Trading Guns for God
One day Rajendra heard that some strangers were holding meetings in his village. He decided he had better find out what was going on.
Rajendra Ram, 48, from Bihar, was an activist in eastern India before learning about the true God.
Rajendra Ram was a poor farmer from a village in eastern India. He did not have a lot of education, money, or resources, but he cared about his family, his neighbors, and the people around him. He grew angry when he saw how oppressed the poor people around him were.
Rajendra decided to do something about the situation, so he and nine friends formed a gang that tried to fight against the oppression. As time went on, the gang became increasingly violent. Rajendra and his friends felt their mission justified the violence. Sometimes they even killed people. Because of their crimes, they were hunted by the police, and they had to hide in the jungle. Rajendra was only able to see his wife and children on nights when he could sneak into his village.
Strangers in Town
One day Rajendra heard that some strangers were holding meetings in his village. He decided he had better find out what was going on. So the next evening Rajendra sat in the back as a pastor talked about Jesus. Rajendra narrowed his eyes. It sounded to him like these men were trying to enslave the villagers to their religion, just like foreigners had enslaved the Indian people politically in the past.
Rajendra listened for only a few minutes before slipping out of the tent to rejoin his friends in the jungle. He told the other men what he had seen, and they decided to break up the meeting the next night and force the strangers out of the village.
The next evening Rajendra marched into the tent in the middle of the meeting and walked right up to the front, followed by his gang.
“Grab these men!” Rajendra shouted. “Let’s take them to the jungle.”
The pastor looked right at Rajendra and spoke calmly: “Brother, we aren’t doing anything wrong. Sit down and listen to what we are saying. If you don’t like what you hear, you can do what you like to us. But first, please listen.”
Rajendra was subdued by the pastor’s words. He sent his team away and sat down to listen to the rest of the message.
“Jesus came to this world to die for our sins,” the pastor said. “One day soon He will come back to take His people home to heaven.”
Rajendra was interested in spite of himself. As he listened to the pastor’s words, he stopped thinking about what he could do to stop the meetings and started thinking about all the terrible things he had done in the past few years. Something in his heart changed. He felt his conscience talking to him.
After the meeting was over, Rajendra returned to the jungle. But he could not sleep that night. How could I have done all those things? he thought to himself. Can I ever be forgiven for all the violence?
In the morning Rajendra got dressed, feeling as though he would never get out of the pit of sin he had dug for himself. In despair he walked to the house where the pastor was staying.
When the pastor opened the door, a look of surprise crossed his face. Rajendra knew he was wondering whether the man from the jungle had come to kill him. But the pastor invited him in nonetheless.
“I would like to join your group,” Rajendra said humbly. “Will your God accept me?”
A wide smile came across the pastor’s face. “Of course God will accept you. He will accept anyone who comes asking for forgiveness from their sins.”
The pastor and Rajendra talked and prayed together. Rajendra felt his heart melt with the love of God, and he knew that he had been made into a new man.
God’s Newest Child
When Rajendra left the pastor’s house, people passing by looked at him fearfully. They knew he was a dangerous man. Some men rushed into the house to see if the pastor was dead. “I’m fine,” the pastor told them, smiling. “It is the old Rajendra who is dead. The man you just saw was the new Rajendra, God’s newest child!”
Rajendra began studying the Bible regularly with the pastor. The more he learned, the more he was convinced that this religion did not mean slavery–it meant freedom.
The next time the pastor held a baptism in the nearby river, Rajendra stood with the 39 other candidates–including his wife –ready to be dipped into the water. But before he could be baptized, he saw police surrounding the area. He did not resist when they grabbed his arms. Before they took him away, Rajendra told the people: “I promise that as soon as I am freed, I will be baptized in this very spot.”
Rajendra spent six months in prison. To this day he still does not know why he was released so quickly. He immediately went to the pastor so he could be baptized as he had promised, and so that everyone would know he was a new man in Christ.
Rajendra became a lay evangelist, trading his guns for the Bible, and working in the same villages where he once terrorized many of the people. God had changed his life.