My tribe live in the hill country of the Himalayas and follow the Hindu faith. When I was a young man my people chose me as one of their representatives and spiritual leader. They said that the spirit of one of the gods was in me and they respected  me a lot. I met M who worked in an outpost of the Christian Hospital and when J came and told us about Jesus I had lots of  questions. He gave me a Bible and I read it all but was confused about whether I should follow the God of the Bible or god that was in me.

One day I was looking after my sheep and goats and talking to the spirit within me. I shut my eyes and felt something brushing past me. When I opened my eyes the Bible became very clear and I realised that Jesus was Lord. I went to a meeting and people prayed for me. An evil spirit threw me on the ground and started protesting, thrashing around. When I came to I knew that all my sins were lifted from me and I felt immense peace. From that day onward I gave my whole life to Jesus.

I went to Bible College and the Lord spoke to me from Isaiah 45:1-3 and told me to go back to my people. But I hadn’t the courage to go back and although God told me many times I didn’t go. I stayed at College for two years and became a student leader. One day a pastor was preaching from Ezekiel that the dead bones will be made alive. God said again ‘You go’ and I said ‘Yes Lord I will go’ and left Bible College that day.

I went back to my town but had no money for rent so stayed in a stable and slept with the animals. For seven days I could only cry and pray. On the seventh day I heard a voice saying “I called you for this to rebuild what has been broken” (from  Nehemiah). I said to the Lord “There is not one single believer here, how can I possibly build up the walls?” God told me to “Get up and go”. I didn’t know where to go so I went to where M was and he took me to the house of a believer called A.

As I was sitting down A said the same words that God had said to me. It made me stand right up again! A told me he had been given the words in the morning but didn’t know why. He then told us about a ruined church he had seen. It had been built by the British Raj but was abandoned. God had told A “There will be a time when people will be in this place.” So I set out to find the church.

Pastor S's old church

When I found it it was full of horses and cattle belonging to the army. I took a stick and drove them out and began cleaning it. One day, the army police arrested me and asked “What authority do you have to clean this building?” “I am a Christian and this is a church and that is my authority to clean it – whose authority did you have to put horses in there?” I don’t know where the words came from but the army were not pleased and told me to leave the area (but they didn’t punish me). The army admitted they had no papers for the church and so I made an application to the Roman Catholic Diocese and, after a long struggle, was granted permission to use the church for prayer.

At the same time God was building up the church of his people. I was asked to give tuition to the children of an army family and they always invited me to dinner on Saturday. Slowly the husband and wife believed. I began to talk to another member of the family who would come and sit with us and she accepted the Lord, as did her mother. This was in 2003 and there are now eight house churches in three villages. My vision is to have house churches in 365 villages.

When I go back to that area I may get a lift there one day but have to wait for another day to get a lift back and during the monsoon the roads are impassable. There is a lot of opposition. I have been beaten many times but God is very great. Wherever I go they respect me despite being beaten. I praise God that all the doors are open and I am able to work there although foreigners are not allowed.

My home is now below the mountains with my wife and two children. About 50% of the townspeople are from my tribe who move here because the education is better. I have built a church on land given to me by a farmer who is a believer. It is on the outskirts of my town and the hills. We are building a bigger church so that there is a place where I can train leaders. I have a group of 15 from my tribe and 5 from outside who learn together. I teach them every month, mostly in my home.

Every season I have a different project and I am now giving all the leaders in the town a Bible as a gift. These are the important and influential people. I am also working on a translation of the Bible in my tribal language. The Lord has taught me many things. There has been a lot of anger and cases against me but God has enabled me to understand the law and to give an answer to my accusers. He has given me the ability to overcome opposition whether it is the police, the government, the army or the tribes people. I remember the words from Isaiah 45:2 “I will go before you and make the rough places smooth”.

Story as told by Pastor S who is part of the Concern network and receives a small stipend from them.