“He raises up the poor from the dust…”
If you grew up around farms you would know that there is a pecking order for dung. Cow dung, at the top, has relatively little odor and is used to plaster walls because it comes pre-packaged with grass fibre for strength. Chicken dung is more obnoxious having enough amonia to peel paint. But at the very bottom is pig dung, so strong that the ventilator fans in a pig barns have emergency alarms. If the fan dies so will the pigs.
Pratik grew up a pig dung gatherer. That was his caste, his inescapable “karma”.
In a cow-honouring, pig-loathing culture, you can’t get any lower than that. No education, no shoes, no hope…but Pratik wanted to learn to read. Given the career prospects of a pig dung gatherer, he was highly motivated. He graduated from one of Bible League Canada’s literacy projects, fell in love with a girl from a Christian family and took baptism. Then, he made a business decision to get out of dung and into debris, becoming a scavenger for scrap metal. But all the while, he was troubled by this new God.
“When I got married, my wife said I must first become a Christian so I said, ‘I have many gods, what can it hurt to have one more.’” But she said “no, this One can be the only One.” Pratik was confused and spent many days over the next years in prayer and fasting. Who is this God? One day, he had a vision of himself speaking before a crowd… for seven days in a row he had the same vision. His pastor said, “God is calling you”. So Pratik, now Peter signed up for a training class on starting new churches. So did 39 other people…only 10 would be accepted.
Who was he to think he was good enough to qualify? He shrank to the back of the line. The first interview question was about a particular verse in the Bible and the questioner asked where that verse was to be found. Peter had no idea. He opened his Bible randomly and miraculously, began reading that very verse – it was in Isaiah 61.
Peter says, “They did not choose me as one of the 10, God chose me.”
Peter is happily married with two children. He has planted 6 churches each with 30-50 baptized members and 60-100 children. He has trained two co-pastors who help shepherd these congregations and he raised up a team of young people who are planting new churches. The vision has been, and is being, fulfilled!