My Indian friend’s words stunned me. “He is like God’s angel to me,” he told me. Could he, I wondered, be talking about the same man who hated him and wanted him dead?
My friend’s name is Inesh (name changed for safety reasons), a partner of the National Missionary Ministry, but a man who could have chosen a comfortable life with a good job. Instead, he chose to pour his life into advancing Jesus’ kingdom in northern India, a hotbed of militant Islam and Hinduism, thereby receiving “the reproach of Christ” rather than the comforts and riches of this world. It’s a decision that has attracted the hatred of others. Inesh has endured threats, insults, being spat upon, and beatings.
Radical Muslims and Hindus hate him because he has been used of God to convert thousands of their former adherents to Christ, both personally and through the efforts of over 500 men and women he’s trained to make disciples and plant churches throughout northern India. Many of those churches, which meet in homes due to persecution, are bursting at the seams, often as a result of miraculous healings that prompted entire families to come to Jesus.
Inesh’s mission is simple: “Every believer is a disciple. Every disciple should engage in ministry. Every believer’s home should be a church. And every church should be a Bible training center.”
He recently moved his family temporarily to a Muslim stronghold in the Middle East that attracts many thousands of laborers from surrounding nations such as India. Many are migrant workers who live in dirty, overcrowded labor camps—the very place Inesh felt the Lord calling him to reach. If he could make disciples there he could, in effect, reach many nations at once!
Over the past six months, Inesh has been discipling new believers he recently led to the Lord. But Yatin (name changed for security reasons), a devout Muslim immigrant worker who came from Pakistan in 2010 to help support his ill father, mother, his father’s other two wives, and eleven younger siblings, wanted him to stop. Whenever he’d see Inesh sharing about Jesus, he’d shout at him and make a terrible scene.
A few months ago Yatin noticed Inesh at the camp and this time he couldn’t contain his rage. Charging at him and shouting wildly, he shoved Inesh to the camp’s gate and struck him to the ground, demanding that he never return. Shaken and discouraged, Inesh returned home to his wife. That day they began praying fervently for Yatin.
That same night Yatin couldn’t sleep. Anytime he’d close his eyes, his encounter with Inesh haunted him. And for reasons he couldn’t explain, the memory made him incredibly sad. Yatin’s insomnia lasted three weeks, and during that time he lost all interest in work, became physically ill, and would seclude himself inside his room. Finally, Yatin could bear it no longer! He arranged to meet with Inesh. And when Yatin again saw the man he had hated, he ran to him once again—but this time he embraced him crying, “Who are you? Now I know your God is real!” Yatin pleaded for forgiveness.
Inesh prayed for his repentant tormentor, and his sickness left him instantly. Incredibly, Yatin became Inesh’s next disciple! Since then the two men have become an inseparable team, ministering together throughout the camp. Just recently, they led another four camp residents—all former Muslims—to salvation. Inesh told me, “Praise God that we serve a mighty God and we are His anointed servants!”
In a complete reversal, Yatin has become a kind of guardian angel for Inesh when he enters the camp, ensuring his safety against other Muslims who hate him.
Yatin has yet to inform his family in Pakistan of his recent heart-change to follow Jesus. He knows there will be severe repercussions. His family will probably disown him, or perhaps they might enlist other Muslims in an attempt to forcibly reconvert Yatin back to Islam.
Meanwhile, Yatin is growing in his faith daily, and praying for wisdom for how to tell his family, and how to share his newfound Savior with them. Please pray for him.