The Prodigal Pastor
Ajay grew up in northern India and, along with nearly 1.2 billion of his countrymen, was immersed in Hinduism. His inherited religious practice, however, did not satisfy. Disillusioned, Ajay turned to pleasure and immorality. "I became involved with a very ungodly group of friends," he regretfully recounts over a hot cup of chai. "I pursued a destructive and sinful lifestyle." But these choices did not bring fulfilment--only a piercing despair. So Ajay determined the best solution was a permanent escape. He devised a plan: "I decided I would travel to Mumbai, enjoy my sin one last time, and then take my own life." All was set to go according to plan.
But Ajay's mother, who by then had become a believer in Christ, pleaded with her son to attend church with her before leaving town. Reluctantly, he agreed. While at church, a pastor took interest in Ajay, conversed with him, and learned of his intent to travel and take his life. The pastor befriended Ajay and was eventually able to persuade him to not go to Mumbai. Ajay, instead, pursued studies at a local university.
Then, during his time as a student, Ajay suffered a serious car accident that left him with life-threatening injuries. The doctors gave him only three days to live. But once again God spared Ajay's life. And more than that, God gave him spiritual life. Because that's when Ajay remembered the good news of Jesus Christ that he had heard from his mother and from the pastor. "I recall reading from 1 Corinthians 15:33 that bad company corrupts good character. God showed me that the life I had pursued was one of corruption and that I needed a Savior."
After being told by doctors that he would never walk again, Ajay pleaded with God, "If you'll heal my body and allow me to walk again, I'll commit my life to the ministry." God answered Ajay's prayer--though the healing came not instantaneously. It took months of doctor visits and intense rehabilitation. Over time, God allowed Ajay to regain full use of his arms and legs. And Ajay stayed true to his promise.
He pursued becoming a pastor and today shepherds a church in northern India. Recently, Ajay joined the new cohort of students at one of TLI's training sites in India, because he now wants to dig deeper into God's Word and learn how to faithfully preach expository sermons. Apparently God's plans for this prodigal aren't yet complete.