After a great (I mean really stellar) night’s sleep (okay, face it…when you’ve operated on 3-4 hours of bad sleep while traveling for 40-ish hours…any bed for 8 hours seems like heaven), we were up for an early breakfast with Jeevan. After breakfast we headed straight to the village Dudhya where we met Pastor Edwin Joseph and then were greeted by 40-50 believers in a room about 10’ x 12’ in size. We were welcomed with leis and eager handshakes. Dave shared the same message as last night to an audience of men, women and children. Again, such a humbling experience to be among God’s people in a far away land.
After Dave’s message we prayed with the small congregation and then took dozens of pictures. We hopped back in the car and headed back to Indore. Quick note: if you’re ever in Indore, let me recommend the Effotel! Such a very nice, tidy place with a great staff! I would stay there again in a heartbeat.
We had a little down time, so we caught up on email. Brother Daniel Manorath (CICM) met up with us and we visited for a few minutes until Pastor Edwin arrived. Pastor Edwin has begun four works in Indore and three surrounding villages with several hundred in attendance each week. He came to the hotel at the request of Jeevan to share his testimony with us. I will share a brief recap of his story, but we will have a full-length video on the ICOM site (at some point after we get back to Indiana). Brother Daniel provided the translation to his story that was at once both heart rending and inspiring.
Pastor Edwin’s story: Edwin Joseph came from a high-caste family of long-standing Hindu belief and practice. He shared that after graduating from the university, he became involved in a political party which involved a great deal of partying. He then went to medical school. When he finished, he became a very successful doctor. Part of his success entailed practicing medicine on the fringes of both Indian law and acceptable Indian society. He performed abortions, treated STD’s and other sexual issues (often done in secret because of stigma), and prescribed medications for profit. It was extremely lucrative and he became a very wealthy man.
Heart change: The change came when he was performing a late-term (8 mos. gestation) abortion on a 13 year-old girl. Uh yeah…you read that correctly: a 13 year-old girl! When the baby girl was delivered she was still alive. As he held her in his hands, she opened her eyes and looked right at him. As her life slipped from her tiny body he was deeply moved in his soul that this was wrong! He suddenly realize that his whole life was wrong and he was heartbroken in a way that he could not explain. It was then the Holy Spirit stepped in…Dr. Edwin’s nephew had become a Christian and took him to an evangelistic meeting. Soon after he contacted Central India Christian Mission for correspondence courses on becoming a Christian and growing in Christ. Our own Brother and host, Jeevan, oversees the discipling of these Christians from all over India.
It was through all this that led Dr. Edwin to become Pastor Edwin. He said he had to leave medicine behind him. His family was very angry because they wondered how they would live without the great wealth that his practice provided. But soon his life-change became undeniable, and his wife and children joined him in this new faith in Christ Jesus. Coincidentally, after leaving medicine he still had considerable wealth in liquid form (cash, gold, etc.). While traveling from northern India, the suitcase that held all his “loot” was stolen from the top of a bus (where baggage is often stowed while traveling). I know what you’re thinking, “Up on the roof? What’s up with that!?!?”
But his answer to it was simple, “That money was the fruit of a life rooted in sin. I gave up that life, and God will provide our needs from now on. I would rather not have food than to live off of the table of the Devil.”
Can I just tell you how amazed at his faith we were? And we felt so humbled to be in the presence of a man who truly surrendered everything to his Lord and Savior! Wow. There are really no words…We prayed over Pastor Edwin and he left us to carry on with his day.
Have you ever had one of those moments when you feel the presence of the Holy Spirit is overwhelming in the room? That was this hour spent listening to Edwin. I’m still moved 12 hours later thinking of the life-changing work of our God in the lives of saints who surrender all. It was a true riches to rags story. And he wouldn’t change a thing! The irony that this man who had everything now needs a few hundred dollars for a scooter to allow him to travel between villages sharing the Gospel message of His Lord and Savior who gave him life and purpose.
The rest of the day has been pretty mundane. Head to the airport, wait on a flight that was eventually cancelled, take a much later flight to Mumbai with a late-night transfer back to Delhi for a full day tomorrow. You would think that we’d be beyond exhausted, but oddly enough I continue to bask in the glow from being in the presence of one of my new heroes. He wasn’t much to look at by Indian standards, but the light that burst from him was undeniable. It kind of reminds me of another man. A man who Rich Mullins (by way of the prophet Isaiah) called, “A man of no reputation.” I think you know who I mean…
So here’s to tomorrow! I can’t wait to see what He will bring to us tomorrow…
Jim & David
P.S. – Now do you see why we do what we do? Let’s make Jesus famous!