by Carla Williams
He violently persecuted Christians. But could his anger survive against the overwhelming grace of God?
Sandeep* was known as one of the most dangerous men in his remote village. He drank, smoked and used opium and tobacco in various forms.
Daggers and other weapons never left the bamboo floor where he ruled.
His village had a long history of practicing animistic and tribal rituals.
Several years ago, another tribe constructed a bamboo church some distance away from Sandeep’s village. That church was destroyed, and Sandeep was a top suspect as one of the leaders of the attack.
The evangelistic team was warned not to go to the village. Sandeep hated Christianity.
A Change in Sandeep
One national missionary met Sandeep several times the following year. Those were not pleasant meetings.
Sandeep was soaked in opium smoke and wine odors. The house was laden with dirt, bones and skulls of animals, and ritual-related articles.
Close to his side were his gun and several daggers.
Surprisingly, though, he showed respect for the evangelistic team as they shared the Gospel and offered him a Bible.
After several months of visitations, Sandeep and his wife were baptized in a river near their home.
Over the course of time, the missionary learned of the hardships Sandeep had experienced between the burning of the church and his conversion.
His son had been sick and ultimately died. Sandeep had performed rituals and animal sacrifices, but the boy had still not lived.
This disappoint created a fissure in his previously airtight beliefs. It caused an opening for the Gospel.
Now Sandeep and his wife lead a church in their home. Sometimes the church is small. Sometimes the Christ followers are threatened.
The villagers still oppose Christ followers, but Sandeep’s family is faithful to their Master and Maker.
The daggers and opium gear are no longer by his side. They’ve been replaced with a cross.