How much of the history of All India Mission do you know? Satish is the first person who turned to Christianity through the sharing of the gospel by Brother N.J. and Joykutty. This is a little story about the beginning of All India Mission and how they met Satish.
Brother N.J. Varughese is a native Indian missionary who was born and grew up in the very south of India in the state of Kerala. The area he was lead to minister to was in the northeast of India, in the state of Jharkhand. In the early 19th century the area had been somewhat evangelized but converts from that period were known as “rice Christians,” people who converted only because the new religion promised a food source. Their descendants knew little to nothing of the gospel or who Jesus Christ was. The area was also populated by various tribal groups who practiced tribal religions. Of course, the majority of the population was Hindu.
And so it was by faith that N.J. Varughese started the work in Simdega. He chose Brother M. Joykutty, a friend and fellow missionary, to work with him. The two men had to learn a new language, Hindi, and a new culture. They worked hard, riding their bicycles throughout the area and preaching the gospel to anyone who would listen.
They rented a house in Simdega for 50 cents a month. It didn’t have electricity, running water or bathroom facilities, but it eventually became a well-known Christian center in the local town and in the surrounding villages. They named the house “Shanti Bhavan”, which means “House of Peace” in the Hindi language.
They worked hard for two years without seeing any fruit for their labor. Then one day, as Joykutty’s open air preaching thundered from under a banyan tree, a young man got very upset and took violent exception to Joykutty’s words, threatening to attack him. Pastor N.J. and Joykutty took this man aside and tried to talk with him. They learned that his name was Satish and that he was studying to be a Hindu priest. Though he was angry with them, he accepted the gospel booklet they offered him and went on his way.
Satish didn’t read the booklet. Instead, he tore it up and used the paper to roll an opium cigarette, which he smoked before he went to bed. He spend hours tossing and turning in the darkness and was unable to sleep. He felt it was because he tore up the booklet.
At dawn he went out and found pieces of the torn booklet. He read the words, “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth you from all of your sin.” Satish refused to believe such “nonsense” and went to find N.J. Varughese to tell him the booklet was wrong. See, Satish had recently walked barefoot for seventy miles in order to take a bath in the River Ganges. According to his Hindu faith, a bath in the holy river was supposed to remove sin from his life. But Satish knew he was as sinful as ever after his pilgrimage. He reasoned that if water from the holiest of all rivers couldn’t wash away his sin, then how could somebody’s blood do it? Pastor N.J. spent three and a half hours with Satish answering his questions and explaining the gospel to him. By noon Satish had received Christ as his personal Savior.
When Satish was saved, the two missionaries started their first Sunday worship service at Shanti Bhavan with only the three of them. The service lasted two hours. From that time on all three of them preached the gospel in public places and from house to house, although they felt great resistance and hostility from the community.
Four years later, in 1981, N.J. Varughese baptized seven new converts. After six years of hard work, the church now had ten believers! It was the gift of Satish’s conversion that kept them moving forward-even in the midst of difficulty and resistance. They began praying for the church to grow to 50 believers and within a few years the church grew large enough to build another. Satish continues to pastor even today. We are so thankful for his dedicated service to the Lord and to All India Mission.