Peter Dias

Peter Dias came from a poor middle class family in Mumbai. "Poverty prevented me from having the things I wanted, let alone my needs," recalls Peter. His teenage years brought him into contact with friends who taught him how to make easy money. First, it was to threaten someone at another's request, slowly it turned to beatings. Finally, he became a part of a notorious gang linked to the most famous Don on the Mumbai underworld. All for the love of money.

Peter was very skinny and his new line of "business" called for a tough looking man. Peter's father, with all good intentions, motivated Peter to join a gym when he saw Peter's interest in body building. Peter was self taught and soon developed a great physique. On one hand, he won many body building titles like "Mr. Maharashtra" and even "Mr. India" for two consecutive years; on the other hand, it brought him more business in extortions. Peter was different from the others in the extortion business who were interested in "wine, women and song," a disciplined and strong body was his life-style. His parents finally persuaded him to marry, surprisingly, a Hindu Brahmin girl. "I promised Gita I would give up the extortion business in 6 months, " laments Peter. But they were mere promises. His success in extortion, elimination of business rivals and crime, made him live more with his armed bodyguards than with his wife.

Gita persuaded Peter to take a holiday. While he traveled in another compartment with his armed guards, she sat in the ladies compartment. Gita was attracted to "Jesus Calls," a Christian magazine that a lady was reading. The lady saw Gita's interest and began to talk to her about Jesus. Gita asked a straight forward question, "can Jesus release my husband from the bondage of crime?" assuring her that Jesus could do it, the lady sent her pastor to Peter's house. Peter seeing the pastor, decided to kill him as soon as he spoke to him. But Peter humbly says, "my spirit drank in everything that he said about Jesus. I wanted that love and peace of Jesus, more than anything. So much so, I walked with the pastor to the train station, received Christ as my Savior and came back home. It dawned on me for the first time, as far as I could remember, I had ventured out without my armed bodyguards. Jesus now was my protector."

Peter gave up all his ill-gotten gains, weapons and life of crime and lived elsewhere for over three months. In prayer, God spoke to him that he was to go back to his old house without fear of his past, even thought Peter knew that no man left the underworld and stayed alive. Peter affirms, "Jesus is my shield and my protection. I now live a simple life, working in the railways and coaching physical fitness at the YMCA. I use every opportunity to tell people of how God has taken my past away and given me a new life in Jesus Christ."

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