A plain village woman sat squatting on the street, staring into space, looking much older than her years. Although Sunil was an ‘evangelist’ by profession, he was in the village for some work unrelated to preaching the Gospel. He saw this woman from a distance, and she intrigued him. She reminded him of his grandmother who held fond memories for him, so he approached her. “What is your name?” he asked. She replied with one syllable, “Mang.” This was her caste name and came from the untouchable caste. Sunil looked her in the eyes and said, “I didn’t ask your caste; I asked your name. The God I worship has no caste.” She grabbed his arm, as though desperate and said, “My name is Banabai. Which God do you worship?” He said, “I worship Jesus Christ”. She said, “I do too!” Obviously, Sunil’s face was full of questions as she continued her story. “When I was a little girl of about 9 years old, two old lady white missionaries came to my village. They gathered all the children, taught us a song, and asked us to raise our hands if we want Jesus to come into our hearts. I raised my hand, and He came in. From that day to this, I have never met anyone who follows Jesus. You are the first. I lost 2 sons at a young age and my husband is an alcoholic, so I provided the income for my family. I made brooms to sell, and I was the village midwife. Whenever a woman was about to give birth, they would always call me because not a single baby died while I attended. They didn’t know it, but I used to speak to Jesus who lived in me and ask Him to save their babies. They thought I had some kind of black magic, but they didn’t realize that the Dr. lived in here.”
She smiled at Sunil and pointed to her heart.
Sunil asked, “Do you remember the song the white ladies taught you? Would you please sing it for me? It translates like this:
Jesus Christ is my Savior
I love Him so much
Whenever I am in pain, and I call Him
He is right there.
How much I talk about His love
Every time I talk it gives me peace
By this time, Sunil had tears streaming down his face. Overcome with emotion, he said, “Please come and live in my home; I want to serve you.” She said, “No, I am fine here. My God has restored a son to me.” He offered her some money; whatever he had in his pocket. She responded, “No, no…I will not take your money.” He said, “It is not me who gives it to you, but the God we serve.” She humbly received it.
In the weeks following, he brought her to our home so that I could meet her. Her face was full of wrinkles and her skin looked like leather, but her eyes shone with the joy of the Lord and she was beautiful beyond description. She asked to be baptized, so Sunil took a group to her village and shared Christ with her people. She boldly stood and said, “You all thought I had black magic, but know that this God he is talking about saved all your babies.” Needless to say, many met the Lord Jesus that night.
She didn’t live long after that, and Sunil had the privilege of conducting her funeral and burying her. Her mission accomplished, she is now safe in the arms of her Beloved.
This story changed the way Sunil and I viewed evangelism.
When God started moving in our midst, and people started asking us what model we used, we didn’t know how to answer. We didn’t have one; we listened to God and took the next step. God doesn’t need our methods or strategies or steps or goals or anything else to plan the salvation of those yet to meet Him. He needs us…all of us. That’s it.
God kept Banabai on one little children’s song…no Bible, no church, no fellowship (except of course with the Holy Spirit), no trappings that we think we need to bring people to God. Yes, Lord, we are listening. Love and serve people in my name.