A few hours after my twenty-six hour flight to India, I was put on an overnight train, told to get off at some town that I couldn’t pronounce and some guy I didn’t know would meet me. At 6’2” in a place full of 5’ people, when I got off I was easy to spot. We got on his motorcycle for a dusty twenty minute ride while every person we passed stared at the “tall white man”, a phrase I have gotten used to over the past few months. It was 115o.
We arrived at the small village I would be at for a couple days. It’s in a region where believers have been persecuted in the past. Though the town itself hadn’t had any problems, my host didn’t let me walk around the village by myself. So when I had free time I would go on the roof terrace and pray, looking at the Buddhist shrine next to the house, watching people.
That morning I sat with 12 men and women and began to teach them how to use stories in their villages. There is no alphabet, no Bibles, and no Jesus film in their village language, K.
That night we walked a few kilometers to a nearby village. I stopped at a well as an old woman offered to draw some water so I could wash my hands and feet. Nearby was a tree that looks a lot like our logo. In many places of the world that image is what church may look like. We prayed that this village would have a church soon.
We got to the village as the sun was setting and set up a TV and DVD player to show the Jesus Film in Hindi (one of the major languages of India). Fifty people came and afterwards about twenty said they wanted to learn more about Jesus. In a Hindu culture with 330 million gods, adding Jesus to your deities isn’t hard to do; establishing His singularity is. We told them the next morning we’d come back and share some stories of Jesus.
A couple hours after sunrise we were back. Thirty people – men, women, kids – were sitting under a tree. And we told a story of Jesus in K. Then we told another. And another. At that point an old man stood up.
“When I was a boy (obviously a long time ago), a man from England came and told us about Jesus, but we didn’t understand. Many years later, an Indian came and told us about Jesus in Hindi. We understood what he was saying, but only in our heads. Today, when you told us stories in K…I felt it in my heart. Will you tell us more about Jesus?”
I told him I have a friend who lives not too far away. If my friend came every two or three weeks, would the old man bring two or three others and meet him underneath this tree and learn the stories he would share? And would he then tell those stories to people in the village underneath this tree? The old man said yes.
So underneath a tree in a remote Indian village, Hindus are gathering now to hear for the first time stories of Jesus in K, learning why Jesus is unique from 330 million gods.
And that was the first forty-eight hours in India.