My name is Tarun.
I have three children and we live in a small rural village in the state of Chhattisgarh. Our family is from the Mahara people group and we worshipped the Hindu god Iram dei. I served as a priest at the Hindu temple.
My wife died when my two youngest children were just 8 and 5. My oldest daughter was already married and living with her husband's family in another village, which is the custom in India.
I had no one to take care of the household - so I told my 8-year-old son, Jayraj, that he was finished with school. Instead, I expected him to do all the cooking, cleaning, and caring for our animals. Jayraj also had to take care of his younger sister.
I wasn't a very good dad. I was angry a lot after my wife died, and I often spoke harshly to Jayraj and his sister. I didn't help at home or even pay much attention to my children. I just carried out my duties at the temple each day and came home to sleep.
Jayraj was about 13 when I noticed he and his sister disappeared every afternoon for a few hours. They always came home with smiles on their faces, and sometimes as Jayraj did his chores I overheard him quietly singing songs I had never heard before.
I asked Jayraj where they went every day - and he said that he had been invited to a Children's Bible Club. Imagine my surprise! But I didn't say anything. I couldn't see any harm in them going to play with other village kids for a few hours.
When anyone in the village asked me why I was allowing them to attend the Club, I just smiled and said, "My children are learning many things and are leading a happy life. They are learning about cleanliness, songs, stories and are also able to study. I am happy that my son is going there."
Then one day my curiosity was too strong, so I walked over to the Club a few minutes after Jayraj and his sister left the house. I was really impressed to see the rows of happy faces. I watched silently during the prayer time as the boys and girls shared with each other about their lives and as they sang songs praising someone named Jesus.
I couldn't understand the story about Jesus sacrificing His life to save sinners like me. I've worked in the temple my whole life - all the gods demand sacrifices from people, but they never sacrifice themselves for us.
I started coming every day to the Bible Club with my children! I wanted to know more about Jesus Christ. My heart opened up more and more each visit, and I made a decision to follow Jesus. My favorite Bible verse is Psalm 51:1: "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions."
I quit my job at the Hindu temple. I am working as a farmer to support my family. Every week I go with Jayraj and his sister to the worship group that includes many families from the Bible Club. Now my family is happy and we have peace and joy in our home.
I love the Children's Bible Club and I think every child should attend the Club. I am telling every parent in my village to send their children to the Club.