Anand refused. His mother and sisters spoke to him about Jesus often. His father and elder brother prayed for him openly. Yet, Anand refused. He was Hindu. He argued it was the way of his people and his family was foolish.
As a taxi driver, he made a good living. At least he wasn’t like so many he grew up with who are living on the streets, sleeping on the sidewalk, bathing in the river, and eating from the piles of refuse. Once in a while he’d even have a chance to drive for rich Americans—they made him feel important. He always made sure he drove them by the banks of the river where his friends could see him. Just a little bit of pride!
The hot summer months were just beginning when Anand got a call from a local pastor. Three missionaries from America were arriving and he was needed for the duration of their stay. Knowing he was to be available at all hours, day or night, he packed a small bag and stowed it in the trunk. He would literally live in his vehicle—it would be worth the small inconvenience.
The first few days of the assignment were uneventful. Anand drove them from village to village and watched them carry their Bibles into the tribal areas. He particularly enjoyed the tribal visits—he sat in his taxi, listened to music, and closed his eyes until it was time to move on to another village.
The pastor paged him one evening after dark. The missionaries were to visit a village about a two-hour drive from the city. He gassed up his taxi, picked them up and was on his way.
The village was deep within the forest—secluded, hidden from civilization. There was a chill in the midnight air. The slivered moon cast just enough light for Anand to find his way down the dirt path.
Suddenly, the vehicle stalled. The chatter in the back seat was replaced with whispered prayers. Anand understood all too well what was going on—he heard the name Jesus, the same name his family used when praying for his salvation.
With the engine off, the foreboding sounds of silence amplified the distant echoes of chanting, drums, and rustling in the grass. Their destination wasn’t far off. Miraculously the vehicle started again. Anand was silently relieved—he understood the danger they were in. He drove between the rows grass huts where people were standing and staring into the taxi to catch a glimpse of the white-skinned intruders. The children were fearful, clutching their mothers.
The pastor directed Anand to an opening just outside the village lit with torches exposing a small gathering of people. The Hindu tribal leaders assembled their men, ordering them to surround the encampment. They quickly encircled the gathering of Christians to disrupt the meeting and prevent the people from worshipping the “white-man’s” God.
The assembly of worshippers was unmoved. They sang choruses with arms raised and tears flowing. The missionaries were escorted to the platform. One by one they opened their Bibles and preached the Word of God without fear. Strangely confident, they never missed a syllable, proclaiming the name of Jesus again and again. The interpreter didn’t miss any opportunity to expound on the points made by the missionaries to be sure everyone plainly understood the plan of salvation.
Anand was uncomfortable in his vehicle this particular night—there was much unrest among the Hindu villagers. So, he sat among the people and began to listen.
Suddenly there was loud commotion. Some radical Hindus herded their cattle right through the crowd to bring disruption and confusion. Yet, the preaching continued. Anand’s heart began to stir. It all began to make some sense. The words of his mother and sisters, his father’s counsel, his brother’s pleading. And, now these missionaries.
“If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, today is the day of salvation.”
Before he knew it, Anand was on his feet responding to the call for salvation. That night, this Hindu taxi driver publically renounced all Hindu beliefs and superstitions and proclaimed faith in Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God.
Sunday morning there was a meeting at the river. And, what a meeting it was! The old Anand was buried and a new man rose to new life in Jesus Christ in the presence of much rejoicing.
Note: In India, water baptism is the sign of true conversion.
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