We just came back from India and met some very nice people; people who risk and pay very heavy prices for their faith and who can still smile with great joy and pronounce what a privilege and honor it is for them to meet us. We ask them to tell us their love story, their passion and their vision.
Here is a story that we just heard: A young family father of two small children along with his wife has a passion for the Indian Gypsies. He is a gypsy himself who follows Jesus. So far he has led over 100,000 gypsies to Christ, baptized them and discipled them. There are 80 million gypsies altogether in India. So he does not consider 100,000 a number to boast about. He encourages them to do the same to others what just happened to them. We asked him how he lives and he answered, “I have everything, food to eat, place to stay and a car to be mobile.” He lives in a rented hut and his car, (300,000Kms on it), looks like it just comes straight from the scrap yard. In his broken but understandable English he said that he is dead to all these material things. He has Jesus and that is everything. Therefore, he goes to his own kind who are considered as outsiders and untouchables and totally isolated from other people groups in the country to bring them Everything – Jesus!
In India, there is no lack for Christian crusades backed up by Western money. I have seen enough show and exaggeration in India when it comes to number of hands raised for a commitment to follow Jesus. The same crowd goes to the next crusade and the same hands go up again for the same commitment. I have seen how the crowd is asked by the organizers of such crusades to raise their hands and wave. Quickly, the many cameras flash on them and the videos run its film. Then the next thing I see is those very same pictures in the newsletters and monthly Christian magazines with captions that say 100,000 people have raised their hands to follow Jesus. Sickening!
Back to the gypsy man: I wanted to know how real are his numbers and more than the numbers I wanted to know how serious they are in following Jesus. For one thing, there is no money from the West to back him up. With his head shaking left and right in a good Indian manner he says in his Indian accent, “money is needed sir, but not the most important. These people are ready to die for the one who died for them. If you are going to die, why need more?”
Stunned about the simplicity of the gospel, the depth of their faith and the price they are willing to pay for their faith, I come back to Germany and with speechless tears thank God for this great privilege and honor to meet such people. Mt. 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. True that! This man is very poor in his human spirit and that enables him to not only long for the riches of the Kingdom, he owns it.