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Jesus’ philosophy of love transforms lives

Bible house helps people of any faith gain more knowledge about Christ and the Word of God

Jesus’ philosophy of love transforms lives
Founder-director of Prerona Bible House, Father Subhash Baroi, conducting a session for Hindus and Muslims
Julian Das, Krishnagar

April 20, 2011

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Young Debashish Sarkar lived aimlessly, spending most of his time with friends and indulging in dubious vices, till he visited a Bible house in Krishnagar in West Bengal. “After I visited the Bible house and attended a workshop on Scripture study, I was transformed. I don’t smoke or drink alcohol now,” says Sarkar, a master’s degree student. Sujata Biswas, aged 22, had been living a troubled life after a broken marriage. Her parents blamed her for it and she was contemplating suicide before visiting the Bible house. Initially, she faced opposition from her family but now her mother has accepted what she is doing, and she even visits Charismatic meetings in nearby Jalalkhali in the eastern Indian state. Sarkar and Biswas are both Hindus, and were among around 10,000 Hindus and Muslims who have attended weekly Bible study programs at the diocesan run Prerona (being sent) Bible House. What we aim for at our regular Bible workshops is the integral transformation of participants, says founder-director of the center, Father Subhash Baroi. Begun in January 2000, Fr. Baroi’s initiative to enable people to build a “new heaven and new earth,” has been drawing many people from the district. Christians make up only 20 percent of the population in the area; the rest do not know Jesus, Fr. Baroi says. He said to know Jesus people of other religions don’t have to give up their faith. West Bengal has a population of around 80 million people. Hinduism is the principal religion at 72.5 percent of the total population. Muslims comprise approximately 25 percent  while Sikhism, Christianity and other religions make up the remainder. The state, being the seat for the colonial British authorities for about 100 years, has a long history with the Bible especially with Protestant scholar-missionary William Carey’s pioneering work more than 200 years ago. Carey, who arrived in India in 1793, became an excellent grammarian and lexicologist of many Indo-Aryan languages and started the translation of the Bible into Bengali. In 1801, Carey, published the first New Testament in Bengali and by 1809, he completed translation of the Old Testament. In 1810, the English Baptist missionary was the first person to translate the complete Bible into Bengali. Carey later went on to translate the Bible into 35 other languages and dialects. The center also makes use of literature produced by other denominations. Sisters of Mary Immaculate Sister Christina Sheela said there are 25 teachers who teach the Bible and some of them are students who attended the workshop in the past. Five full-time animators go from village to village, encouraging and teaching people how to study the Bible, she said, adding that there is no opposition to their activities. Krishnagar Bishop Joseph Suren Gomes said recently that Christians have also begun to attend the workshops to become more knowledgeable about the Word of God. The pastor at nearby Narayanpur, Fr. Priyalal Baroi has brought over 4,000 people to attend the Bible study workshop at the center, and most of them were Hindus eager to know Jesus. Tags: Related Reports: BIBLE STUDY SUSTAINS FAITH, BUILDS COMMUNITY IN DIOCESE WITH FEW PRIESTS
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