a story from Sikkim in Asia
Lamin comes from the small country of Sikkim in the Himalayan mountains in Asia – the highest in the world. His parents taught him to worship household gods and do things that would make the gods pleased with him. When he was 16 years old, Lamin began to study his religion in a monastery. He wanted to learn more about his gods. He hoped one day to become a religious teacher and be among the most important people in his religion. The more he learned, the more he began to question in his mind what the religious leaders were telling him. Often people who were ill came to him. They gave him food and money so that he would read words from his holy book to make them well again. He thought this would please the gods, so they would not be angry with the ill person any more. Lamin hoped it would make the gods pleased with him too. But nothing ever happened. Lamin worked hard to learn all he could, and tried to do good things to please his gods. But at the same time he was thinking, "My religion has never given me peace in my mind, whatever I do or give to the gods."
Then a new school was opened in his village and Lamin enrolled his children. The teachers were followers of Jesus Christ. They were kind and loving to the children, and read them stories from the Bible. One day Lamin's daughter Rika became ill. He was very worried about her. She got worse and became unconscious. Lamin went to his religious leaders and some witch doctors, but none of them could help Rika. When the teachers from the school heard about Rika's illness, they came and prayed (talked to God), asking Jesus to heal her. Immediately Rika became conscious and was soon well again.
You will die in 3 months!
Then Lamin became ill. His legs swelled up, he could not breathe properly and his skin was turning dark. The doctors did not know what was wrong with him. Again he called the witch doctors and his religious leaders. He tried saying words from his holy book over and over again, but nothing happened. One old religious leader told Lamin, "You will die in three months' time."
But Lamin did not get better, neither did he die. He again questioned in his mind all the things he had learned about his religion. One day he shouted at an old religious leader, "From now on I will call the teachers who follow Jesus Christ and ask them to pray for me." These teachers visited Lamin and told him that Jesus had the power to make him well. These words gave him hope.
It is not what you do …
At that time a film was shown in his village about the life of Jesus Christ. In the film Lamin learned how much Jesus loves us. He saw how Jesus was killed on a cross, even though he had done nothing wrong. Jesus died to take the punishment that we should have, for all our wrong doing. Lamin learned that he did not have to do things or say religious words to earn Jesus' love and forgiveness. These are free to all who say they are sorry for their wrong doings. Lamin was so happy when he learned these things. He and his wife became followers of Jesus. Soon after this, God healed him completely.
Now Lamin is a much happier man. At one time he drank strong drink and often treated his wife and children badly. Jesus has set him free from all these bad things too.
Lamin says, "The gods that I worshipped didn't heal me, but I chose to live by following the true God who loves and heals me."