February 15th, 2010
When I was young, I remember having so much love and faith in God. I remember being scared at night, and I would whisper a Hindu god’s name over and over again (as I was raised knowing only Hindu gods) until I’d fall asleep- knowing that my God would protect me. You see, to me, there was only 1 God… 1 God with many different names and faces/images. Whether it was Krishna, Buddha, Mohammed or Jesus, these to me were the same god.
While young, I remember seeing people on television wearing a cross. They were ‘white’ people- so I thought that only they wore a cross and worshipped Jesus. I remember wishing that I too were white so that I too could worship and follow Jesus and also wear a cross.
Nonetheless, I still loved my God, or should I say OUR God… the same God that everyone served. He just had different names. To me, there were many different ways to get to God and to worship Him. Religion didn’t really matter (as long as you loved God and did good things, you were on track.) But there was just something about Jesus…
Hindus don’t really know that you can have a personal, real relationship with God. They don’t know that you can talk to God and have Him talk back to you, but I, as a Hindu, wanted God to speak to me ATLEAST ONCE.
I was about 5/6 years old, and looked up into the sky and asked God to speak to me (I thought that I would hear God’s voice audibly, and of course, didn’t). I remember being disappointed but telling God that I still loved Him anyway. Little did I know that He would slowly open my eyes and ears and draw me to Himself in His own way- looking back at this today, I have learnt not to expect God to do things in a particular way, but to be patient even if it takes years, as His ways are so much more different to mine.
I had been attending Indian schools until the second term of standard 3 (grade 5). I’ll never forget when my mum told me that I would be going to a ‘white’ school. I was overjoyed. (I guess it was because when I was young, I wondered what it would be like to be ‘white’ and be a Christian, and now I was going to be surrounded by ‘Christians’).
In standard 4 I befriended a girl who soon became my best friend and she was an awesome Christian with a great love for Jesus. A coincidence? I don’t think so. Anyway, we went on a tour to the Drakensburg. Now, even though I was only 11 years old, I had a bad vocabulary. I couldn’t say a sentence without swearing. I remember swearing and each time I swore, my best friend would cringe at the words- so I tried my best to stop…unsuccessfully.
That same night, my friend told me that I could become a Christian if I believed that Jesus was the Son of God and that He died and rose again 3 days later and was with God in heaven. I told her that I knew that. She asked me if I wanted to be born again. Not really knowing what that meant, I said YES anyway.
I think I was born again…even though the decision was made with my mind in excitement, more than with my heart. I had no idea what it meant to be born again. I even asked her if I would have the same father, mother, brother and sister, thinking that I would LITERALLY be born again!
Miraculously, I could not swear at such an ease anymore. Every time I’d swear, I would have an uneasy feeling and I’d be troubled by it. This, I only later found out, was the conviction of the Spirit.
This raised a question.
WHY WAS I NOT CONVICTED WHEN I SWORE WHEN I WAS A HINDU?
My answer is that ONLY Jesus is holy. Hindu ‘gods’ are obviously not holy if those ‘gods’ don’t even convict you when you’ve sworn after praying to them!
Well, I would go to Sunday school at Rhema South with my friend- my mum thought that I was going though a phase and also thought that it was a good thing that I was learning about other religions. She had no idea that I had actually converted. But even I didn’t know what was really happening.
I still didn’t truly believe that ONLY Jesus was the way to God. I didn’t believe that Hinduism was wrong, because when I prayed to Hindu ‘gods’, I did feel a sense of comfort- a ‘holy’ presence- it MUST have been God also…I thought. Because I had felt the ‘godly’ comfort, I believed that God could also be found in the Hindu religion- I mean, in my mind I was praying to God (the only creator); who else could the presence have been from?
BUT EVIL SPIRITS CAN BE DECIEVING, AND EVEN THEY CAN GIVE YOU COMFORT IN ORDER TO DECIEVE YOU.
I have found that unless you feel the Holy Spirit’s presence, you WILL NOT know that the presence you had felt before, was actually more evil than Godly.
So, while being two-sided/ double minded, (but still loving and having a soft spot for Jesus more than the other gods), I began high school at Hyde Park High. During my first three years I slowly began to give up hope in Jesus… not only Jesus but in God in general. In grade 11, I remember being really depressed and once again looking at the sky and asking God if He was there and if He had forgotten about me.
A few days later, one morning I arrived at school around 06:45. One of the teachers had arrived early, so a friend and I decided to go into her classroom and just hang out.
She began to tell me her testimonies about how God had done things for her, and how Jesus was so real in her life. As she spoke, her words lifted my heart… Just hearing her talk about the realness of Jesus- the same Jesus that I wanted as a child- touched my heart. In a second, I missed Jesus and I was filled with so much love for Him. He was once again becoming real to me, and it felt good to know that my love and feelings for Him were still very much real.
I’m amazed at how my heart changed, by just hearing her testimonies.
Well, I made an appointment to meet with her the next morning. She explained what was meant by being born again and read scriptures from the bible. The time came when she asked me if I wanted Jesus in my life and I knew that I did. As she prayed and as I accepted Jesus, I felt my whole body start to burn up and I knew that I had made the right decision.
For the first time I had felt the presence of the One, True God, and with that presence, came a supernatural joy. My eyes and ears were suddenly opened. Things seemed different to me. I’d walk outside and be filled with so much love for people, appreciation for the trees and birds chirping, the sun shining… I was truly made alive that day.
As a kid, I felt that God wanted me to do something- that he had a plan for me. I told my brother who (to this day) thinks I’m crazy.
I now knew why I felt that God had a plan for my life. You see, I could have been a normal Hindu like everyone else in my family who believe in Hinduism just because they were born into the religion- never really questioning it. BUT, God had a different plan…so did satan… but God won the battle.
I have learnt that a person who truly loves God, WILL find Him. Even if they are in a wrong religion, God will go out of His way for those who truly seek Him. He did for me, and the bible says that He has no favourites, so He’ll do it for anyone who wants Him. (Romans 2:11)
I, of course told my parents about it, but they think that I’m going through a phase and that I won’t feel this way forever- Yeah right… Once you experience the Holy Spirit, there’s no escaping Him; you’ll always have a yearning to have a relationship with Him, the Father and the Son.
Well, it’s been about 9 and a half years that I’ve been saved and can only speak of how good God has been to me. I’ve been baptized in water as well as by the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. God walked with me… no, He carried me through fears and failures that were so great, that I did not know that I could ever get past them.
You see, I am the only person in my cast (that I know of, in a close-knit ‘higher-cast’ Gujarati community) that has rejected Hinduism and converted to Christianity. There are plenty of conversions within the Hindu ‘lower-cast’, but not in the ‘higher-cast’. What I did, was totally unheard of and had brought a lot of panic and hurt in my family. There were times when I remember saying to God in tremendous fear, that although I loved Him and that even though I always wanted to be obedient toward His plan for my life, that I wasn’t sure if I would be able to go through with it when the day was to come when He was to tell me that it was time to get married. This was due to my fear toward my relatives (aunts and uncles) finding out.
Through His grace and mercy, I’ve stood for Him in the midst of heartbreak and pain that I never knew I’d ever feel… but looking back, it’s as if it’s the least that I could do for Him… to stand for Him the way He has always stood for me. In the midst of the heartache and loneliness, His love and peace was always there. He was always with me, and He really cared. He was always there to comfort me especially in my dreams.
I remember going through a time of hurt and sadness, when I had one of my first dreams of God. In my dream, I was in a church worshipping Him, when all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit came from behind me and picked me up and threw me in the air and caught me repeatedly, just as a Father would do to his child. The joy that I had felt in my heart was so strong when He did that, that it felt as if my heart was about to explode from the joy. I had to ask Him to stop because I couldn’t contain the joy. I then woke up immediately with His presence still lingering in my room, with my spirit lifted up again and having supernatural joy within my circumstances.
After getting saved in August 2000 I was unable to go to church until August 2003. Within these 3 yrs, I had spent much of my time with God alone, reading His word, and He ministered and taught me a lot. He gave me supernatural wisdom, knowledge and understanding of His word. I remember being alone in my room on a Sunday, and thinking how blessed people were to be able to go to church… I remember asking God to please make a way for me to go to church as well, I had such a yearning and strong desire to go to church and to be amongst Christians.
It was during this time that my parents had begun noticing that I was not just going through a phase. Every time my mum or dad would come to my room, I’d be reading my bible. This was of great concern to my mother. I was told that I was just wasting my life away by not “experiencing life” like others my age. When my mum realized that I was heavy into this “Christianity thing”, she had become a complete wreck. She would cry all day and all night. Her boss at work would send her back home because she had been in a bad state. She wouldn’t even eat and was constantly depressed.
One night, my mother was crying uncontrollably in her bed, when my dad came into my room with a look of desperation on his face, and asked me to please do something to make her stop crying. He begged me and I could not stand it anymore. I went up to her and hugged her and told her to stop crying and that I would make an effort to start learning the Hindu religion. She settled down, my dad thanked me, and I went back to my room and broke down into tears. I had felt so empty. It felt as if I had just rejected Jesus just for my mother to stop crying. I had compromised… Heartbroken, I immediately asked God to forgive me and He was faithful to forgive.
I loved to express my love to God with worship music. There was just something about worship that gripped me. I of course couldn’t play the music out loud on a hi-fi (as this would cause trouble for me in the sense that the spirits controlling my mother would get irritated and it made things really unpleasant), so I would instead wait until all my family would fall asleep at night, and then take my earphones, plug it into the computer and “whisper-sing” my worship to God.
This may sound silly but I can honestly say, that I have never felt such a closeness to Him as I used to those nights! I remember feeling the sensation of oil dripping down my face, but when I put my hand on my forehead to feel what it was, there was nothing there. This used to frighten me because at the time I had no idea what was happening, I’d never heard of anything like that before. You see, when I got saved, there were a lot of demonic things that I would experience as I had become a target to the devils in my Hindu home.
My first experience was one night when I was sleeping (a few days after being saved), all of a sudden I felt something pushing me down on my bed. I could not move or speak and was overwhelmed with an evil presence. Being newly converted, my first response was to try and scream for my parents to help me… no such luck. I then tried to ask a Hindu god to help me… no such luck either. Then somehow, something within me cried out, “In Jesus Name, get out!” IT LEFT! That was my first experience where I had single handedly witnessed the power that there was in Jesus’ Name! I’ve been woken up with my bed shaking rapidly, I’ve woken up and seen a being in my room… and have had things try to kill me while I sleep, but Jesus has always been there to protect me. He’s also revealed things/ rituals that have been carried out against me many times.
One day, I was lying on my bed in the afternoon with my head on my pillow just chilling with God, when I felt Him tell me to take a closer look at the pillow. I took off the pillow case, and noticed some stitching along the side of my pillow. I ripped off the stitching and placed my hand inside the actual pillow, only to find a tiny red hand-made object with a pin attached to it. It looked like a tiny 1.5cm x 1.5cm pillow. My mother had gone to a Hindu priest who had given this to her for my ‘protection’, and he had instructed her to place it in my pillow! I of course confronted her about it. She was shocked that I managed to find it! I told her that God told me to have a look at my pillow… she thought that I was absolutely CRAZY for thinking that God was talking to me!
In 2003, I really felt that God was saying to me that it was time to go to church. Oh boy, was that a battle. When I finally plucked up the courage to tell my mother that I was going to go to church at least once a weekend, she kicked against it heavily. It was as if her whole world had caved in once again. She was crying the entire day and well through the night as well. This was a difficult thing to go through as just hearing her cry at night while everyone tries to sleep, just broke my heart. I mean, I understood the importance (my family’s salvation could lie in whether I’m obedient to God), but she was completely in the dark and in utter fear. Eventually I told her that I would be going to church twice a weekend… which really angered her…or the spirits within her, but I had no choice but to keep walking if I wanted God’s fullness in my life.
One night, I got home late after church. I went into my room and felt God telling me to take a closer look at my bedroom tiles. I ran my fingers across the tiles and noticed water marks (the water had been mixed with salt so it had created a bit of a residue after it had dried up). My dear family had tried to ‘bless’ my room by sprinkling “holy” water everywhere! I confronted them… they all lied about it. I still wonder what had been going through their minds after I had found out all there deeds that were done in secret over me!
Eventually, the day came when God showed me the man that He wanted me to marry. I tried to kick against it but God is God, and He always wins in the end . This was the day that I had been dreading since I had gotten saved, as this would mean a Christian wedding and I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to explain everything to my Hindu relatives… and stories were bound to have already spread about my conversion and in their eyes, my rebelliousness.
Well on Dec 6, 2008, I got married. The wedding was completely paid for by God. Let me explain.
A few months before the wedding, I had been told by my family that they would support me and my mum said that she would help pay for it (I had no money of my own, and neither did George at the time… He did not have a job). (My mum said this to try and show me her love and support in hopes that I would soften up and not go through with it). George was also not really on speaking terms with his family so there was no support on his side either.
It was about a month before my wedding and nobody in my family had even mentioned my wedding… I didn’t even know what I was going to wear… so I went to my mum (in fear), and in a matter-of-fact manner, said to her, “Mum, you do realized that I’m getting married in a month hey?” Her reply was, “So?” I responded, “Nothing, I’m just letting you know”, and I went back to my room. I didn’t expect it but my heart just felt like it had broken into 2… over the years I’ve been hurt by family because of standing for Jesus but this had felt like someone had stuck a knife straight through my heart and had began twisting it. Eventually she came to me and told me that I was making a mistake and that she does not approve (which was obvious, but anyway), and that I needed to carefully consider getting married. I told her that I had considered it and had made my decision.
The next day, she came to me and told me how she was hurting and that she felt like a zombie, just going through the motions… that she loved her kids so much and would do anything for them… that she had tried her best to accept it but really cannot. Then she told me that she will have nothing to do with my wedding and my decision. I understood the position that she was in… I understood why. I could relate to the fear… the fear of her fellow community members- i.e. the disgrace that she would have to feel in front of them as they stared at her as she walked by, just because of me… the disgrace of not having raised me well…
I’ve been told that she blames herself for not being there for me as much as she wanted to because she needed to work to help support our family. She regrets the fact that even though I myself was still young, I had to grow up quickly to raise my younger brother and sister. All my memories of my mother have only been of love, goodness and kindness toward me… yet she feels responsible for me going astray because she was never able to spend any time with me.
I’ve tried to explain, that my converting had nothing to do with her. It was God. She wondered why I was trying to hurt them… I’ve tried to explain that it was God who found me… that I would never go through all of this just to hurt them… they believe I’ve been completely brainwashed… my mother lives a life of regret because of me… but how could I ever go back to being a Hindu just so she wont hurt anymore? I’d be living a lie…
I had my wedding two weeks later, and you know what? My heavenly Father made sure that I had the best dress that suited me. He paid for my dress, He paid for the wedding venue, He paid for the food, and He even paid for my honeymoon! Best yet, my family came to my wedding… 20 minutes before arriving at the wedding venue I phoned my dad and asked him to walk me down the isle… HE DID!
It’s been a year since I’ve gotten married. During our first year of marriage neither I nor George had had a stable financial income as we were both unemployed. During this time we confessed God’s word over our finances and lives in general, week after week, and month after month. There was not one day that we ever went to bed hungry. God always provided for us.
Because of the power of God’s word, George now has a job with a stable financial income. He’s given us everything that we’ve trusted Him to provide for us. Now even my family has accepted George completely. My relatives also get along with him very well. I can only thank God for walking me through His plan for my life. I could never have done what I did if it were not for Him. Now, it’s time to win souls for Him. People are dying and going to hell. That’s the reality. The Word has to go out. It’s our duty to get the Word out, but His duty to do the convincing that Jesus is the only way.