Once Untouchable, Now Loved
Born and raised a Hindu in Bangladesh, Gopal and his fellow Hindus worshipped many gods. He says, "We prayed and worshipped often, but it didn't help us find peace. I was sad and lonely all my life, especially after the passing of my father a few years ago."
Gopal's family is also Dalit. As part of the 'untouchables'- those at the bottom of the caste system in the traditional Hindu culture- Dalits are forced to live in separate communities. Tradition holds that anyone who encounters Dalits or even their shadows must ritually cleanse. Gopal and his family experienced this oppression firsthand.
He says with frustration, "We cannot travel or go out as others know we are Dalits, and everyone wants to stay away from us. There are times when we are denied food. As a child, there were times my friends' parents wouldn't let their children play with us." But Gopal's life began to change when he met a pastor from a local church.
Gopal explains, "He was a very friendly person. Being Dalit, no one ever visited us or spoke kindly to us." The pastor opened his Bible and told them about God's forgiveness. He recalls, "He laid his hands on us and prayed, something which no one would do to a Dalit. Before leaving, he invited us to a Project Philip Bible study. At that moment, I felt like God placed His hands on me."
Gopal and his two sisters began attending the Project Philip Bible study. He says, "We felt love as never before." It didn't take long before he confessed and accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. Gopal beams, "I have never felt such peace, acceptance, and contentment. God delivered us from rejection. Now, I have peace in my heart. Life has never been the same