Charles was no stranger to prison life. This was the third time he had been incarcerated in less than 2 years. The police knew him well.
Sharing a cell with drug users, thieves, rapists, and murderers, Charles was considered, according to Nepalese law, the worst of criminals. He had been arrested again and again for converting Buddhists and Hindus to Christianity. Anyone who was caught baptizing a new believer would be sentenced to death.
On the king's birthday, Charles was released from prison and he returned to his small house nestled in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. His American friend Rick arrived as planned. They sat over a rickety table enjoying their bowls of rice with steamy vegetables, and gave thanks to the Lord for Charles' deliverance once more from jail. Then they discussed their next mission to bring the light of the gospel to the darkness of souls.
At daybreak, the young men drove to the end of the existing road. Then, by foot, they walked to the path's end. They walked through rice fields and pulled themselves up the steep sides of the hilltops, then dipped back down into lush green valleys. The following day they walked through three ice cold rivers, holding their knapsacks above their heads.
Before them lay the village. Rick and Charles preached, ministered to the needs of the people, and baptized the new converts. At the end of the few days, they went deeper into the country.
"This is going to be the hardest village," Charles explained. "Its stronghold here is a witch doctor the people revere and fear."
Before beginning any work, the men prayed and fasted in the humble home of one of the few Christians who lived in that part of the country. On the third day, Rajen the witch doctor called for them. Speaking through Charles as an interpreter, he told them, "I know you have come to preach and to convert my people. Please eat this wonderful food I have prepared for you." Not wanting to offend him, Charles and Rick ate until their bellies were full. Rajen sat watching them for a long time before speaking again.
"You may tell my people about your God but you must not convert them to Christianity," he warned.
"What if they want to become Christians?" Rick asked.
"You may tell them about your God and how He has worked in your life, but nothing else."
That night all the village people gathered around the smoky fires and listened to the two young men speak. They fascinated with the Nepalese man and with how fair the young white American looked. Rick and Charles spoke for a long time about a Baby that was born in a far-off country, and how this Baby grew up and performed miracles. The village people thought this Jesus must have been a good man.
The next day the witch doctor called for them again. Once more a meal was spread out before them and Rajen pointed to it. The two young ministers sat cross-legged on mats and ate until they were full. Rajen watched them carefully.
"You may tell them more about your God tonight. If anyone wants to become a Christian it is all right. No harm will come to them in this village."
Rick and Charles rejoiced. Through prayer they had battled many strongholds; now they prayed for a harvest of souls in this village. That evening they continued telling about Jesus. They explained that He was the Son of God and that because of Him no more blood sacrifices were necessary, because His blood atoned for all our sins.
When Rick and Charles had finished sharing the gospel, people came forward, forsaking their gods for the one true God. Rick noticed Rajen watching from the shadows, beyond the light of the fires. Charles and Rick prayed through the night for God to soften the witch doctor's heart.
On the third day they were summoned again to Rajen. They sat and ate, and again the witch doctor touched nothing. But he was quieter and seemed withdrawn. When they finished eating, Rajen in a raspy voice that shook said, "You may do whatever you would like to do."
Once outside, Rick hollered, "Yahoo!" and clicked his heels together as Charles laughed at him. They knew that God had answered and removed the enemy's stronghold from around the village. That night after Charles and Rick preached, nearly every one in the village came forward to accept Jesus into their hearts.
The next day Charles and Rick spent hours baptizing the new converts in the river. "This will be known from now on as a Christian village and other preachers will follow us to do more work here," Charles explained to Rick.
Before them in the water stood Rajen. His cockiness was gone and his eyes were dark and empty. "I want your God," he proclaimed.
Rick and Charles prayed with Rajen and he became a new creation in Jesus Christ. Then they baptized him in the cold mountain river.
"When you are finished here," he said, "come to see me."
This time there was no food spread before them. "For the past 3 days you have eaten my food," Rajen began. "With my own eyes I watched you put it into your mouths."
From a large box Rajen pulled a huge dead rat. "I put poison in your food. See, it killed this rat. But it does not kill you. It did not even make you sick. Your God is much more powerful than my magic. And your God loves you and protects you. I want this God and this love inside my heart."
Rick and Charles began to rejoice and thank God for this miracle.
"But before I decided I wanted to know your Jesus, I sent a man from the village to get the Nepalese police. The message said you were converting and baptizing. You must flee for your lives. I am truly sorry for this. But I did not realize at the time that your God was the one true God." Rajen wept.
In an hour Charles and Rick had packed their belongings and were ready for the trip down the mountainside and said their good-byes to the people. As they walked through the clearing, Rajen stood with a small knapsack, ready to accompany them. "I want to come," he told them, "I want to learn more about Jesus."
The three Christian brothers walked in single file along the dusty path, moving quickly, saying little. They crossed two icy rivers and didn't stop to change or even to dry off. Charles would be killed this time if he were caught, and Rick would be jailed and then expelled from the country.
The road widened, but down the mountain they saw troops walking steadily toward them. There was no place to run, nowhere to hide. They began to pray. Suddenly a fog grew around the side of the mountain and covered them and the soldiers. Charles, Rick and Rajen walked with their shoulders scraping the side of the mountain as the Nepalese soldiers passed within inches on the other side of them, never seeing them through the heavy fog.
This was an impossible mission from beginning to end. But Jesus is a Master of the impossible. All things are possible with Him. Since that time, Charles and his family have had to leave Nepal. But their work has not diminished; instead it has grown. A Bible school has been established in India and from there young ministers go into Nepal to continue the work Charles started. Where there was once only a handful of Christian ministers there are now dozens walking through the mountains, preaching and baptizing believers in the cold rivers. Rajen is one of these ministers.