In February, I had the privilege of meeting Pastor Gopal, who came to India for training from a neighboring country. He is 58 years old and a faithful servant of God. He approached me to say thank you for what I shared during the training session. I took the opportunity to have him tell me his personal faith story. As a young Buddhist man of 21, Gopal became sick to the point of death. He was lying unconscious in the hospital with his family gathered around him. At that time, however, several Christians stopped by his room to pray for him. As they prayed, Gopal had a vision of an angel who took him to an unknown place. There, he observed what looked like a lake on fire! In addition, there appeared to be thousands of people suffering and crying out. The angel said, “This is hell.” Gopal was terrified and said, “Please don’t put me in the fire!” Next, heaven’s book of life was opened to see if Gopal’s name was included. It was not! He pleaded for mercy and was instructed that he could find forgiveness in Jesus. He was also told to “do the Lord’s work” and “preach the Gospel.”
Subsequent to that, Gopal woke up in the hospital room. To his Buddhist family’s surprise, he immediately asked for someone to bring him a Bible. Soon, as his recovery progressed, he began reading it day and night. For a month, he devoured it, Genesis to Revelation. His faith in Christ grew strong, and he was baptized in 1984. He often shared his faith and eventually began his training and ministry with another organization. Upon graduation, he started planting new churches, a ministry he has continued for many years. In fact, God has used Gopal to start up 7 house churches among the poor people living in mountainous regions. He often walks long distances, traveling to 1 or 2 churches each week to encourage and equip his people. Sharing the Gospel is illegal in his country, so he moves around as a social worker, qualified to do some medical work. He also prays for the sick and shares the Good News of Jesus! This past year, he affiliated his ministry with the Evangelical Church of India. He earns a mere $14 a month as a missionary. Gopal’s story is both inspirational and humbling as we contemplate his amazing dedication and sacrifice.
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By Roger Kruse, One Mission Society Missionary and Church Multiplication Facilitator for India