The plea was urgent: a woman in a distant village was sick and was requesting prayer from the man whom God heard. James Levi quickly followed the messengers into the night, not knowing he was being set up for an ambush. Hiding in the darkness along his route, an angry mob of militant Hindus waited to stone him to death.
Born in 1981 in a poor village in India, Levi was raised in a Hindu family. When he was a newly-married young man, some missionaries visited, preaching the gospel. Levi’s parents and brothers believed, and they gave their hearts to Jesus. They started a Bible study in their home. Levi didn’t attend, however, wanting nothing to do with the God of the Christians.
Levi already had all he ever wanted: he owned a prosperous small business and was married to the woman of his dreams. Lifting himself out of poverty with just a seventh-grade education, Levi felt very much in control of his life. The only thing he couldn’t seem to control, however, was the nagging question: What is my purpose? He knew something was missing.
Haunted by his internal unrest, Levi decided to read the Bible for himself. His parents and brothers seemed to have found hope there; maybe he could too.
With help from his parents’ pastor, Levi eventually began to realize that his self-reliance was the very thing that was blocking him from a relationship with God, the true source of peace and joy. Finally, Levi surrendered his life to Jesus. He soon sensed that his purpose in life was to be a missionary, so he enrolled in a Bible school.
In 2007, after graduation, the Lord sent Levi and his wife to an impoverished and illiterate Hindu village called Ambujam. No Christians lived there, so Levi began sharing the gospel door-to-door. Hindu militants were enraged by his efforts, however, and warned him that if he didn’t leave their village he would be stoned, beaten, and burned alive. Undaunted by their threats, Levi was more determined than ever to reach the villagers with the love of Christ. He began to boldly pray for the sick in Jesus’ name.
Although the Lord healed everyone whom Levi prayed for, and those who were healed came to believe in Jesus, none were willing to openly confess their faith for fear of persecution.
Then came the night of the attempted ambush, when 25 persecutors laid in wait to kill him as he rushed to pray for a sick woman. According to Levi, God literally blinded his would-be assailants temporarily, allowing him to escape unharmed.
Now, five years after he and his wife relocated to Ambujam, 45 believers are strong enough in their faith to meet for regular worship with Levi. None had ever heard the name of Jesus before he came to their village.
Heaven’s Family has been blessed to play a small part in Levi’s inspiring story. He and his wife rent a small house in Ambujam where there is no electricity. Through our Lanterns for Missionaries Fund, we’ve provided Levi with a lantern so he can disciple young believers in his home at night and preach the gospel after dark in other villages. He’s literally “letting his light shine”!