Lakshi heard it unmistakably: “Nataraj.” What does that mean? she thought. She immediately told her husband, Ashok, kneeling next to her in prayer, that God had just spoken a strange word to her: Nataraj. He wondered what it meant, too, but as they pondered about it during the weeks that followed, they gained no insight. Nataraj was not a word they could find in the Hindi Bible or anywhere else.
Six months later, illumination arrived. While sharing the gospel in a rural village, Ashok and Lakshi met a man who told them he was from another small village…named Nataraj. Naturally, the couple eagerly questioned him further, wanting to learn all they could about the village with the mysterious name that had perplexed them for so long.
Nataraj Village, it turned out, was located less than 30 miles from their home. Like many villages in their region of India, Nataraj was populated by Hindus, and Hindu temples lined its few streets. Having felt that the Lord gave them the name of this village for a divine purpose, Ashok and Lakshi made plans to move there.
When the young couple and their three young children arrived in Nataraj, they rented a small home and began their ministry. Ashok and Lakshi met with as many villagers as they could, always telling them the testimony of Lakshi’s miraculous healing that had caused them to believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior (her amazing story was featured in our July 2012 e-magazine). Despite their efforts, however, none of the villagers welcomed them or their message as they had hoped.
Then, indifference turned to hostility…
One day while Ashok and Lakshi were sharing their testimonies in the street and passing out tracts, six village men attacked them for “preaching a foreign religion.” Lakshi helplessly watched as they mercilessly beat her husband and then burned their tracts and Bibles. As the mob left, they warned Ashok to take his family and leave Nataraj. If he didn’t, they said, they would kill him.
As Ashok recovered, Lakshi prayed fervently. They both remained convinced that God had planted them in Nataraj, and as they prayed the Lord filled them with a greater faith and boldness. They would stay and continue to preach the gospel, they determined, no matter what happened!
Soon after, a neighboring family came to them secretly, asking them to pray for their sick daughter. All their other avenues of hope for their daughter’s healing had failed, and in their desperation they had finally mustered the courage to take her to Ashok and Lakshi. This “Jesus” the couple spoke of was their last hope.
Although their daughter was very ill, the Lord healed her immediately when Ashok and Lakshi began praying! The family, elated at their daughter’s recovery and the miracle they had just witnessed, turned to Christ. They also brought their family and friends to hear the Good News.
Today, there is a thriving house church in Nataraj. Ashok and Lakshi still receive threats, but the Lord has protected them and honored their faithfulness. Please pray for Ashok and Lakshi as they lay their lives down each day for Jesus in hopes of reaching the lost.