Truth That Matters

"What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" - Jesus Christ

Transformation

A white traveler to Africa saw a black man reading the Bible. Being an atheist, the white man mocked him. When he saw that the black man ignored him, he made himself more conspicuous.
"Why do you read that outdated book?" he asked.
"Do you see that heap of ashes with bones there?" the black man replied.
"Yes"
"Your bones would be there by now were it not for this book. I was a cannibal until I got this book and it changed me. I used to kill people, cook them at that spot and eat them until I came to know Jesus Christ my saviour through this book."
This story is representative of millions. There are millions of people all over the world whose lives have been changed for the better - if you were to ask them the reason, the answer is the same: Jesus Christ.

What kind of transformation?

Some people have been healed of their diseases, or have been enabled to come up in life. However, this is not the main theme. Even a person who has been miraculously healed will eventually get sick and die. The main theme is a transformation in character. People who have been characterized by promiscuity, anger, depression, arrogance, and so on, are now characterized by self control, peace, joy, humility and above all, an assurance of spending eternity with God, whom they love intensely, having experienced His love. The blissful ignorance of their sinfulness as well as the condemnation and guilt that accompanies an awareness of one's moral state are both gone - replaced by the assurance of forgiveness of sins and eternal life as God's children.

The people of Holland

Gawin Kirkham, 19th century British preacher, writes of his visit to Holland:

"My first visit to the Continent was in August, 1867, when, in the providence of God, I attended the Fifth General Conference of the Evangelical Alliance, held for ten days in Amsterdam....though threatened with imprisonment if I attempted street preaching, yet on my second visit it was allowed by the authorities, and taken up by the Dutch themselves, led by Mr.Isaac Esser, of the Hague. Such a complete change was wrought thereby, under the blessing of God, in a bad street in the Hague, that the Burgomaster declared, "One good street-Preacher is worth ten policemen" — a saying which has since become famous."

Also see a similar case of transformation in Shimabuku, Japan.

Natives of the New Hebrides Islands

[Page numbers refer to John G. Paton: Missionary to the New Hebrides, An Autobiography Edited by His Brother (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1965, orig. 1889, 1891).]

John G Paton, missionary to the New Hebrides (Vanuatu), writes about the transformation of the natives:-

"...about 3,500 savages [more than half the population] threw away their idols, renouncing their heathen customs and avowing themselves to be worshipers of the true Jehovah God" (p. 77)

"Recall . . . what the Gospel has done for the near kindred of these same Aborigines. On our own Aneityum, 3,500 Cannibals have been lead to renounce their heathenism . . . In Fiji, 79,000 Cannibals have been brought under the influence of the Gospel; and 13,000 members of the Churches are professing to live and work for Jesus. In Samoa, 34,000 Cannibals have professed Christianity; and in nineteen years, its College has sent forth 206 Native teachers and evangelists. On our New Hebrides, more than 12,000 Cannibals have been brought to sit at the feet of Christ" (p.265)

What were these heathen customs?
The natives were cannibals and occasionally ate the flesh of their defeated foes. They practiced infanticide and widow sacrifice, killing the widows of deceased men so that they could serve their husbands in the  next world (pp. 69, 334). The image shows Captain Cook landing at the islands.

Paton's testimony is particularly important because it was given at a time when atheists were citing primitive peoples as evidence of evolution. Only the power of the living, true God can transform cannibals as he did through the work of John Paton.

The Hmar

[The information in this section has been taken from Vishal Mangalwadi's book, The Book that made your world]

The Hmar were a head hunting tribe in North East India. When the British came to India, they found the Hmar to be ferocious warriors. One day in 1870, the Hmars killed five hundred Britishers in a single raid on a tea plantation. After that, no British officer went into their jungles without a large armed guard.

How did the Hmar live? Their lives were miserable: poor hygiene, lack of proper sanitation, violence, illiteracy, and malnutrition ensured a very high mortality rate. Alcoholism wreaked a havoc with adults. The Hmar lived in fear of spirits. Medicine was unknown. Demons were thought to bring disease. Revered priests and witch doctors killed endless number of chickens, goats, and pigs as sacrifices to appease the angry spirits. If you're happy that the Hmar killed the British imperialists, note that they were as violent with each other.

As you can see, there was nothing "pristine" in their tribal life. It would be inhumane to leave such a tribe alone. If you approach them, your head may end up decorating one of their huts. How can these savages be emancipated?

In 1909 a mail runner brought a book to the chief of the village of Senvon in the state of Manipur. It was the Gospel of John written in the Lushai Language, in the Roman script. The chief could not read but he thought that the book was important. He found a traveller passing through his village and asked him to help. Although the traveler could read the words, he could not understand them. But he found the address of the sender at the back of the book. It was Mr. Watkins R. Roberts, a businessman from Wales.

Chief Kamkhawlun sent for Roberts to explain the meaning of the book. Roberts needed the permission of Colonel Locke, the superintendent of the Lushai Hills district. Colonel Locke's reply was as stern as it was concise: "The Hmar are the most savage head hunters in the world. They will lop off your head and make a big celebration over your dead body. When we go there we take at least fifty soldiers to guard us. I can't spare even one for you."

Undaunted, Roberts trekked about a hundred miles, accompanied by some young men, reached Senvon, and tried to explain the message of the Bible to the Hmar. He left after promising to return and start a clinic and school, but he could not keep his promise because he Colonel Locke expelled from the district. But The Main Message that Roberts narrated captivated the Hmar. Chawnga Pudaite became one of the first Hmar Christians. Along with his friends, he learned the Lushai language so he could memorize the Gospel Of John and share it with their people. Gradually, many Hmar became Biblical Christians. The community was transformed. Several schools and one college were started. The lieutenant governor managed to get the college a grant of a hundred thousand rupees from the University Grants Commission (UGC) of India. So great was the impact of the Bible in transforming the Hmar that when the UGC demanded that they stop teaching the Bible in their "government funded" college, the Hmars chose to close down their college instead. 

The Waodani

The Waodani are a tribe in the Amazon rain forest in Ecuador. They were formerly called the Aucas (savages). They lived naked in the jungle. The hallmark of the Auca tribe was spearing - you speared anyone you had a quarrel with (from the same tribe) and any stranger you met. By the 1950s, centuries of violence had brought the tribe to the verge of extinction. However, the Waodani heard The Main Message from American missionaries. Many of them responded positively and the entire lifestyle of the tribe changed. For the first time, a significant percentage of males began living long enough to become grandparents. Spearing was abandoned. It was decided to make a movie based on the whole story. The publicity-shy Waorani initially refused. Guess what got them to agree: the school shootings in America! These “savages”, who had been changed by Jesus Christ, learned with astonishment, that the same decadence that characterized their former lives was becoming prevalent in America, land of the foreigners who brought the good news with them, a land that used to be Christian, but was now turning its back on God just like they had done thousands of years earlier! The image shows Steve Saint standing with the changed people who killed his father, missionary Nate Saint.

Well known individuals

The stories of people known personally to me are in the Testimonies page. Here are some well known examples of transformed lives.

Bakht Singh (1903-2000): He was born into a wealthy Hindu family in Punjab (Pakistan). Wanting to help his father in his business, he went to the UK to study engineering. However, on a trip to Canada, he committed his life to Jesus Christ. Convinced that God wanted him to be a full time preacher, he left his career and preached The Main Message all over India. Hundreds of thousands of people became disciples of Jesus Christ as a result. His funeral in Hyderabad was attended by about 250,000 people.

Dharm Prakash Sharma: This man from a prominent Hindu family in the pilgrimage town of Pushkar, India committed his life to Christ after a series of experiences showed him that Jesus Christ was the answer to the thirst for God that he had as a child. His life story is depicted in the Hindi movie Khoj. His and other stories are at Jeevan Marg (The Way of Life).
 
John Bunyan: In his own words: "I had few equals, especially considering my years, which were tender, for cursing, swearing, lying, and blaspheming the holy name of God…I was the very ringleader of all the youth that kept me company, in all manner of vice and ungodliness." But when he became a Christian, he was transformed. He not only turned over a new leaf, but became an able Bible teacher. The Anglican Church (which is similar to Roman Catholicism in its departure from the Bible) put him in prison because he preached The Main Message. While in prison, he wrote The Pilgrim's Progress, one of the most read, most translated books of all time.

John Newton (1725-1807): He was an English slave trader. After becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ, he campaigned against slavery and wrote "Amazing Grace", the most popular English Christian song. The image shows his epitaph. Do you know of any such tribute to any other god or belief system?
 
Mel Trotter was a drunken bum who wrecked his family with his alcoholism. When he found his two year old daughter dead at home due to neglect, he vowed never to drink again. Two hours later he was found drunk. But his life underwent a dramatic transformation when he believed The Main Message and committed his life to Jesus Christ. The organization he started helps troubled people find new lives. Jerry McCauley has a similar story.

Tom Skinner, New York gangster, had a remarkable transformation when he believed on the Lord Jesus. Brian Greenaway has a similar story.

Mitsuo Fuchida was one of the Japanese pilots who attacked Pearl Harbor. 

Nicky Cruz (1938-): This Puerto Rican was sent to New York by his parents when he was young. He got into bad company, and eventually became one of the most dreaded gangsters in New York. A prison psychiatrist once told him: "I have seen many criminals, but no one like you. You're an animal. There is no hope for you." But Nicky Cruz underwent a sudden transformation when he committed his life to Jesus Christ. Not only did he leave his gangster lifestyle of crime and delinquency, but he also became an ambassador for change with the Teen Challenge ministry, reaching out to thousands of troubled youngsters  
 
Rabindranath Maharaj: Born into a high caste family, Rabi was destined to become a great Hindu figure. As a teenager, he was well versed with the Hindu scriptures and an expert at yoga and meditation; people begged him to officiate at ceremonies. However, his personal life was a different story: addiction to smoking, bitterness and strife at home and lack of peace characterized him. Everything changed when he committed his life to Christ. His autobiography The Death of a Guru has been translated into more than 60 languages.
 
Tass Saada, onetime chauffeur of PLO leader Yasser Arafat went to America and became a Christian. He was so powerfully impacted by Jesus Christ that he risked death by returning to his homeland and trying to share his faith with his family and former boss. His autobiography is titled Once an Arafat Man.
 
Crissy Moran and Brittni Ruiz (Jenna Presley), former porn-stars, now live a life of purity and wholeness thanks to Jesus Christ. More porn-star stories
 
Mosab Hassan Yousef is the oldest son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a founding member of Hamas and its most popular leader. Since his youth, Mosab was an active member of Hamas and was all set to live a life of violence and hatred. Everything changed however, when he embraced Jesus Christ. Amidst calls for his death, he made his faith public, and has been vocal about his belief that Jesus' teaching, "Love your enemies" is the only way to peace in the Middle East. His autobiography is titled Son of Hamas.
 
Sadhu Sundar Singh (1889-1929): He was born into a Sikh family in North India. After his mother died when he was 14 he went into a depression. Things came to a head - he decided to commit suicide by throwing himself in front of a train the next morning. He however, spent the night praying: "O God, if there is a God, reveal thyself to me tonight". Before dawn he had a vision of Jesus Christ and he became a Biblical Christian. He was thrown out of home for his choice. He spent the rest of his life as a traveling Bible teacher.
 
Jamal and Mina Nevisa grew up in Iran. Their lives were steeped in radical Islam. However, God honored their hunger for the truth by revealing Himself to them through a series of miracles. They initially kept their faith secret. In conservative Iranian society, marriages are fixed by the parents with the couple not getting the chance to speak to each other before the wedding. So both of them thought that the other was a Muslim when their marriage was fixed. To escape torture and death (that is what Islam prescribes for those who realize that it is false), they fled to America. More than dreams documents five Muslims who were drastically transformed when Jesus appeared to them and directed them to the Bible. This seems to be a widespread phenomenon. Tom Doyle's book DREAMS AND VISIONS: Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World? documents the phenomenon in detail. More Muslim stories

Srinivasa Bhattacharya was a Hindu scholar and member of the RSS, a Hindu organization. His study of Hinduism itself led him to Jesus Christ. He was also helped by an old stranger.

Gulshan Esther was a Pakistani from a Sayed family, and thus a descendant of Muhammad. She was paralyzed on he left side. When all the family efforts to help her (including the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca) failed, she became despondent, crying out desperately to God. The Lord Jesus answered her prayers and miraculously healed her. She became a Biblical Christian despite getting death threats from her family and having to forfeit her huge inheritance. She narrates her story in The Torn Veil. Bilquis Sheikh narrates her similar story in I Dared To Call Him Father.

Daniel Shayesteh was an Iranian leader in the militant Free Islamic Revolutionary Movement, closely supporting Ayatollah Khomeini. However, after falling out of favor with Khomeini’s political group, (and the consequent arrest, torture, harassment) he escaped to Turkey where he became a follower of Christ. From a Muslim terrorist who hated all non-Muslims (especially Jews) and wanted to force Islam on the whole world, he became a Christian who loved everyone, even Jews. See Daniel Shayesteh, Islam: The House I Left Behind

Purushottam Chowdhury- One day, this Hindu found small torn page of Bible on road and got inspired to read the Bible and became a Christian. He wrote a large number of Christian hymns in Telegu (an Indian language).

Klaus Vollmar, German atheist came to Christ and led hundreds of Germans to Jesus Christ.

James Simpson, discoverer of chloroform, to a query on what was his greatest discovery, said, "The greatest discovery I ever made is that I was a great sinner and Christ a great savior"

Charles Darwin once lent a hall to some Christians in his village. There the message of Christianity was preached regularly. The results amazed Darwin - he wrote to the preacher: "Your services have done more for the village in a few months than all our efforts for many years. We have never been able to reclaim a drunkard, but through your services I do not know that there is a drunkard left in the village"

Here are some entries from George Muller's diary about his early life. They are taken from The Diary of George Muller; Selected Extracts by A. Rendle Short, London, Pickering and Inglis Ltd, 1972.

"Though I was punished on this and other occasions [of theft], yet I do not remember that at any time when my sins were found out, it made any other impression upon me than to make me think how I might do the thing next time more cleverly, so as not to be detected. (p 7-8)

He says his high school days were spent in "gross immorality" and sin.

"The night [my mother] was dying I, not knowing of her illness, was playing cards till two in the morning, and on the next day, being the Lord's day, I went with some of my companions in sin to a tavern, and then we went about the streets, half intoxicated." (p8)

His father brought him up in Heimersleben (Prussia/Germany); he got into a relationship with a girl from Brunswick. When he was sixteen, he went to Brunswick to spend time with her. He overstayed in hotels and inns; in one case, he managed to escape by giving his best clothes to the hotel as security. In another case, he tried to run away and was arrested. He was released in a month's time, when his father paid his dues. (pg 9-11)

His father put him in Halle Classical School where he continued his immorality: drunkenness, lying, stealing, running away from creditors, etc (p12). He then entered Halle University as a theology student with the Lutheran church. "I renewed my profligate life afresh, though now a student of divinity". He was not without desire to change. During the 1825 holidays:-

"I determined to live differently for the future. Once more the Lord showed me what resolutions come to, when made in man's strength. I was different for a few days….but soon all was forgotten"

However, in November 1825, Muller went to a Christian meeting. There he heard The Main Message and responded to it. What was the result?

"Now my life became very different, though all sins were not given up at once. My wicked companions were given up; the going to taverns was entirely discontinued; the habitual practice of telling falsehoods was no longer indulged in, but a few times after this I spoke an untruth. I no longer lived habitually in sin, though I was still often overcome, and sometimes even by open sins, though far less frequently than before, and not without sorrow of heart. I read the scriptures, prayed often, loved the brethren, went to church with the right motives, and stood on the side of Christ, though laughed at by my fellow-students." (pg 17-18)

Anita Hydes was raped as a child, beaten and as a result ran away from home. She became involved with prostitutes, drug addicts, and subsequently became a heroin addict herself. After 18 years on drugs, sentences in Young Offender Institutions and Holloway Prison she eventually hit rock bottom.

Through a lady called Joan Askew who would distribute sandwiches and soup to drug addicts in London, she came to know about Tony, a person who had left drugs and eventually became a Christian. Through Tony and others in his church, she came to learn The Main Message and committed her life to Christ. She was transformed powerfully, and began ministering to others who had been in her own old lifestyle.
She ends her testimony like this:

"For those who do not know Him, my dearest hope is that you will turn to the one who loves you far more abundantly than anyone else could ever love you - the Lord Jesus"

She narrates her story in Snatched from the flames, Anita Hydes with Michael Tony Ralls, New Wine Press, 1985.

Conclusion

Dramatic transformation in the lives of millions of individuals is evidence that God exists - He not only exists, but is at work among humanity. Even if you think you're doing fine right now, you have a real need that only God can meet.