A woman who once wandered the jungles in India, plagued with mental illness and demonic possession, is now completely healed after embracing the Gospel thanks to the witness of indigenous missionaries.
According to a report from Christian Aid Mission, a ministry in a southern state of India in the past year trained and sent a near-culture missionary to Jharkhand, an eastern state, to visit a Bhuiya village with the message of Christ's salvation.
A family there had an older relative who had wandered in nearby jungles for four years, and they brought her home to hear the evangelist.
"I lived a worldly life and worshiped local gods and goddesses," said the woman, whose name is withheld for security reasons. "I was possessed with evil spirits, and as a result I was mentally affected and wandered around in the jungles."
The indigenous missionary shared the gospel with the family and asked them if they wished to put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
"After their willingness to accept the Lord, he prayed for me, and instantly the Lord delivered me from the grip of the evil spirits and healed me from my insane condition," said the woman. "Now I am absolutely normal and have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Lord. Now my entire family belongs to the family of God. Praise the Lord!"
The report notes that less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the Bhuiya tribe in India profess Christianity, with many practicing Hinduism and animism, viewing the earth and sun are their highest gods, followed by local ancestral and mountain spirits.
Despite such demonic forces, the Gospel is at work in the region: February through April, the indigenous ministry's workers shared the gospel with 2,800 people in 35 villages, all around India. A staggering 1,160 people put their faith in Christ, with 391 baptized and 12 churches planted as a result of the ministry's work.
In another village, a man revealed he had previously worshiped the goddess Durga, the Hindu mother deity regarded as the root force of creation and sustenance, and the destroyer of other, more malevolent gods. However, after local witchdoctors failed to treat his severe chest pain and breathing problems, the Bhuiya man approached a native missionary to pray for his healing.
"He shared about Christ's love for the poor and needy, and about His authority over the devil and over all kinds of sicknesses," he said. "I believed, and I committed my life to Jesus Christ, believing that Jesus is the only Lord and Savior. I requested the missionary to pray for me. Immediately after the prayer, I experienced the power of God in my life, and the Lord removed all the pain from my life. Now I am absolutely normal and love the Lord and live for Him."
His entire family has also put their faith in Christ, he added.
Embracing Christianity in India does not come without risk: the country is ranked 17th on Open Door USA's World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most persecution. The report notes that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, radical Hinduism, which was already present under the previous government, has increased steadily.
"While intolerance has risen, and minorities are constantly attacked, the central government has refused to speak out against the atrocities - thus further encouraging the radical Hindus to step up their actions. The level of impunity has gone up markedly for those who push for a completely Hindu India."
However, in an earlier report, another indigenous ministry director in India told CAM that he is confident the truth of the Gospel is stronger than all forces of darkness, an ultimately, light will prevail: "The Lord also is doing great and marvelous work in the lives of those who believe in Jesus Christ," he said.