Hatya acted like a man possessed, ripping his clothes, not eating for days, and sometimes living in the desert. His wife and family didn’t know what to do, and they spent large sums of money on doctors and healers in hopes of finding a cure, but all in vain.
Neither Hatya, nor his wife and family, ever considered seeking help from Jesus. Hatya and his wife despised Christians, who are a small minority in the state of Andhra Pradesh, where they live in India. In fact, they persecuted any followers of Jesus whom they encountered.
As Hatya’s family continued to seek for his healing, one day another doctor arrived at their home. During his visit, he told them about the love of Jesus. They almost threw him out, but their desperation for a cure restrained their prejudice. They listened. Before he left, the doctor invited Hatya to his church. Although his reason was failing, Hatya still had enough presence of mind—and, more critically, a softened heart—to accept.
Nothing miraculous happened during Hatya’s first visits to the church, but he continued to attend. His sixth visit was different. That’s when God completely healed him, and he and his family put their faith in Christ and received water baptism that same day.
Hatya and his wife soon learned what it was like to suffer persecution for following Jesus. Although expelled from their community, Hatya rejoiced, proclaiming the good news without fear to everyone he met. Hatya eventually became a pastor, not just of one church, but of three additional churches in neighboring villages. Because bus fare to those village churches was beyond his means, Hatya visited them by foot. A $100 bicycle was only a dream for someone as poor as him.
Last year, however, Hatya received an invitation to attend a pastor’s conference. During the several-day event, he heard about some visitors from Heaven’s Family. I was one of them! Working with the conference organizer, I agreed to provide bicycles through Heaven’s Family’s Mobilize a Minister Fund for twenty needy pastors who, like Hatya, could greatly benefit from a sturdy bike. To Hatya’s great surprise and joy, he was one of the twenty pastors—out of 200 attending the conference—chosen to receive a bicycle. After receiving his, he told me that he would now be able to visit 3-5 villages a day instead of just one, making him more fruitful than ever.
I’ll never forget the way Hatya’s eyes danced as he told me his story. Before we parted I asked him the question I couldn’t get out of my mind since the moment I met him: “Why do you have a cross tattooed between your eyes?” Hatya told me that the familiar dot that Hindus often blot between their eyes, what is referred to as the “third eye,” represents to them the ability to see spiritual realities. He told me he wants everyone to know that he’s a Christian, and when people ask why he has a cross tattoo, he tells them about Jesus’ love, the love that delivered him from sin and Satan!