I am Ramjee Sahani (Rakesh) from Muzaffarpur, a town in Bihar, a state in India.
Since my family was Hindu, I grew up learning stories from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, the great Hindu epics. I also went to school; however, semi-urban Bihar is extremely backward; I was not able to pursue the typical Indian path of upward mobility - study hard, clear some competitive exams, get a good university
degree and then a good job. Growing up, there was lots of time with little to do, and plenty of bad company around. I soon got involved in a lot of antisocial activity with my friends.
Once I was involved in a kidnapping case because of which the police were hot on my heels. To evade them, I was running from place to place. One evening I was standing at a spot near my hometown with my friend Prakash. He was also involved in that case. As we were passing the time nervously, a Christian named R.S. Paswan showed up and invited us to join him for a satsang
. A satsang
is a traditional religious Indian meeting with discourses, songs, etc. I refused because I believed that there was no God. Prakash suggested that we go anyway; that would be a nice way to prevent the police from finding us. I had taken it for granted that the satsang
would be a Hindu meeting, but when we went there, we found that it was a Christian satsang
, a gospel meeting! Had I known that I would not have gone there because I hated Christianity very much. At the meeting, Benny Chackochan, an evangelist from a nearby town called Begusarai, was conducting a Bible class from the book of Daniel, Chapter 3 - the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. While concluding the class he said, "God saved the three young men from the fire and that God is the living God; He will save you also from your sins". This statement touched my heart. After hearing it I started to attend all the local Christian meetings regularly.
There was a struggle going on in my mind. On the one hand, I was attracted to this God who would save sinners like me. At the same time, I had a deep distrust and animosity towards Christianity - the accursed foreign religion
After 3 months I made up my mind: "These missionaries are getting money from the USA and making people Christians; they are part of an Anglo-American conspiracy to rule India again." I decided to kill them. I noticed that the missionaries always came for the meeting in a minibus. I made two powerful bombs to kill them. The next week, when they came by that minibus, I placed one bomb inside the bus and the other under the front tire. I also attended that meeting. Everything was going according to my plan – when the vehicle would move forward or backward the bombs would blast and all those nearby would die.
Soon after the meeting was over, I came to see the scene near the vehicle; Paswan was inside the bus! This shocked me. If I did not remove the bombs, Paswan also would be killed with the others. Paswan was a Christian, but he was also my neighbour, someone I had spent my life together with; my conscience did not permit me to kill him. In the darkness I went to the vehicle and removed the bombs.
After this incident, I continued to work against the Christians. I had the meetings in that venue stopped. However, the Christians continued to conduct meetings at Paswan's house. While it was true that I hated Christianity, basic questions gnawed at my heart: Who was the true God? How could I, a sinner, be saved? These were crucial questions, which as far as I could see, remained unanswered in the Hinduism
. Melodramatic stories from the epics did not answer these questions, nor did Hindu philosophy. And yet, the Christian meetings addressed these questions based on the Bible
. So although I was against Christianity, I started attending these meetings at Paswan's house as well.
About six months after I heard Benny Chackochan's sermon, a Bible teacher named P.J. John was taking the Bible class at Paswan's house; during the class he asked a question: "If you die today where will your soul be?"
What a haunting question! That night, I could not sleep. Early in the morning I went to the house of Raghubir, a Hindu friend who was with me in the meeting, and reported this to him. He said that he also hadn't slept. At 6 a.m. we both went to Mr. P.J. John and explained everything that had happened. He started to preach the gospel
to us; this went on till about 9 am. Finally, I understood the message. This, then, was true Christianity
. How misguided I had been! Christianity was not a Western conspiracy to take over India but a message of God's love for the human race. God had loved me enough to send His Son Jesus to die for my sins. Since Jesus willingly took the punishment that was due me, God could forgive me, a sinner, without compromising His justice. Thus I could have eternal life; I would go to God's presence when I die. All God demands is that we repent – acknowledge these truths and turn from our sins to God, and put our trust in Jesus Christ.
At that time itself I received the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour and Lord. The date was 7-9-1996. I began attending all the meetings at the local church
and continued doing so. The Bible says that when a man is in Christ, he is a new creation. This proved true in my life. Although I was still poor and without good job opportunities (these are the reasons that sociologists cite for young people getting into crime and delinquency), I lost all inclination towards crime. The kidnapping case I mentioned earlier was closed.
I did not tell my family that I had become a disciple of the Lord Jesus. After four months, while my father was in his sickbed, someone came and told him, "Your son has become a Christian." When he heard this news he got a heart attack and died. After this incident, my family members blamed me for my father's death. Several times they tried to kill me but God protected me. They threw me out of our home. Because of my faith, I was kept out of my home for 10 years. During this time, my family's stance towards me remained the same: "If you reject Christ then we will accept you." Of course, I wouldn't reject Christ, so there was no place I could call my own. I stayed in the houses of other people and served the Lord Jesus.
I had a great desire to learn the Word of God systematically and I prayed about it. God heard my prayers and opened the way for me to study at Brethren Bible Institute in Pathanamthita, South India. When I came to my hometown during vacation, my family members tried to kill me again; they caught me and beat me severely. They took away my Bible, tore it and threw it in the toilet. Because of my faith I faced many problems like this. It is God's grace that enabled me to complete my Bachelor's degree in theology. After graduation I stayed in the house of brother P.J John.
Of all my family members, my older brother was the most hostile to Christ, and thus to me - it was he who continued to insist that I had no place in the family home. In the year 2007, he picked up a quarrel with one of our neighbours; some time later, the neighbour killed him. After his death my family members called me to stay in the family home. They accepted me and gave me a small piece of land on which I built a hut for myself. A few years later, I got married. In accordance with the Bible's command on marriage, my wife Soni was also born again, a disciple of the Lord Jesus. She was a member of the Patna Brethren Assembly at Patna, the capital of Bihar. After continuing 5 years in the hut, God answered our prayers for a better house. He provided a house consisting of one room plus a kitchen. God has also blessed us with three children: Blesson, Blessy and Godson.
Now I am a full time Christian worker. This means I don't have a secular job but spend all my time in Christian work. I survive on gifts that God leads His people to give me. I worship at the same church that I first attended, the assembly at Muzaffarpur. This church has more than 25 believers participating in the Lord’s table every Sunday. A few people in my home town have become followers of Christ after hearing my witness and seeing my changed life. They have joined our church. Apart from helping in the work of my local church at Muzzafarpur, I am also preaching the gospel at two nearby places, Bochanan and Rusulpur.
Often the adults are not interested in hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ but they don't mind sending their children to learn Bible verses, songs and stories about Jesus. Sometimes, these little hearts respond to God and He changes them, and this catches the notice of the parents, who thus get interested in the Lord Jesus. In this way, I have been able to get a good response at these new places.
The Lord Jesus has changed my life, and only he can change the lives of Biharis and Indians because he is the Creator and also the Savior who left heaven to come down to die for our sins. He did this so that we could not only have our sins forgiven but become new people in him. Therefore, my desire is to serve God and make Him known among others. Soni also shares the same passion and is a great help, despite suffering from sinusitis. If you are a disciple of Christ, please pray for us. If Jesus Christ is not your personal Lord and Saviour, I urge you with all my heart to give Him that place in your life
; he is the only one worthy of that position.