January 5, 2016 10:52 am Comments Off on Testimony of a Former Hindu
Many people all over the world go through life without caring much about God and eternity. This is especially true when life is good and everything is going well. This also applies to young people who think they have got all the time in the world to make a decision about where they will spend eternity. But when such people are faced with problems – especially life-threatening problems, they come to their senses and start thinking about God and eternity. This is very well-demonstrated by the following testimony of a former Hindu.
Pradesh Shrestha was born in Nepal. His parents worshiped idols, observed rituals, fasts and holy days on the Hindu calendar. They believed in reincarnation, the Hindu doctrine that teaches a person is reborn each time after death. On important religious days, his family would go to Nepal’s most renowned Hindu shrine, the Temple of Pashupatinath in Kathmandu, where they would bow down to idols. Pradesh grew up fascinated with the stories of Rama and Krishna, the heroes of the great Hindu epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata respectively.
His Early Life
Pradesh went to a Jesuit Catholic school in Kathmandu where he was exposed to Christianity. But he was not taught any Catholic doctrines or the Bible. The only thing they were taught was the Ten Commandments. However, the second commandment that prohibits idol worship was excluded from the Ten Commandments. Its exclusion gave Pradesh a false impression that Christianity was somewhat like Hinduism since it had its own idols such as the statues of Mary and the crucifixes the Jesuit priests wore on their necks and also hung in every classroom.
Pradesh spent ten years at the Jesuit school. Apart from the morals he was taught, he learned practically nothing about Jesus Christ. He was completely ignorant about what the Bible said about salvation. His vague and confused personal belief was that all things came by chance via the random process of evolution and that death is the end of a person’s existence. He had no idea of the eternal misery that awaited the unsaved people.
Pradesh’s worldview changed in September 1983 when he was an international student at Armand Hammar United World College of the American West in New Mexico. He was suddenly taken ill and he lay seriously sick on a hospital bed in St. Patrick’s Hospital, Santa Fe, New Mexico. There, in an isolation room, the doctor finally diagnosed his illness. However, the antibiotics he would have to take were known to be potentially lethal for some patients; there was no viable alternative.
Although Pradesh was shocked, he had no choice and he agreed to take the medicine. That night, he could not sleep because there was a good chance that he might die. He wondered where he would go if he died. For the first time in his life, he seriously thought about eternity. His conscience was troubled because in the past, he had always considered himself as a good person. But now when he examined his life, he found out he was not all that good. If there was a hell, he would go there if he died. That was not reassuring at that critical juncture of his life.
As Pradesh lay awake that night on his hospital bed, he thought about all the bad things he had done in his life. He had cheated in his exams. He had been proud of his achievements and had despised his colleagues. He had been unkind and had dealt selfishly with his friends. He had lied, coveted and stolen. He had also grieved his parents with haughty words and stubborn disobedience. He had also harbored deep ill feelings towards his own brother. His countless sins haunted him.
Before that night, Pradesh had never thought of himself as a sinner who needed a savior. Out of desperation, he cried out, “God, if you are there, don’t let me die. I will change my ways.” God heard and answered his prayers. Gradually, the medication worked and he got better.
Promise Not Kept
Thereafter, Pradesh forgot the promise he had made to God as he lay dying in the hospital. A few months later, someone asked him about his health and he replied that luck had always favored him, even in his illness. The person told him that, “Maybe, it’s not luck!”
Pradesh graduated in spring 1984 and he stayed on the campus doing a summer job. His roommate was a Jordanian Christian. Pradesh used to write and receive letters from the mother of one of his classmates who was from the Midwest. She had once invited Pradesh and a dozen other international students to her home for Christmas.
One day in June 1984, Pradesh received a letter from her. He read it aloud to his Jordanian roommate. A short paragraph in the letter strangely caught his attention and he could not read it aloud because tears welled up in his eyes. She had written that on the previous Sunday, they had sung the following song in their church:
I love to tell the story,
Of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His Glory,
Of Jesus and His Love!
She had written that the words of the song had stirred her heart when she remembered the non-Christian foreign students who had visited her that Christmas day. She had also thought about him. She had asked herself, “Do I really love to tell others about the only Savior there is?” That was why she was moved to write him and tell him of her certitude that Jesus Christ is the only God and Savior of mankind. Pradesh was deeply touched though he did not fully understand the meaning of her words. No one had ever communicated such things in such a manner to him.
Pradesh had a Chinese friend from Hong Kong called Annie. He shared with her what that letter had said. A few weeks later, he received a lengthy reply in which Annie expressed her joy that someone had shared the gospel with him. She added that she had also wanted to share the gospel with him but had felt unqualified to do it. She had also been afraid that if he became a Christian, that would poison his relationship with his Hindu family. She now realized that it was Satan who had convinced her not to share the gospel with him.
Annie explained the way of salvation by quoting many verses from the Bible. For example, she had written: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and “For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). She added that Jesus had suffered and paid the penalty for mankind’s sins by his death on the cross and that if he (Pradesh) believed in Jesus, he would be saved from everlasting punishment since “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Pradesh’s initial reaction was, “How dare she seek to convert me, a Hindu?” But he knew Annie had written those things out of her genuine concern for his own welfare. One scripture quoted in her letter tormented him that night. It stated, “He that believes in the son has everlasting life and he that believes not in the son shall not see life but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).
Pradesh doubted whether the Bible could be true when he remembered that millions of people in Nepal had never heard about Jesus. On the other hand, if the Bible was true, he would suffer everlasting punishment in hell for refusing to believe in Jesus. The problem was that he did not have all the facts at that time to enable him to make the right decision.
Search for the Truth
Pradesh found himself asking many questions such as who was Jesus? Why should he believe in him? What does it mean to believe in Jesus? Why should only Christians go to heaven? Was Jesus just a man-made figure like the demigods in Hindu mythology or was he a real person? How could he know that what the Bible said was true?
Pradesh began to ask people about Jesus. But to his surprise, the American people he talked to were not interested in the things of God. Pradesh had always assumed that everyone in America was a Christian. He now found out that was not true.
He went to the library hoping to get a book that would answer his questions. He read an article on religion and philosophy in the Encyclopedia Britannica which convinced him for the first time that Jesus Christ was a real historical figure and not a myth. He also found a Bible and began reading the New Testament because his friend, Annie, had advised him to read it first.
One day, Pradesh was showing an elderly couple from Las Cruces, New Mexico, around the campus. After the tour, the lady asked him to accompany them to their car. As they walked over, Pradesh was thinking that maybe she wanted to give him some money. He was disappointed when the lady instead gave him several small Christian booklets. His hands trembled when he saw that one of the booklets was titled, “The Way of Salvation.” He realized he could never run away from God.
About a week later, a classmate invited Pradesh and his friend to her home in Las Cruces. Pradesh took a Bible, the booklets and another Christian book with him. The book was Evidence That Demands A Verdict by Josh McDowell which someone had given to him. The book had answered some of his questions.
At his friend’s house in Las Cruces, Pradesh read and thought for hours when he was alone. He was eventually convinced that the Bible was a historically accurate book. He was also convinced that Jesus was crucified on a cross about 2000 years ago while he was innocent and sinless. He was also convinced that Jesus was the eternal son of God and he became man and died for the sins of humanity. He was also persuaded that believing in Jesus is the only hope for a person to be saved from the eternal consequences of sin.
Pradesh was also struck by the unique bodily resurrection of Jesus from the grave three days after his death and burial. There were over 500 eye-witnesses who saw Jesus after he had died and risen from the dead. That meant that Jesus was not just a moral teacher or religious leader; he was much more. He was God in human flesh. The more he read, the more he wondered why anyone would not become a Christian.
While he was still in Las Cruces, Pradesh told his host about the elderly couple who had given him the Christian booklets. The couple had also told him that if he ever visited Las Cruces, he was welcome in their home. They contacted the couple and they went to their farm and rode horses. After the ride, they sat down for a meal. Before they ate, the husband prayed. Although Pradesh could not remember what he prayed, he was impressed by the scene as the man reverently bowed his head to pray.
Back in his room at his friend’s house, Pradesh read more. He read a prayer at the back of McDowell’s book. He identified himself as a sinner who needed Jesus Christ to save him from his sins. After praying that prayer, Pradesh was amazed at the change that came over him. He was never the same person again. That same night, Pradesh wrote to his friends and told them that he had become a born-again Christian. He also wrote to his family in Nepal and gave them the good news. That was in July 1984.
Since that day, Pradesh has known what it means to be a sinner saved by grace and also to be a child of God. Saved by grace because though he deserved death and punishment, he now has everything in Jesus Christ which includes forgiveness of sins, adoption into God’s family, fellowship with God, everlasting life, inheritance in Heaven that will never fade away and much more. Today, he preaches in his church in Nepal.
Pradesh’s testimony is a good example of how God works through ordinary people to reach out to non-Christians. God uses ordinary people like you to get through to non-Christians. Many non-Christians have never read the Bible for themselves and all they know is what other people have told them about it. Giving a non-Christian a copy of the Bible, a tract or other Christian literature could mark the beginning of a long journey for that particular individual in search of the truth. Just do what you are able to do and leave the rest to God.
Today, there are many former non-Christians like Pradesh who were saved simply because they came into contact with genuine evangelical Christians or they read the Bible or other Christian publications. Why not give your non-Christian friends and neighbors Bibles or Christian books to read for themselves? Above all, why not tell non-Christians about God’s love which is found only in Jesus Christ?
This post was written by yoursuperadmin2