by Joey Sanchez

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. ~James 1:2-4

It started with a dream. Jitanís mother, a devout Hindu woman, dreamt that her daughter was healed of her mysterious sickness and her son Jitan converted to Christianity. When Jitan was informed of this, he told his mother that this was a good sign. Yet Jitanís mother was distraught. The dread of her son becoming a Christian overrode the hope of her daughterís healing, for Jitan belonged to a devout Hindu family living in a devout Hindu village. There they viewed Christians as lower caste, people of little import. To forsake Hinduism for Christianity is an act of great disgrace.

Some days later, Jitanís family heard of people being healed at the hands of Christians in another village. Undeterred by the dream and their disdain towards Christianity, Jitan set out to seek them for the sake of his ailing sister. Despite being unbelievers, Jitanís sister was healed, fulfilling the first half of their motherís dream. After the miracle, Jitan thought to himself ďIf this Jesus can heal, why donít we accept Him as a Saviour?Ē

Little by little Jitan investigated the Gospel. Jitan soon found himself in the company of the very people his family had told him to stay away from. Curiosity transformed into genuine faith. The Gospel had touched his heart and he surrendered himself to Christ. With his new found faith came new persecution. Not long after Jitan became a Christian, he was disowned by his family and community. His family then had him exiled from his village. In the face of rejection, Jitan kept his faith and trusted God with his life. Jitan left Tripura with no place to go. He wandered the countryside for some time, waiting on Godís guidance. His family, whom he had kept in contact via phone, felt the positive transformation within Jitan. They could not bring themselves to aid a wayward son who had abandoned the familyís tradition. Left to his own devices, with no money to his name, Jitan traveled around India completely relying on God for provisions. Jitan momentarily found work as a labourer until his co-workers found out he was a Christian. This discovery cost Jitan his livelihood. Even in the face of unemployment, Jitan kept the faith.

Whatever money Jitan saved, he used to travel to Bangalore. Along the way Jitan endured persecution that came from fellow Christians. During one Bible study, he was asked if he could lead them in prayer. As soon as he started praying in his native tongue of Bengali, he was promptly stopped by the leaders and told ďGod does not accept prayers in BengaliĒ! Discouraged by these misguided teachings, Jitan returned to Tripura.

In Tripura he happened upon an Advancing Indigenous Missionsí (AIM) Leadership Seminar where he heard Bible teaching in his native tongue for the first time in his life. There he was reminded that Jesus Christ sacrificed His life for our sake, so too must Christians sacrifice their lives for His glory. A passion was lit in Jitanís heart to preach the Gospel to his own people, in spite of what he went through for the cost of Christ. While attending the seminar, Jitan met AIM Partner leader, Kirit Debbarma. Jitan shared his testimony with Pastor Kirit and from there a mentorship was formed.

Currently Jitan is attending Pastor Kiritís residential Bible School. There he has found a home with other Christians seeking to grow in the knowledge of Christ. Jitan suffered through persecution, abandonment, poverty and false teachings. By Godís grace, he has remained faithful. Through trials and persecution a passion for the Gospel was born. Through perseverance, a man of God is being raised to lead the very people who had attempted to eradicate his faith.

posted on March 21, 2017
Advancing Indigenous Missions 2017