- Aruna Chhantyal Aaroo
I did have actually jotted down my testimony in fragments in various reminiscences of mine. However, I haven’t written the full details about how I was led to Christ. So, here it is, ‘My full testimony’
Although the vine mayn’t bloom,
Although my life wouldn’t get any better,
I’m determined to be glad in Him,
I’m determined to believe only Him.
There was this hymn in Nepali Hymn book numbered 504. In the beginning years of my conversion, this hymn would always pierce my heart whenever it was sung in the church. I would reason myself, ‘I had actually come to Christ in the hope of my bodily improvement but now how can I be glad if I don’t get the physical progress? I do believe in Him but due to my present circumstance, I can’t be glad in Him at all. No, I can’t. Never!’
My desire used to be able to walk or run like normal people. I thought if I would be able to walk, all my shattered dreams would re-awaken & I would be able to manifest my ability but to tell the truth, my desire never really matched with God’s. So, I remained restless. I easily forgot the Words which Christ spoke before His crucifixion, ‘ O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.’
In fact, I never wanted to understand God’s desire or I did try but I got impatient fearing for the failure of my selfish desires. I would grumble with the Lord, ‘How can I be glad if you don’t want me to be able to walk? When will be the right time if it hasn’t arrived yet? After I turned old? But if it did happen at that time, I won’t be, by no means grateful towards You. Why? Because the healing obtained during the time of getting wrinkles won’t be useful rather than the present time of studying, working or earning. No, instead take me away right now. I don’t want to live longer till my age ripens being a physically disable like this. Nowadays, I fear from even committing suicide as I used to intend to before I knew You. I have finally found You through many jolts; I have known You but yet, I haven’t known the art of life. My heart is still today just as restless as it was yesterday. Oh Lord, when will I ever be free from this disturbance?’
But as it is written in Ecclesiastes that there is time for everything, I now think there was once also this time for my restlessness looking back to which I think I now have crossed through a huge hill & have finally reached to a peaceful place. Therefore, I’m writing this testimony of mine today with the utter reverence & dedication to the Lord to write or tell all about which I assure I didn’t have the ink in my pen before. If somebody would ask me for my testimony, I would feel awkward & would be hurting inside somewhere. The reason was that I used to think my testimony was still incomplete & I would assume it will only be complete after my physical healing & then only I thought I could jot it down. But, praise God for I have felt my testimony complete today in this same situation & I have found the ink for my pen to jot it down. Hallelujah!
I was bright in my study since childhood. My dad would praise me in front of others & would encourage me to become a doctor in the future. I would respect my parent & would take it as my duty to fulfill their dream. That was why, I had made only the study as the aim of my life. I used to spend most of my time in studying rather than playing or enjoying. I can say, I had fallen in love with books since childhood because I already used to understand the value of time. I would assume that the present time was to study & so I shouldn’t waste it. So, I used not to play much with my friends. Let alone enjoying with friends, there used to be always books & pen on my hand. I used to secure the second position in my class & so, my goal used to be to secure the first position. I used not to quarrel with anyone; instead I would endure silently if anyone ever scolded or hurt me but to my dismay, life is cruel after all, destiny made me suffer the punishment as if I did everything wrong in the past.
My eyes started to become weak since I attended grade-5 due to which I had to use powerful spectacles. As the use of spectacles is common, it didn’t become a matter to worry for my weak eyes but after I started in grade-7, my ears too started becoming weak; friends began teasing me & it happened to be difficult for me to hear & understand the teacher if had to sit at the last seat as a result of seat-rotation system. In the beginning, I hesitated to tell my teachers about my problem out of embarrassment. Due to the hearing problem, I started to seclude myself & shed tears since that tender age of thirteen. I used to cry asking, ‘God! Why I’m suffering like this?’ although I was ignorant of the true God. However, after time passed, I pulled myself together & kept on concentrating my focus on my study. After many check-ups, the doctor told me that my ear-nerve is dried-up so complicatedly that it can’t be treated. To add more, I couldn’t even use the hearing aids no matter how the modern technology is highly sophisticated. Surely, it made me sad to some extent but I didn’t allow the sadness engulf me. I mustered my courage consoling myself that my hearing impairment wouldn’t be a barrier to my study. After that, I told my teachers about my problem & they helped me by making me sit always on the front bench. By doing so, the weakness of my ears couldn’t obstruct my study.
As time passed as I entered in grade-8, both of my legs started weakening. I would lose the balance on my legs while walking or I would totter clumsily prior to stumble & fall. I was growing very anxious all alone wondering what actually was happening to me. One day while walking to school, I got hit by a motorbike. I wasn’t hurt physically by that accident but I was badly hurt at my heart. I wailed before my parent after returning home which when they persuaded me to get me treated in a good hospital. My mom also sought the shamans to treat me. They would say that one of my friends was a witch & since she was jealous of my talent in study, had practiced sorcery against me & this would sometimes make me think to be somewhat true because I would myself feel an invisible power that was trying to obstruct me from the progress in my study. Anyway, I wasn’t really intending to allege a friend as a ‘witch’ out of superstition. However, I did seek the solution for my problem through the shamans themselves but since my problem was never solved, I grew irritated from them too. Had I known about Christ who can break free the bondage of Satan in the meantime, I wouldn’t have suffered the worst until now but… who would have ever told me about the savior at that time that I might have known Him?
But I didn’t let that invisible power win over me although it tried to obstruct my study. I would defy it saying, ‘Although you try hard to torment me, know that you can’t defeat me at all.’
While remembering the time when I heard about Christ for the first time, I remember about my classmate ‘Mala Gurung’. We were studying in grade-9 back then. My legs were growing weaker & stress had begun to haunt me. In the same course of time, I told her about my worries as she was my best friend. She thought for a moment after hearing me & said, ‘I see there’s a solution for your problem but…’ I immediately asked her, ‘But what?’ She spoke hesitatingly, ‘But I’m afraid you may get angry, so.’ I was surprised, I assured, ‘No, I won’t get angry. Pray, tell me what can be the solution?’ Then she answered, ‘If you believed in Christ, you can be healed.’ I knew she & her family were Christians but after I heard her answer, I got not angry but laughed taking it as a funny answer. I said laughing, ‘Haha! What are you saying? Is only your Christ powerful? Know that our Hindu gods & goddesses are also powerful.’
How foolish & ignorant I was back then that I was thinking God, who was the real Father as an outsider whereas those idols, the real outsiders as my own?
However, my friend neither disagreed with me nor expounded her opinion any further. (Perhaps, she kept silent because I laughed) Later, as I desired to know more, I asked her myself, ‘What actually made you believe that Christ can heal or hear the implore? Can you tell me about any incident followed by your faith in your family?’ And then, she began telling me about an incident, “One night, when we all were sleeping, my youngest sister woke up suddenly crying in pain. She wailed, ‘Aah mummy! An insect has entered in my ear & it’s hurting me.’ Now what to do, we all were absent-minded for a moment. Then immediately dad told, ‘Let’s all pray!’ we began praying saying ‘May the insect come itself out of her ear,’ & in a moment, that insect really came out itself.”
It gave me goose-bumps hearing her story as if I was hearing a strange & amazing story for the first time in my life. In fact, I didn’t believe her at all but I asked whether we can also read the Bible & attend the church. Yes, she answered that anyone can read the Bible & attend the church if he/she desires and then, I didn’t know why but the desire to attend a church developed inside me (But I had actually kept the intention to satisfy my query regarding their faith & God by asking many questions to the church leader there). After that, I requested her to take me also along to her church the next Saturday which she gladly agreed.
Next Saturday, she came on bicycle to take me to the church. I was ready to go with her. I asked my mom for her permission, ‘Mom, I’m going to the church with Mala. I want to see how it looks like. May I?’ but after hearing me, she hesitated, ‘Oh! Why to join with a different religion? No need.’ Since mom refused, I also lost my desire to visit the church because I used to obey my mom. So, I apologized to Mala & told her to go alone. She got slightly irritated, ‘I had gladly come here to pick you but now, you say you won’t go. Ok, it’s ok, bye!’ After that day, I never talked about Christianity with Mala nor did I go church. It can be said that the path of salvation got closed for me since then.
I still regret while remembering that day. I think I wouldn’t have suffered this worst disability if I had come to Christ sooner. My mom also regretted for not letting me go attend the church with Mala for the first time. However, who knew we were also the chosen ones who knelt at last before Christ after suffering from too much tribulations.
And when my S.L.C. examination was approaching, my writing hand also began to grow weak as a result of which I began to worry if I wouldn’t be able to finish my 3 hours exam and so it happened. I couldn’t secure the distinction because my hand didn’t let me to write the answers of all questions despite my knowing. However, I didn’t allow my sadness engulf me. I strengthened myself being determined to do better in college. But to my dismay, my disability worsened & I couldn’t do any better in college. However, I passed grade-12 fairly and after we immigrated to Kathmandu, I also joined for the Bachelors level but I had to quit after second year due to my more & more worsening disability. I remained unhappy for a long time for having to quit studying but thanks to God, I later realized that I shouldn’t think study as the only basis for my life & that the biblical education is more important than the worldly education.
By God’s grace, I got to study theology through online system staying at home. Earlier in my desperation, I would think it would be better if I had spent my precious time enjoying or playing rather than studying so that I would be satisfied just thinking about the nostalgia but nowadays I don’t think so. I think if I hadn’t studied diligently, I wouldn’t be rich in vocabularies & I would never be a writer who can write about the nature of this society in words. It was indeed the right thing, how much I studied, I studied just for God to be a matured writer lest I would have also gone stray & stuck in the quagmire of sin. Ergo, I’m thankful to God for my disability because due to it, I’m able to keep myself from the lustful desires otherwise I would have grown arrogant after being a scholar & no doubt, I would have run far away from God.
I used to feel it also better to die than remain confined within the four walls of my room. back in those desperate times, I wasn’t able to control my negative thoughts. I always tended to think negatively because those negative thoughts had really rooted inside my heart. This continued even after coming to Christ until I crossed over the hill of miseries of my life. Thanks be to God for He never forsook me in those hours of agony; instead He held my hand & helped me pass that hill, hallelujah! And nowadays, I’m amazingly changed in such a way that I think only positive; I no longer think myself despised even by God but instead I feel His love each & every moment. In the past, I would also think it would be better if I was born a disable so that I wouldn’t have any dream which could make me sad if got shattered. Oh! It was indeed my foolish thought. Today, God has already shown me beyond the walls of my room & made me realize that an inborn disable has to suffer even more than me. If I had been an inborn disable, no doubt, my parents wouldn’t have provided me good education & I wouldn’t have been able to study as much as I desired. In other words, I would also have to struggle so hard as Jhamak Ghimire just for the light of the education. All the more, I couldn’t stop myself thanking God when I got to know about a sister named Amrita Gyawali who had lost her parents & suffered from the spinal cord injury in an accident since she was one & a half years old but is now an independent activist for the people with disabilities. Seeing her, I was grateful to God because I have a caring & supporting family & I have danced & played till I grew disable but Amrita! She had never been able to walk since the toddler’s age nor she knows the feeling when the sole touches the ground but in spite of this, she is courageous which made me bow in obeisance towards her. So now, I don’t harbor any negative thoughts at all otherwise, I would have thought it better to not be able to tread on the ground since the toddler’s age so that I wouldn’t remember the nostalgias of me dancing or playing & get hurt. Such negative thoughts, I have already thrown out of my mind & the credit for this goes to the Lord of positive thoughts.
I heard the gospel for the second time in Kathmandu when I was at a college to give my Bachelors second year’s exam. I was provided the ground floor’s office room. An aunt, who was working there as a cleaner, probably saw me holding hands with dad & being escorted there. She, one day, when I was waiting for my dad to pick me after the test, she told me about Christ. She questioned about my disability & I told her in nutshell. She then told me that Christ can heal me if I came to him & she suggested me to visit the church. After hearing her, I felt an immediate urge to throw away my old belief & come to Christ because my disability had made me shed rivulet of tears by that time. I was frustrated from the doctoral as well as shamanic treatment & so, I was seeking for a mighty God who can heal me. I really felt as if I had found the long longed divine being after hearing that aunt’s words. But, one thing stopped me from deciding to choose God’s path & that was that I knew I would have to leave the Hindu belief & tradition if I came to Christ and then & there, I was a so-called lover of traditions. So, it hindered me to the path of salvation. Anyway, I assured her, ‘Ok, I sure like to attend the church but I don’t know its location.’ She then gave me her phone no. saying, ‘This is my phone no. Do call me on Saturday morning. I’ll come pick you up & take to the church.’ She also handed me some gospel tracts along with her contact number. Further, I also asked her, ‘If, by chance, I couldn’t get healed even after coming to church, can I leave the religion then?’ she laughed in negation, ‘Oh no! You can’t leave God.’ My heart got caught with a selfish thought which assured me that there is no benefit in following such a religion which can’t cure me at all.
Returning home, I asked mom if we can follow Christianity & she answered, ‘It would be better if only you could be healed.’ After this, I began reading the gospel tracts. In fact, I had read such tracts before too but I didn’t get to read about Jesus’ healing in those tracts. So, I was never attracted to Christianity because I couldn’t find what I desired. Although I heard about Jesus’ healing from that aunt, I didn’t find anywhere written about the same thing in those tracts which she gave. Instead, there were strange quotations with numbers with the head-title written as ‘The way to be free of sin’ and there were the assurance written as ‘We all are sinners in this world & we need the salvation.’ Those very assurances would evoke an immediate irritation within me because I used to reason myself, ‘No, I’m not a sinner. Why, when did I ever steal? Did I ever kill anyone? Did I ever wish ill of others? Then, how am I a sinner? Why do I need salvation?’ Eventually, these irritations would lead me not to take heed to the words written on the tracts. Perhaps, I would have heeded & read interestedly if there were written ‘The way to healing’ but since there were written otherwise, I grew frustrated. I used to wonder why do the Christians try to promote their religion? What do they gain from it? But now, I have understood the reason that it is because God Himself has commanded the believers to evangelize the world reaching every far & corner and what a wonder, I myself has become an evangelist at present. Many people also don’t understand why I have become an evangelist but I pray for them that may their wisdom also discover the reason as I did.
Then, long time passed; I neither developed again the interest to visit the church nor did I ever contacted the aunt. On the midway, indeed there were many people who told me about Jesus’ healing but I was there adhered foolishly saying, ‘I don’t mind dying instead but I’ll never ever leave my ancestral traditions & religion.’
On the other hand, I later found out that my parents were also evangelized by a granny & she had also asked them to come to Christ. And although they were intending to come to Christ, they couldn’t do it soon because of the ancestral traditions. By that time, my youngest brother had also been disabled like me and we all were frustrated from the medical & shamanic ineffective treatment. To add salt on the wound, my dad also got in a road accident & got his left leg broken. In addition, the youngest brother became mentally sick & the second brother also fell sick of jaundice. When the whole family fell sick, it was very difficult for my mom to endure the pain. She would go to the roof alone at night after sending us all to bed & she alone would shed rivulet of tears imploring God. She realized later, those idols weren’t the One who heard her cry but He was indeed God, the Almighty Jesus Christ.
Every shaman who visited us used to say that a certain god is angry with us & so, we need to worship & sacrifice it to appease it. Oops! Had there been a single god to appease but there were too many. If one was appeased, another would get angry & if the another one was appeased, the other one would get angry. It was really frustrating. Our health wasn’t improving even a bit & my mom had to do all the household chores for the shamans & guests from cooking to serving them home-made alcohol. As it was an old tradition to prepare & serve the alcohol at home, my mom wanted to be free from this obligation somehow. She was desperately seeking someone to rely on because of the burden in the family. In that time of desperation, the same evangelist old granny again visited our house & she told that a preacher from the States had come & asked us to attend the gospel seminar & hear his preaching. We were feeling as if all the doors around us were closed but a door felt to be opened a little after we heard from granny & then, not caring for whatever happens, we whole family went to attend the gospel seminar.
There, I felt so strange & wonderful. I had actually thought the numbers of Christians might be few but no, I was absolutely wrong. There the big lawn was fully crowded with people. Seeing all of them clapping, dancing & singing with delight made me feel as if I had entered in a different world. My parents got impressed hearing the preacher’s sermon there & we accepted Christ as our personal savior on the very day. That was around September 2007. I got to read a lot about Jesus’ healing only after I got to read a Bible which made me feel that I found out the thing for which I had longed for long. Since then, I started growing in Christ with new hope & new dreams. I began to see everywhere around me beautiful & my heart began to be filled with joy.
For the first time, I received the New Testament Bible from our pastor. He told me, ‘First finish this New Testament. After this, you’ll get the whole Bible.’ As I was always an engrossed bookworm, I was very delighted to see the Holy Bible to read for the first time. After our pastor left, I began opening the Bible. Before I started reading the first chapter, my then mind pondered, ‘What may be written in here? What if there are any bad admonitions?’ As I had already somewhat known about the western life through TV or magazines, my narrow mind had assumed that all the westerners are Christians & since I had seen their lifestyle quite an overly strayed or vulgar, I foolishly assumed that perhaps the Bible itself teaches to do so to them. I saw them quite lacking true love & I would not take it as the right thing when they seemed to accept the divorce & remarrying act as a common thing. So, my dull mind mistook in the beginning, ‘Perhaps, the Bible itself has appreciated divorce & remarriage’ because I thought I saw couple remarrying multiple of times at church but it wasn’t true at all; I myself was badly mistaken there. More ridiculous thing is that because of such a stupid mind of mine, I not only expressed my curiosity as ‘What may be written in the Bible? What if there is written something bad?’ before starting to read the Bible but also decided not to accept any wrong as right if I ever found any wrong thing there. Only after this decision, I opened the Bible.
I started reading thoroughly. Many things, I couldn’t understand but as a whole, I found out that the Holy Bible is strictly against the vulgarism & also divorce. I realized the westerners are so strayed only because they haven’t read or followed the Bible. I had foolishly thought there might have been written words supporting divorce & multi-marriages but no, I found out at last that the Bible is the ideal facsimile which my inner soul had already drawn and then, I was so happy & eager to read & understand it more & more.
God has made the human being in His own form since the beginning, so we already bear some of His qualities. Ergo, I could already decipher between right & wrong even before reading the Bible. For this very reason, it is said that the gentiles have no written form of Law but it is already written in their hearts. Once, one of my friends asked me so as to test me, ‘The Law indeed only came during the time of Moses but why didn’t Joseph commit adultery when was pulled by his master’s wife?’ I then answered, ‘It’s because God has already put the Law inside our hearts, whether the written Law has come or not, Joseph’s heart already knew that it is sin to betray one’s own master who fully trusts on him. So, he didn’t commit adultery.’ Ergo, I say that such a person who remains farther from adultery, murder, theft or corruption is a lot nearer to God’s kingdom. It is only such that our prayers should be always for them that they may know the true God soon.
After a year of receiving Christ, we all took baptism. Till then, I have been again started to become desperate because my physical disability worsened more than before. My youngest brother also remained the same instead of getting any healing. Due to this, my heart began to ache badly; my fellow believers themselves started to doubt upon my faith. They would say, ‘Hey! You haven’t fully believed on God. Somewhere you may be still doubting. So, you aren’t healed till now. Throw away your doubts.’ Oops! Always these kinds of humiliating suggestion! I would ask God in tears, ‘Lord! What do I lack in my faith? Why am I not being healed? What do I do? Please answer me. I believe that you can heal me even just by blowing some air, so why do you give place to the others to doubt upon me? Why don’t you touch me & bring the miracles as in the Bible? Or do you also despise me because of my disability? This world does despise but what hope is left for me if you despise me too? It’s enough. Please take my soul right away. I don’t want to live in this world being the subject of mockery. Why to live being a burden to others if my dreams are never to be fulfilled? I might not be even deserving to enter into heaven but please Lord, just make me stay beside its door like a beggar but please make me free from this world. What can I do beside eating or drinking? After all, life is not just eating or drinking, is it? It’s far better to die than live a vain life like this.’ Etc.
I would remain restless harboring such desperate thoughts. I really thought God want to exclude me making me an exception & I was sure that I would never get to smile pleasantly in this life. And so, every time whenever I attended the church & they would start singing that 504 numbered hymn, I would sink under many questions. I would question the Lord, ‘Lord! You know that I have come to you with the hope to get better. So, please tell me how would I rejoice without getting any better?’ The verses in the hymn ‘Whether my life gets any better or not…’ would feel as if they were mocking or poking me.
As time passed by, the youngest brother slept developing severe diabetes, not to speak the disability & mental sickness. I became disappointed with Lord. On top of that, I grew weaker, became unable to walk by holding hands & so, my mom began giving me piggyback while going toilet. I was growing desperate & gloomy but in the meantime, I got Mr. Nick Vujicic’s autobiography ‘Life without limits’ which taught me how to be happy & hopeful even in destitution.
It was only after reading that book that my heart got transformed & it was only since then, I could sing joyfully, ‘Whether my life gets any better or not…’ but no sooner had I developed my positive thoughts, my mom’s breast cancer relapsed. Although we prayed, fasted & hoped for her healing, she too finally slept. Oh my life! It again got darkened & I almost stopped being hopeful in the Lord. I also stopped praying after the tragedy. I saw it useless to pray when our desire can never meet God’s desire. I was sure that I might have committed some great a sin which God doesn’t want to forgive me but lets me be tormented.
No wonder, I was angry with God after mom’s death but I couldn’t continue to be angry because God taught me a great lesson from this tragedy. I went to stay at a disables’ home for two months to sooth my saddened heart. Then & there, I saw the world I had never seen that made me repent before God & ask Him for forgiveness. God showed me that I’m not only the one suffering in this world, I’m not alone & I’m not so fragile who can’t do anything. I indeed saw many other people who were more disable than me. Seeing them, I mustered the courage to struggle in my life & live it to the fullest. I began praising God each & every moment there. Hallelujah!
Well, I must confess one thing before ending my testimony here. For a long time, I couldn’t acknowledge the value of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross because I wasn’t able to accept the fact that His sacrifice was for the eternity of our soul. And there, I used to value the body over the soul. I was always shedding tears for the body but I was ignorant for long that we should indeed shed tears for the soul & not for the body. I was stupid & selfish because I was harboring despair being unable to walk but now, I can straightforwardly say, ‘What if I can’t walk? I can indeed spread the gospel far & wide through my pen. However, I may not be able to win a soul in Christ but I can add the strength in the faith of a believer.’ And today, I can feel the pain on the cross of Christ in my every body parts for I know now how it really aches and so, I now value the Lord’s sacrifice on the cross as extremely great & high.
In fact, we can’t be the Lord’s good children if we didn’t ever suffer from any miseries in this life, can we? God has now calmed the hurricane of my life & I feel His blessings showering over me. I keep on smiling all the time nowadays that I myself get amazed seeing my changed behavior. God, who taught me the best lesson of life by making me realize that I’m not alone, has given me the strength to confront any troubles in my life with all smiles. I wouldn’t be able to utter ‘Thank you Lord!’ when I was suffering in the past but now I can smile ear to ear & say gratefully, ‘Thank you Lord’ although my plans & desires may shred in pieces like a broken glass for I truly trust Him now that I believe if He closed one door in my life, He will surely open another even better one for me. And so, I’m living in this world with this everlasting hope.
Thus, I can finally assure that I’m HEALED (not physically but spiritually). Hallelujah!
 A Nepali writer who is paraplegic with cerebral palsy but has struggled to write with her leg.