Church Planter - South India
Samuel is a pastor and missionary leader in South India whom HeartCry began partnering with in February 2013. He is married and has two children. Together with his father, Samuel oversees a missionary organization that is currently supporting and training several pastors who labor in the villages surrounding his city.
Testimony of Conversion
Let me start my testimony by sharing about my childhood. My sister and I were born into a Christian family where my father was a Baptist minister, which was a miracle in and of itself as we look at the countless Indians who do not have any clue whatsoever about Christianity. We were exposed to the Scriptures and to Sunday School right from the beginning. As a child, I could clearly remember how I used to pray to God when I couldn’t find things that I lost, and when I eventually got them, I used to thank the Lord. We had a Gospel meeting in school when I was 12 years old, and the speaker emphasized the topic, “Giving one’s life to Jesus.” This was something I never pondered upon, but it would soon vanish from my mind.
When I was 16, I had to go to junior college in a city called V_______ from the year 1994 to 1996. Those two years were the worst years in my life, as it was a residential college, and the principal used to be a hard taskmaster. Against my will, I was forced to join mathematics, physics, and chemistry, when I knew I was no good at mathematics. For these two years, I would have to stay away from my family. In addition to that, I faced endless exams and constant humiliations since I was a Christian who belonged to a lower caste, and getting regularly beaten up by the principal left a very deep and sad impression on my life. I used to pray to God to let me come out of this jail-like life as soon as I could, and I felt as though my prayers had been unheard. And I was not given permission to go to church on Sundays, either. But during these two years, I was introduced to the sinful world by my friends.
By the year 1996, I was able to pass in math, physics and chemistry, and I decided to say a permanent goodbye to the sciences. But my father insisted that I should pursue a B.S. in electronics, when I wanted to do anything but the sciences. Education plays a very important role in India. Unless you are educated and highly successful, you cannot even get married. If you were to get a decent job, you would be competing with endless other people. Although I was told by my dad that I was to become a pastor later on, he always insisted that I should at least earn a Bachelor’s degree in the sciences, as he thought that would fetch me a job. So I was left without any choice. From the year 1996 to 1998, I went to do my Bachelor’s degree in electronics, but I was very unsuccessful. During these two years, I would not go to college; I would skip classes to go to the movies. But during this period, I would still go to church on Sundays.
In the year 1998, I decided I could not go ahead with my studies. Those were the days when I would be nervous even to speak to my dad. But somehow I told him that this science thing will not go well with me. In those days I would constantly pray to God, asking Him to give me a new start to my life, as I was tired of living a hypocritical life. And not only that, I was also a failure in the eyes of society, as I was unsuccessful with my studies. And that’s when the Lord broke through my life and opened a way for me to do my Bachelor studies in English literature.
From 1998 to 2001, I did my B.A. in English literature. During these three years, I would be constantly reading His Word and would be praying and trying to live a good Christian life, but to live a Christian life without Christ was impossible. When my dad approached me with the option of studying at the London Theological Seminary right after my Bachelor’s program, I was delighted for the fact that I would soon be leaving for London, and I applied for the 2-year program at LTS and soon received admission into it.
Everybody believed I was a good Christian, including my father, and he thought I would come back to India to help him serve the Lord. But deep down in my heart, I knew that something was seriously wrong with me, and I knew that I needed to get right with God. As I boarded an airplane for the first time in my life in October 2001, I started thinking, “Why did the Lord choose me and pick me out of millions of people to do His service? What’s so special about me?’ (I must tell you that I was overwhelmed with the fact that the Lord was actually taking me to the distant land of England to let me know who He was.)
On my first Sunday, I went to the Metropolitan Tabernacle, as I always did during my two-year stay in London. As I sat in the evening Gospel Service, Dr. Peter Masters was preaching the Gospel and pleading with sinners earnestly to come to Christ, who was punished on the cross for us. I could not stop myself from beholding the glory of God. The Gospel came to my heart more clearly than ever before in my life. For the first time in my life, I saw the Lord Jesus dying on the cross for my sins and for my transgressions, and my heart melted. I immediately rushed to my room and started weeping. Tears would run down my cheeks, as I understood that I had sinned against my God and that I had hurt Him so badly all throughout my life. And suddenly I could see, and the Word of God became more meaningful to me, and prayer became all the sweeter. Eventually, I was interviewed and was baptized at the Metropolitan Tabernacle as a follower of Christ.