Eight years ago, Ratna Kami’s life was spiraling out of control. He lived in a small, rural village in mid-western Nepal that was entrenched in poverty. The little money Ratna had went to feeding his excessive appetite for alcohol and gambling. On top of all of that, he was a member of the untouchable caste, placing him on the bottom rungs of society. Just when things seemed at their worst, he fell drastically ill. He experienced heart problems, joint pain and mental illness.
His village was largely out of reach of western medicine, and the traditional remedies of local witch doctors had no effect. His search for healing took him to India, where he spent thousands of rupees, only to be told to go home and wait for his impending death. Upon returning home, his condition worsened. He began convulsing in his sleep and his entire body would swell. All hope seemed lost.
As Ratna ran out of options, his nephew began to tell him about Jesus. He soon chose to follow Jesus and met regularly with local believers. Slowly, as his spiritual life took shape, his physical and mental illnesses subsided. He experienced gradual healing in the consistent love of God.
At first, his village was hostile to the message of Jesus, but after seeing the radical transformation of Ratna’s life, their hearts opened. Today, over 85% of the village has begun to follow Jesus. This has led to both personal and communal transformation. The village’s propensity for excessive alcohol consumption and gambling had led to a high rate of violence but as more and more villagers began following Jesus, they traded their fighting for the bonds of community.
Of course, many challenges remain for Ratna and his village. The community still suffers under crippling poverty, and is in need of increased educational, labor and development resources. But now they can face these challenges with deep roots in the love of God and a love for each other. And it all started with a sick, untouchable man at the end of his rope opening his life to the way of Jesus.