Sailesh [SI-lesh] and his brother Vaj were successful pastors in far western India. The brothers’ churches were in villages about 6 miles [10 kilometers] apart. The brothers enjoyed working for God, and together they had brought about 700 members to their churches.
Then one day some visitors came to Sailesh’s home. He greeted them warmly and invited them in. After serving them some food, the men sat down together to talk. Sailesh learned that the three men were Global Mission Pioneers, volunteers working with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Sailesh was always interested in studying about God, so he was happy that the men offered to spend time with him in God’s Word.
Soon the four were deep into a discussion about what God says about Creation, the Ten Commandments, and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Sailesh listened eagerly as the men explained that God had never set aside any of the Ten Commandments. Just as God forbids killing or stealing, so He commands His children to keep the Sabbath day holy. Sailesh had never thought about the Sabbath commandment before. He had assumed that all Christians worship on Sunday as he did.
When the men stood to leave, Sailesh invited them to return the next week and study the Bible with him again.
The men did return and studied with Sailesh. The young pastor shared each new Bible truth he was learning with his church congregation. Before long many in his church were also convinced that what their pastor was teaching them was the truth. Before long nearly everyone chose to worship on Sabbath instead of Sunday.
When the Global Mission Pioneers announced that evangelistic meetings would be held in the village, Sailesh invited Vaj and many other relatives to attend. Vaj traveled to the village and attended the meetings. When the meetings ended, the brothers, their parents, and some 30 other family members were baptized.
Sailesh and Vaj continued to share their new faith with others, and within six months more than 1,000 people took their stand to follow God’s way, including nearly all of Sailesh’s and Vaj’s church members.
But not everyone was happy that so many in the region were becoming Christians. Some people were angry that a new brand of Christianity was sweeping the area. One day as Vaj held a Bible study in a village near his home, a large group of people approached the house, brandishing sticks and swords. They broke up the Bible study and grabbed Vaj and carried him to another house, where they locked him inside. The mob chanted and shouted outside, and Vaj could hear some threaten to burn down the house with him inside.
Terrified, Vaj knelt and prayed for the people, asking that God would be honored no matter what happened. He prayed for the people who held him captive. “Show them that You are the living God,” Vaj begged. For hours he prayed as the heat rose in the closed-up house.
Then he heard someone fumbling with the lock on the door. He looked up and saw the door open a crack. Is the end near? he wondered. The crowd quieted as a man began to talk.
“The man inside this house has done nothing wrong,” the man outside said. “He talks about his religion, and you don’t have to listen to him. But don’t hurt yourselves by taking his life.”
A moment later, the man who had been speaking opened the door and invited Vaj to walk out. Vaj realized that the man who had defended him was one of the village leaders. He stayed close to Vaj as they walked through the mob and walked beside him all the way back to Vaj’s house in a nearby village.
Vaj was shaken by the experience and considered giving up his work as a pastor. But the Global Mission Pioneers urged him to stay strong. “God has great plans for you, they said. “You will lead hundreds to Christ if you remain faithful.”
Vaj continued sharing God’s Word, and today the small village has a congregation of 300 new believers, including some of those who had threatened Vaj.
Sailesh and Vaj became Global Mission Pioneers together. Today they serve God together as Adventist pastors, leading many to the feet of Jesus. Our mission offerings help reach thousands in India and around the world and help support the work of Global Mission Pioneers.