“I love you.” With those words, Ashok ended the most difficult letter he’d ever written. His wife, Lakshi, would read it soon after his suicide.
Ashok’s poignant farewell was no pretense. He loved Lakshi deeply and would do anything for her. Several years earlier she had developed chronic bleeding—like the biblical woman healed when she touched Jesus’ robe. Desperate to find a cure for the love of his life, Ashok spent all he had on doctors, medicines, and Hindu idols. None helped. Lakshi grew steadily weaker.
Three years passed. Lakshi became so frail that Ashok had to carry her everywhere they went. She could no longer cook, clean or perform any of her other normal activities. Her situation seemed hopeless. She told Ashok that she knew she would soon die.
Ashok was so distraught that the thought of ending his own life entered his mind. If she was going to die, he thought, why not end his own life, too—before suffering the pain of losing her.
Ashok made his decision. As he composed his farewell letter, he explained to Lakshi that they would soon see each other on the other side of death. Then he reminded her of his love one last time.
Using a long piece of cloth, Ashok tied one end to a ceiling fan. The other end he fashioned as a noose for his neck. Just seconds away from ending his life, Ashok heard a knock on his door. Answering it, he found a new neighbor, Santosh, requesting his help to move some belongings into his apartment nearby. Why not? Ashok thought, I’ll do one final good deed.
When the moving was just about completed, Santosh thanked Ashok and told him that Jesus loved him. Mystified, Ashok asked who Jesus was. Santosh seized the moment and shared the good news that Ashok had never heard before as they returned to Ashok’s apartment. When they arrived, Santosh noticed the fabric noose hanging from the ceiling fan. “What’s that for?” he asked. Ashok spilled the whole truth about his wife’s illness and his intention to end his own life. Santosh persuaded him to postpone his plan because Jesus, he said, could help both him and Laskshmi.
Later that night, Santosh returned to explain more about Jesus and to pray for Lakshi to be healed.
The next morning, Ashok woke to find Lakshi missing from his side. His initial thought was that she had fallen out of bed, but as he looked on the floor, she was not there. Perhaps she had somehow found strength to crawl to the bathroom. Ashok looked but found the bathroom vacant. As he headed toward the kitchen, Lakshi came walking to him with a cup of tea! His wife was completely healed! With inexpressible joy, they both gave their lives to Jesus that morning.
Anxious to learn more about Jesus so that he could tell others, Ashok soon enrolled in Bible school. After graduation, he and Lakshi settled in a small village and started a church. Their initial convert was a Hindu priest who came to Christ after the healing of his daughter. The congregation now consists of about 100 followers of Christ.
Heaven’s Family has been blessed to play a small part in the unfolding story of God’s love for Ashok, Lakshi and their flock. Several months ago, Ashok received a Hindi copy of The Disciple-Making Minister, which is being distributed to thousands of pastors in northern India. Ashok has used each chapter as a springboard from which to teach his disciples, working through half the book so far. “Apart from the Bible,” Ashok told me with a smile on his face, “this book is the best tool I have to disciple my congregation.”