Every year, Malaysia's Hindus celebrate the festival of Thaipusam.
Thousands flock to the Batu caves, where they perform rituals and offer sacrifices to idols to take away their sins.
The man you're about to meet, made his living making and selling Hindu idols., until the day he met the living God.
Devotees carry these elaborately decorated metal frames called kavadis to symbolize their burdens.
Piercing the skin, tongue and cheeks with sharp skewers is also a common part of the ritual.
The highlight is walking up 272 steps into the Batu caves where they offer their sacrifices.
The greater the pain, the more merits they earn, but these Hindus say they feel no pain because they are in a trance.
Munis Varah was born a Hindu.
As a young boy, he was amazed at the power that members of his own family demonstrated during the Thaipusam Festival.
"My mom used to go into a trance and when they go into the trance they can walk on fire," Munis said. "What I was told is, it is how you pay back your sins. Sin is basically torturing, creating bad things so you torture yourself to show look Lord, I'm punishing myself so that you take my sins away and give me a good life."
But later on, these same practices caused him to question the Hindu faith.
"God cannot be like that, why does God have to be cruel? There is God. I believe this so much because the universe cannot be so perfectly created," he said. "I know there is a God somewhere but I don't know what form He is and where He is."
Munis did not seek his own happiness through religion. Instead he worked hard to succeed in business.
"To make idols, that's where I became very good at," he said. "I made a lot of money. I was drinking and loved the night life. But it was a short time of happiness, in the inner self something was missing."
After years of living an extravagant life, Munis found himself divorced, miserable and financially broke.
But a marketing venture led him to the person who would cause him to seek the true God.
Joe Fabregas, who became his mentor, is a Christian businessman.
"He was richer than me but he was so humble," Munis explained. "I admired him a lot the way he dealt with his family."
"I said 'Joe, how did you learn all this' and he said all very simple 'through my God.'"
"'Who's your God?'" Munis asked. "And he said Jesus.'"
"Aside from the fact that there was a deep need, he was looking for answers," Fabregas said. "And basically I said, 'Munis you know you'll never gonna find God just by asking questions. You're gonna have to just accept Him by faith.'"
So Munis began attending church, and on the fourth week, God touched his heart.
"The pastor was telling today Jesus wants to come to you. I said why not. I heard so much about Jesus. He died for people. I put up my hand. From that day on, miracles started to happen," Munis said.
One month after that significant day, after eight years of waiting, Munis learned that his second wife was pregnant.
After months of reading the Bible, Munis was convicted about giving up his business selling Hindu idols.
"I really wanted to become a Christian and a follower of Jesus," Munis said. "We had to bring five vehicles to carry all my idols. And we disposed them by burning them."
God honored His obedience.
Today Munis is living comfortably with his son and his wife who is now carrying their second child.
He earns a living by driving tourists around the cities, but he is considering going back to his art business.
Now he wants to make images of the God of the Bible.
I'll use my talents," Munis said. "I'll use my gift, I'll do it for Him."
Originally published May 4, 2008.