Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: RESOLUTION (01/07/16)
- TITLE: ASSAM
By Pat Small
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“If you do this, it could mean death,” the missionary advised Aadi and his wife. It was the 1800’s in Garo, Assam. Aadi knew the risks. This area of northern India was well-known for its vicious headhunters. The more heads a young man could hang on the front of his house, the more eligible a bachelor he became. Danger was rampant.
There was rejoicing in heaven though as Aadi and his wife knelt, warnings echoing in their ears, hearts nearly beating out of their chests. Yet, they could make no other decision. They were the first converts in this Gospel resistant, satanic area where Hinduism and Animism reigned.
The village was small, the huts close together. Neighbors noticed their changed lives. Some approached the fledgling believers with questions, and were joyously pointed to Jesus. “He gives us peace,” Aadi testified. “We don’t need to sacrifice to the gods. There is one God. All he requires is our trust.”
The villagers walked away scratching their heads. One god? What about the others? Our ancestors have worshiped them for ages. What will happen to us if we abandon them? Yet, Aadi and his family are so happy, they reasoned. The inevitable happened. Some believed. The testimony spread.
The village chief was alarmed. He could lose control if this continued. So he demanded the family’s appearance before him. A summons from the chief could not be ignored.
“Come children. We must pray,” Aadi said as he gathered his wife and children around him. Together they committed their lives to the Lord. Nevertheless, fear walked with them as they made their way to the audience.
“Is it true that you have abandoned our gods and gone after the foreigner’s god?” questioned the chief. “And that you are leading others down this path?”
“It is true, esteemed chief. God forgave our evil ways, and He gives us peace in here,” confessed Aadi, pointing to his heart with trembling hands.
“You must give up this foolishness, and return to the gods of our fathers,” was the menacing reply.
“I can’t do that, sir. I cannot deny Him. It says in the missionary’s book: “Whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew10:33)
“See those innocent children, the fruit of your loins? They will die if you persist. Our gods are angry. We must appease them,” shouted the old chief.
“I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back,” Aadi sang firmly as he looked at the archers, bows taut and aimed. Sweat rivulets poured down his back. He glanced at his wife; she nodded timidly.
A gesture from the chief, and arrows whistled through the air. The children fell, twitching, to the ground. Tears coursed down the cheeks of their sorrowing parents.
“Will you deny your faith? You have lost both your children. You will lose your wife too,” spat the leader.
“Though no one joins me, still I will follow. No turning back,” sang Aadi. It seemed as though God had given him this tune to bolster his courage.
Fury twisted the chief’s face. “Shoot!” he ordered, and Aadi’s wife fell to the ground beside her children.
It was almost more than he could bear as the chief spoke. “I will give you one more opportunity to deny your faith and live.”
“I cannot deny my Lord,” he whispered. As the arrows flew toward him, he sang: “The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back, no turning back.”
Angels in heaven sang with Aadi. Four new residents now walked streets of gold.
But that was not the end of the story. A miracle was wrought in the chief’s heart. He was touched by the courage Aadi and his family displayed as they faced death. “Why would they do this for a man who lived in a faraway land hundreds of years ago? He must have had supernatural powers,” he thought. “I want that too,” he openly declared. Seeing their chief instantaneously converted prompted the whole village to accept the saving power that faraway man promised. The death of four courageous followers brought eternal life to an entire village.
(Based on the true story of the “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” hymn. Thousands have walked the aisles in faith as this song was sung. From Hymnpod.com and Wikipedia. Neither the missionary’s nor the converts’ names are known today. Aadi’s name was chosen by the writer. The music was originally titled “Assam”).
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