The Living Christ Replaces Static Idols

The Living Christ Replaces Static Idols

Approximately three years ago*, a young man named Karthik became troubled by mental illness. He was hearing voices and increasingly losing touch with reality. He was hospitalized in the psychiatric ward of an Auckland, New Zealand, institution where he remained unable to function or even hold coherent conversations with his parents, Ramesh and Shaila, and his brother, Kashyab. His family appealed to the idols displayed in their home, petitioning their gods for the healing of Karthik, but his condition worsened.

Suzanne Kharat is the wife of Auckland's All Nations Church of the Nazarene pastor, Vipul Kharat. She and a member of the church befriended Ramesh and Shaila, encouraging them to put their faith in the only living God who was powerful enough to hear their prayers and heal their son.

Pastor Vipul and members of the church went in several times as prayer teams to pray for Karthik. Meanwhile, Ramesh, a highly respected scientist listed in of New Zealand's Who's Who of Medical Science, came with his family to All Nations worship services on Sunday mornings.

On June 6, my husband, John Moore, field strategy coordinator for Australia and New Zealand, preached at All Nations Church, sharing a message of healing and hope from John 5. The altar was lined with individuals asking for anointing and healing. Karthik's family presented themselves for prayer on his behalf. When he prayed, John affirmed that Jesus was not confined to time and space and was with them, and with Karthik in the hospital even as they were praying.

When they returned home, Ramesh phoned the hospital to check on Karthik's condition. They were surprised to find that he wished to speak with them. For the first time in months their son spoke with clarity, saying that earlier that day he was in the hospital courtyard when a man with a shining face and dressed in white approached him and assured Karthik that His name was Jesus and that He had come to walk with him. Karthik's spirit immediately lifted and from that moment his mental state began to improve.

The following day Ramesh requested that Pastor Vipul and a prayer team come to the family home to purify it by prayer in the name of Jesus. Vipul enlisted District Superintendent Neville Bartle, several All Nations Church members, Vidya Washington, a fellow scientist working alongside Ramesh, and my husband to accompany him for a time of cleansing.

The family had removed most of the idols that had been in their shrines and in their place had put a Bible. During the next few weeks, Ramesh gathered the remaining idols into three bags and brought them to Pastor Vipul, asking that they schedule a trip into the bay to drop them into the sea.

Learning of his newfound faith, both Ramesh's brother and his former priest asked what he was going to do with the old idols. They suggested that he give the idols to someone who could use them—or even sell them, since some were made of gold and silver. Even Pastor Vipul suggested that perhaps the equivalent value (approximately $5,000 USD) might be used for the poor or for some missional purpose.

Ramesh was respectfully insistent that the idols be "sent back to God by putting them in the water." As he lifted one of the idols in his hand he said, "I have had these idols as my god, and now I know that a big God has been confined in them. I no longer need them. I renounce my dependence on them. I did not know I was confining this huge God in these idols."

The first week of July, Pastor Vipul rented a boat to use for the disposal of the idols. He prayed that this would be a repentance ritual for the ship captain as well and that God would speak to him through the events he would witness. Without prior intent, the occasion took place on Ramesh's birthday.

"On my birthday God wants me free." This day his entire family came to faith.

The skipper was a close observer of what took place and to all that was said. As they returned to Auckland, he told the group that though he was an adherent to another world faith system, he welcomed their prayers for him. They all laid hands on him and prayed. The skipper said that he wants to maintain contact with and visit All Nations Church.

Ramesh's family has come to know God in Christ Jesus and they will never be the same. Karthik is well and no longer lives in the psychiatric ward. Jesus has indeed come to walk with them. The medical staff at the hospital invited the church prayer teams to become a regular part of therapy sessions. Ramesh is coordinating teams who go regularly to the hospital to pray for both patients and doctors.

Ramesh gives his testimony very simply, "I love the Jesus of the New Testament—He is a revolutionary."

Vicki Moore serves with her husband John Moore, field strategy coordinator of Australia and New Zealand.

Holiness Today, November/December 2010

*Please note: This article was originally published in 2010. All facts, figures, and titles were accurate to the best of our knowledge at that time but may have since changed.