Pr Gautum is one of our students at our newest training centre, Jaigaon, a town on the Indo-Bhutanese border, high up in the Himalayas. Bhutan until recently was a closed country; even tourists couldn’t enter the country, much less missionaries or evangelists. Bhutan's a Buddhist country, but before it was Buddhist, the predominant belief system was Bon. Bon is an animist and shamanistic belief system, encompassing aspects of black magic and witchcraft. Many witchdoctors and high priests operate within the religion.
Pr Gautum grew up in a family of witchdoctors, and following the tradition of his family become one himself. As he got older it became apparent that he had a special ability to put curses on people. In fact, he was so good he developed a reputation across the country as the best person to visit if you wanted to put a curse on an adversary. People would travel from far and wide to visit Gautum, where they would pay him to curse and afflict their enemies.
One day, someone visited Gautum and asked him to curse a certain lady. Gautum tried to curse this lady but immediately sensed he had no power over her. His curse wouldn’t work. Instead it rebounded on him and he became ill with a mystery affliction that none of his witchdoctor friends or family could counteract.
After about five months a lady heard about his affliction and came to visit him. She told Gautum that she was a Christian, that she would pray for him, and that she wouldn’t leave him until he was healed. Dutifully she prayed for him and visited him time and time again, each time chatting, praying, and ministering to him.
During one of these visits, it emerged that the woman was the same lady that he had unsuccessfully tried to curse. Guatum was immediately filled with terror. He confessed what he’d done to the lady. She calmly told him it wasn’t her that he needed to apologise to, but God. And so she led him to the Lord.
Soon afterwards Gautum was healed.
After becoming a Christian, Gautum regularly read his Bible. As he read it, there was a passage which he felt particularly drawn to. It was a verse from James 5, where it says: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you might be healed. For the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective”.
From this passage, Gautum felt led to pray for the sick in his community, and it turned out that he had a gift of healing. Time and time again he would pray for someone, and they would be healed. Soon he developed a reputation as a healer, and people would travel far and wide to visit Gautum to receive prayer so that they or their loved ones could be healed!
God is bringing hope and healing to many people in this region through Gautum’s faithfulness.
However, Gautum has been desperate to evangelise and minister to the people that he has been healing, yet has felt ill-equipped to do so. As a result we are training him to be an effective missionary and pastor, so that he can share the gospel to those that he has helped.