One man's sacrifice

The amazing commitment of one man in order to introduce his own people to Jesus



Kaka died at the age of 77 in his mountain village in South Asia. He leaves a wife and five sons. One other son, Sukha, preceded him to glory in November 1998 when he became the first Christian martyr in his language group.


Kaka grew up a shepherd boy, living in goat-hair tents and caring for his father’s sheep in the high meadows at the foot of the snowy mountains. It was a hard life with few comforts, but through it he learned strength and endurance along with gentleness and patience.


From that humble beginning he went on to spend 30 years pointing people to Christ, which often got him into trouble with corrupt officials. Numerous times he was arrested and imprisoned, but he thought little of suffering for Christ. He welcomed it. Like the prophets of old, his straight-shooting message and homespun shepherd’s garb made a mockery of titles and uniforms. District governors feared him, and when they could, they tried their best to stop him.


For six years Kaka stood alone, the only Christian in his village. At first, no one would respond to his message. When they did, the authorities moved in to crush it. Seven elders of the newly formed church were arrested and imprisoned. But it was there, in prison, that they had personal encounters with God. Writing on scraps of paper, the prisoners penned words of courage and had them relayed to friends outside. “Even in this dark cell" they wrote, "we experience the glory of God. And because of that we look upon this place as the house of God and upon our chains as his ornaments.”


Kaka spent much of his time translating the Scriptures into his own language. For years he refused payment. “I’m not doing this to get paid. I’m doing it because I want to.”Once, when 22 men were imprisoned for six months, Christians in the West sent gifts for the prisoners’ families. When Kaka heard of it he objected. “Send it back,”he said, “money will only destroy us.”Later, after much discussion, the money was used to construct a mill.


“Something that will benefit believers and unbelievers alike,”Kaka said. He established the first social welfare programme the people had seen. From the proceeds of the mill the church fed the poor up and down the valley. When the provincial governor heard of it he ordered the mill to be destroyed and began proceedings to have Kaka imprisoned for six years too. “You have done for the people what we could never do,”he said, “and for that you will rot in prison.” However, the whole community came to Kaka’s defence, so he was never arrested. The mill still stands.


By the time of the launch of the New Testament in his language, Kaka had worked on it for 16 years. For two and a half of those years he was locked away in prison and for four of them he was leading the believers through much persecution. During the many stages of drafting, checking and reviewing he walked 6,000 miles in and out of the mountains. For a book of 1,000 pages, that’s six miles per page! For every three pages he spent one night out in the open, miles from anywhere. And for each page the people of his village spent six and a half days in prison, 18 man-years in all.


Because of Kaka’s courage and tenacity there are hundreds of believers today. Many have suffered unspeakably at the hands of officials or insurgents. In November 1998, Kaka’s son was arrested by police, taken down to the river and shot with a high powered rifle 12 times at point blank range. Kaka’s nephew suffered the same fate, as have four other believers.


The executioners were given promotions –  “for bravery”. Kaka’s heart was broken. Still, as he used to say, “God has called us as a tribal church to fill up the sufferings of Christ and we will be faithful to the end.”

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."

Philippians 1:21

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