By Ben Bagley
Every year India Connection sends a large group of volunteers to Pune to minister to the physical needs of the people in the neighborhood during a weeklong Medical Camp. Ben Bagley was one of many Americans who were visiting India for the first time. He served at the Prayer Station, where he and others on the team went before the Lord to intercede on behalf of anyone who asked for spiritual comfort and healing.
In his small white hat, the man in front of me at the Prayer Station looked like a Krispy Kreme donut shop worker that had collapsed on a dirty floor from a long hard night’s work without a break. This short, obese Indian man dressed in white cotton pants and a dirty white shirt down to his knees dropped into the chair across from me like a heap of mashed potatoes settles on a plate from a turned over serving spoon. I prayed for the right words and help from the LORD to minister to this poor hurting man.
His bloodshot eyes revealed his fatigue, and his mobility problems were evident by his slow and careful movements, and use of a cane. I did not know at the time that this man had leprosy, but he complained about his arms and legs being numb and pain in his limbs. After getting all the help he could from the medical professionals at the other stations of the Medical Camp, he had come to the Prayer Station. We prayed for his healing, and then we were able to share the good news of Jesus with him.
God Loves Everyone So Much
The leprous Mr. Donut Shop really stood out in my memory for a number of reasons. His story is everyone’s story; we are all lepers from a spiritual perspective. Leprosy in the scriptures is a picture of sin. Leprosy is like sin, a disease that has no cure, causes death, and is communicable. Only Jesus can heal the leper, and only Jesus can save the sinner. Our physical clothes may be whiter and cleaner than someone else’s, but compared to the perfect standard of Christ Jesus, everyone’s garments are filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
No one can be self-righteous because we have all sinned, and the standard of righteousness is holy perfection, which can’t be attained by good works, but only by Christ’s righteousness imparted to us by faith. At the prayer station we were there not only to pray for people’s needs physically, but also make them aware of the more important problem of spiritual leprosy. We are all sinners in need of a Savior, Jesus Christ, and He wants all men to repent and come to be saved (2 Peter 3:9).
At the Prayer Station, we found it helpful to first pray for people’s physical needs and requests, and then we would make them aware of their spiritual needs by sharing God’s perfect law that converts the soul (Psalm 19:7). We would take them to a few of the Ten Commandments, and also point out that if you break just one you are guilty of breaking all (James 2:10). For example, most people confess to telling a lie, breaking the Ninth Commandment. If they don’t admit to that then they just told a lie!
Once the person confesses to being a sinner, we can share the good news, that God doesn’t want them to spend eternity in hell, but he loved them so much that He, Jesus Christ, came down and lived the perfect life that we could never live. That Jesus died in their place, as the perfect sacrifice for their sins, and he rose again conquering sin, death, and the enemy. And then we invite them to accept the free gift of salvation, by confessing their sin, and asking Jesus to forgive them, and be their LORD and savior.
“What I am doing here!?”
I had professors from the Koinonia College of Theology at my side translating the various Indian languages to English, and then translating what I said back into the Indian languages. So while it is not difficult for me to pray for someone and share God’s love for them, I felt very silly at first, and confessed this to the professors. “I don’t need to be sharing with these people; you guys can do a better job than I could ever do, and you live here and know the culture, and speak the language, and are bible college professors!” “What I am doing here!?”
The professors laughed, and reassured me that the people feel special being prayed for by someone coming from far away. And culturally, people in India look to a “guru” or one who has a special connection to God. The people coming to the clinic are largely poor, uneducated Hindus and this appeals to them. Well, “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:27), so I will take being foolish and weak, but chosen by God, and to God be the glory!
Harvesting Eternal Fruit
I am so thankful to have had the privilege of serving the LORD during India Connection’s annual Medical trip in January.
We didn’t count each decision and sinner’s prayer prayed, but we were able to lead many to Christ, around twenty five. Amanda Sudore, and Deb Hosmer did a great job sharing the gospel and praying for the needs of the people. Thank the LORD for them, and the great work He did.
We are happy to report that Mr. Donut Shop was one of those many people who professed faith in Jesus Christ in prayer! Please pray for him, and the other seeds that were planted, that God would preserve the seed, and water, and it would bring forth fruit to God’s glory.
If you have given your life to the LORD Jesus Christ, you can attest to how Jesus can take a leprous man, which no medicine can cure, and make him clean and whole. He can take our filthy rags, and clothe us in pure garments of salvation. He can take a lame man, and make him dance! I trust we will see this fat donut man dancing on streets of gold!