Several years ago, in a remote mountain valley in North India, a man from South India gave a Gospel tract to a young man named Jamal.
The two men talked briefly about Jesus and then the man was gone.
In the days, months and years that followed, Jamal read the tract again and again, but it still left him with many questions about Jesus. He was hungry to know more, but he didn’t know who to ask because he was not aware of any followers of Jesus in his community.
After years of struggling with his unanswered questions, Jamal finally decided to start saving money so that he could fly to South India to find the man who had first told him about Jesus. Eventually, six years after that encounter, Jamal set out on his journey with the tract in hand, inscribed with the man’s name and address. He arrived in South India but, after days of searching, he could not find the man. His questions remained unanswered.
On his way home from South India, Jamal stopped in Delhi where he visited a church mission. Surely, he thought, someone there could tell him more about Jesus. Unfortunately, based on his identity and his religion, he was looked upon with suspicion and refused entry at the gate. He returned to his home in the valley, still with an ache in his heart.
But Jamal did not give up. He remembered that Jesus was from Israel, so he began to make plans to travel there to finally learn more. By now, he was so desperate that he was willing to pay any price to get his questions answered.
Jamal acquired a passport and was in the process of getting a visa for Israel. But in the midst of his preparations, a close friend found out about Jamal’s travel plans.
“Why do you want to go to Israel?” the friend asked.
After some hesitation, Jamal finally admitted to his friend, “Because I want to learn more about Jesus.”
“Then we need to go see Mahfuz,” his friend replied.
“What does Mahfuz know about Jesus?” Jamal asked sincerely.
The three men met in private and, after hearing Jamal’s story about his encounter with the man from South India and his growing desire to know Jesus, Mahfuz shared about his own journey of faith, how he came to believe in Jesus as the Son of God and to trust in him for salvation.
Jamal was shocked. “Why haven’t you told me this?”
“Because there are so few of us here in the valley,” Mahfuz explained, “and we risk our lives to take a stand for Jesus.”
Jamal and Mahfuz now belong to a small house church in the valley. Over time, they have been introduced to others as well who have found Jesus and are following him despite isolation and opposition. This growing fellowship of believers meets together regularly for prayer and Bible study, although they often have to meet at night and in different locations to avoid drawing unnecessary attention to themselves. On occasion, Jamal and Mahfuz are able to make trips to Delhi where they receive training and resourcing.
Please pray for these leaders and for the church in this valley. Pray for faith and wisdom. Ask God to strengthen the hearts of these believers and to add more and more to their number.