By Mark Ellis —
He was born into the upper rung of Indian society, but his involvement in gang activities as a young person almost took his life.
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼After his father died when Joshua was only a child, his mother raised him with his two sisters and brothers. Like many young men lacking a father in other parts of the world, he gravitated toward others seeking to prove their manhood in troublesome ways.
“I was a ringleader for a gang of youth,” says Joshua Venuthurapalli, raised in a Hindu high-caste Brahmin family. “The Brahmins are priests in the Hindu religion,” he notes.
There was one Christian man, “Mr. Samuel,” who befriended Joshua and began to pray for him. “He used to share the gospel with me, but I did not respond,” Joshua recalls.
But one day everything changed. It seems a leader of a neighboring gang wanted to eliminate Joshua’s gang. “I was pursued by our enemies who were seeking to kill me,” he says.
Joshua ran for his life, but he found every escape route was sealed. He decided to pray to his many Hindu gods. “I started to pray to all my gods, yet I was getting deeper into trouble. Nobody was with me.”
Joshua watched in desperation as his assailants closed in on him. Suddenly something flashed through his mind that he didn’t expect. “I remembered my friend Samuel’s words. I stopped, closed my eyes, and prayed to Jesus for the first time in my life.”
When Joshua opened his eyes, he was amazed to find the rival gang members had all disappeared – completely vanished! “No one was coming near. I opened my eyes and found I was standing alone. I wondered what had happened to my enemies.”
His head swirling, Joshua went to his friends and tried to explain everything that happened. “Samuel said that the Lord Jesus sent his angels to save me.”
A few days after his brush with death, he learned the truth. As his enemies closed in on him, they were startled to see huge, muscular people standing next to Joshua. Intimidated and frightened, they ran away for their own safety.
Joshua could not see these “rescuers,” but they were very real to his attackers. There was only one explanation. “I realized that the Lord really sent His angels to save me. I gave up the leadership of the gang and learned more about the Bible.”
Guided by his friend, Mr. Samuel, Joshua gave his life to Christ.
He married Karuna, a Christian girl, and began to attend a Bible school. “We were blessed with a son, Sunil, and a daughter, Ruth. We pioneered a church at Rajyalaxmipuram village. God has been using this outreach tremendously in His ministry.”
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Used with permission. To learn more about Pastor Joshua and what God is doing in India, visit Christ for India.