Raj Mani tells the incredible story about how a Bible that led her to the Lord, got lost and found by just the right person.
I grew up in Fiji, in a home where my father was a Hindu priest, following in the rituals of his ancestors, performing fire walking and offering sacrifices.
I didn’t understand why my father, held so high by society, treated my mother so badly. I had many challenges in both my home life and my own personal life.
I was very broken. A concerned workmate started talking to me about Jesus and God. He took me along to meet some Christian people who were working in Fiji as missionaries. They gave me a Bible with a red cover.
In secret, I started reading the Bible. I eagerly highlighted chapters that stood out for me. I secretly started going to church. On 18 November 1982, I accepted Jesus as my saviour.
The problems in my family and personal life became worse. I continued going to church but took along my niece and nephew. Soon after my brother Sam Sami also started going to church. He moved to New Zealand and eventually trained as a Salvation Army officer. Mum started going to church followed by my sister and her family.
This, of course, impacted my father and his standing in the community, and unfortunately he took his anger out on my mother. For this reason, and other family reasons which ensued, my mother, brother, niece and nephew left our family home.
In 1989, my son Kris who was six months at the time, my mum, and I left for New Zealand. Of course the much loved, precious red Bible came along with us. In Wellington, we started going to The Salvation Army, where I became a soldier. Kris was about four when he started going to Junior Soldiers. He wanted to take a Bible —under his arm, just like the adults do! One day he took my red Bible, but unfortunately it never came home.
My comment to him was, ‘Son that was my first Bible and was very precious to me.’ I also made the comment, which I clearly remember, ‘God bless the person who finds it and uses it.’
Almost 20 years later, my niece—who lives in Auckland and did not have a relationship with Jesus—was assisting her brother at a stall in the Papatoetoe night markets.
A stall-holder had some free books to give away and being a bookworm, she went over and picked up a red Bible thinking it was a Reader’s Digest book. That Bible sat on her bookshelf for about 18 months, untouched.
My niece started going through some difficult domestic challenges. Feeling very aggrieved one night at about 1 am, she called out to God— but which god, she did not know.
Thinking that maybe reading something would put her mind at ease, she picked up the red Bible. To her astonishment, when she opened it, she found my name inside.
Early next morning, she called me to tell me about this red Bible. She did not know that we had lost this Bible in Wellington. I found opportunity to talk to her about my encounter with Jesus.
Since then my niece has accepted Jesus as her Saviour.
By Raj Mani (c) 'War Cry' magazine, 11 June 2016, pp 9
You can read 'War Cry' at your nearest Salvation Army church or centre, or subscribe through Salvationist Resources.