Ragnar’s village was a poor one. Most of the families relied on farming for their livelihood, but they struggled to attain anything beyond survival. Without resources, most couldn’t afford to give their children a proper education.
With little hope for a better life, many teens turned to worldly, and sometimes criminal, pleasures. It was common for boys and young men to sneak around under the cover of night to steal neighbors’ hens and ducks, then enjoy a clandestine barbecue with friends.
Ragnar was a natural leader, but he used his powers for evil, encouraging younger boys in these criminal activities and causing trouble in his village. He got away with it for a time, but soon the other villagers found out.
At first Ragnar claimed innocence. He was not involved, he said. He had scolded the younger boys for those bad practices, he testified. But Ragnar’s accomplices came forward with fingers pointed, insisting he was not only involved but the ringleader.
With a severe warning, village authorities released him. Ragnar’s thievery momentarily subsided, but soon his criminal activities resumed.
Now he stood before the village council again. His parents pleaded with the authorities to give Ragnar another chance.
“If he will not change his bad habit, you can do whatever you want to do to him,” Ragnar’s parents told the council.
To their relief, the council relented. But Ragnar’s father, Kagan, knew that a different outcome required different action this time. This could be his son’s last chance to turn his life around, and it needed to count.
A Different Direction
Desperate, Kagan sought out Gospel for Asia (GFA) pastor Manu. The pastor was a good man; perhaps he could do something with the boy.
Pastor Manu became a mentor for Ragnar, counseling and guiding him, and sharing Christ’s love. The pastor also prayed for Ragnar. One day, as tears flowed from Pastor Manu’s eyes during his prayer, Ragnar was deeply touched by the man’s love.
As God began working in Ragnar’s life, the young man’s heart began to change. Curious about the man investing so much time in his life, Ragnar visited Pasto Manu’s church, where he learned more about the man’s faith and encountered God’s love.
Ragnar’s life transformed. He put aside his thieving ways and began using his powers of leadership for good.
“I will surely stop the young boys from stealing others’ hens and ducks,” Ragnar said. “I will tell them about the good news that Jesus loves them, too, as He loves me. I will tell them individually.”
The villagers perceived the drastic change in Ragnar. Once ready to expel him from the village, his neighbors now appreciate his presence. Ragnar’s life, and its trajectory, is forever changed because a Gospel for Asia (GFA) worker lovingly invested in him.