August 7, 2022
The Story of Aitey
In March 2018, I co-led a mission team to India to begin a Bible school building project. During our free day, we visited a Buddhist temple in the small mountain village of Lava, near India’s border with Bhutan. As we approached Lava and before we went to the temple, we visited the home of a man named Aitey (pronounced ‘eye-tee’).
From a very young age, Aitey was destined to high priesthood in the Buddhist temple, and over time, he rose in their leadership ranks. As an adult, Aitey was president of over 55 Buddhist houses and was a very respected leader in and around Lava. It was then that he started having problems with his throat. None of the area doctors could figure it out. He experienced a lot of pain, fatigue, and had difficulty speaking, often completely losing his voice.
Aitey tried Buddhist priests, Muslim clerics, witchcraft, and other healers, but no one could treat his issues. The constant pain was so bad that he began drinking alcohol to dull it and got to the point where he just wanted to die. He was suffering so much that he paid up all of his insurance and decided he would commit suicide by crashing his car so his family could be taken care of after his death. Aitey’s sister, who lived with him, secretly started attending a Christian church during this time. However, when Aitey found out, he kicked her out of his home.
Four to five days before he planned to kill himself, his sister called and said he tried everything else. Why doesn't he go to the Christian church and ask the pastor to pray for him? But, Aitey’s pride would not allow him to do this. However, the day before he planned to kill himself, when he felt he had no other options but death, he decided to go to the Christian pastor; but only at night so he wouldn't be seen. After all, a highly-respected Buddhist priest could never be seen visiting a Christian pastor.
This pastor told him that God could heal him. Aitey said he would accept Jesus if he is healed, and he prayed four times, but nothing happened. The pastor told him that if he wanted to be healed, he must accept Jesus first. Aitey was at rock bottom and had no other options left except death, so he finally relented and accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Immediately afterward, he started coughing. He coughed up a lump of dark-colored, foul-smelling substance. The pain began to subside, his voice started to return, and he returned to full strength over approximately the next four months.
It was about five to six years later when we met him, and he is completely healed. He now uses the Christian name Joshua, writes and sings songs, and is an elder in a Christian church in the same village of Lava where he was a Buddhist priest.
We face many adversities in this life, and we often try to face them alone or try worldly means to resolve them. This is what Aitey did; when faced with a severe physical ailment, he tried other religions, he tried witchcraft, and when none of those worked, he was going to take it into his own hands and kill himself. Thank God for someone like his sister who told Aitey that there was Someone Who could heal him.
She wasn’t raised in the church. She was only a Christian for a short time, and she had just been thrown out of her brothers’ home, but she still had the faith and courage to tell him the truth. This was a huge risk for her, but she did it.
As for Aitey, even after hearing the truth, he still had to take what he heard and trust that it was indeed true. He was a Buddhist priest in leadership in the temple; he had to risk everything to accept Christ, but he did and received healing for his act of faith. He faced persecution from the monks at the temple in Lava, but this did not stop him from preaching the Word. His testimony has led many people to accept Christ in and around Lava.
What challenges do you face that you have not yet turned over to the Lord? Or maybe someone you know needs to hear the truth. What are you waiting for?
By: Duane Goodling, Mission Director- Think Missions, www.thinkmissions.org
Today’s Scripture: Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8, NIV)
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