with weaponry. It was here that he trained killers.
Until his son grew ill. The Chief took him to a witch doctor of sorts–one who practices black magic within Hinduism–and asked for healing. The magician replied, “With black magic we can only destroy, not save.”
Then his wife, too, grew ill. She was told she would not live for more than a month. The doctors that gave this diagnosis were told that if his wife died, they would die as well. His Shiva Sena fighters intimidated the doctors and hospital staff to ensure she was getting the best treatment.
One day, a man came to the Chief’s office. He was dressed as a Sikh man. When the Chief answered the door, the man informed him that he needed to trust in Jesus. The Chief replied, “Go away. I should kill you just for mentioning Jesus.” But the man insisted. As he walked away, he told the man that he once had leprosy, but Jesus had healed him.
The chief went home and told his wife the story. He agreed to pray to Jesus. He did so in this way:
“Jesus, if you are alive, heal my wife.”
For twenty-one days he prayed this prayer. And on the next day, his wife was healed. They started going to a Christian church. Whatever he heard taught he shared with his family. He shared so much he was kicked out of his family.
On one occasion he went to church at an appointed time. But no one was in the building. He waited thirty minutes, then one hour. Then two hours. Finally, he walked outside the church building and found the pastor.
“Pastor, I am here for church. When does it begin?”
“When you leave my people will come in. They are scared to go inside with you here!”
Like Saul, the Chief’s transition to Christianity was not easy. People doubted his transformation at first. But now the Chief is a preacher. He has been so for 12 years. Twenty other Shiva Sena extremists are also preachers. His church gathers near a major highway. The congregation spills out of the building and clogs up the road there are so many that want to be a part of this move of God. He hosted a band of robbers in his home for twenty months–sharing the Gospel, feeding them meals, and giving them shelter. The entire band of robbers was converted as a result.
He has been in prison eighteen times.
Who is it that is too far gone for you to consider reaching out to? There was a Sikh man who was unafraid to challenge the most dangerous criminal in his area. There is a legacy of disciples who are grateful.