I was born and raised as a Hindu worshipping the idol gods in a village, Kurumaddali, Krishna Dt., Andhra Pradesh, India. My father died when I was about four years as he was witch-crafted by a witch-doctor who was paid by another family to kill my family. My mother and grandparents tried everything to get him cured. They offered the sacrifice of a goat in a graveyard in the midnight hour with another witch doctor. They took him to mental hospitals and Hindu temples. They finally took him to a big temple where millions of Hindus go to shave their heads and give the hair offering to the god of seven hills.
After they put my parents and me thru the ritual of giving our hair offering, my mother started crying to that god beating her head against a pillar, hoping that it would please the gods inside the temple. Needless to say that there was no response from any of those gods. After my father’s death, my mother didn’t give up on those gods but continue to go through the religious ritual by which she believed that she could obtain the mercy of gods for peace and ultimately the Moksha (Heaven).
Ten years had gone by, and I was dying as I was also under the curse of a witch-doctor. My mother didn’t know what to do as she had already cried in vain to the idol gods. We didn’t know anything about Jesus except that He was the God of so-called western people and low-caste people in India, which has been an erroneous prevailing notion for centuries. (I did not want to use the word – low caste or high caste – as I never believed in ‘high or low’ among men even before I believed in Jesus Christ. I always believed in the equality of people. However, I used it to refer to the erroneous notion still prevailing in the minds of millions in India). We didn’t know anything else except that erroneous opinion of Jesus. We never heard the gospel nor ever knew any Christians. My mother, however, felt that she might as well call upon the God of Christians. “Oh, Jesus,” she cried, “I have heard that you were not our God, yet I come to you pleading for the life of my only child dying. If you would heal him, I will serve you all my life.” I do not know how long this God of Heavens has been waiting to hear the cry of my widowed mother and intervene in our lives. Yes, HE had heard that cry and came into our big tile-roofed and village fashioned home that night several years ago and healed me. Glory to HIS name !!
This led my mother to know more about this strange God who had yet graciously responded to her cry. But, How could a Hindu, a woman, a widow, dare to find about this God? The caste, religious, and village restrictions of the day limited her possibility. However, she came to know of four farm laborers praying every night and made her way one night secretly. She told them what the God of Christians had done to her son and asked them to tell her more about this God. They being recent converts, told her that Jesus Christ was the Healer and the Saviour of mankind for which He sacrificed His Life on the Cross. So, my mother had readily accepted Jesus into her heart. These few believers wanted to find more about this God and ended up finding a little thatched-roofed church in another village, and it happened to be a Church of God. Had they found a Catholic Church, we would have ended up being Catholics. Thank God for guiding them to a spirit-filled church.
I knew Jesus could heal the sick but never understood HIS salvation plan for me. God had spoken to me time and again, calling me into HIS ministry, but I didn’t understand why HE would call a young Hindu like me. “Couldn’t he find a better person in His own community, which is Christian?” In fact, gods should never speak to an ordinary man like me but rather speak to sadhus and sagas in meditation. The reason I couldn’t understand God’s call was because I was not in the right relationship with HIM at the time.
I was working for the communist party and going wild in life in my youthful years and ended up with no meaning in life. I felt that I should rather commit suicide and end up this life that I found no meaning in. That’s when Jesus started dealing with me, saying, “If you do not want your life for yourself, give it unto me and I will give you meaning and bring beauty to it and use it for my glory”. I was under tremendous conviction of the Holy Spirit. Then, I knelt down in my bedroom, crying out to the God of Heavens, and had turned my life into HIS gracious hands. As I had accepted Jesus and repented of my sins, I felt that something from another world came upon me, and a heavy burden was lifted off, and I knew I was totally a different person.
Ah! My life took a different and peculiar turn but a beautiful turn with Jesus in it that day in April 1966. I have experienced real peace, joy, and peace, and fulfillment in life thru HIM all these years. The very moment I gave my life to The Lord, the meaning of God’s call into the ministry became clear to me. The reason I could understand God’s call was because I was now in the right relationship with HIM thru Jesus Christ, The Son Of God. I, then, had dedicated myself to the preaching of the gospel. Life has been wonderful as I found the secret of its success thru Jesus Christ, my Lord, and Savior.