There’s a certain area in India that was once considered a home of powerful spirits. It was the first Indian state to pass an anti-conversion law and there’s still widespread practice of witchcraft. Christians are targeted with persecution, oppression, and violence. Believers have even been lynched.
It’s here we find Ganesh. The 43-year-old father was raised in a family that practiced witchcraft; his father was the village witch doctor with more than 60 followers. Ganesh was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps, so he began to learn the craft.
The year Ganesh was married, his father passed away, and soon after he and his wife had their first child. The problems soon followed.
Ganesh’s son was sick with an unexplainable fever. He couldn’t eat and was weak. They took him to several hospitals but he continued to get worse. Many in his village suggested he take his son to a Hindu priest, so he did. “I took him for three continuous months. I lost my money and my time,” he says. “I felt that I had done everything. There was nothing else I could do.”
With no hope left, Ganesh talked with a Christian friend who invited him to church. He met with the pastor who led the church in prayer for his son. “Within three days, my son recovered and his fever left him,” he remembers. “That event changed our lives. My wife and I decided to follow Jesus and go to church.”
As he began his walk with Jesus, Ganesh enrolled in a Project Philip Bible study at church which impacted his faith. “I knew Jesus was my healer, but I learned that He is my Savior, too, so I got baptized,” he says.
Life for Christians is not easy in this area. When Ganesh first became a Christian, he was shunned by his family and others in his community. “They tried to force me to deny Christ and follow the Hindu rituals and way of life,” he says. “I firmly replied that I would not deny Christ, but I would follow Him throughout my life.”
Despite the backlash, Ganesh and others still work to spread the Gospel in their area. Bible League materials have made a major impact on this mission. “In our village churches, no one had Bibles, most of them cannot afford to purchase them. They only listened to the pastor’s preaching. Now, we can open the Bible passages and read and study,” he says. “But we need more Bibles in our native languages.”