“I wanted nothing to do with Christianity!”
Satabdi was born in India and raised in an affluent family of the highest Hindu caste. She was a proud Hindu in her formative years. In fact, she used to think Christians didn’t understand anything. She believed that all names referred to a single god—some called him Christ, others called him Allah, and she called him Krishna. “We used to celebrate Christmas, Hindu, all the gods and goddesses, all the festivals. And because we thought Jesus was one of the Hindu gods, we loved him—but we hated Christians,” said Satabdi.
Each year, a Gideon visited her Hindu school to offer Testaments to students. Satabdi always declined the gift. “We had enough gods and goddesses. I didn’t need to read that book,” she said. As a child, her mother had given her a children’s book with pictures and stories based on the Bible, but she never wanted to read it.
“We had enough gods and goddesses. I didn’t need to read that book.”
Satabdi eventually transferred to another school, where she became friends with a young girl who was Catholic. Satabdi knew all about what Hindus believed, but she wondered about other beliefs. Specifically, she grew more curious about Christians.
After her 10th grade year, she decided to read that children’s book. She told her Catholic friend, “Hey, I read the Bible.” Satabdi admitted, “I knew that was a lie because it was not the Bible.” She started feeling guilty for lying to her friend and the feeling would not go away. Around the same time, she encountered another Gideon at her new school. She decided to accept the Testament he offered. She thought that if she read from the Testament her lie would be fixed because she would have actually read from part of the Bible.
Satabdi began reading her Testament. “As I came to the book of Romans, I realized from chapter one how far my community had gone away from God by making idols,” she recalled. “My society, my ancestors, my caste that I was so proud of had gone away from God.”
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (ESV)
Throughout her whole childhood, she and her family had done meditations and fasted to various gods. Satabdi considered herself very religious and believed she would surely go to Heaven. But she got to Romans 3:23 (ESV) and read, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” She realized that if God was the holy, true God, He couldn’t accept all of the fruits, flowers, and money she had given to other gods and goddesses. He could not be a righteous judge if He was overlooking her sins. If He was not a righteous judge, He could not be God. At that point, she realized she had been worshipping idols.
She came to Romans 5:7-8 (ESV), which reads, “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus was not just a good person who had experienced bad things. “He was the true and living God who created me, who loved me enough to die for me!” realized Satabdi.
She couldn’t fathom how God could love her that much! Not wanting anyone to see her, she went to the bathroom and began to cry. “The Lord opened my heart. I knew that I believed through reading the Scriptures,” she said. Her parents and family thought someone had brainwashed her, yet Satabdi continued studying God’s Word. It took her almost a year and a half to find another believer, and she eventually joined a church in Calcutta. “I prayed, ‘God, what do you want from me?’ and He answered, ‘Go, spread the Word.’”
Today, God continues opening doors all over the world for Satabdi to share her story. She encourages members of The Gideons by saying, “It is because of those faithful Gideons who did not stop going to schools and sharing the Gospel—thank you for the work you do. Do not ever give up!”