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Santosh Gurung

Ron: Santosh, tell us a little about yourself.

Santosh: My name is Santosh Gurung. I am 37 years old and married to my beautiful wife Yojana. We live in Jamuna More, Nagrakata, which is a small town in the Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal in India. I was born here in this small town, and I continue to live here with my family.


Ron: What is the community like where you live?

Santosh: My hometown is referred to as the chicken's neck of India because we share our borders closely with Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China and Burma. I live in the Terai-Dooars region of West Bengal, which is also sometimes called a mini-India for itsdiverse culture. We have different communities and cultures living together here, but the majority of people in my area are either Nepalis or Adivasis (tribal outcasts). Most people around me earn their livelihood by working in the tea gardens and as daily labourers. Our community is quite large and consists of people from different walks of life. We are very fond of travelling and eating varieties of food. There are frequent cultural activities held in our community, and people are very fond of football, cricket, movies and other sources of entertainment.

 

Ron: Describe your family growing up.

Santosh: For the glory of God, let me begin by telling you how my family and I came to know about God and accepted him as our saviour. In his early years, my father suffered a lot of hardships in his life, my mother and myself, including my three brothers, would often fall sick. My father owned a small hotel where he served Chinese food, such as Momo, chowmein, etc, to the people of our small town in Nagrakata. Due to frequent illness of his little children and his wife, he had a lot of trouble running his hotel as well as looking after the sick at home. My father took me, my brothers and my mother for treatment to different hospitals and tried various medications, he also called various witch doctors and healers from Bhutan and Darjeeling to try black magic and heal us all, but we were not getting any better. My father was tired and had no hope left for all of us, he had made up his mind to feed us all poison including himself and put an end to our misery. As he was planning this in his mind, a young man came to his hotel and handed him religious tracts.

 

My father cannot read or write, hence he asked my mother to read it for him. It was written that Jesus Christ has the power to heal all sickness, when he heard these words, his hopes were renewed again. He then began to ask around about Jesus. Around the same time, the Shalom Gospel Church in our town had organized a healing program. My father took us to the gathering and various people prayed for us that day. We returned home and our father placed his faith in Jesus Christ, and slowly we were healed from our illness. But we were not aware that we also had to go to a church, hence one day one Pastor named Rev. Simon Naik came to my father’s hotel and asked my father if he knew about Jesus. My father immediately gave his testimony to the pastor and he invited us all to come to the church. This way we began going to the church and having fellowship with God. Today, our whole family is happy and blessed in Christ. Our family is experiencing the grace and love of God every day and we work for the glory of God.

 

Ron: What was daily life like for you growing up?

Santosh: After getting to know Jesus and believing in him, my whole family began to have fellowship with God. I also got the blessed opportunity to lead the sunday school service in our church every sunday before the main service. I also got the opportunity to share the word of God during the cottage meetings on Thursday. This way I began growing in Christ and also simultaneously studying. When I was 14 I had the opportunity to work in the Children Bible Club organised by Seva Bharat Mission. This way I became attached to the Children's ministry, and became a Sunday school teacher. This way I had the privilege to grow in the love of God and my family.


Ron: What your life was like before following Jesus? 

Santosh: I was healed by my father’s faith. So, I began to follow Jesus in my childhood. I completed my studies in a Christian school named St. Mary’s Boarding High School. I conducted Sunday schools and preached in cottage meetings. This way I was growing in Christ, but one day, our church was divided, our pastor Rev. Simon Naik decided to leave our church and join a new organisation and form a new church. He requested my father to follow him to the new church, but my father refused. He stated that he came to know Jesus through this church and he would continue to go there till his death. We had no pastor in our church and our church was boarded up. I was studying in Class 9 at that time, due to lack of fellowship from the church, I became friends with some bad company. I started to follow them in their bad company and got involved with them. I never told my friends that I was a Christian, I had started believing that God is only one and all Gods are one. I started to drink and smoke with them, tobacco and drugs became my friends. I used to come home drunk and fight with my family. I spent my father’s money from the bank for drinking with my friends. I became a prodigal son, my father and my mother would cry and advise me to turn my ways but they never hit me. I became a bad person and my neighbours would tell my father of my misconduct and ask him to keep his son away from theirs. This way I went further away from good company and started leading a bad life.


Ron: And things went from bad to worse?

Santosh: I was engaging in activities like drinking, smoking, and drugs use, deliberately distancing myself from Christ. I concealed my Christian identity from my friends out of fear that they would reject me, knowing that Christian’s typically avoid such behaviours. Spending countless hours with them, I participated in worship idols and took part in traditional idols festivals in my Hometown. My addiction to drugs, alcohol, and smoking marijuana led down a dark paths, where I even facilitated the smuggling of harmful substances from Bhutan to India, including marijuana and whiskey. From which I was also involve in criminal activities such as theft, extortion, and threatening innocent people, but I often evading police capture. I even resorted to stealing money from my father account, exploiting his lack of education for personal gain, funding my vices life gambling, drinking, smoking, and drugs use, I actively avoiding encounters with pastors and church members, avoiding them whenever possible. This lifestyle show my life without Christ, a period marked by selfishly straying from God paths.


Ron: So when did things change again for you?

Santosh: One day Pastor Emmanuel Sharma came to our church and opened it up, he started ministering to our family and the church and I began to run away from fellowships and the pastor. But my father told me that now I will have to start living with the pastor’s family in the Church. My father had dedicated my life as a child to God in the church, and according to the Old Testament he dedicated my life to God and his ministry. Earlier he had forgotten this promise and he now wanted to fulfil it. When I heard these words, I was shocked, I was at a loss of words and began to live with the Pastor’s family. The family was very strict, they would let me out of the room and the campus, and they were scared that I would run away. This made me even angrier.


But they loved me dearly, they thought it would not be proper for me to stay in Nagrakata and sent me to a church in Tindharey, Kurseong. When I arrived in Kurseong (Darjeeling), I

had the privilege of meeting Pastor Daniel Tamang, who graciously welcomed me into his church quarters and provided a safe haven for me. Over the course of several months spent under his mentorship, Pastor Daniel Tamang took me along to various fellowships, gradually involving me in ministry activities. I eagerly took on responsibilities such as cleaning the church and eventually leading the worship team under his guidance. Through this process, I

witnessed a gradual transformation in my life as my addictions began to lose their grip on me. One pivotal moment occurred during a three-day discipleship conference which was organized by Campus Crusade Mission, where, on the final day, I responded to an altar call by the preacher. In that moment, I felt the strong touch of God's presence, and I was convicted by the Holy Spirit to dedicate my life to Him. Following the conference, Pastor Daniel facilitated my enrollment in a Bible College in Mirik, where I received training in

preaching and sharing the Gospel. As I continued to grow in my faith, I became increasingly driven by a vision to proclaim God's message to all people. Upon completing my studies, Pastor Daniel entrusted me to the care of Pastor Emmanuel Sharma in my hometown, where I took initiative in organizing youth conferences and gatherings. Through these experiences, I witnessed profound changes within my own heart and was privileged to pursue a two-year diploma in theology training through Seva Bharat Mission. God continued to bless me with opportunities to serve, including partnerships with RAY Ministries and Trans World Radio India, ultimately leading me to embrace my role as His servant, dedicated to carrying out His miraculous work in my life.


Ron: Tell us about finding and getting married to Yojana. What did you really love about her?

Santosh: Long before the idea of marriage entered my mind, I had been fervently praying

for a life partner who shared my vision for spreading the gospel. The divine intervention came when Miss Binita Sharma, the daughter of Pastor Binod Sharma, shared about a girl named Yojana. She had graduated from a Bethel New Life Bible College in Bangalore, and her heart was aligned with the desire to marry a pastor from India for the sole purpose of sharing God's message. Intrigued by this revelation, I expressed my interest through Miss Binita, and soon a WhatsApp group was formed with the three of us. As we engaged in conversations, it became clear that Yojana and I shared not only a mutual vision but also a deep commitment to spreading the gospel. When I first spoke with her, I found that we shared a strong desire to spread the message of the gospel and serve God. What struck me the most was realizing that she embodied the qualities I had prayed for in a life partner. I had prayed for a wife who would attend Bible College, honour God, have musical talents for worship, and understand English to support my ministry. Seeing all these qualities in her felt like an answer to my prayers. It reminded me of Proverbs 18:22, which says finding a good wife brings favour from God. This realization deepened my love and respect for her even more.


Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, our connection deepened, leading to a proposal in the midst of these uncertain times. However, our journey faced an unexpected hurdle when Yojana's family in Bhutan expressed reservations about her marrying in India. This setback left us disheartened, prompting us to embark on a forty-day fast seeking divine guidance. In a miraculous turn of events, God touched the hearts of Yojana's three elder sisters, revealing to them that I was the chosen partner for her. With this divine confirmation, Yojana's family had a change of heart, and through the coordination of our pastors, our families connected with each other. This two-year-long courtship during the pandemic strengthened our bond, and as soon as international travel restrictions eased, Yojana came to India. We exchanged vows in a ceremony at my church, surrounded by the grace of God, and began our journey together in marriage, grateful for the miracles that unfolded.


Ron: Describe people that you two are burdened for – what are they like?

Santosh: I was born into a diverse culture where the majority of tribes were Nepali and Adivasi, mainly coming from backward classes, working for daily wages around 230 rupees. Usually, only one family member works, managing the entire family's expenses with this amount. Many people lack access to such work and take whatever opportunities they can find, like working in fields, selling food in small stalls, or doing labour-intensive jobs. Growing up, I witnessed my father selling fast food on the streets to feed our family of six. Through this experience, I deeply empathize with the struggles of people from Adivasi and Nepali tribes who lack basic necessities such as food, water, education, and healthcare. Moreover, many young people are drawn towards detrimental behaviours like smoking, drinking, and drug use, with uncertain futures ahead of them. The education standards in our area are abysmal. Children who graduate from government schools often lack the skills needed to navigate the real world due to the poor quality of education. Only a few privileged children receive better education in private schools, which are costly for Adivasi and Nepali families. Witnessing these challenges first-hand, having grown up in a tribal area, I feel compelled by Christ Jesus to serve these communities and help uplift them.


Since 2010, I have been praying for the people of Bhutan, known as Bhutanese. Bhutan, a non-democratic country, restricts religious freedom, especially for Christians, who risk arrest for preaching or converting others. Both my mother and my wife are Bhutanese, and hearing my mother's stories about their struggle to worship freely deeply touched my heart. My wife faced similar challenges in Bhutan, where people are suppressed in their worship practices. Knowing these circumstances, both Yojana and I are committed to spreading the gospel in Bhutan with the support of our relatives living there. My heart is burdened for the Bhutanese people who long to worship and pray freely in their country.


Ron: What is your greatest desire to see God do?

Santosh: I have been praying for them for years to witness God changing their lives and accepting Christ as their saviour. Just as Zacchaeus's life transformed after encountering Christ, I long to see the hearts of these tribal people and Bhutanese changed. They should repent for their sins, embrace salvation, and live truthfully, respecting God and each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, following Jesus's teachings, and becoming true disciples. Furthermore, I aspire to witness changes in their social and cultural lives, ensuring they receive basic necessities such as food, water, education, and healthcare. These transformations would signify God's grace and the manifestation of His kingdom among them.


Ron: What it is that you are most passionate about in doing Kingdom work today and why?

Santosh: I have started my journey by teaching children, youths, women, and church leaders, guiding them through the vision of God that He has given me in their respective churches, focusing on making disciples through training. Engaging in these activities, I felt a profound sense of blessing and discovered a passion for working in the kingdom of God. As a minister and disciple-maker today, I consider it a tremendous blessing to serve in the kingdom and contribute to the formation of true disciples. Each time I share my thoughts with others about God's kingdom, I am grateful, knowing that my heavenly Father observes me engaged in His wonderful work of sharing the gospel and making disciples. Devoting my life to God as a disciple of Jesus Christ, I wake up every day with the same energy and enthusiasm to share the gospel and spread the good news.


Ron: What is it that you pray about often, asking God’s help for?

Santosh: From an early age, I have sensed a calling from God to serve in His ministry, and I continually seek His guidance and strength through prayer. I often pray for God’s help in fulling His visions for my life, which includes making disciples, raising leaders, planting churches, and engaging in various ministries such as youth’s, women’s, children’s and social ministries, particularly in the field of education and healthcare. I recognize myself as a clay of His hands and Him as a divine potter, and I pray earnestly for God to shape me into an instrument of His love and grace, ready to carry out His work and accomplish wonderful deeds in His name. My prayers are a constant plea for His presence, wisdom, and empowerment as I navigate the path of ministry and seek to fulfil His purposes in my life and in the lives of those around me.


Ron: When / how did you connect with Global Sharing?

Santosh: In 2016-17, while I was working with RAY Ministries, circumstances lead me to depart

due to financial strains. However, Director Rev. Home Steward Jamang, facilitated my transition to Trans World Radio India ministry as a Himalayan media and field manager, recognizing my financial needs. It was during this period that I became acquainted with Global Sharing. In this same year, I got call from Rev. Home Steward Jamang that Global Sharing ministry intended to collaborate with RAY Ministries to support women’s conference, through Pastor Ron, whom I encountered during this time. The next year through Pastor Ron, I met Pastor Fernando and Pastor Belinda, who assured me of financial support through the partnership between Global Sharing and RAY Ministries. This experience served as my introduction to the Global Sharing ministry, which eventually led to opportunities to share gospel in larger areas.


Through my experience with Global Sharing, I have learned that it is all about spreading the

love of living God and helping others follow the teaching of Jesus Christ sharing the gospel and making disciples. What makes Global Sharing special is that it helps people wherever, no matter who they are or where they come from. It’s like a big family that reaches out to everyone in spreading the message of Christ, showing kindness and support. I believe that Global Sharing is not just something people came up with. It feels like it was God’s plan to do a good work around the world. Seeing how Global Sharing makes a difference in people’s lives, make me feel like it was God plan to join in this wonderful plan of sharing gospel, making disciples and helping the youths and leaders of church.


Global Sharing has been instrumental in my personal journey and ministry in profound ways. It has only provided me with the opportunity to fulfill my calling of sharing the gospel and making disciples but has also served as a spiritual guide throughout my endeavours. During challenging times, such as when I found myself trapped in debt, Global Sharing stepped in with financial support and prayers for me and my family, enabling to dedicate myself fully to the work of God and sharing His gospel. Their unwavering support and encouragement have been of source strength and motivation, empowering me to continue serving with passion and

dedication in sharing gospel and making disciples. Moreover, through their example, Global Sharing has taught me the importance of love and demonstrated how to effectively carry out ministry, equipping me with valuable insight on sharing the gospel and nurturing disciples. Global Sharing has been a guiding light, providing me with particular knowledge and how to share the gospel effectively, making disciples, and mentoring leaders within various churches. Their influence has significantly enriched my ministry, enabling me to reach out to other with passion and purpose.


As I reflect on the journey with Global Sharing, it becomes clear to me that God has arranged our connection for a purpose. Its as if God has woven our paths together to fulfil His kingdom’s work. Through prayer and discernment, I have trusted the paths our partnership in His divine plan to spread His message of love and compassion to the world. With team work between my personal convictions and the mission of Global Sharing, I see the hand of God guiding us towards a common goal: to serve Him and His people with dedication and humanity. This connection is not just a coincidence, it is a testament to God’s faithfulness and His desire to work through us to accomplish His purpose.

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