But as the couple got to know the people, they didn’t seclude themselves in pockets of safety. Instead, they found themselves befriending a man who epitomized everything that made the area so frightening.
A Dark Past
Uttal had been in the army for 20 years, knowing well the power his position gave him.
In his younger years, he drank often and spent his free time drifting from woman to woman. Whatever his desire, he demanded local civilians provide it for him. Some chose to stand up for themselves, but the price for crossing Uttal was incredibly steep.
“Because the whole country was under military rules and regulations, I knew each soldier had power over the civilians,” he said. “I, therefore, killed some people—more in the villages—if they did not do what I asked them to do.”
His military status soon became his undoing, however. One day while he was on duty, a powerful bomb went off and caught Uttal in the blast. His right leg was broken, leaving the strong warrior utterly helpless.
Uttal lost all hope for his future.
A Purpose for His Life
When Arun and Maina found the dispirited soldier, he had retired from the military and wanted nothing to do with the Jesus they talked about. But the couple continued to visit Uttal, and slowly, a friendship bloomed. Gradually, Uttal let them share more about Jesus’ love until the three of them spoke freely of the topic.
As Uttal began to understand more, he decided that he wanted to follow Jesus, too. His new faith gave him a hope like nothing he had experienced before. And when he looked back on his accident from years before, the bitterness had left him.
“I could have died when the bomb blasted, but only Jesus protected me from such a dangerous situation,” he says. “He has a purpose for my life.”
Uttal stopped drinking alcohol and began attending church regularly. Now, instead of terrorizing villagers, he uses his story to share the love of Jesus.
Knowing Uttal’s past, they can see the change for themselves, and with encouragement he tells them, “Jesus is the Son of God and can forgive your sins and change your life also.”
Because supporters like you enabled Arun and Maina to share the Good News, Uttal has a new life, and by God’s grace, many more will follow along with him.