Introduction / History "Jesus came to this world to save sinners, but the people did not accept him. They nailed him to the cross. But he rose again from the dead on the third day. He came carrying the message of love, but people did not accept him, in the same way that you did not receive this man." The man's voice was clear and loud and the villagers listened in rapt attention to his powerful words. It was the year 1990 in a small village of West Bengal. An evangelist who went there had been beaten and tied to a tree for a whole day. The news reached his mission leader, who rushed to the village to free him. After getting him released, the mission leader addressed the villagers. They were so moved by his words that the first one to respond to the gospel right away was the "Mukhya" (village head), followed by the whole village.
Now under the banyan tree where they worshipped their gods, stands a small church in which they worship the True God. Lodhi (or Lodha) speakers are found in the states of Orissa, West Bengal and Jharkhand.
Lodhi people are basically forest dwellers, but a group of them slowly moved out of the forest in search of jobs and started to live along the main road. Lack of jobs drove this group to loot buses, with the result that neighbouring people now brand the community as criminals, and do not mingle with them. The majority of them (98%) are Hindus and the rest of them (2%) are animists. Lodhi people in West Bengal are usually friendly towards outsiders and are very positive towards the gospel message. Although they consider Christianity a foreign religion, they respect Christians as most of the social work such as running schools and hostels is done by them. The village that accepted Christ as their True God has become a model village: the people show changes in every area of their lives. Those who had always quarrelled in the past, are filled with God's love. This shows in all their dealings and they now lead a peaceful life. They are also keen to carry God's message of love to the neighbouring villages. Lodhi Christians use the Bengali Bible, but if God's Word was available to them in their mother tongue, it would help them to be strong in the Lord. There is also a need for missionaries to go and stay among the Lodhi people to give them proper medical care and education.