His face was changed. As we left the neighborhood, I saw a new look in his eyes. God had come to rest in him, and he was bursting with joy. Our short visit would have long-term impact on his life and the life of his family.
Suresh’s wife loves the Lord. She is praying daily and interceding for her family. We visited their home in the slums of Bangalore, India, a dilapidated one-room home measuring about 8’ x 12’. In all, their family has 30 members. Some of them have to sleep outside. Some of them sleep in a make-shift structure composed of old sofas, plastic and newspapers.
The local pastor, who was guiding us through the neighborhood, told us that this family wasn’t going to church. As I looked at Suresh’s face, I could see why. There was so much talk about how his wife was a woman of prayer. They were asking if we could pray for the household. I began to ask about Suresh, but the subject was changed and he looked away.
“For me, the issue is not whether you are going to church,” I said aloud, addressing Suresh from across the room.
Ignoring the mild protestations of a few nervous onlookers, I pressed forward and stepped toward Suresh. “In the US, where I come from, there are many people who attend churches and don’t even know who God is.” I told him.
Looking Suresh in the eye, I shared the Gospel with him. I told him my testimony and that God was looking for men of peace who wanted a relationship with him. I told him that the choice was his.
“Do you want God to come and live in your heart?” I asked through the the pastor, our interpreter.
“Yes” was his response, and I was privileged to lead this man in prayers of repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ.
Shortly after this, the team, including the local Pastor led us onto another home. This was a Hindu household. And then after that, we went out and prayed over another household.
In all, four people were led out of darkness and drawn to the face of Jesus. Four people accepted Christ as their Savior. The local pastor and his wife will now follow up with these new believers and begin to disciple them.
The local pastors truly love it when Westerners come in and visit. As outsiders, we draw the curiosity and (deserved or not) trust of the local population. By being there, we open doors. But make no mistake, the short-term missionary must always serve the long-term pastors, lay people and missionaries.
How beautiful it was to walk past Suresh’s home and be greeted so warmly by a new man. I feel as though I am a new man as well.