On a searing summer day in the country where I serve as a church planter,* I needed a break from the blistering sun and swirling dust. I took cover in the shade of one of the city’s many businesses. As I stood and watched people rush past me, a young man approached, asking if I knew where he could find a certain temple.
“I do know of a temple,” I told him, “but it’s quite far from here. Why are you searching for a place to worship on such a stifling hot day?”
“Because if I don’t go to worship my god, he will punish me,” the man explained anxiously, wiping the sweat from his brow.
I felt sad when I heard his response. “Lord,” I prayed in my thoughts, “please help me to share a glimpse of Your love with this man today.”
I introduced myself and learned that the man’s name was Hari Dhas. “Hari,” I said, “I’d like to treat you to a refreshing drink at a restaurant. Will you join me?”
Hari studied my face a moment, then smiled and nodded. A few minutes later, we were sitting in a cool room, sipping fresh fruit juice. During our conversation, I invited him to share with me a little about his faith.
“I believe that my every thought, word, and action affect my well-being not only in this current life,” he told me, “but in my future lives as well.” He paused, a sad, faraway look in his eyes. “I love my wife and children very much,” he added. “They're in our home country, and I worry about their well-being too.”
He took another sip of juice. “What about you?” he asked. “What do you believe?”
I sent up a silent prayer, asking the Holy Spirit for guidance. Then I briefly shared the story of how God had led my family and me out of spiritual darkness into His marvelous light. “I’ve been so blessed since I’ve known Jesus,” I said. “Never have I known such forgiveness and peace.”
Hari’s eyes filled with tears, and I sensed that he longed to know more about Jesus.
“Do you have time now to meet some of my friends?” he asked hesitantly. “They live in an apartment just a few minutes’ walk from here.”
"Sure!" I replied. We made our way to the apartment, and soon I was surrounded by a group of friendly men. "You're just in time for lunch!" one of them said, urging me to sit down to eat.
I thanked my new friends for their hospitality, then bowed my head to ask God’s blessing on my meal. As I prayed, I noticed the room grow quiet. “They’ve never seen anyone ask a god to bless their food,” Hari explained after I was finished. This situation opened the door for dialogue, and the men began asking me questions about my Christian faith. The more we talked, the more intrigued they became.
“Would you like to hear stories about God from the Bible?” I asked. To my delight, they unanimously agreed. Before I left, they had committed to attend meetings at my home to learn about God’s love and care.
Just think. This all happened because Hari was trying to find his god that day. Little did he dream that his quest would lead him to find the true God of heaven. I praise God that Hari can now become a child of the Lord of lords and King of kings!
*The name of the church planter and specific place names have been withheld.