Gospel for Asia / 12 NOV 2014 – In 2008, a simple rickshaw was ordered from Gospel for Asia’s Christmas Gift Catalog with the hope of providing one individual or family with much-needed income and demonstrating God’s love. But in the six years since, thousands have heard the Good News through that gift. It all began with a lonely woodcutter who chose to use what he was given for God.
Idhant had only been married a few years when his wife left him. He earned less than a dollar a day chopping wood, and scraped by into his mid-40s with little to cheer him or look forward to—until he met GFA pastor Matthew.
When Pastor Matthew came to Idhant’s village and heard the man’s story, he was so deeply moved that he invited Idhant to live with his family. Pastor Matthew’s wife and children took him in as one of their own, and as they demonstrated God’s love each day, Idhant began to want what they had.
Once Idhant decided to embrace Christ, he couldn’t keep the Good News to himself. He began travelling with Pastor Matthew to share with others how Jesus could work in their lives. But even as he shared his new joy and delighted in his surrogate family, Idhant continued to struggle financially.
Pastor Matthew began looking for an opportunity to help his friend further, so he requested that a rickshaw be given to Idhant during an upcoming Christmas gift distribution program. The next Sunday, an elated Idhant committed his new rickshaw to the Lord’s service.
Man Uses New Rickshaw to Share Jesus
Idhant’s daily income tripled with the rickshaw, but he didn’t forget his Provider. Every morning, he set out with stacks of Gospel literature to share with his passengers and people around town.
Tanseem and her husband, Quasim, were on the way to the hospital when they hired Idhant’s rickshaw. Tanseem’s doctors had been unable to cure her of an illness, but Idhant told them about Jesus’ power to heal and gave them literature to take home.
Tanseem and Quasim were encouraged to read about the God who loved them, and the next Saturday, they found Idhant and told him how comforting the literature had been.
“Can you give me a little more information about Jesus?” Quasim asked. “Can your Jesus heal my wife’s sickness?”
Idhant assured Quasim that God could. Then he invited the couple to his church so they could hear more. Quasim and Tanseem came to the service the next day, putting their faith in Jesus for healing.
Within a few more days, Tanseem was relieved of her illness, and she and her husband decided to follow Christ.
As Idhant continued to share the Gospel each day, word spread about the kind man who distributed literature from his rickshaw. For a young woman who had run away from home, it was exactly the lifeline she needed.
Runaway Hears of Ministering Rickshaw Driver
At 23 years old, Udbala’s whole life had been marked by abuse. She dropped out of school in the fourth grade to work as a nanny, making her the family’s sole provider. However, the freedom to use her income wisely proved to be a battle.
When she returned home from work, her father demanded money for alcohol and beat her if she didn’t give in. Often, the family went without food for entire days.
Instead of helping or sympathizing with Udbala, the local young people mocked her every day whenever she went out. One day, as she listened to their harsh words, it all became too much. Without a plan or idea of where she would go, Udbala ran away.
Udbala had heard about a rickshaw driver who carried literature about the Christians’ God, so she went in search of him, wondering if this God and His people could help her.
Finding a specific rickshaw driver in a city with a population of more than 100,000 people was a longshot, but it proved not to be impossible.
“While I was walking on the road in search of a shelter, I did not find any place,” Udbala said, “but all of a sudden, I saw a rickshaw passing by, and the rickshaw driver was distributing literature and sharing the love of Christ.”
Before the man could get away, Udbala seized her chance.
Rickshaw Driver Introduces Runaway to Pastor
“Aye! Rickshaw driver! Please stop!”
Idhant turned around to see a young woman running toward him.
“Are you a Christian?” she asked.
“Would you please help me?” she continued. “I have seen you on the way while you were distributing literature and heard that your God loves and you Christian people are good and help the poor people. So would you please help me?”
Idhant took Udbala to his church where he introduced her to Pastor Matthew. And just as he had shown love and concern when he met Idhant, Pastor Matthew gave Udbala the care she had longed for.
“This is the plan of God, and He brought you here to save [you]. The Lord will help you,” Pastor Matthew said.
Pastor Matthew invited Udbala to live with his family, and after a few months, she put her trust in Jesus. Like Idhant, she soon began telling everyone about her transformation—sharing Christ’s love in other villages, teaching Sunday school and regularly attending the local Women’s Fellowship group.
Seeing her love for the Lord, another Gospel for Asia pastor, Ajoy, asked permission to marry Udbala. After nearly two years of living with Pastor Matthew’s family, Udbala finally got to start a loving family of her own.
Good News Continues to Spread
Today, the impact of one simple rickshaw is seen as Udbala and Pastor Ajoy lead their church, Tanseem and Quasim witness to their neighbors and Idhant continues to tell every customer about the Good News.
What can God do through a simple gift such as a rickshaw, fishing net or pair of goats? Check out our Christmas Gift Catalog today to discover more ways to impact families in need.
Source: Gospel for Asia