Tuesday, August 25, 2009
MY MITES TO MY MASTER : Autobiography of Pastor N.G. John Vasu
MY MITES TO MY MASTER
“For me to live in Christ and die is gain”
By Pastor N.G. John Vasu
A CAPTIVE OF THE CAPTAIN OF SALVATION
Thanks be unto God who brought me from darkness into His Marvelous light
AS A HINDU
I was born and bred in a primitive orthodox Hindu family in the year 1909. I was brought up under strict discipline according to the rudiments of Hinduism. As the eldest son of the family, I had to perform Pujahs and other ceremonies according to Hindu rites. During the time of special festival days, we were expected to devote much of our time in religious environment. It was my lot to go out with a brazen vessel after immersing myself in a tank or a river to collect alms.
I should be particular in wearing a wet dhotis without any shirt, having religious marks on the forehead in the shape of “V” with a red line in the centre. With a great air of dignity and piety, I walked the streets bare-footed shouting the name of “GOVINDA”, “GOVINDA” from house to house for alms. The moment the inmates of the house hear the sound, they would run to the door with an air of reverence to place alms in the brazen polished vessel either in cash or in kind (i.e., Rice or Cash).
After the vessel is full, I would return home where my mother would be anxiously waiting for me. She would receive the vessel respectfully and place it before the altar of the family god. She would serve me with milk mixed with plantain to break my fast. The gods of India are divided into several categories: 1. Family god, 2. Village god, 3. National god, 4. Personal god, Sometimes we are obliged to worship other gods to satisfy friends. My mother would take the alms which I brought and cook it with vegetable sauce and serve on plantain leaves (the so called scientific plate of Indians) after dedicating them to the Family God (Idol).
As we find in the Tabernacle, there was an altar of incense and brazen candlestick, table of shew bread and laver in the worshipping room. We had a pot full of water placed in the yard for purification before we worship the god. Then the brazen light would be lit, before the worship begins. Every inmate of the house would face the light before they prostrate themselves or make gestures of humility in different forms. During worship incense would ascend in a sweet aroma and would fill the worshipping room. After this ceremony is over, food that was placed before the altar would be served to us.
The food that was placed before the altar of the family god was only a portion prepared for the day for the whole family, and would be partaken with great reverence as we partake in the Lord’s Table. This thing had been observed continually year after year without any rhyme or reason. It was more a formality than spirituality. This religious devotion could not bring any change either in me or in my parents. This would only show forth a form of godliness denying its power. How true it is that the Bible says, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things passed away, all made into new.”
It was my hobby to see mothers with their infants in the evenings at my home. My father taught me a special chanting of Mantra to heal the ailing children. I had a special brazen tray full of white sacred ashes for the purpose. I would draw a circle, on it a design resembling two triangles superimposed forming a star like figure V, writing some powerful letters indicating the names of different gods. After chanting mantras repeatedly, I will blow the ashes thrice upon the face of the sick fanning with a bunch of margosa leaves. Of course, this can be called faith cure rather than divine cure. This shows how superstitious and ignorant the people are. How grateful I am to Him for bringing me out from such darkness into His marvelous light.
GLIMPSE OF THE GLOW
Educated in a Hindu School I had no opportunity to mix with Christian children and study their religion. Though, I did not know Christian precepts, my parents took good care to bring me up in strict discipline. I was free from smoking, drinking, snuffing, chewing and other bad habits when I entered into a Christian institution for my higher education. I was surprised when I heard the life of Christ and the object of his Incarnation in this sinful world and His intensity of Love towards mankind. The very revelation of Christ and His Holy life convicted me of my impurity and sinfulness. Oh! How good it is to have Christian institutions to inculcate Christian principles in the minds of the children and to lead them to the way of salvation.
I sometimes smile at my childish attempts made to get rid of my sins. I always preferred solitude, to cry and to lament and to make known the desires of my heart to my family gods, i.e., Rama Krishna, Govinda, etc. The impelling desire to attain redemption from sin, made me walk miles together just to see (darshan) the face of the image god when it is drawn on a chariot during special festival days. Distance is not a plea when the conviction of sin grips a soul. After all, nothing was gained in all these sincere endeavors except discouragement and despair. How can a man draw water from a dry well! How can darkness dispel darkness! How can lifeless gods give life? Oh! What a tragedy when the thirsty soul is ignorant of the life-receiving source.
At this stage, the revelation of Christ made me contemplate about my soul’s redemption. The more I heard the living word of God, the greater was my realization of my inbred sin. Morality cannot stand before reality. Like a flower bed, the sin flourishes with outward morality and inward subtlety. God abhors such kind of deceitful exhibition of religion. Sometimes, we think the members of other religion are far better than the Christians. It is because we are taken up with their outward signs of morality ignorant of their inner life which is not better than an unconverted Christian. Heart is the same whether the colour, breed, caste or country differs.
The presentation of holiness of Christ is the true source of revealing the sinfulness of the inward man. I was perplexed, and troubled in heart, deprived of all peace and joy. My sin found me out; my heart was broken; I did not know how to pray, nor to approach Jesus but the impelling force within me made me tell my desires to Christ. I simply said “Lord Jesus, if Thou hast come to save sinners, here I am a sinner, please save me”.
The moment I prayed, I felt the power of God beginning to work in me. I pictured my past life with great astonishment. The sins, I had forgotten, were brought to my memory like a cinema show and made me repent. Yes, I knew what is meant by conviction of sin. I could not have peace without reconciling myself with my enemies nor could I hide anything from my Lord. I made a clean breast of myself before the Throne of Grace. Praise the Lord! It was not only a happy day but also a glorious day for me. The divine miracle of rebirth was wrought in me in the twinkling of an eye. Indeed! It is wonder of wonders! (John 3:5 & 8), That is the reason why even the angelic hosts marvel at it.
It was not only an exposition of my heart but also of my library, box, etc. I had to make a restitution by giving back all the unlawful things I had stored up like Zaccheus and to implore pardon at the cost of my prestige from those whose feelings I had injured. I could not express the floods of joy and peace that passeth all understanding that filled me. I could not explain what I was experiencing. Praise the Lord! What a priceless salvation through the efficacy of His precious blood! What a mine of truths latent and revealed in Christ! O! how the devil has blinded humanity from knowing this marvelous truth.
LIFE AND LIFE ABUNDANT
I was not satisfied with the mere experience of salvation. I could feel something urging me for a progressive Christian life. While I was reading the Acts of the Apostles, I was enlightened to the effect that the second experience to a believer is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:34-39). I thank the Lord for the gradual revelation, He had graciously given to me what others were unable to comprehend. I determined to receive this gift of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and began to pray continually for the same. Sometimes, I would spend nights together alone waiting upon God for his higher experience.
One night, while I was praying with a group of people who were waiting upon God for the same experience, just about 3 or 4 a.m. in the morning I felt a thrilling force penetrating into every fiber of my body and my tongue was controlled supernaturally to speak in some unknown language. I was quite conscious but was unable to control my tongue. It is my experience that a soul never loses its sense when it is under the unction of the Holy Spirit.
Besides speaking in tongues, I experienced the exuberant joy in a higher degree than what I felt at first. Who can turn me from this precious truth which I personally know and enjoy. God is not a respecter of persons but blesses every one who sincerely seek Him. His grace is not confined to any country or clime. Indeed! True seekers of any land would surely be blessed with all the heavenly blessings that are promised in Christ. (Acts 2:38)
I thank God that I did not know that there were so many denominations in the Christian Church holding diversity of opinions concerning this great truth. I received this experience like the family of Cornelius even before I followed the Lord in water baptism. I was baptized in September, 1924, at my sixteenth year. I rejoiced to hear that Sadhu Sunder-Singh and many other saints were led to the Lord at this age. It is really wonderful to turn to the Lord at that stage of life where life really begins to direct youths either towards the broad or narrow way.
I am glad I was led to a right administration of baptism whereby I could appropriate myself with the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Romans 6:1-4. In our Oriental language the right expression of baptism means completely covered with water. Perhaps it is in accordance with Greek version.
After having had all these experiences, there was an inner craving in me to make known widely these glorious truths to one and all. How can a born again soul veil its experience when there is constraining love within! I began to serve my Lord who graciously redeemed me with His own precious blood by bearing witness to my friends and relatives.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit gave me such boldness to preach anywhere and everywhere without an atom of fear. How true is the word of Jesus who said “Ye shall receive power from on high”. Reception of power from God seems to be out of fashion to-day. The world is tired of powerless preaching. It is dangerous to send out missionaries and ministers without this distinct experience. When this power can be obtained from the Lord why not every individual claim it?
MY CALL TO MINISTRY
One night, while I was praying with two of my friends, I was in a trace and saw a wonderful vision which is still in my memory. An angel of the Lord came down and took me with him a ladder which as we stepped on each of its top rungs the bottom rung disappeared and we were taken to a palatial and illuminated building. He took me to a person who was gloriously occupying a throne and introduced me saying “This is the young man whom you wanted.” He said to the angel “Take him to his place.”
Then the angel took me to the golden streets where buildings of diverse kinds were built on both sides. Stars were shining on the top of some of the buildings, I thought that I will be privileged to occupy one of them. Finally, he brought me to the street where nothing but huts were erected accommodating only one in each cottage. “This is your place,” he said, I was perplexed. I said, “How can I live alone in this secluded corner after living with so many people I the world.” He said, “I cannot help it. This is the place prepared for you.”
I pleaded with him to take me back to the person on the throne. The moment he saw me, he cried out “What do you want, my young man?” I said “Sir! I was all along living with people in the world. I find it difficult to live alone in the small hut. He replied, “You lived alone in the world and you must live alone in heaven.” Then I implored if he would kindly permit me to go back, I would surely be a fisher of men. “All right, go back,” he said. Immediately I came back to my senses and meditated about the vision.
I realized the abhorrence of loneliness even in heaven without winning souls for Christ, and I understood that God wanted me to serve him to bring many souls to His feet. What a wonderful love that He should choose me in spite of my unworthiness to be one of His worthy servants when there are innumerable intellectual men. Praise the Lord! My master wanted me, and my mites to my master is my unreserved consecration.
The vision had been an impelling force continuously in all my school career, I thought that God desired that I should venture out immediately for His service as soon as I saw the vision but some elderly children of God advised me that I should wait until I complete my schooling. I could not keep quiet even during those days of preparation without doing any service to my Master. I used my pocket money as a bait for poor and needy in introducing Christ to them after satisfying their needs, In the evenings, after school hours I used to join the preaching band in the streets of Madras to bear witness of His glorious power of salvation.
During holidays, it was my pleasure to go out of the city to visit surrounding villagers to preach the gospel. My pockets would be always full of tracks to distribute on my way to and fro. This change of life in me was noticeable even to any school mates. They had a respect for me and never displayed their teasing attitude to me, nor would they disturb me when I was alone, This shows even a student can be a living testimony in his school if the Power of God has wrought a real change in his life.
It was marvelous to testify how God was with me in the school days as he was with Joseph. I did not depend upon my parents for my needs because my father turned against me and withheld his support because I became a Christian. I lost my privileges owing to my new faith, but I had been fervently praying for the conversion of my entire household holding the specific promise of God, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved and thy house.” (Acts 16:31). Praise the Lord! God by His Grace opened the eyes of my parents and they became Christians after seeing my Christian life.
See how God is faithful to His word, even though we are unfaithful to Him. God wonderfully supplied all my needs during the days of my persecution. I learnt the art of praying and depended on my God for all my needs (Phillipians 4-19). Except to my God I never expressed my wants even to my dearest friends. This shows how wonderfully God provides the daily needs of those who depend on Him.
MY RESPONSE TO THE DIVINE CALL
In the year 1929 after my schooling, the same impelling force gripped me again and made me to think deeply of my missionary call. As I was the eldest son of the family, I was naturally expected to support my family. I was perplexed and was worried. The brethren who liked me very much tried to fix me in some decent job. It was a attractive suggestion, in view of the family’s financial condition, to take up the job, but the spirit was urging me to obey the call to ministry. It was a most crucial time for me. There was no arm of flesh to lean upon either inside or outside the fold.
After much prayer, the Lord reminded me of the following promises, “First seek ye the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you” (Mat. 6:33); “If any man denies not his father, mother, wife, etc., he is not worthy to be my disciple.” God definitely demands an absolute surrender and dependence on Him.
The voice that comes from the Lord should necessarily bring us the following three blessings.
(1) It will create in us an unusual boldness to venture out even under unfavorable circumstances.
(2) It would instill an unwavered mind.
(3) It would give a special happiness when we implicitly decide to obey it.
I experienced these three things soon after the Lord impressed on me the above cited verse. I decided to venture out not knowing where the Lord wants to lead me. As soon as the decision was made, I preferred to be alone with my Lord in my closet then to mix up even with the dear ones lest any human intervention would prevent me from my new decision.
St. Paul even though he had a definite call from the Lord for His ministry, yet he had to wait upon God for about three years in Arabia before he set out to preach the gospel. Similarly I had to wait more than six years before I could respond to my visionary call. It is always good to wait upon God and get our call confirmed before we enter into the field of ministry. Steps taken hastily in this direction are the cause of failure in many a case.
It was in an annual conference where I had to make an open declaration of my call to the whole congregation. All rejoiced with mixed feelings of joy and sorrow. They were proud because a convert from Hinduism took a bold step to give his mites to the Master in his teens.
On the day of my departure, it was very painful to part with all the dear ones of the assembly besides my own kith and kin. Some of the brethren desired me to stay in Madras and work with Br. Jacob, but I felt at that time that my call for service was elsewhere. Anyway, on the last day of the convention, both European and Indian brethren laid hands and ordained me and I was committed to His care and keeping during my ministry.
When it came to my father’s knowledge that I was setting out for the Lord’s work, he made arrangements through police to prevent me from leaving the place. Anyway, through the effectual prayer of saints, God delivered me from them and enabled me to proceed on my journey. I asked the Lord where I should go but the Lord gave me the text in Hebrews about Abraham (Heb. 11-8) who set out in obedience to God’s command not knowing where he was going. Sometimes God shows us the next step, only when by faith we take our first step.
MY ITINERARY EVENGELISM
After staying for a few months with an experienced brother, the Lord led me as an evangelist at the cutest of my ministry to go to village after village, town after town preaching the gospel particularly to non-Christians. When I set out I had no missionary body who promised to help or support me. It was purely a venture of faith entirely depending upon God for daily needs.
I neither had any training in any theological institution nor self qualification towards that end, but I gained much experience by moving with the children of God and taking part in every activity of the church and above all at His feet. Though I was young, it was my privilege to advise those older in age. They loved me very much because they could perceive in me His growing grace.
So the itinerary work was purely a new sphere of activity to me, but by God’s wonderful grace I conducted myself wisely in all circumstances, I always remember an incident that occurred on the day of my departure. While I was going out with my bag, an elderly sister followed me with tears rolling down on her cheeks. I asked her what was the matter. She replied that in view of my youth and inexperience in the world, she was rather anxious and afraid. I replied that God who marvelously preserved life and health of Joseph even in his young age was able to guide me also. Yes! God kept me from all evils and dangers of life according to his promise.
I used to carry with me a small drum and a placard ‘Jesus is coming soon’ besides my small suitcase. When I entered a village, I avoided going to Christians and asking them to allow me to speak in the church or to shelter me. I directly entered the street and chose a central place of the village or town where I used to stand and play my drum. The moment the people heard the beating of the drum, followed with some impressive gospel songs, men, women and children would rally round me to know that news I had to convey to them.
Sometimes they would mistake me for a government servant who had come to inform them about some government order or proposals. They would be more eager to hear the news than the songs. They would force me to give the news. When they heard the wonderful name of Jesus and His mission, some would laugh; others will walk away leaving the eager folk to hear the gospel message. Oh! To me they were wonderful days and I could enter step by step into the Apostolic field of ministry.
GOD'S SUPPORTING GRACE
It was marvelous how the Lord provided food, traveling expenses and shelter during my tour. One day after preaching the gospel, I went to a banana grove with another brother. It was a non-Christian village where we could not expect any hospitality from the villagers.
It is impossible to incite any sympathy in non-Christians for they are detrimentally against the propagation of the gospel. Some imagine it is a western religion and others call it low-caste religion because many converts are from the backward class. There were certain places where they would refuse to give even water or allow a Christian to pass through their streets because of their contempt towards the followers of Christ.
Therefore we neither went to the Hindus nor to the Christians but bought some eatables and ate them after thanking the Lord. When one is much concerned about the salvation of souls one naturally loses sight of personal comforts of life. After taking our meals we were resting under the plantain grove above mentioned.
In the evening at about five o’clock, a Hindu farmer woke us up and invited us to dine with him at his house. We were surprised at his kindness. After giving us water to wash ourselves according to Hindu custom, his wife served us food on plantain leaves. Hindus always think it is their privilege to serve saints which would bring them some earthly blessing. They did not allow us to remove our leaves after food is taken because they think it is a sacred duty for them to do the service till the last. We were much comforted to know how God is the same everywhere and is able to provide our needs anywhere through anybody.
PREACHING FOLLOWED WITH SIGNS
I had much experience concerning the power of God manifesting in the way of healing the sick, driving out the devils. I remember an incident which I cannot forget which impressed me very deeply how Satan knows the children of God when others are ignorant of them. During my itinerary work, I took up a small room in a village and stayed for more than a year. I used to cook my own food to avoid troubling others. It is always good for the evangelist to know his own cooking.
There was a Christian in that village whose wife was devil possessed. It is regretful to note the Christians adhering to the customs and manners of heathenism even though they have come out of it. The husband of this woman instead of asking the children of God to pray for her he went after sorcerers to drive out the devil from his wife. All his efforts were futile, incurring a good lot of expenses.
After trying all other ways, he thought of me and he asked his brother to fetch me to pray for his wife. The moment he mentioned my name the devil began to tremble and say, “Do not send for the preacher, I shall leave her.” The husband was aware that as soon as he mentioned my name the devil was afraid. So he insisted upon calling me. Immediately the devil shouted, saying, “Don’t bring him, don’t bring him, I’II go away, “and after showing some signs of departure, left the woman. Praise the Lord! Even though we do not know the devil, yet he knows the real children of God.
I never knew all these things until they themselves told me, Yes, no exhibition is required to drive out the devil who knows the real children of God. Since Christ has given us authority over devils and his activities, it is for us to exercise our faith and preach the Word of God through signs and wonders. The devil can wing its flight even without rebuking.
When I traveled to different places preaching the gospel, I could not see much results immediately, but without any discouragement, I sowed the seed of life “expecting the result in course of time” (Psalm 126). Of course, here and there, souls were saved, and churches were established, yet there was not great result. Praise the Lord! Later I was glad to hear that in most of the villages I visited churches were established and the members were growing in grace. Yes, sometimes we fail to have immediate results like Peter’s ministry, but yet we can hope to have a glorious result like Stephen, perhaps after our death, for we should not lose our heart because we are not blessed with good results at the outset. We have to walk not by sight but by faith.
MINISTRY IN CEYLON
In the year 1931 the spirit urged me to visit the Isle of Ceylon. Third class passengers are not allowed to go straightway to Ceylon without staying seven days in a Camp, I had only Rs. 3/8 which I paid for my food. I simply joined the camp in faith believing that God would supply all my needs, even though I had no passage-money. My need was not expressed to any one except to God. God who is faithful to His promises, provided my passage-money wonderfully from Tuticorin to Ceylon.
One day a brother came in search of me, a day prior to my sailing and handed over a small bundle saying that a sister had asked him to give it to me. I was surprised when I opened it, for it contained Rupees Seven, the exact amount required for the passage. God knows how much we need. Praise the Lord! I reached Ceylon safely and went about after my Master’s business. Ceylon being a new country to me and their language different to mine, I had to meet with many difficulties there. But God who led me from India was also able to lead me in Ceylon.
I traveled down as well as up-countries visiting estates after estates, towns after towns, proclaiming the glorious gospel of Christ. Even though I left home and my responsibility of supporting the family I never forgot to pray for them and do my best whenever the Lord blessed me. I had to exercise my faith not only for my personal support but also for my family’s support. Praise the Lord! God had been so gracious to supply me more than enough in order to contribute my mite regularly to my parents. When they realized my love for them which led them to Christ and accept Him as their personal Saviour while I was on tour. If I had not taken a bold step but listened to my parents I am afraid I would have lost this wonderful experience. Praise the Lord!
JESUS IS MY HEALTH AND STRENGTH
Constitutionally, I was weak and subject to many infirmities. During the course of my ministry God blessed my simple food and turned it into an invigorating tonic. The diseases that were chronic completely disappeared. Soon after I accepted Jesus as my divine physician my puny and feeble body began to put on more weight and made me strong and robust. Though the climate of Ceylon was different from India, yet God turned it to be a blessing to me. I used to take only cold bath from the waterfalls that was running with great velocity. The development of my body was not through skill and good food but God’s grace. It is a great secret indeed; after prayer every bit of food is sanctified. It is more than 25 years since I tasted any form of medicine. Praise the Lord! When Jesus Christ is the physician there is no doctor’s bill to be paid.
I experienced personally His Love and Grace in my solitude. God used me in a remarkable way in different places. There are still innumerable souls standing as living monuments as a result of that itinerary work in Ceylon. In some places, I refused to baptize them because I was afraid whether I would be able to guide them afterwards. Anyway, I was glad, after I left Ceylon they had an opportunity to mix up with other groups where they had spiritual fellowship.
One day I visited a government school where I found one of the teachers a Christian. I had a talk with him about the Lord. When I was leaving, he pressed me to stay and have food with him. I refused because I was an unexpected guest. But he pleaded, saying that he received a telegram about the arrival of a friend and made special preparations for him. Since the friend did not turn up, he believed that the Lord might have made this arrangement for me.
Oh! How God wonderfully cares and provides for His children. I left my parents and sisters in obedience to God’s call but He gave me innumerable fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers wherever I went, whose love could be according to His promise hundredfold. After serving the Lord more than a year in Ceylon I came back to Madras.
JOINING WITH BRO.JACOB IN ROYAPETTAH
After having traveled in different places, sowing the seed of life, I rejoiced to see many souls saved by His grace. I felt that I ought to stay and work in one place. Thank God. I came in contact with Brother Jacob in the year 1926 and joined with him to put forth a co-operative effort in building up a small work we had in Hall’s Garden, Royapettah, Madras.
It was wonderful to note that this work had a remarkable development from an insignificant origin. Brother Jacob, along with two other brothers, was prompted to start a Sunday School in a small rented room in that locality. Through the Sunday School work, God began to move the hearts of the older ones to accept the Lord as their personal Saviour. So the brethren were forced to rent a bigger building with the intention of holding regular services.
Brother Jacob is a man of prayer and faith who is sometimes called George Muller, of India. He comes out of a respectable Christian family of Nagercoil, Travancore, S.India. He lost his parents in early boyhood and because less privileged in the sphere of education. It was God’s plan that another Christian family should adopt him as their son and bring him up in the fear of the Lord.
It seems in the year 1913 two sisters from Sweden were led by the direct guidance of the Lord to go to Guindy about 10 miles from Madras. They never advertised their arrival nor their intention to start a work for the Lord in the line of latter rain message. Since God has brought them for a specific purpose, He did use them to lead many a soul to His feet. Men and women belonging to different denominations and different places of the city were irresistibly drawn to the services conducted by them. Brother Jacob was one of them who was marvelously led to the Lord and received Spiritual Blessings. He was taken by his adopted mother to Guindy, because she was also spiritually minded.
Humanly speaking, even though he was less privileged, he excelled many a brother in zeal, faith and fervency of prayer. Sometimes many used to come to the services just to hear his impressive and powerful mode of prayer. God did wonderful things in answer to his prayers. When he was doing some secular work, God called him out for His ministry and hence he stepped out without caring for his material support. While he was doing this, he was led to Hall’s Garden as mentioned before.
MARRIAGE AND FAMILY
We were all along doing the Lord’s work as bachelors with the unified spirit, mind and object. We had no thought for our future but were entirely absorbed in building up the work of God graciously entrusted to us. When Church began to grow, we thought it would be wise to be settled in life. We made it a special object of prayer and Bro. Jacob was blessed with a good partner.
God in His grace selected me a partner, a graduate who was in a lucrative post. Since she already had the call from God in obedience to that she resigned her post. She is indeed the right person to co-operate with me in this services. Praise the Lord! In the year 1941, I entered into a wedded life to be more helpful to the sisters through my wife.
We thank God for He has graciously united our hearts to co-operate in the service. The Lord has blessed us with two children, a boy and a girl, whom we believe God would mould according to His will. Ever since I was married, I realize that God is gradually blessing my ministry.
ALL INDIA PENTECOSTAL UNITY CONFERENCE
It has been my privilege to preach the gospel not only in South India but also in Conventions held in various places in different groups in North India. I enjoyed fellowship with Bro. Stewart, Bro. Livesey, Bro. Swhan, Bro. Bells, Bro. Courts, Bro. Hathway and other children of God in Bangalore, Nagpur, Jubbalpore, etc.
I found through this co-operative ministry a better progressive work could be turned out in India than individual group working in direct opposition to one another and thus causing unimaginable harm to the movement itself. It was my prayer along with the other children of God that He should work a miracle in initiating a formation of united churches.
When it was rumored that Rev. Donald Gee and Rev. Woodford of British Assemblies are visiting India for the benefit of their own Assemblies and Brother Jeevaratnam and I thought it wise to avail the opportunity of their visit in asking them to initiate an All-India Pentecostal Unity Conference as they were international figures.
We are greatly indebted to them who really did much to sponsor the unity of different groups in India. A kind perusal of the magazine called “Pentecost” would give a short report about the efforts made in India. We feel that a greater love and fellowship can be fostered only by obeying the words of Jesus Christ in John 17.
MADRAS PENTECOSTAL ASSEMBLY
God began to bless our work at Hall’s Garden, Royapettah, and everyone felt the need of a building of our own to hold services. God, in answer to our prayers, marvelously provided a two-storied building worth about Rs. 20,000/- (pre-war estimate). We are always indebted to all the children of God more specially to two sisters, Mrs. E.M. Dickens and Miss Robinson who had contributed their mite towards the erection of the Church.
Since the work began to grow and properties were added to it, we thought it was best to register the Assembly under the Registration Act 21 of 1860, and to keep the property under the trust of a Board of Trustees. We are glad to testify how the Lord has been ever since enlarging our border to different centres.
BALM OF GILEAD MAGAZINE
We thank God who has enabled us to start a monthly organ in Tamil and English for the benefit of our members as well as others. It was started in 1938 and we are glad to say that it is still a growing concern.
Our literature has been given to different presses for publication. That had been always a troublesome work. So we prayed that God would give us a press so that we may publish our matter. Praise the Lord! He provided us a press that runs under the nom de plume “The Ebenezer Press Since we do not have much literature on the line of “Fundamental Truths” in our vernacular, it would be good to publish literature in vernacular on different topics for enlightenment of the Christian public.
SOCIAL AND EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES
India, a land consisting of various castes and creeds differing in social status, demands our activities even on social and educational advancement of the less privileged ones. We who had been hitherto concentrating only on religious advancement of the Indians realized that we should also see to the material side.
So we were moved to start a Primary School in a placed called Pallavaram where one of members has given a gift of four acres of land towards that purpose. Perhaps some of you might have heard about late Miss Robinson who was a great sympathizer of our work. She left a will of Rs. 5,000/-. A hall is built in her memory where church services are held and a small colony termed as “Robinsonpet” has also been formed around it. An Orphanage has been established, in 1943, to perpetuate her memory, A brief outline as to how the Orphanage works is shown below:-
Appellation: “The Robinson Orphan Home”, Pallavaram, South India.
Origin : The Robinson Orphan Home found its inception in the year 1943 amidst the monstrous game of war. It was a pure venture of faith, even though the circumspective view could display a decadence of hope.
Situation: The Home is situated picturesquely in a garden, four acres in extent and facing a high hill mantled with green shrubbery. It has been found a congenial place for the imparting “FOUR H’S,” i.e., 1. Head Education, 2. Heart Education, 3. Hand Education, 4. Home Education.
Motto: “Live for self, live in vain,
Live for others, live again,”
“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others”. Phil: 2:4.
LIVING BY FAITH
Our work is purely an indigenous and independent concern not affiliated with any foreign body. It runs indeed on Apostolic Lines who never knew about their next meal. They were instructed by the Lord that the laborer is worthy of his hire. Jesus Christ never promised them that the Head Quarters Jerusalem will finance them or provide them with all their needs yet the Ministry of the Apostles was immensely blessed spreading like wildfire practically all over the world. It is because they never bothered about their financial side but cared more about the salvations of souls and spiritual advancement of the believers.
We believe the Apostolic method is inevitable for this age of Rationalism and Materialism. There are many more groups like us who have innumerable consecrated men and women who do not know from where the next meal would come, have established many churches all over India. Indeed a Mission established on FAITH would run unhindered in spite of the withdrawal of any support for the centre of the Mission activities is Christ and Christ alone. Praise the Lord!
On the other hand, the gospel work is increasing with a greater velocity than before and the percentage of Christians in India is wonderfully increasing day by day, in spite of many an unfavorable tide. As a matter of fact, Christians who were in obscurity are elevated to responsible positions in India.
MISSIONARY WORK IN INDIA
God moved men from different countries to come down to India on a very great sacrificial basis to impart the gospel truth and to work for the social, educational and religious advancement of Indians more specially among the downtrodden and backward classes. Indians will be greatly lacking if they fail to realize their indebtedness for all the valuable service rendered by the Missionaries in India.
There are many faithful Hindus and Mohammedans who expressed their heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for all the magnificent work rendered by Missionaries even in Ministerial circles. It is a point of appreciation to note that the new constitutional Assembly of India has not interfered with the propagation of the gospel or conversion of Indians by fair means.
Therefore we feel that the Missionary work has not ended in India ever since India has achieved its independency. As a matter of fact there is more need for missionaries then ever who could work along with the Indians on a basis of love and co-operation, losing sight of the former superiority complex.
There can be fostered a more intimate love and fellowship if there are real co-operation of head, heart and hand. Head means a new attitude of mind. Heart means genuine love. Hand means an impartial distribution of financial aid. Mission activities rather seem to be a failure in the latter days because of the lack of the three above-mentioned factors.
ENDUED WITH POWER FOR MINISTRY
India is a manufacturing country in not only material things but also in spiritual things. It is an origin of so many religions, cult and gods. Practically the whole atmosphere is saturated with evil spirits and it is a throne of Lucifer. So if anyone is prompted to face such a hard country for Mission activities they must be first of all endued with power from on high in a special way to prevail with themselves, to prevail with God and to prevail with the people.
Since God has promised to equip a missionary with all the spiritual graces, it should be a motto of the minister of the gospel to obtain every possible blessing from the Lord before he could venture out for the Ministry. We need such kind of powerful missionaries in India.
In conclusion, we are glad to say that we are on a progressive side even in New India. We only crave closer co-operation to keep up the chain of love, fellowship and sympathy unbroken. We covet this because we are all purchased by the same blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and considered to be belonging to one Royal Family and Priesthood irrespective of colour, country or creed. May the Lord bless our endeavors in Him.