NEW DELHI (BP)–Faith is taking a foothold among people in the Yadav occupational caste of dairy workers and cattle farmers, who number 54 million throughout India, Nepal and Bangladesh.
Three of their stories follow:
— Brijesh*, a Yadav who attended a conference of Yadav believers earlier this year.
“Jai Masih! (Victory to the Messiah!) My God makes impossible things possible.
“I have two sons, two daughters and a wife. Before we came to Christ, we were from Hindu background. We were involved in all kinds of idol worship. I had many struggles in my life, so I worshipped many idols.
“One time, a servant of the Lord came to me. This man told me that the more I practiced idol worship, the more struggles I would have in life. ‘But the God I serve will take away your struggles and difficulties,’ he said. Through that servant of the Lord, I accepted Christ as my personal Savior.
“He gave me a New Testament to study. In Scripture, I found Matthew 11:28, ‘Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.’ He gave me rest, and now I am growing in Him.
“I am not literate … but I believe that even though I don’t know how to read and write that God has chosen me. God has told me to go and tell and preach the Good News.
— Yash*, a believer ministering among India’s Yadavs.
“I was born in a Hindu village in India. It was my desire from childhood to know who is my god. I used to follow all kinds of Hindu rituals, rules and regulations. This is how I began searching for God.
“At first, I wanted to know the real and true god, but I used to think, ‘Who is that true god?’ On Thursday in my village, we would worship the banana tree. We would pour water on the roots of the banana tree as a religious practice. We used to perform puja (Hindu worship practices). We used to wrap the tree in clothes. Then we would take our religious book and read under the banana tree.
“After all this, still I could not find the true god. Soon my body looked the same as that of Job, who after having all kinds of wounds on his body, nobody recognized him.
“One day, a sadhu (a Hindu ascetic) came to me and said that one day I would be a very big man with a very good figure. That sadhu gave me some instructions. He gave me something and instructed me to soak it into milk and pour it out in the sun.
“For one month, I practiced what the sadhu said. Continually I poured the water on the banana roots. Then one day I saw a temple and an evil spirit told me to go inside and worship. So, I went inside and worshipped there for three hours along with many other people.
“For one year continually, I would go to the temple and worship every day for three hours. Every morning I would take a bath and then go to worship the idol in the temple. Then in the evening after work, again I would take a bath and go to worship.
“One day I met a man who was totally blind. Because of his blindness, the man could not even walk properly, but that man had the Gospel of Christ. He told me about Jesus.
“Lots of people were surrounding him. When I got to where I could see, there was this blind man. He was preaching about Christ and telling about the idols. He was saying that they have eyes but cannot see, ears but cannot hear, and mouths but cannot speak. Then after this, all the people left. I stood alone with this man.
“I questioned the blind man. ‘Your hair is so long. Your legs are so weak. Your clothes are so dirty. You have not taken a bath in many days. How can you speak such good words from your mouth? Tell me, where did you learn these words?’
“Then this man told me about Jesus Christ and the church. He told me to visit the church. On the first Sunday I went to church, I saw some people singing and praising the Lord. Also, they were preaching. I took a keen interest to visit the church again.
“I used to go to the temple on Thursdays to worship and then to the church on Sundays. I decided that I would go to each place to see where I would worship. Whichever one could give me full satisfaction in my heart, then that god I would accept.
“One night I had a dream. The idol came and told me that I should not go to church. Another day I had a dream, a vision in which I saw a fire. In the midst of this fire, I saw Jesus Christ and I saw His hand.
“Then I finally decided that I would go to church. I would pray to God. I would continue in my faith. I began to pray to God, and then God gave me His word. I took water baptism and now I am serving the Lord.
“In the village that I have come from, I want to return and tell Christ to them where nobody knows. Please pray that many people will come to know Christ through me.”
Ghirish*, a Yadav church planter in India.
“I am a house church leader in India. I am from a Hindu background. Before I met Christ, I led a very empty life. There was a lot of discouragement and no peace in my life. I used to worship idols to try to achieve peace. I used to drink, smoke cigarettes and do drugs. Still, I could not get peace. I was in a bad place in my life and surrounded myself with very bad company.
“When some men came to preach in my village, I was not willing to hear. I would tear their books away. My people used to tell me that Christianity is a foreign religion. Because of this, I was not willing to know the truth.
“Then some really bad things began happening in my life. The headmaster of a school was very brutally murdered in my village. After that, the trouble kept increasing.
“At that time, I was staying in the home of a Christian family. They told me about Christ. They spoke to me with so much affection and love and they prayed for me. One time, as they were praying for me, I saw a vision of the cross where Jesus Christ died for me.
“I was in a very bad and sinful condition, living just like the dogs. … This family prayed for me and they told me, ‘It is only Jesus Christ who can save you from your sin.’
“After that prayer, a peace came on my life. For three hours, I cried out to God, asking Him to forgive me. At that point, my life was saved. My nature was changed.
“People from my village did not believe that I had really changed. The community started hating me. People rejected me and kicked me out from the village because I had become a Christian. They spit on me. Nobody liked me.
“My parents even told me to choose between them or Christ. I told them, ‘I love you but I cannot leave Jesus.’ They told me to leave my home and family.
“From that day onward, I am in Christ. Everybody left me alone, but Jesus never left me. I got a good job. I was not educated, but still I got a good job. I got work in an army canteen and then I got a permanent job.
“I served the Lord for three and a half years where I was and then the Lord called me for the ministry. I committed my life for service. I left my job and now I am working serving the Lord.”
*Names changed for security purposes.