It’s the stuff inspirational movies are made of, but this is the real-life story of a man and his lasting influence in a South Asian village. Kahan went from practicing Hinduism to testifying for Jesus and planting churches.
Then, this is where the plot thickens: he’s murdered.
Allegedly, the death was an attempt to keep Kahan quiet about Jesus’ saving grace and keep more churches from starting. Spoiler alert: The opposite happened; but we are getting ahead of the story.
International Mission Board worker Morgan Rawlings remembered the first time Kahan stepped foot in a house church. His neighbors carried him inside. He hadn’t walked in four months. There, in that house church, he heard the gospel for the first time, Kahan knew it was true and he gave his life to Jesus on the spot. Members of the church prayed for Kahan and asked for his legs to be healed. They explained to the new believer that God is powerful and can choose to heal. Kahan didn’t need help getting home that day. He walked.
It wasn’t long before Kahan hit the dirt paths, going to all the homes in his village telling them about Jesus. He was discipled and attended trainings to teach other local believers how to reach out to neighbors. IMB workers know it takes local ownership of the Great Commission to fulfill the Revelation 7:9 vision, so they invest many hours in equipping believers. This is the steadfast presence and investment in peoples and places that IMB prioritizes.
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Kahan grasped the concept as he shared his testimony with 100 people praying to receive Jesus. His joy for the Lord was unshakeable. He couldn’t hide his excitement in talking about Jesus with everyone he met. He started a church in his home and hosted more discipleship trainings.
Many in his village did not find the same joy in Kahan’s new belief. Not long after he started sharing the gospel with others, Kahan was killed by a blow to the head. The suspect confessed to doing it because Kahan was “poisoning people’s minds and changing their religion.” The man was angry because people kept putting their faith in Jesus.
Kahan's death had a different effect than the suspect envisioned. Instead of stopping church growth, it ignited a fire in other local believers to keep the work moving forward. Advised to stop until it was safer, one believer reminded others that they must bear their cross and “die to follow Jesus.”
“I will not stop telling people about Jesus,” the young woman said.
Kahan got the gospel to a place and peoples where IMB workers could not go. Five small groups now meet because he was faithful in sharing the gospel. His death did not crumble their faith, Rawlings pointed out.
“It has made their backs straighten and the church is rising,” she added.
In fact, the torch has been passed and a new church started across the water from Kahan’s home. Shikhar practiced black magic until he heard the gospel. His wife waded through a deep body of water to the church at Kahan’s every week to attend discipleship trainings. She prayed for Shikhar to believe. After opening his heart to Christ, he told his wife that people on their side of the water should meet in their home for church and the trainings.
“Shikhar is the same hot coal Kahan was,” Rawlings said. “He baptized three people just this week.”
Like any good movie plot, the purpose is clear. The gospel shall be taken to every corner of the earth. Your support through prayer and financial gifts enables steadfast missionary presence among peoples and places where Jesus is not known or named so more churches may be planted and local ownership of God’s mission takes hold.
Some names may have been changed for security reasons.