Uttarakhand, the land of the Jaunsaris

Living in the high country of North India, Uttarakhand State, Bir Singh, a young man in his early thirties, sits outside at his loom and weaves cloth from silk, cotton and wool. He supports his family in this time-honored tradition. A Jaunsari living in the rugged hills, Bir Singh is more easily able to share his faith in Christ because the people know him. He is one of them. His community now has ten families who are believers in Christ.

Bir Singh supports his family by working the loom in the village where he shares the gospel.

In an area of 370 villages spread over mountain terrain, the Jaunsari number about 200,000 people, mostly Hindu. Strictly ordered by a caste system, there is no mobility among the landowners, servant class or Brahmans (Hindu priests), which is determined by birth. A "scheduled tribe," the Jaunsari, recognized by the government as an indigenous people, live simple lives as farmers, tending their crops in a protected area. In this regard, no foreign missionaries would even be allowed in to share the gospel. Yet, through help from Christian Aid, this unreached people group is being reached by one of their own.

When his new faith in Christ was discovered, Bir Singh and his young wife were cast out from the home where he had lived with his family.

A Jaunsari woman in her village.

For two years they lived in the hut used to dry vegetables. This expulsion from the extended family is a common practice, as Christians are often thought of with the same disdain as the British during the colonial period. Christianity is regarded as the religion of the foreigners, who so long dominated India.

Prayer with a Jaunsari family

Over time, Bir Singh won over his family to Christ. He went to Bible college, sponsored by Anand Singh, who had first told him about Jesus.

When other villagers noticed the positive changes in Bir Singh´s family, they began to come to his place to hear Bible stories. His father, once a drunkard and in debt, is now living a life transformed by the Lord. Knowing how they think and speaking the language, Bir Singh can reach his own people because he is a part of the culture. As he lives out his faith day by day, Bir Singh says, "I follow Christ." His life is the best witness as others come to see Christ in him.