“The Kingdom of God is near you, even on your lips.” Romans 10:8
For Mintu, those words of Jesus became quite literal.
Meeting at the Indus Guest House
Mintu is a smiling young Hindu man, slight in stature, but eager to work as he caters to the needs of the residents of the Indus Guest House.
We struck it off right away. My first assumption of him was that he was a Believer, since Christians own this guesthouse. Maybe my assumption worked out for the best because of the conversation it lead into.
We had been making small talk when I casually asked him when he came to faith in Jesus.
He looked a bit confused as his brown cheeks took on a shade of red. With the slight head bobble, he confessed he did not know.
“Have you ever given your life to Jesus,” I asked.
He shook his head. “No,” he answered.
I was about to leave, so I asked him if we could talk later and read the Bible together. He told me he would like that and seemed eager to meet.
Introducing Jesus as the only God in a culture of 300 million gods
A few hours later, we sat next to each other and opened the book of John. He began to read aloud. His English was poor and I was concerned that this was going to be too difficult. To my surprise, he began grasping concepts of the peculiar divine nature of Jesus, even though he had never heard this before.
I pointed out to him that Jesus was indeed God and He alone is God. For one who is raised in a culture of 300 million gods, that should be a tough one to swallow. But he did.
We were soon interrupted by new clients, so he left to tend to business. I asked him if we could continue tomorrow and he readily agreed. Tomorrow did not come for us, nor did the next day. We saw each other in the days ahead, but he was just too busy to sit. I feared that was the end of our leading conversation of things eternal, but God had been working beyond my perception.
Jesus, the Healer
Mintu walked by me hurriedly with his hand upon his cheek. Something very noticeable was missing from his countenance. His smile was gone.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
He struggled to tell me that his tooth was infected and swollen.
“Is there anything you can do to help it?” I asked empathetically. I hate tooth pain and by his expression it was easy to feel his pain.
He told me he took some pills, very big ones, and several of them. That didn’t sound too hopeful, especially since I had been warned that healthcare is not one of the strengths of Leh, Ladakh.
I asked him if I could pray for him. With wide eyes in desperation, he replied, “Yes.”
“Mintu,” I am going to ask Jesus to remove your pain as He heals you from its cause. That is because the Bible says to ask Him and tells about the many times when Jesus exercised complete authority over sickness and disease. Is that ok with you?
He agreed, eagerly.
I put my hand on his shoulder and prayed while we stood in the small, open terrace area near the entrance. He then left to continue his work.
The next morning, I saw him with his smile almost restored. I asked him if he was better. “50/50,” he answered.
I saw him the next day — his eyes were bright and his smile returned.
“You look great, Mintu!!”
“Jesus heal me,” he quickly replied.
That evening, we talked about what happened. He firmly believed that Jesus removed his pain. However, he was on task and asked if he could come up to my room later. I agreed and sat down to rest.
Sharing the love of Jesus with my new friends from Taiwan
My new friends from Taiwan walked by and came over to talk. Rita and Joanne were their English names. They were very bubbly young ladies, excited to see all the sights of Ladakh. They were also concerned about how I was getting along on my crutches. I had met them the day before while I was reading the Bible.
They were very curious as to what I was reading and why.
Rita was a schoolteacher; Joanne worked for a brokerage firm. They asked many questions, but knew very little about faith in Jesus. When they asked me why I came to Ladakh on crutches, I told them it was primarily to meet the Israeli soldiers.
“Why you do that?” Rita asked.
I told them I was Jewish, but believed that Jesus was the Messiah. I came to Leh to reach my Jewish kinsmen with that life-saving message. They both looked puzzled, but interested. Then, they left for their trek.
As we sat that evening, they were more inquisitive. So, I told them about what it meant to be born again and how Jesus the Jewish Messiah came for all men and women from all nations to know His love, receive His forgiveness, and be freed from guilt and shame so that we could live meaningful lives without fear and be filled with joy.
They were so eager to hear more. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised, but it became apparent that they were both ripe for salvation. I asked if they wanted to be born again. Without looking at each other, they both responded, “Yes.”
I explained further what that meant and the serious nature of turning from sin and other gods and living a life of service to others because of our love and gratitude to God.
“Of course,” Rita responded, as if that was very logical. So, they prayed aloud as I joined them with an overflowing joy and grateful heart.
“Now you can return to your people and share the same news you just embraced,” I told them.
They beamed with excitement. I looked on amazed.
Mintu Accepts Jesus
Later that night, Mintu came to my room and received the same good news as he gave his heart to Jesus. I explained to him that Jesus could not share a place in his heart with any other god he may worship or obey.
“There is only one God, and Jesus is He.”
I told Mintu that he would experience troubles and opposition because of his confession, but that Jesus would never forsake him and that His Spirit would live within Him. He agreed as if he understood that was the natural expectation.
The next morning, I saw Mintu before leaving for the airport with my two companions. It was a sad departure, but I entrusted Him to his new Savior and exchanged a hearty embrace, knowing we would meet again someday.
For the Kingdom of God made a dramatic appearance that day in Leh, Ladakh.