He is a poor village cobbler. People called him Moochi, the Hindi word for Cobbler, as though that was his surname. These cobblers have no shops or overhead. They normally set up their shop, just a bag of tools, at a street corner, and look out for customers. Call it, in Christian terms, living by faith. Moochi married and prayed daily for a boy. He will send his son to school. One day the son will get a better job than his own and raise the standard of the family’s meager existence.
Instead, God gave them a baby girl. After the initial shock, Moochi pulled himself up and said to himself, no matter what, he will work harder and ensure his little girl gets the best education. His efforts paid off. His girl came out first in her class. It got better. At high school, she scored one hundred percent in her subjects. As a father of two girls and a grandfather, I can only imagine the smile on poor Moochi’s face. In fact, I am getting emotional with tears of joy even as I write this story!
Moochi will not stop now. He got a glimpse of his dream’s fulfillment. I am sure Moochi’s daughter has heard from her classmates and from the talk of the town that the best job opportunities are in the Information Technology (IT) business. His challenges are now multiplied. Would his daughter get admission in those prestigious institutes? Even if she got in and received a scholarship, who can afford the daily transportation costs since boarding is out of question?
God answered his prayer. With her extraordinary high marks, she got admitted. He devised a plan of action. Instead of staying at his normal street corner, he will launch out, take free railway train rides between stations, a common practice in India, repairing and polishing passenger’s shoes or hand bags. Almighty God answered his prayer again. She passed with honours. Hardly finished her exams, she was given an interview and offered a pretty responsible job by an international dot.com company.
This is a real story. The cobbler’s real name is Bishan Lal, still known as Moochi. He comes from a little village from the state of Bihar, North India. His daughter’s name is Radha. Today Radha is a manager of a worldwide company, resides and works in Singapore.*
This story reminded me of another Moochi by name William Carey, who was also poor with limited education. He worked hard and made a living repairing shoes and leather products. That was more than 200 years ago, in England. His apprentice told him about Jesus and, as a result, this Moochi became a follower of Jesus. He had a flair for languages. With Bibles and other books he educated himself, also learning other languages at the same time. From a local villager, he learned Latin. In 1786 Carey became a pastor, while still maintaining himself as a cobbler.
That was the beginning of a greater dream for Christian service overseas. With missions like this it is not uncommon to face challenges, sometimes from your own. At a minister’s meeting when Carey pressed his proposal, one elder member told him: “Young man sit down. When God pleases to convert the heathens he will do it without your aid and mine”.
By now the zeal of the house hath consumed him for overseas mission. God worked through him to prepare the ground, inspiring and challenging the local churches to catch the fire for foreign missions. In 1792 he organized and found the Baptist Missionary Society. Carey with his wife Dorothy set sail to India in 1793.
Both the Moochies, Bishan Lal and William Carey, though far different in their back grounds and continents, and magnitude of mission, had things in common. They (a) believed in God, (b) had a dream/mission and (c) worked hard at it . I would add to those one more ingredient, following my blog theme, the moderation or the equal balance of all virtues. There is no limit what God Almighty wishes to do with such men or women. God, who specializes in things thought impossible always steps in, rather walks along side to make sure their dreams come true.
By now Carey was teaching, preaching and translating Bibles in forty-four Indian languages. Churches sprang up like mushrooms in a rainy season. My family and I have often visited The Carey Baptist Church at Calcutta, with his famous words on the building front “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God”. Evidently I need to write the rest of the story, God willing, as part 2.
God bless, Danny Paul
*details collected from personal discussions and online research