In some countries where I cover humanitarian stories of faith, I get to share in the lives of some truly passionate people. They are dedicated to their vision and calling with an ardor that sometimes includes possible martyrdom.
Pastor Nanu is one of those people.
We slipped from our car into the unpretentious rural church as quickly as possible so that no one passing by would know foreigners were in the area and be a cause for undue attention. The church building was, in reality, a small mud and brick village home, one room cleared, mats laid down, for the 15 men and 10 women that sat on separate sides.
“When I studied the word of God, and learned the value of human life and the value of my life, I thought I should tell other people about this,” Nanu explained. But his early days of reaching out to the rural villages of Madhya Pradesh, India were not easy. With years of trials behind him, Nanu calmly recounts the story of how, once, a large crowd of extremist Hindus, opposed to his sharing the message of Jesus, surrounded his house and angrily demanded, “If you don’t stop preaching, we will kill you.”
During this low point, Nanu slowly offered, “I cried. I was very discouraged, but God gave me strength and I kept on preaching.”
He continued to preach and more threats followed. But the transformed lives in the 19 churches he has started in the last 18 years have encouraged and spurred him on. “When I preached, people were healed. When I shared the truth of the word of God, their blinded eyes were opened and they came to know the truth and they accepted God.”
At 49 years old, Nanu says, “At this stage of life, I have decided I will continue to preach, no matter what situation comes to me, what happens to me. I will keep preaching. I will keep going to the areas that are unreached. I will preach till the last breath of my life…for the sake of other peoples lives, for the sake of the Gospel.”
For more information on ways to help pastors like Nanu, see www.indiamission.org