“…than entered the hospital in the morning?”
It was an important visit for me to the German Development Ministry. A commission was waiting for me in the meeting room. Senior officials wanted to explore the possibility of support for Diospi Suyana.
Just as I walked through the door, the chairman asked me, “Dr. John, can you guarantee us that no more Christians will leave the hospital in the evening than have entered the hospital the same morning?”
I took a seat at the table and thought about my answer. “No, I can’t promise you that. Faith is indeed the foundation of our work!” The most important supporter of our work is God Himself, so I never want to deny Him. I see no alternative to God’s friendship and His presence in our lives anyway.
Over the years, thousands and thousands of our patients have found peace with God through pastoral care. According to rough estimates, this has been between 30,000 and 50,000 people so far. Some local church congregations owe their existence to the influence of Diospi Suyana in the district. In school, radio and children’s clubs, faith in Jesus Christ is the absolute priority.
At the Youth Festival in April this year, 1,000 young people sought spiritual guidance talking with pastors and missionaries. We want to offer the best medicine for the poorest and at the same time spread the greatest hope in this world: Eternal life, trusting in the man on the cross who left his tomb three days later.
Change of scene: three hours ago, the service ended in the CBS parish. Six women and men, ranging in age from 15 to 84, shared why they want to base their lives on Jesus Christ in the future. They were heartbreaking life stories. Many tears were shed. One young man told how his mother had a crucial conversation with the hospital pastor. Her turning to the faith had changed the whole family afterwards – for the better. Another learned about the changing power of God’s love as a student at Diospi Suyana School.
As the six then entered the baptismal font, the congregation sang a song that millions of Christians on every continent intoned at such a moment: “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back!”
The lyrics and melody were written by the Indian Christian Sadhu Sundar Singh. As a teenager, he had burned a Bible in the schoolyard in front of his classmates. His father was Sikh and his mother Hindu. But the search for the ultimate truth did not let him go. One night he made a radical decision: “If I don’t find clarity about the meaning and truth of life by dawn, I will throw myself in front of the next train at sunrise. Time was almost up when Jesus Christ met him. Sadhu became a Christian itinerant preacher who in his short life had a great influence on the thinking of Christianity. His image hung in countless homes around the world, across all denominational lines.
In 1929, the itinerant preacher disappeared while traveling through the Himalayas. Nobody knows his grave. But his song has endured for over 100 years, “I am determined to follow Jesus!”/KDJ