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Eastern Promises
Damini was happy with Hinduism. She wanted nothing to do with "the Christian God" until a defining moment caused her to reconsider.

Why would a happy Hindu convert to Christianity?

It made no sense to Damini Sandhu. “I don’t want your God,” she told her friend, Raj.

Not interested

Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Damini’s parents immigrated to Canada in 1974 so that she could continue her education.

Damini, 18 at the time, registered for pharmaceutical studies at the University of Saskatchewan. Damini’s family was staunchly Hindu. Her oldest sister had almost attained Hindu priesthood, but she had no idea her husband believed in God until his death, when it was learned that he had requested a Christian funeral. The pastors who conducted the service engaged Damini’s sister in conversation and gave her a Bible. As a result, she began attending church and soon committed her life to God.

Her sister’s conversion was dramatic, but Damini wanted nothing to do with Christianity. She believed that, as a Hindu, she lacked nothing. She had lived a good life. “Hindus believe you get to Heaven by good works,” she says.

Good works formed the foundation of her faith and had given her a loving home with good moral standards.

When Damini graduated, she took a job in New Brunswick. Her colleague there, another pharmacist, was a Christian.

“I was running from God,” she laughs, “and I ran right into Him!” The colleague “adopted” her into his family.

“They loved me unconditionally, and I definitely saw a difference in them.” That year she also met Raj, a young pastor with whom she had many discussions about Christianity. “I told him I wasn’t interested. I was very content with Hinduism.”

"We should never miss an opportunity to share a life of faith," says Damini Sandhu.

A Christian alone

On one occasion, Raj invited Damini with him to minister at a maximum security prison. She didn’t expect what she encountered. “One hundred and sixty hard-core prisoners—rapists and murderers—were praising God and testifying that God had forgiven them and that they had eternal life.”

It was her defining moment. Damini had never heard of a God who forgives. Hindu “salvation” based on works didn’t accommodate forgiveness. The revelation captivated her. “It was the key to my salvation,” she recalls.

In secret, she bought a Bible and read it voraciously for three months. “One night I was pouring over the Scriptures when I heard Jesus speak to me audibly, ‘Come! Come to me!’ ”

Since that night, even though her family never accepted her faith and excluded her from family functions, Damini has never doubted her salvation. Her faith was rewarded when her father, before dying, had a vision of Christ.

“My journey with God has been very close because I was alone with Him for so very long,” says Damini.

Spreading the message

Damini and Raj married in 1981. The newlyweds moved to Hamilton, Ontario, where Raj became a minister at Meadow Creek Church and Damini purchased a small pharmacy. Not long after, the economy faltered and many stores in the neighbourhood started to close. The pharmacy teetered on the economic edge. “Everyone told me to declare bankruptcy. They said I wouldn’t make it,” she says. But one morning as she listened to a pastor’s sermon, he seemed to challenge her directly. “Do you make decisions based on God’s Word or on the word of people?” he asked.

“I repented,” Damini continues. “I vowed God could wake me up at three in the morning until I heard from Him about what I should do with my business.”

She wasn’t disappointed. She awoke at 3 a.m. every night for six months. “Then He pointed me to Bible passages showing me that I shouldn’t give up.”

Damini persisted in faith, but things got worse before they got better. “It took five years—from 1995 to 2000—before my circumstances turned,” she says. After that, things started looking up and she now owns two pharmacies.

But even if her business had gone under, Damini’s faith would have been intact. “My time of searching made me a stronger Christian,” she says. Damini now shares what she has learned. “I have had a women’s ministry for years, but now I am trying to reach those who do not attend church.

I hold Bible studies among business people and pharmacy staff. We studied Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life, and now we’re doing a series based on the works of Beth Moore, an American evangelist and writer. People are thirsty for God’s Word.”

She encourages believers to spread the gospel message and see others through God’s eyes. “God gives us wisdom through His Spirit and we should never miss an opportunity to share and live a life of faith,” Damini states. “God delights in these things.”

Daina Doucet is a writer and editor based in Hamilton, Ontario. She edits The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s website, www.Christianity.Ca.

Originally published in Faith & Friends, April 2010.

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