When Karen was 13 years old, her life changed dramatically. She left an orphanage in her native India and was adopted by a family in America.
Despite pains lingering from her early childhood, she began to embrace the new life she found. Stepping into American culture she adjusted during her teen years and even accepted Jesus Christ into her life and was baptized at church at the age of 16.
Years past and Karen was visiting in India where she met a young shopkeeper named Manoj. Like any good Indian shopkeeper visited by a young lady with an American accent—he sold her as many expensive clothes as he could. Besides doing his job, Manoj saw something about Karen that caught his eye. So, when she and her brother came back to pick up the clothes, he invited them to hang out with him and meet some people from the area.
They did and something sparked between the young shopkeeper and Karen. As they spent time together, she shared her stories about how she was adopted and how she’d become a Christian.
For Manoj, who came from a devout Hindu family, his view of Christianity was not a very positive one. He had seen enough examples of Christians who were faithful to attend church but just as quick to act like anyone else when they weren’t in the church building that he felt Christians weren’t really different from anyone else. Yet, as Manoj heard Karen talk about Christ and how worshiping idols wasn’t right, he felt himself agreeing with her even as he prayed to the idols he was starting to question.
“When she was talking about worshiping idols is not good,” Manoj said. “What she was saying made sense.”
After her visit to India, Karen returned to Michigan, but they stayed in contact.
“I’m thinking, ‘It’s just my luck. I fall in love with this guy who is not a Christian,’” Karen recalled.
Having come from a family of Hindu priests herself, she didn’t want to totally reject him and as she struggled through some self-esteem problems herself, she determined not to press Manoj to accept Christ for her sake. He had to decide for himself.
“I wasn’t exactly the strongest person at that point,” she said. “I should have shared more, I really feel like I should have.”Even so, God used what she and others shared with Manoj to turn his heart.
“He started really opening up to it,” Karen recalled. “He told me that he was thinking it was wrong to worship idols.”
Back in India, Manoj kept meeting people who helped him realize the truth about Christ.
There was the lady who gave him a book about Christianity and the Christian bookstore clerk who explained what accepting Christ meant. Manoj still can’t recall who told him a story that continued to resonate in his mind about Jesus being the one God who answers prayer.
It was the story of a Hindu and a Christian who were on a boat. The boat began to sink and the Hindu cried out to all the gods he could think of—the god of water, air, sea, and sky and anything else he could remember. The Christian cried out to Jesus. When the ship sunk below the surface, the Christian was saved when Jesus answered his call, but the Hindu drowned because each god concluded that one of the other gods would answer his cry.
Something about the truth of there being only one true God who loves people caught Manoj’s heart. He read more and finally decided he wanted to serve Christ and not the idols of Hinduism.
Chatting online with Karen, Manoj told her he wanted to accept Christ.
“I wanted to make sure he understood what it meant,” Karen said. “That it wasn’t just another religion. So that’s when I kind of explained to him about Jesus.”
After she explained more to make sure he understood, Karen led Manoj in a prayer to make Christ the one God of his life.
As Manoj started his new life of faith, the shopper and the shopkeeper decided to marry. Despite their love, difficulties were not far behind that decision as the couple made plans for the wedding. On the wedding day they were married in a church in India. Manoj’s Hindu family refused to attend because it was being held in a church.
Their fledgling marriage started down a rocky road as they discovered that they both were better at putting off disagreements instead of dealing with them. Still, they wanted it to work as they set up home in Michigan.
For several years they became busy with their work, had two children and only attended church occasionally, but the conflicts they’d been sweeping under the carpet were beginning to show and their marriage became strained.
“It was personality conflict, culture conflict every type of conflict,” Karen said, describing their marriage. “Every little thing was like an argument. It was headed for disaster.”
During that time they kept running across people who invited them to Resurrection Life Church. After several invitations they gradually started attending regularly, sitting on the back row but learning from each message.
Looking back on what they have learned at ResLife, Manoj realized that while he had chosen to follow Christ, he let other things become more important.
“I was not a hundred percent Christian until I started coming to this church a year ago,” he said. “This church made me to believe and walk 100-percent Christian. I really admire Pastor Duane how he breaks it up—each word—and explains. It sits on your head.”
The more they came and applied what they heard, the more their relationship changed.
“It’s more like understanding,” Manoj said of their marriage. “It’s working out spending time together and just plan for our future how we can raise our kids. They’re going to watch us so…we want to be an example for our kids.”
Looking at their lives, Manoj and Karen both can list area after area that has changed as they’ve put the Word of God into their hearts.
Not only did they see a change in their marriage but they found opportunities to become actively involved in ways dear to their hearts. One service, pastor Duane talked about how the television outreach, Walking By Faith, is broadcasting in India. Hearing this, Manoj wanted to get involved in sharing the Word that was changing his life to the people in his homeland.
Now, on most Sunday nights, Manoj and Karen have left the back row and can be seen sitting on the front row at ResLife where he volunteers as the floor director for Walking by Faith.
Looking at all the changes in their own lives, Manoj and Karen want to share their relationship with Christ beyond themselves.
“Now, if I go to India this year, I’m going to go to church and give my testimony,” Manoj said.
Source: http://drypixel.com/345/the-indians-who-follow-christ-100-percent/ accessed on 10th June 2011