By Fletcher Hunnicutt*
VARANASI, India — I was in Varanasi, India for six weeks this summer. Varanasi is the Hindu holy city where the Ganges River flows. Every morning people bathe in the Ganges in hopes of obtaining salvation and escaping the cycle of reincarnation. Every night, a puja, or time of worship, is held there.
It was here and in a silk shop that we spent a lot of our time with a man named Amar.*
We didn’t get to see a whole lot of results while we were there, but we did see God work in the life of a 65-year-old Hindu man. Amar helped me learn that God doesn’t need me to work. He’s going to draw people to Himself. He is faithful to complete any work that He begins in someone.
Amar worked in a silk shop and had lived in Varanasi for 45 years. We talked to Amar almost everyday. Sometimes, we would meet in the silk shop. Other times, we met by the river, drinking chai, or tea.
At the beginning of the summer we gave him a Bible. He didn’t really read it at first, so we just kept on telling him story after story from the Bible. I drew a picture for him of how man is separated from God, showing that only the cross can get you to God. We talked about how only faith in Christ makes you able to stand right before God.
About halfway through the summer, we told Amar that he needed to start reading the Bible for himself because we won’t always be here to tell him stories.
He gave excuses. He said he couldn’t read at night because the electricity goes out often. When we suggested he read during the day when there were no customers, he said, “Then everyone in the shop will talk about me and laugh at me and think that you are paying me money to do this.”
For about a week, we had conversations like that with him. Then, for two days straight we could not see him.
When we got back to see him, he said, “Saturday, I waited for you at my shop and Sunday, I waited for you at my shop and you did not come see me. I waited for you at the river at nighttime and you did not come see me. So, I pulled out my Bible and started reading. I started reading in Genesis.”
When we left Varanasi, he was already in Numbers and he’s probably in Deuteronomy now.
On Thursday, the last day we were there, his boss was in the room with us. Until that point, my partner and I had not shared with his boss because he seemed to ignore us when we were visiting Amar and his English was not very good. But that last day, he talked with us. We shared the Gospel with him, but he didn’t really understand. So, Amar shared with him.
He pulled the slip of paper out of his shirt pocket, the one I drew at the beginning of the summer, and used it to share with his boss about how we were separated from God. He told him that he has been reading the Bible.
I’m not sure if Amar is a believer yet, but I know he is seeking the Truth and I know that when you seek the Lord with all your heart He reveals Himself to you. I know that the Lord will continue the work that He began in Amar’s life and hope that whenever he goes back home to his native place, he will teach his family the Bible.
Fletcher Hunnicutt is a student at Delta State University, Senatobia, Miss. and a member of First Baptist Church, Senatobia, Miss. He recently spent six weeks in India as an SA101 volunteer. For more information on SA101, visit the website for South Asian peoples, http://southasianpeoples.imb.org/special-interest/sa101/.