(Friday, Jan 25, 2013) Naltau was considered an enemy of the state. He was part of a political group that used violence to further their cause. He was strongly caught up in the movement –it was his life. Then he was arrested and put in jail in Hyderabad where little justice is shown to political prisoners. While in his cell, though, he heard someone talking about Jesus. God spoke to his heart and gave him a thirst to know more. Before long he gave his heart and his life to Jesus. Eventually he was released from prison, a changed man. Like Simon the Zealot, one of the twelve chosen by Jesus 2000 ago, Naltau changed his cause from political overthrow to spiritual transformation. From battling India’s government, he is now fighting against Satan’s kingdom in India. His wife, Ribca, became a believer as well. They moved to the coast near Koduru and started a church among the fishermen. They call their little group the New Testament Church. The going has been rough but he remains faithful. He is not a young man and his face clearly reveals a hard life of crime, but when he smiles the love of Jesus in his heart in unmistakable. His is one of the faces in the pictures of the pastors’ conferences. (Picture attached)
One of the pastors we support and who comes to the Leadership Conference every year is Sudhakar. He faithfully comes to all the Pastor’s Conferences that are near him to help with the behind the scenes work. He is one of the native peoples (‘Gypsy’) from the Arukala tribe. His mother worshipped Dorga, a female deity with a temple in nearby Vijayawada but when she couldn’t find freedom from the demons who haunted her through Dorga worship she attended a Christian service on the invitation of a friend. There she found freedom in Jesus. She continued attending and took her son, Sudhakar, with her. He grew to follow the Lord and be baptized. They are the only believers in their family. His wife, Yitamala, is a Dahlit who is a believer. They have a son and daughter. Five years ago, while reading Isaiah 42, God called him to be a pastor. He lives in a colony of Gypsies, a relocation project by the government who removed from their roadside huts to widen the road. This face is well known to me. This year he hosted a Pastor’s Conference in his church on January 24. His church is very, very small and he wants to enlarge it and build a home in an adjoining room. Pray
God provides for these needs. Sudhakar is a faithful behind-the-scenes worker and one of the who has come year after year to learn more and grow. It’s been a joy mentoring him. He is one of the pastors we support financially as well. (Picture attached)
Ephesians 2:1-10 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
You may not have as dramatic a testimony as some of these people in India, but sin is sin. We are just as lost as them without Jesus. We are as dependent on His grace as they are. We are no closer to heaven without Jesus than the worst of them. Take time to thank God for your salvation for it is as truly miraculous as anyone else.