Bible college students learn practical ministry and spiritual disciplines.
Paresh Segal did all the religious rituals that his parents taught him, but he was full of doubt. The Segals were quite wealthy because Paresh’s father was a building contractor, so their life was a little better than most people they knew.
Like most people in Asian culture, the family was very faithful to the gods and goddesses of their traditional religion. Every morning and evening. they performed devotions and prayers for one hour before the statue of their family goddess. No one ate any breakfast or dinner before the prayers. Paresh’s parents told their children that their goddess was the most superior in their whole religion and that their religion was better than any other.
Paresh submitted to his parents’ wishes and participated in all these poojas and religious festivals, but deep down in his heart, he questioned everything. He often asked himself this question:
“All religions believe that their god is the real god, but who is the real God?”
Since he had never experienced what he thought would be the real presence of his goddess he began to think there was no god at all, but that thought made him even more frustrated. He couldn’t find peace in his religion and he couldn’t find peace without religion either.
That’s when Rumi Ondopo came into his family’s life. Paresh’s family hired Rumi to work on their farm.
One day Paresh went to the Ondopo’s home, which was also on the farm property, to talk to him. As he approached, he heard someone talking, but what they were saying was very unusual. He listened closely and realized that Rumi and his wife, Devoni, were praying for God to bless Paresh’s family. He stood listening to the prayer and, once it was finished, went in to talk to the couple. He asked them about the prayer and Rumi explained why he was praying and told Paresh about Jesus. Paresh was still struggling with doubt, but he thought hard about what Rumi said and they prayed together.
Statues that represent the native religion’s gods and goddesses are seen everywhere in Asia.
Paresh was interested in learning more about Jesus, so he began attending family prayer times in Rumi and Devoni’s home and even started reading the Bible. One day while he was at their home, Bhisma Digal Subba, a Bible college teacher, happened to be visiting. Bhisma struck up a conversation with Paresh and soon, Paresh was pouring out his heart, telling Bhisma about his family and his life. Bhisma told Paresh about Jesus and His love. That day, Paresh chose to open his heart to the love of Jesus.
Paresh felt that the Lord was leading him into ministry, and he enrolled in Bhisma’s Bible college to study. His family did not know that he was studying at a Bible college. Even though his faith in the Lord was growing stronger and stronger, Paresh decided that he would finish Bible college, then go on to a secular college.
Then he got very sick and was diagnosed with malaria. He was so sick he was sure that he would die. As he struggled with the fever, chills, headache and nausea, Paresh cried out to God, asking for healing. He decided that if the Lord answered this prayer, he would put aside his own plans for his life and serve the Lord.
After the prayer, Paresh nodded off into a deep, restful sleep, and when woke up in the morning, he realized that the Lord had answered his prayer and completely healed him. Right there, he committed his life to ministry.
Paresh also knew it was time to face his family with the truth. He wrote them a letter, telling them all about his faith in Christ. The family returned all his letters so he called them on the phone. The call turned into an angry confrontation whereby his parents demanded that he deny Christ. But he stood firm in his conviction.
Today Paresh is serving as a Gospel for Asia-supported missionary. He reaches out to people who, like himself, were trapped in a traditional belief system that brought no real peace or healing.
Paresh asks for prayer that many of the people he shares with would come to know the Gospel. He also asks for prayer that his parents and siblings would embrace the Gospel and reunite as a family.