From High Priest to Global Mission Pioneer
As a high priest of another religion I knew Christianity existed, but knew nothing about what they believed.
Sadorai Reang, 63, former high priest
In our Indian state of Tripura, many offer sacrifices to main gods, as well as many minor gods. They worship with sacrificed goats, buffalo, pigs and chickens. For one they sacrifice goats and buffalo. They give flowers, fruits, coconut, and rice mixed together with sugar.
Every year we held special ceremonies where we sacrificed to our gods, asking for blessings on our houses and village. Every god had their job—one protected us from our enemies; another brought us happiness. Another god helped us have wisdom, and another god helped those who wanted children.
As a high priest for another religion I knew Christianity existed, but knew nothing about what they believed. There were a few Christians in our village, but I paid no attention. I had my gods, and didn’t need another one! But one day some new Christians came to our village and invited us to their meetings. Many came, but most of us came drunk. We villagers often drank alcohol, so this wasn’t unusual. Though we didn’t absorb everything, some things pierced our minds through the alcoholic fog, and we wanted to hear more. These Christians—Adventists, they called themselves—showed a movie each night, and that was a big draw, because we didn’t have electricity or access to television.
Then one night the preacher read from Isaiah 66:15-17, and this text touched me. It spoke of people sacrificing and purifying themselves being burned by God’s fire. I realized that this great God would destroy my man-made gods, along with those who worship them.
I asked the pastor, “Are you saying that your God will destroy us and our gods because we sacrifice to our gods and eat unclean foods?” The pastor pointed me to the same Bible text and read it again. I realized that the Christian’s God was more powerful than any other god, and Jesus would save me if I asked Him. That night I gave my life to Jesus. My family also became Adventists, but others in the village were angry that we had left them without a high priest.
I had been the only one in a wide area who could sacrifice a buffalo to the goddess of long life. People here believe that the priest must cut the head off the animal with one chop, or the god or goddess wouldn’t accept the sacrifice. I received good money for this service. However, when I gave up my position as high priest, I had to support my family in other ways.
Several months after becoming an Adventist, I was invited to study at the local church headquarters to learn the Bible better and become a Global Mission pioneer. Returning home, I taught the new believers what I had learned, then went with the pastor-evangelist to other villages to translate for him. Wherever we go, people know that I was a high priest. Many wonder why I became a Christian, so they come to the meetings and listen to the message.
It’s difficult to work in this area, and there are not nearly enough workers to cover the huge territory, so we have to rely on new believers to teach one another and encourage each another in their growing faith. We have many Adventist congregations in Tripura, but only one district pastor in the whole state—and he cares for 40 congregations.
Every January thousands of people gather from throughout the state to hold a religious ceremoney and sacrifice buffalo to the gods. One year we went to this ceremony and held meetings, singing and sharing our faith among the people who had come to sacrifice. Because I was once a high priest, I went to the chief high priest and befriended him. I invited the conference pastor to come with me and introduced him to this priest. We shared our faith and invited him to give His life to Jesus. He agreed with what we were telling him, but he hesitated because he gets a lot of money from sacrificing during this ceremony. He had too much to lose, he felt. But his son became an Adventist with his father’s blessing. Now his son is one of our Global Mission volunteers.
Please pray that God will provide workers for this field, and give liberal mission offerings that help support Global Mission pioneers.