This week we will share some personal testimonies of young Indian Christians living in India—about how they came to faith and what they are doing to make Christ known in their city. These are true stories, but the names and certain details have been changed to protect their identities.
India is our prayer focus for Secret Church 16: A Global Gospel in a World of Religions. Join us as we learn more about India and how we can pray.
This is part one in a series of stories about three Christians who are making a difference in India. Stay tuned for more about their lives and ministries and for ways you can pray for them.
Beating to the Jesus Beat as an Indian Christian
As a 22-year-old in college, Aryan* had a lot going for him. He was popular, a cool musician who never had to look very hard for friends. Wherever he went, people flocked to him. His bands always drew a huge crowd for every show. Yet somehow Aryan couldn’t seem to feel comfortable in his own skin. He always looked for something more, something else to satisfy him.
He marveled at his friend, Sandeep, a plain, average guy who honestly didn’t have much going for him in the popularity department. Sandeep had friends, but not in the massive numbers that Aryan was accustomed to. He wore the same three shirts every week and never had the money to party on the weekends or go to a nice restaurant. What kept Aryan coming back to talk to Sandeep, though, was his insatiable optimism. He seemed to be comfortable with who he was and even joyful about it.
“Why are you so happy?” Aryan asked one day out of frustration. “You have nothing going for you.”
Sandeep began telling him about Jesus, who he said was the only God—something Sandeep witnessed first-hand when Jesus healed his father of demon possession. Aryan knew who Jesus was. He had sat bored to tears on a cold church pew as a young boy hearing about this Jesus. But now he saw that Jesus wasn’t just a story. Jesus brought visible joy to people’s lives.
Aryan describes seeing Jesus incarnate in Sandeep’s life—through his love for others and how comfortable he was just being himself. That’s when Aryan decided, as he put it, to start “beating to the Jesus beat.”
From Rock Band to Worship Band
Samar* looked around the room in amazement. From the vantage point of the band, Samar could see the whole crowd. People all over were raising their hands, singing to the one they called God, but Samar didn’t really understand it.
Samar had grown up going to church and Sunday school, giving all the right answers, and winning all the prizes. Yet to Samar’s parents, career success became a god as they tirelessly pursued their own version of the “American Dream.” Samar’s father eventually moved to the United States while his mother threw herself into her job, leaving Samar and his sister to basically fend for themselves.
Music became Samar’s outlet and led him to a rock band with new friends and a new way of life filled with drugs and alcohol. He kept seeking something, but fame seemed to never completely satisfy him. He slowly slipped into a deep, dark pit.
Things changed when he lost a few friends to suicide.
At a point when he was his lowest, Samar says he got “tricked” into going to a prayer meeting by some Indian Christian friends. How did they trick him? They asked him to play on the worship team.
So there he was one night, part of a worship band when he saw the supernatural power of God. A lady in the crowd yelled out over the singing. Church leaders brought her to the stage and began praying for her. Soon a complete change came over this lady and the pastor said that she was free of the demon that had oppressed her.
“Whose name is so powerful that even demons are subject to that name? And if a name, how much more that person?” Samar thought to himself. As he thought about his life, he saw himself going nowhere.
That’s when he heard a small voice say to him, “I have a plan for you.”
Growing Through Songs as an Indian Christian
Three loud knocks on her door reminded Aadhya* that she was supposed to be doing her homework. Her mom told her yet another time to put down the guitar and the church songbook and get to studying, reminding her that she must make good grades to stay in college. Aadhya reluctantly put her music aside and did as her mother said, still thinking about the words she just sang about Jesus.
Something new began stirring in Aadhya over time as she played through songbook after songbook, lifting praise to Jesus. While she used to be itching to get out of church so that she could play her newest video game, she found herself one day with more drive to read the Bible or practice a new song she learned in youth group. All day long she thought about Jesus—as she rode on the bus or the train on her way to school. She even started talking to her friends about Jesus and asking them to believe in him too.
Slowly, slowly, she says, God ministered to her through the songs she learned and the Scriptures she read. As she learned more about God, she began to have a burden for souls and sensed that God wanted her to do something about it.
*Names changed for security purposes