The following very interesting account was written by request, expressly for this book. The author was a missionary of the Methodist Episcopal Church in India for a number of years. He is, at the date of our publication, pastor at Huntington, O.:
In January, 1888, my devoted wife, since gone to glory and myself, were appointed by Bishop Thoburn to open work in a district of the native state of Hyderabad, India. Our parish embraced more than a thousand towns and villages, over a million souls -- a district practically untouched by Christian evangelism. Full of faith in God, the missionaries cheerfully proceeded to the new field of conflict. Six months later. visited for the third time, Kinnal, a village of probably souls, sixty miles from our center, for the purpose of supervising a day-school and Sunday school, recently begun, preaching the gospel to the people. We had not a single Christian convert in the village except Andronika, our native teacher, and his young wife and these were imported for the purpose intimated. Weary from our long bullock-cart ride, we spent an hour in rest and at dinner, after which the school work was after. At five o’clock the people were called together to hear a short gospel talk, and witness the first Christian baptismal service they had probably ever seen. Nearly the entire village, in an amazingly brief time, had congregated in the street just in front of our little mission-room, which we had - recently purchased for thirty rupees ($10).
The village was just being scourged by those deadly diseases, cholera and small-pox, and the deluded natives had sacrificed nearly all their poultry, sheep, goats, and much fruit, to appease the anger of their imaginary deities; and still the scourge went on. For eight months there had been no rainfall, and the people were in a semi-starved condition, and hence a ready prey to these virulent diseases. It is need. less to say that our simple discourse upon "Jesus, the all-sufficient sacrifice,” had many eager listeners in this sad, spirit-broken assembly.
Then followed a scene we shall never forget. Just in front of the missionary and his companion stood Andronika and his wife presenting their little babe for Christian baptism.
Before the ceremony was finished, a man of the weaver's caste prostrated himself before us, preparatory to the making of an urgent appeal. We beckoned him to wait until the close of the service. Then, after another prostration, the poor fellow advanced to make his request.
With a sad expression on his face and tremulous voice, he proceeded to say: “My wife is dying. For four days I have been breaking coconuts and making poojahs, and my wife has been growing worse all the time; now I beg of you -- to pray to your God, to see if he will hear and save my wife!”
We were conducted by the sad husband into a little mud hut near by, followed by the multitude. There lay the poor wife, unconscious and moaning. A brief examination all the broken-hearted husband had said. It was quite evident that the case was beyond human help. An indescribable burden came upon my soul while contemplating the situation. I turned to my dear wife and said: “There no use giving this woman any medicine; it is too late, I can do nothing for her. Only God can help her. And if the purpose of the miracle on Mount Carmel, in answer to the prayer of Elijah, was to vindicate God’s cause before the worshipers of Baal, may not the Lord raise this woman to health, to vindicate himself in this province of a million devotees to false gods?”
Her answer (I’ll never forget it) was: “According thy faith be it unto thee.” Then I said to the husband: “Jesus Christ, who is the only God, can save your wife if he thinks best. Now if he cures her, will you then forever renounce your idols, and worship Jesus Christ only?” - A moment of intense anxiety, and his aged mother rushed up to him, and plead with him in tears to answer in the negative.
He replied: "I can make better answer after she is cured.” But I insisted that I could not feel justified in asking my Savior to interfere in his behalf, unless he was willing to answer the question in the affirmative, and worship Jesus if he showed Himself by His superior power to be God.’ Then there came to the poor tried soul another awful struggle.
All his relatives and the priests gathered around him and tried to persuade him that it would be better for his to die than that he should make such a promise.- Another moment of awful suspense, and the brave soul turned answered: “Houdu” (”yes,” in the Canarese tongue) Jesus Christ can save my wife, it shows that what you right -- my gods are false, and I ought then to Christ”
With eyes uplifted, we prayed the dear Lord to get Himself a great name among these benighted souls. Oh what a baptism of assurance came into our souls!
We turned immediately to go away, and in less than a minute the excited husband came rushing after us, “Jesus Christ, He is God! My wife is well and began, in every conceivable way, to express his gratitude.
Till nearly midnight the voice of that joyful man, up and down the narrow streets of the village, was heard crying: “Jesus Christ, He is the only true God!“ Towards morning, a copious shower of rain fell, and the natives said: “It is because the missionary is praying.”
At five o’clock next morning, we left the village, with hundreds of its grateful people following in procession, to do honor to those whom they said brought so much blessing to their village. For miles they followed, and not until we earnestly remonstrated, did they turn back. We believe that that event of providence will be blessed to the salvation not only of hundreds in that village, but to many in other places; or among those who witnessed what has been related, were more than a score who had been sent from adjoining villages to induce, if possible, the missionary to begin work in their towns. These may for a time continue in heathenism, but they will not forget the strange Power which wrought such wonders before their eyes.
Praise the Lord for His wonderful goodness! - A.E. Winter
Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer - 1893