Mahendra, 47, grew up practicing the principles of Buddhism and Hinduism. He was deeply religious and took great pleasure in performing his morning ablutions, offering prayers, and marking his forehead as a devotee. “For me, faith was all about good works to bring good results,” he said.
It was not until one of his relatives shared the Gospel with him, that Mahendra first heard of Jesus. The relative gave Mahendra a Bible and a few study booklets about Christianity. While reading the account of Jesus’ birth in one of the booklets, Mahendra was struck by the sentence, “There was no room for them in the inn” from Luke 2:7. The writer of the booklet then asked, “Do you have a place for him in your heart?” This question continued to resonate with Mahendra, like a nagging voice in his ear. “I tried to get rid of that voice, but it became a compelling and persistent question for me. It felt like Jesus Himself asking me, ‘Do you have a place for Me?’” He decided to recite the prayer in the booklet to get rid of the voice. “To my pleasant surprise, the voice stopped, and peace flooded my heart,” he says. “Today, I recognize that moment as that of Jesus coming into my heart.”
Mahendra was passionate about his newfound faith and eagerly shared his love for Jesus with his parents, friends, and relatives. Unfortunately, they rejected him, and his parents disowned him and threw him out of the house. But despite their opposition, Mahendra was determined to follow the path of Jesus.
“I found myself homeless, hungry, and with barely any clothes. Nobody helped me during this difficult period, but the Lord was strengthening me,” he recalled his initial struggles in his walk with the Lord.
Mahendra decided to study the Bible in a seminary and returned to his village, hoping to become an evangelist. A friend introduced him to Bible League’s Project Philip Bible studies and Church Planter Training. Today, he is busy training many church leaders and pastors in Chhattisgarh, despite facing violence and challenges from those opposed to Christianity. “My goal is to preach the Gospel and establish churches in my state. I pray that I can equip local leaders for this work and strengthen churches,” he says.
Mahendra spends most of his time visiting churches and training believers in the Word. He shares the story of his friend, Thakur, who was considering suicide. God led Mahendra to share the Gospel with him, and he was touched by the words of Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Thakur accepted Jesus, and his life was transformed, eventually becoming a minister of the Gospel himself. Praise the Lord!
The Gospel continues to change lives despite unprecedented opposition and persecution across India. “The Bible League materials are helping people grow in the Lord,” he says. “The Bibles and Bible-based literature are helpful for new believers who have minimal income. Bible League is an excellent resource for individual believers and local churches.”