• Turning to God from idols

    And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia — your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God — I Thessalonians 1:7-9.

    Gurung was born into a family of Gurkha warriors in a small village under the shadow of Mount Everest and, as he grew up, he learned to trust in the power of the “kukri” sword that his father had placed in his hand when he was just a lad. With his other hand he also learned to spin the prayer wheels in the Buddhist monastery near his house, fully believing that every spin of the wheel would carry his prayers to God and ensure him a safe and prosperous life. But neither the kukri sword nor the prayer wheels brought him the good karma that he longed for. The sword soon provoked fights and got him into increasing trouble with his neighbours and, however hard he spun the prayer wheel, he could not seem to find any way out of his problems. Gradually he descended into depression and another god — “Rakshi”, or Nepali whiskey, came into his life and took it over. Slowly his health deteriorated and eventually he landed up in hospital.

    It so happened that this was a Christian hospital and here he came into contact with the Bible and the God of the Bible. He watched the Christian doctors and nurses as they tirelessly ministered to the medical needs of the little community there. He listened to the words that were taught from the Bible and, although they meant little to him at first, he could not help but be amazed: how was it, he wondered, that these Christian teachers would go out of their way to serve the physical needs of the people they were ministering to? A Buddhist or Hindu guru would never demean himself in this way: for them it was the duty of the disciple to serve his teacher, not the other way round.

    Through these medical missionaries, Gurung came to know the living and true God, and his life was transformed. He threw away his kukri sword and his prayer wheels and his bottles of rakshi drink, and quickly his faith in God became known everywhere. Although he is small in stature and weak in body, today he is a giant in his faith and a totally different person from what he was 20 years ago. He and his wife pastor a small evangelical church located on a hillside overlooking the majestic Himalaya Mountains, and from that imposing position God’s message rings out to the whole region.

    What a powerful testimony this is, especially in an age when the Christian faith tends to go unnoticed — to many, just another voice struggling to be heard. For of all the arguments in favour of the Christian way, few are more powerful than the evidence of a transformed life. As Paul says, “We do not need to say anything about it, because it has already become known everywhere!”

    — Walter Raymond


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