The Nicolas Christ Das Story 

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Extremists were waiting for me as I cycled home after visiting several village churches. They rushed out of the jungle and said “We will kill you because you are converting all these Hindu villages to Christianity.” Before I could reply, they beat me. When I became unconscious, they threw me in the jungle thinking I was dead. 

When I came to my senses, I found that my leg was badly broken in four places. For three years I was bedridden. Seven times I had to go through surgery. I praise God that after a long period of prayer, He has answered and healed me completely. Now I walk as I was walking before – it is a miracle. Let all glory go to Jesus.” 

How did Nicolas get to this moment?

The story of my relationship with Christ and call to his service began with my grandmother. She used to share with us. I was born and brought up in a good spiritual Christian family in Serango, Odisha, India. My father was a 2nd generation Christian. 

When my father was a year old, my grandfather died; thus he did not know the love of his father. He was an only son, so my grandmother prayed for lots of grandsons. After my father married, the first child was a daughter. The second child was a boy who died when he was only 2 months old. As my Grandmother said, “It was a great challenge for me to make a vow before God. Give me grandsons and the first one I will dedicate to you and your service." 

Then I was born, the first son to live. When I was 21 days old, my family took me to church and dedicated me for the Lord’s service before the entire congregation. Later on, five more brothers were born. In fact Grandmother saw the last grandson just before she died. I grew up surrounded by a spiritual atmosphere. I completed my college studies and became a teacher in a local high school. I was very happy for the job and the salary. But after two months all my joy, happiness and health evaporated. 

God Calls: I was so seriously ill that I was to the mission hospital in our town. No one could understand what was wrong. The doctors lost hope. Prayer was all we had left. Many servants of the Lord came and prayed. One of them asked, “Is there any vow or promise you made before the Lord and did not fulfill?” Then my parents remembered they had dedicated me for the Lord and His work when I was 21 days old. They said, "This man is supposed to work for the Lord. But we did not fulfill that and instead let him go for a secular job." 

The servant of the Lord told my parents to repent and ask for forgiveness. I could not understand what is happening around me on my bed. I was told that I was supposed to serve the Lord but I did not do it. I did not understand what my part in that was. But I knew I needed ask forgiveness and recommit myself to the Lord. With much difficulty, I opened my mouth and prayed. People around could hardly hear my voice but they could see the nonstop tears rolling from my eyes. I just continued thanking God for forgiving my sin and for the supernatural healing. I had a deep sleep. When I opened my eyes it was morning and I was much improved. Praise the Lord. 

A Call to Nepal: Within a week I was completely fit. I did not know what “ministry” meant. I only knew that the pastor preaches in the church. I struggled to understand how to fulfill my destiny. At that time an Operation Mobilization team came to my church in a big truck. I was so impressed looking at the team members. My father was always very generous in giving hospitality to missionaries and serving God’s people. He invited the team for lunch. The following month I joined OM for 2 years of practical evangelism and training. I praise God that my mission foundation was laid during that time. 

Our team travelled from Balasore, Odisha where the East India OM Base was located to Darjeeling, in the Himalayas. While there the team conducted a special mission outreach program. Darjeeling is just a few miles from the Nepal border. For the first time in my life I saw Nepalese people. God gave me a theme from Romans 10: 15 (a). “And how can anyone preach unless they are sent”? During those days God put the burden to reach the people of Nepal in my heart. But who will send me? 

After two years in OM I went to seminary and completed my M.Div. During the summer vacations I used to go to different places to preach the gospel. Many times I was threatened by the fanatics not to come and preach the gospel in their place. I refused to listen to them. Deep inside the jungle I sowed the seed, led people to Christ, gathered them for fellowship and appointed local leaders to shepherd the people. 

In my final year a Nepali student came to study in the seminary where I was studying. That Nepali friend was a Good Samaritan for me. He helped me reach Kathmandu, capital city of Nepal. God directed a Korean missionary there to help me. He wanted to start a Bible College but needed a capable person to pioneer the work. He had a 4-story building but no students. God gave me the privilege to pioneer one of the first Bible Colleges in Nepal. During my nine years as principal of that College, I saw 120 students graduate. One hundred of them have wonderful church planting ministries all over Nepal today. I came to know that the Vishwa Hindu Parisad (VHP), a radical Hindu organization, published a list of mission leaders in Nepal who were behind the spread of Christianity there. By God’s grace among the 20 leaders listed, I was the only India. The rest were all Nepali. 

Almost a martyr: After 4 years I came home for during summer vacation in 1997. I wanted to visit the village churches, where I had sown the gospel seed. As I cycled from place to place it was my joy to see the believers in the new churches. When the fanatics saw me they were furious and warned me, saying, “Because of you, all our people became Christians, which is foreign religion. They have forsaken the gods of their forefathers. If we see you again here, we will kill you.” I continued visiting churches and the believers. But one day, they caught me as I was leaving a village about six one evening. I was savagely beaten and my right leg was broken in four places. I lost consciousness and they threw me in the bushes thinking I was dead. The whole night I lay unconscious and alone. 

Early in the morning when the cool breeze started to flow, I became awoke. When the sun rose tribal people started to go to the jungle fuel for their cooking fires. As I shouted for help, passers-by would peer at me and then run away. No one would help me. About 9 a.m. an old couple was passing by. I shouted for their help. They came to me, gave me water and with the help of some teens, took me to the nearby dispensary. I was bedridden for 3 years because my bones would not heal. I underwent surgery seven times. The woman I was supposed to marry broke our engagement. Through all the trials I came to the lowest point in my life. I felt it was unbearable. 

So I decided to give up my life. Because I knew suicide was not an option. God has promised “WHATSOEVER you ask in my name I will give you.” So I asked my death. For one month I prayed to die for 31 days. Every night, before I went to bed, I prayed ‘Lord let it be the last night for me. So every day when I saw the light of day again I marked the calendar. On the last night of the month, I was sure that this night God will be answering my prayers. I was very sad because I would not have any more opportunity to preach the Gospel. With tears I slept. In the morning when my niece called me for tea. I could not believe that I was still alive. 

I clearly understood that God wanted me alive. I was so happy; I knew that some great miracle was going to happen. For seven days I fasted and prayed. Then I went to the doctor. As usual doctor told me to take an x-ray. He looked and examined my x ray and told me, “This is not clear, please take another one.” I told him, “Sir one x-ray costs Rs.250/-. You know we have spent so much money in last three years.” He wrote a small note and told me to show it at the X-ray Room.. “They will take only Rs.150,” he said. Unwillingly I went to take another x-ray and then brought it back to the doctor. He examined my leg and said, “Nicolas, I am surprised to see your bone is united. As your doctor, I can hardly believe it. I had lost hope that you would ever walk on it again.” I told him, “Do you remember when you told me the leg must be removed?” I told you, “Do your part and my God will do His; and now I say, “Jesus, my Lord healed me; Praise Him!” 

Birth of a Vision: In 2007 God opened the door for me to go to Singapore to do graduate studies in missiology and cross-cultural education at Bethany International University (BIU). At BIU I learned so much about missions, church planting, hearing God, living by faith and especially cross-cultural contextualized missions. The Hindustan Institute of Missions (HIM) educational philosophy stands on the three legs of KNOW, BE, and DO. It is Christ-centered, mission-oriented, Scripture-based and holistic in its approach to multiplying cross-cultural missionaries to reach the least reached people groups in India. 

HIM is in its 10th year of preparing cross-cultural missionaries to reach the least reached people groups in India. When we started HIM in Cuttack, Odisha in February 2008, we had nothing except the vision of God. God has honored our hard labor and passion. We now have 70 graduates reaching 65 different unreached people groups. Through the HIM graduates the Lord has established 55 groups of Christ-followers where there never has been a church before. 

In 2016 the Lord provided 14 acres of land near Kashinagar in Gajapati District, Odisha where we built a new home for HIM. In late 2017 HIM moved into partially finished ground floor of the new College building. Crops grown on this land are feeding our students and an English Medium Elementary Academy and Children’s Hostel has just been launched. 

HIM’s vision to plant churches in every nook and corner of India through multiplying cross-cultural missionaries who multiply cross-cultural mission training schools in India. Our VISION is church planting, Our MISSION is multiplying cross-cultural missionaries and our ACTION is multiplying cross-cultural mission training schools in India

Silvina Erwin