“You cannot preach your message here!” Devesh* declared. He and the other village leaders stood opposite the Christian missionary in the street. “You are not allowed to convert anyone in this village.”
To their surprise, the missionary, Amul*, replied, “I have not come to convert, but to preach the Word of God to the Santal people of your village. If they choose to listen, I will speak. If they don’t, I will leave.”
Devesh hadn’t seen such respect and humility in a missionary before. Maybe this man is different, he thought. Maybe he really does have a message for us from Thakur Jiu.
Thakur Jiu (“Genuine God”) is the name of the creator god of the Santal people. Centuries ago their ancestors began worshipping mountain spirits, with priests leading the people in rituals and sorcery to appease these spirits. In response, Devesh and the villagers believed, Thakur Jiu forgot them.
The leaders conferred and decided to give Amul a chance to speak.
NO GOD LIKE JESUS
If you had been there when Amul spoke, you might have heard echoes of the Apostle Paul in Acts 17 as he explained Christ as the “unknown god” of the ancient Athenians. The genuine God, Amul told the Santal, wasn’t distant or unknown, but had come near to them in Jesus Christ. Only this true God can wipe away the wrongs of the Santal and their ancestors, Amul explained, through the cross and resurrection of Jesus.
Then he asked a question that shocked Devesh: “Did any other deity ever do what Jesus did for you?”
The villagers looked at one another, searching for an answer. Finally Devesh spoke up.
“No. We have never heard of any god like the God of the Bible. We do not know such a God.”
“You do not know him because you do not know Jesus,” Amul replied. Then he opened the Bible and showed the villagers many passages that described the one and only living God revealed in Jesus Christ.
Devesh and the other leaders knew that they had discovered the genuine God. They responded to Amul, “Now we know that Jesus is the real God. We want to worship this God who is our Father. From this day on we will worship only Jesus.”
By God’s grace, 23 people from 11 Santal families in Devesh’s village have begun following Jesus. Your partnership with missionaries like Amul is having this kind of impact around the world. Thank you!
*names changed for security reasons