We Are the Sort Who Have Faith
Building Faith by Bible Study in India
FROM the majestic, snow-covered Himalaya Mountains in the north to the steamy shores of the Indian Ocean to the south, India is a land of diversity, geographically and religiously. Of its population of over one billion, about 83 percent are Hindus, 11 percent are Muslims, and the remainder are composed primarily of nominal Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains. All enjoy freedom of worship. “Religion plays a vital role in the Indian way of life,” says The World Book Encyclopedia.
Living in accord with their Christian faith well describes Jehovah’s Witnesses, who number more than 21,200 in India. Like their spiritual companions in other parts of the world, the Witnesses in India view it as a privilege to help their neighbors build a strong faith in God’s Word, the Holy Bible. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) Consider how one family in Chennai in the south of India came to a knowledge of Bible truth.
Prior to their contact with Jehovah’s Witnesses, this family was actively involved in Catholic charismatic movements, claiming to see visions, speak in tongues, and heal the sick. They were prominent in the church and the community, people even addressing some members of the family as “swami,” meaning “lord.” Then one day a Witness visited the family and showed them from the Bible that Jesus is the Son of God, not Almighty God, as is commonly believed. The Witness also showed them that God’s name is Jehovah and that Jehovah’s purpose for the earth is to make it a beautiful paradise.—Psalm 83:18; Luke 23:43; John 3:16.
Because they respected God’s Word and liked what they heard, members of this family agreed to a regular Bible study with Jehovah’s Witnesses. This brought ridicule from their church acquaintances. Nonetheless, the family remained determined to continue their Bible study. As their knowledge increased and their faith grew stronger, they discontinued their false religious practices. Today, three members of this family are zealous, baptized Witnesses, and the mother serves as an auxiliary pioneer whenever possible.
Faith to Overcome Handicaps
Sunder Lal, a young man living in a village in the Punjab, needed a great deal of faith and courage in order to share the good news of God’s Kingdom with others. (Matthew 24:14) For one thing, he had left the polytheistic beliefs of his family and village to worship the true God, Jehovah. For another, Sunder Lal has no legs.
Until 1992, Sunder Lal’s life was routine. He worked as a doctor’s assistant and joined his own family in the worship of various deities under the guidance of their chosen guru. Then one night, he fell while crossing a railway track. A train ran over him and cut off both of his legs at the thigh. Although he lived, his world was shattered. Understandably, Sunder Lal became deeply depressed and even contemplated suicide. His family was supportive, but his future looked hopeless.
Then one of Jehovah’s Witnesses called on Sunder Lal and showed him from the Bible that God has promised to make the earth a delightful paradise and to give perfect health to all who love and fear him. Sunder Lal agreed to a Bible study, and for one year he studied diligently. He was invited to attend Christian meetings and finally went along on the back of a friend’s bicycle. Although it was a painful ride, the reward was great. What he had learned in his personal Bible study fell into place as he met others who truly believed the promises of God’s Word and lived in harmony with Bible teachings.
Sunder Lal began to share the good news with his neighbors, and in 1995 he was baptized. At first, he engaged in the ministry by dragging himself from door to door in his village, which was his normal way of getting around. But now he has a gift from his spiritual brothers—a tricycle that is specially equipped to be “pedaled” by hand. Thanks to his tricycle, he is now more independent and is able by himself to make the seven-mile [12 km] journey to attend congregation meetings. Sometimes he wheels himself along through torrential monsoons; at other times the temperature is over 110 degrees Fahrenheit [43°C].
In addition to attending meetings, Sunder Lal conducts many Bible studies with others who desire help to build strong faith in the true God, Jehovah. In fact, seven of his former Bible students are now baptized, as are three other persons he contacted but with whom fellow Witnesses have studied the Bible.
“Faith,” according to the Bible, “is not a possession of all people.” (2 Thessalonians 3:2) But for those “rightly disposed for everlasting life,” a regular study of God’s Word can build strong faith. (Acts 13:48) Such a study also makes the eyes shine with hope of a wonderful future—something in which a growing number of people in India are exercising faith.
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