“As soon as Sahil realized the man approaching him was talking about Christianity, he stopped him. He had no interest in changing his religion—or anything in his life. A prominent landowner in his village in India, Sahil enjoyed a large home, successful children and the respect of his community. Why should he risk everything to follow a different religion?
Jayesh, the church planter who approached Sahil, would not give up. He began to pray regularly for the salvation of Sahil’s family.
Trusting in God’s ability to change hearts, Jayesh looked for Sahil again a few months later. This time as Jayesh spoke, Sahil listened carefully. The reality of Jesus struck him. The idols he worshipped did not forgive, love or change lives. They were shrouded in myth, but Jesus was grounded in history. Christianity offered him something his idols never could: hope and peace in his heart and a connection with a living God who cared about him.
Jayesh and Sahil met again a few days later, and Sahil put his faith in Jesus, becoming the first person in the region to risk everything for a relationship with Christ. Over the next few weeks, Sahil’s wife and three children also accepted Jesus.
A month after Sahil became a Christian, Jayesh brought the JESUS film to Sahil and his family. Stirred by Jesus’ parables and teaching in his heart language, Sahil suddenly saw a kingdom purpose for everything in his life. His neighbors’ respect for him gave him opportunities to share his testimony. His financial security allowed him time to tell others of his new hope. Sahil and Jayesh wholeheartedly connected with as many villagers as would listen, usually finding an opportunity to show JESUS.
On one occasion, Sahil stood in front of a group of his fellow villagers, talking freely about God’s work in his heart. As he finished, the people looked at each other, and someone asked, “If Sahil can accept Christ, why can’t we also accept Him as our Savior?” When Jayesh shared the gospel following Sahil’s testimony, many of the villagers immediately accepted Christ.
The number of local believers grew, and Sahil opened his home for a small group led by Jayesh. Within six months, the group became a vibrant house church, with more than 40 members.
In the meantime, Sahil—trained by Jayesh to share his faith and help others grow in theirs—felt called by God to connect even more people with Jesus. He and Jayesh traveled to a nearby village and began sharing their testimonies, presenting the gospel, and showing the JESUS film. People opened their hearts to Christ, often moved by His compassion and healing.
Less than a year after becoming a Christian, Sahil started and led his own small group for the new believers in that village. The group developed into a house church.
And, up to four times a week, Sahil still travels to the neighboring village to lead the church and to share the gospel with even more people through JESUS film tools. Sahil also leads more broadly in the church-planting movement, encouraging other church planters and leaders.
Sahil speaks humbly about his success in helping lead his family, friends—and even strangers—to Jesus. “Jesus came to this world to save sinners like me,” he said. “In the [JESUS] film, the tax collector came to Christ, he repented, and then he followed Jesus Christ. So like [this], I am following Jesus.” To Sahil, connecting people to Jesus is the natural response to God’s connection with him.