By Mark Ellis —
He was the only blacksmith in his village in India, making plows and other farming instruments. He usually was paid with food and rarely received cash from other villagers.
One day something surprising happened. “Two people from the Baptist Church came to my village and asked me to make two dozen iron crosses for their church,” Ballipati Barburao told Final Frontiers Foundation.
They also gave him some Christian tracts about the greatness of Jesus Christ and asked him to read the material and pass it out to his family and neighbors.
When Ballipati read the tract he was confused. “I went to the Baptist Church to give the iron designs and I asked the pastor to explain about Jesus,” he recounts.
As the two men talked further the pastor explained the Gospel to him. Suddenly he understood the true meaning of the crosses he fashioned in the fire. The Holy Spirit convicted Ballipati of his sins and his need for repentance. Then God planted a seed of believing faith in his heart.
“I was absolutely impressed by the preaching and then I confessed my sins and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior,” he says.
The Holy Spirit filled him with a boldness to witness. “From that moment I became a preacher,” Ballipati says, but it was not without a cost. His wife Victoria stubbornly resisted believing in Jesus, as did many of the people in his village. Opposition – stirred by the evil one – began to build.
“Eventually I was imprisoned because of Christ. Because of Christ I lost my vocation and my family was humiliated, but my faith in Jesus grew.”
But God saw his suffering in the prison. In the fullness of time – just as God lifted the Biblical patriarch Joseph out of prison – Ballipati was freed.
“After God miraculously released me from prison my wife accepted Christ!” he exclaims. The fact that his wife now shared his belief made a great difference.
“We returned home and I erected a worship shed made from palm branches. As I taught from the Bible my neighbors began to accept Christ.” Ballipati has started 24 churches, evangelized 46 villages, and led 1225 souls to Christ.
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