He chose me when I was in my mothers womb...............

Before I realised his presence …

From the day I was formed in my mothers womb he was there keeping watch over me with eagle eyes but I never realized his presence, I was safe in his mighty hands but I thought it was my own strength and will power that pulled me along.

St Paul says to Galatians “he chose me when I was in my mothers womb

I would like to share with you the journey I made before I found the God that lives among men, He lives in me, I call him father and he calls me daughter. Strangely I realised that he was more powerful than the most powerful man on earth, Stronger than the strongest strongman, more loving than a loving mother, richer than the richest man who ever lived on earth, more intelligent and with infinite gigabyte memory capacity than all the servers in the world put together. Yet meek and humbler than the humblest man that ever trod on earth’s soil.

Childhood

Even though I was from a middle class family my parents sent me to a good school - Loreto Convent a school run by Irish nuns. There is only one incident I remember during my days in that school. Our Catechism class teacher, she may have been an Irish nun -I am sure she was a nun but I don’t remember her face - she told the class which had only 5-6 children “All the Gods you see on the streets are not Gods. They are all devils. She then, pointed to the picture of Jesus hanging on the wall and said, “This is God, he will come when you die and carry you up to heaven. So you have to be prepared to go with him whenever he comes. ” I was only 6 years old at the time. Thirty years have gone by. But the classroom, the teacher, the students, the Sacred of Jesus picture on the wall, the time -it was an afternoon- class it’s so clear. I cannot forget that statement. It moulded my faith. I know I stand on firm rock. Otherwise how is that I don’t remember anything else about that school except this incident. She gave me the good news at the age of six. Even though my later school or college days do not reflect any signs of Christianity, as an adult I started to realise that nobody could convince me that there existed another God. “”

From school there were many occasions that we had excursion trips, which included Hindu temple- -visits. When I stood looking at the beautifully carved Statues this catechism teacher’s statement flashed into my mind. I knew very well that all my classmates were giving adoration to mere stones or wood. This class had a great impact in my life. If ever I saw a palm reader or an astrologer I looked at him with suspicion. I knew it was not from God. If one of them entered my home I used to become restless and quarrelled with my mother until she drove them out of the house.

Latter years -from the age of nine-of my studies were in the residential school run by nuns. Living away from my parents left a scar in my life. Prayer life was forced onto us. The day started with prayers- as you wake up from bed followed by Daily mass, morning prayers followed by school. After tea break at, 4:00 PM we had our Rosary, then Games, followed by Homework, Dinner, again study time followed by night prayers. Bedtime-prayers etc. None of us did it willingly. This routine continued up to the time I went to college.

In a world where children are no more secure my childhood was safe and secure in the hands of my heavenly father. There were times as an adult and calling myself a child of Jesus I felt angry towards my parents for sending me to a boarding school but knowing the fact that Jesus kept on loving me and protecting me from all the abuse and abductions that are so common in my country makes be going singing Halleluiah to the Lord. There were so many of my friends who either were abused by family members or went into sinful activities not knowing it was a sin at the time. Lesbians were not uncommon. “God protected me under his wings.” My heart is so filled with gratitude towards my lord for caring for me all those years. I cannot congratulate myself even 1% for being free of sexual impurities; it was only my Jesus who guarded me all these years. As St Paul says to Romans “If God be for us, who can be against us” If it was not for the power of Jesus snatching me away from all the vultures snooping down over me from all directions I could have been easily destroyed.

Teenage

When I was in the 9th standard-13years old- our school had the first charismatic retreat conducted by a European priest Fr. Marcelino Iragua-, it was in the year 1981. I attended the retreat. It was very anointing. I saw visions of Jesus. One vision was like this. I saw myself kneeling down in front of a fountain which was very near to a paddy field. The water was flowing out from the fountain but even though I had my mouth open no water fell into my mouth. I saw Jesus away at a distance and walking towards the workers working in a paddy field. Jesus was going towards them but even though he saw me he never attended to me. I felt very sad by this vision. I went to see the priest and told him, I was sad because Jesus didn’t seem to bother to talk to me. Father laid his hand on me and I went flat on the sofa in his room. I woke up after a very long time. This time in my spiritual sleep I had another vision, I found Jesus relaxing in a garden chair and I was running into his open arms. It was a beautiful live coloured vision. The first vision I saw was fainted and almost like an old black and white movie. It was not black and white but golden yellow and dark brown. After the retreat -every evening after dinner- I visited the Blessed Sacrament. Everyday the altar transformed into heaven, I could see God and infinite number of angels in the Altar, I saw it with my open eyes, everyday and it was so beautiful I could sit there for half an hour just looking at it. Half an hour was our recess time. But, those days I thought it was normal for a person who has attended retreat to see heavenly visions. . Later when I finished School I stopped visiting the Blessed Sacrament and the visions stopped.

College

It was not until I was in College and my parents opened an account in my name, my life went astray. My parents sent me pocket money, which was more than five times what my other roommates got. My allowance amount was the talk of the hostel. I did what I thought was best for my life. Enjoying my life with my friends. Buying expensive gifts for them. I thought they would be with me forever. I wore the best clothes available in town; this was apart from the dresses my parents purchased from abroad and shoes matching the colour of my dress. Shamefully I recall that I had a whole big rack of shoes in different colours. I read books, which were very unhealthy to my soul, saw every movie that came to town and went to famous restaurants to eat. This was extravagant life for an Indian teenager in the early eighties.

Even though I led an extravagant lifestyle in my heart I valued all the Christian virtues. I had seen God in visions so I could never say there was no God and since I was six I was sure that this only God was my Jesus Christ. One day I was attending a marriage ceremony an unbeliever came forward and joined company and started talking about his new experience in attending a Christian marriage. He was excited he got the opportunity to attend a Christian marriage. An elderly, well-respected person in the society answered, we have different rites among Christian and each rite has its own rituals and ceremonies. This unbeliever asked what the difference between these rites is. The answer was astonishing. He said we, Catholic’s are Idol worshipers like you, but other Christians are not. I felt so humiliated. I knew this was not true. But since in those days I hardly spoke up from my nutshell, I kept quiet.
Marriage

I got married at the age of 20 without my parents consent. My husband was 22. We were both at college at the time. Soon, very soon my life became different. Within a short span of 2 years my husband became an alcoholic and chain smoker. Even though he did things unpleasing to everybody around him. He prayed in front of Jesus’ picture every morning before leaving the house.

Even in those days -I am surprised now, even thinking of it- we tried to go for daily morning mass- as daily as possible. At the time I didn’t love Jesus nor did I give him any place in my heart but to tell you how much Jesus cares for every sinner a few examples from those days. Just to share how badly my life was and how Jesus protected me in his powerful arms

One day we were travelling from college back home in a train (almost seventeen hours by train). On the way home we had to stop at a city where my husband used to go for frequent checkups-for rehabilitation. We went into a hotel, booked a room. As soon as he finished dressing he left the room. I knew where he was going, to a bar. But I became so scared to stay in a hotel room all by myself. People would mistake me. So I ran behind him, tried to call out to him and Stop him. He left the hotel lobby and into the road. When I reached the lobby I remembered I had not locked my room. So I told the reception that I couldn’t find the room keys thinking that they would fetch it and lock the room themselves, but the hotel boy turned around and asked me to follow him. I went back alone with him and into our room and he started looking for the keys. I was scared he would turn around and attack me. But Jesus was there, stronger than the strongest strongman on earth. I never recognised Jesus’ presence at that time. “For so great was his love that he loved us even when we were sinners”. The boy took the keys and gave it to me and left without a word. Even today at this age I wouldn’t dare to enter a hotel room with a stranger. “Every hair on your head is counted so there is no need to be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows” Mathew 10:30-31

I took my room keys rushed out of the hotel, to my luck I found him still outside waiting for an Auto rickshaw (this a three wheeled cab used as public transport in India. It can accommodate three passengers only). But as I reached him he got an auto and left. I took another auto and asked my driver to follow him. In the bustle of the heavy weekday morning traffic I lost sight of his auto. I asked the auto driver to stop the vehicle. Got off the auto and looked around. I found a bar off the road. I went to the bar counter and found that it was not yet time for customers to walk in. I stood at the door and looked inside. The man at the counter looked at me questioningly. I told that I was looking for my alcoholic husband and if he was somewhere inside to send him out. The man asked me to wait outside. I stood there in the hot sun praying that nobody who would recognise me, see me standing here in front of a bar. Jesus was there with me. He had carried this humiliation for me two thousand years ago. He was protecting me from the snares of the people passing by. “It was our inequities he bore” Isaiah 44:44. My husband came out after half an hour and then we proceed ed to the hospital.

On another Occasion we had to travel to another city to attend one of my friends marriage ceremony. After the function we had to travel four hours by bus to reach home .It was already midnight. Near the bus stand there was a bar attached star hotel. My husband took me inside, asked me to stand just outside the entrance of the bar and he went in for a drink. It was so dark outside. There was hardly anybody around. Occasionally men went into the bar and came out. This was another occasion Jesus held me close to him. I still am surprised why these drunkards who saw a twenty year old female standing alone in front of a bar shortly after midnight never neither passed a comment nor try to harm me in any way. To them it was as if I never existed in that lobby. It was, to me a miracle. “God protects the helpless” Palms xx:xx

If there was any extra time in our lives we were under treatment at one of the Medical colleges or hospitals for rehabilitation (for my husband). My sister in law spent most of her free time with us while we were at the hospitals. On one such occasion she advised us to go and stay with a friend of hers for some days, just to be away from the usual crowd. Her friend was a professor at one of the leading colleges and led a very holy life. This lady advised us to go to a nun who was her colleague, A Professor and a counsellor. The nun prayed for us. After a few minutes chat she opened the bible and the Page opened to the Baptism of Jesus and the text read “ this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” then she advised us to go for a retreat and my sister-in law’s friend booked two seats for us -for a one week retreat. It was a retreat for married couples. It had a lot of theology, philosophy and a little spirituality. After the retreat each attendee received a message and the message I got was “I will give peace, like nothing the earth can give.” . One thing we learned from the retreat was to pray and read the bible together once daily. Back home we read one verse from the bile and recited one decade of the rosary. We continued this routine for some weeks. Amidst all this drinking, even without my knowledge my Jesus was protecting me from getting hurt emotionally I never felt sorry, for myself even though my life was ruined. My heart was at peace but I didn’t know it was the promise Jesus gave me at the retreat. I used to read a lot during this time.

When my husband had finished his studies his family thought it would be a good idea to send him away to a country where alcohol was not easily available. 2 years after our marriage my husband left me at college to continue with my studies and went to the Middle East to find work. There, Alcohol and Cigarettes was easily available than in my home country. So it didn’t help.
My makeshift cell

Now that I was free alone in college all my time was spent reading books. Other than college the only place I went was the library. I borrowed books took them back home and read until the early hours of morning. I virtually lost contact with the outside world. I even stopped going for Sunday Service. My time was not enough for me to finish reading the books I borrowed. I was too engrossed in the book world.

All this time in my subconscious I thought that I had no problems and that I was well off mentally because of my attitude towards my husband and the outside world. Even though he was drinking and ruining his life I didn’t care, as long as I had my books to read. I used to be so deaf to the world while reading. If I was not reading, I was watching a Movie. I never read the newspapers nor did I watch TV News. That meant I was not living in the real world.

I never talked ill about others nor did I speak well of others. This was mainly because I was I had a speaking problem. I couldn’t even finish a three-word phrase without stammering / stuttering. Plus I was a victim of inferiority complex. My marriage made my complex even worse. I thought people must be talking ill off me because I married without my parents consent again I thought people must be talking about my alcoholic husband. I hardly spoke to my parents or in-laws. My conversation was limited to answers for others questions in the form of “yes” or “no”. I didn’t have any friends except my husband. My husband was the only person I have talked to. To an outsider these minor things may not seem like problems, but to a young person like me I wanted to be like other people, talk freely, and enjoy jokes (I never used to laugh if my classmates or family members cracked any jokes. I thought these people were so silly to discuss trivial matters and even laugh about them) I never thought that there would be a day in my life when my attitude towards the whole world would change so drastically and that I would become bold, so bold I could stand and talk to anybody without fear with the help of my Jesus.

A miracle

A week before my graduation examinations I fell sick. I called my parents to inform them that I may not be able to write the exams. Next morning my mother was at college. After a week’s treatment I recovered from my illness, wrote my exams and left college.

A month later my mother advised me to go for another retreat. She, an Aunt, and cousin brother accompanied me. They were all trying to help me because they thought my life was ruined because of my husbands’ alcoholism. At the retreat my mother forced me to go for counselling and the nun who counselled me asked, if I had any personnel problems. I said “no”. During our further conversation I had to tell her I was married and about my husbands tragic life. She told me “your husband needs prayer. You must pray and believe that one day he will surely stop drinking and come to the Lord. You must go home and write down the names of 13 other drunkards whom you know. Every Week, one day should be kept aside for fasting and prayers for one person from the list. You will see a miracle” I didn’t believe her but because I was brought by nuns, I could not even think of disobeying her. So, on reaching home I wrote down the names of 13 people I have hardly heard off. My list included names of film stars and distant relatives. And the very next Wednesday I chose to fast. This was the first time in my life I was fasting, so by late morning I started getting a nausea feeling. My mother came to my rescue. She said you don’t have to sacrifice your food just because a counsellor told you so. Jesus knows you cannot fast. So have your food. But I could reply by God’s grace, “If I go for counselling believing that God will help me I better listen to what God says. What is the use of going to preachers and counsellors if you don’t want to do what God asks you to, through them? I waited till 5.00PM before I broke the fast. This fasting, did work a miracle in my life. Before I even completed 13 weeks I received a letter from my husband saying he stopped drinking and smoking and that he was coming home to India to attend a full week retreat. It was in January 1992. 14 years has passed, and he has not touched either alcohol or cigarettes. I look back and found myself not reading books nor even seeing a movie all this time. Fasting can do great things.

‘Fasting and prayer is necessary for these sorts of things to be cast out.’ Jesus said to his disciples.
Hand in hand with Jesus….

First trip to the Middle East - Response from God’s people

After the retreat, In February 1992 I accompanied my husband, to the Middle East. I had jobs coming and going, sometimes paid and sometimes unpaid. Financially we were broke. Finally, after one year I got a permanent job but my salary was so less it didn’t help much.


From the retreat we had acquired an audiocassette of a catholic preacher and hundreds of copies of the Divine Mercy booklet. Our first decision was not to miss even a single daily mass. So we put an advertisement’ in the newspaper stating our necessity. A man volunteered to take us for mass every morning for 125$ per month. Our day started with morning prayers at 4:00AM, Mass at 5:30AM, and again family prayers till 7:00AM and then it was office up to 6:30PM. Back home we went from house to house in the remote areas to look for our fellow Catholics who had abandoned church and prayers. We went into the houses and my husband used to give his testimony and gave them a copy of the cassette and a Divine Mercy prayer book. I used to feel so embarrassed but the fear of not doing our Lord’s work governed. So I never commented nor said a negative word. In the beginning before I got a driving licence we used to ask some of our friends to give us a lift or we hired a taxi.

In the 90’s The Charismatic revival was very strong in India. Pope John Paul II had proclaimed the decade 1990-2000 as the decade of evangelisation. People especially Catholics responded well. One person in one township responded to either the testimony or the audiocassette and sometimes the divine mercy prayer. If we found the house responding we would ask them to invite their friends so that we could share our testimony and recite the divine mercy chaplet. This later became a crowd of 5 then to 50 and then to hundreds.

We became very close to the assistant priest of our parish and told him about our work. He laughed it off. Later when people started coming in from remote places for confessions he believed that Jesus was really working. In his words “I know from experience when a person comes to confession, weather he is doing for just as a sacrament’s sake or he really has a repentant heart’. Then on heeding to our request he started coming with us in the evenings whenever he was free to give masses and hear confessions. By this time I already had a driving licence and so I took him by myself. He was a down to earth priest and took a lot of trouble to give his time for the faithful Catholics of our Community. To this day we have a special place for him in our hearts. In two towns where we evangelised churches came up. One church could not be opened due to political reasons.

During those days we distributed audio and videocassettes of Catholic preachers. My apartment was like a factory producing audiocassettes. After every weekend prayer meeting all the members used to gather around in a circle Pray for the people who would hear those cassettes and then start our work. During those three to four years we distributed more than hundred thousand audio cassettes-containing audio preaching’s. Initially most of these preaching’s was recorded, edited and distributed by my husband all by himself. Sometimes I used to feel humiliated because my husband used to plead with people to just listen to the audiocassette at least once. We couldn’t give it for a price because our goal was for these people to hear the word of God.

I would like to share an incident related to our audiocassette ministry. One morning during a weekend we travelled to a remote town almost 400km away from our workplace. We found a grocery and asked the salesman of any likely Christians in the area. With the help of a grocery worker we found a house of a catholic staying with his wife. The lady received us with a warm smile. We went in and my husband started sharing his testimony, as usual. At the end of the testimony he said you must listen to this preaching. It’s by a catholic preacher. It was a pack of 10 audiocassettes. He refused to even take it He gave many reasons “I don’t have cash now to purchase the cassette” “I don’t have time, I am heavily loaded with office work” “finally he said I do not have an audiocassette player, so please don’t waste your time persuading me” My husband said “these cassettes are distributed free of cost. It wouldn’t be a loss even if you have to purchase an audiocassette player just to hear any one of these cassettes” the man said I don’t intend to buy one in the near future, moreover to buy one I have to travel to the nearest city which is three hours journey from here. It is impossible. Please don’t force the cassettes on me. We bade goodbye and as we were leaving the house he left the packet at the door telling may God give you a chance to hear the word. This is just one incident this happened week after week in different towns.

Four months after this particular incident, I was standing outside our parish church after our weekend Mass Satan told me “you are wasting time, money and energy. All this is of no use. You can spend your weekends in better ways. . I felt so desolate. Just then a lady walked up to me with a broad smile and asked “ do you remember me” I returned her smile and allowed her to continue. She said “Four months ago you came to our house with your husband and forced some audio cassettes on my husband”. She described how her husband had refused to take it because they didn’t have an audio cassette player. “After a few weeks we purchased an audio cassette player he heard the word of God. Now he prays always He goes to work walking so he prays on the way to work and back from work. Today we came here for confession” I was surprised they travelled all this way almost 5 hours just for confession because there was another church, which was only three hours from her home. She said that since her husband wanted to confess in his native language and there was no priest in the nearer church who could hear the confession in his language and there was one in our parish they were as asked to come here by the parish priest of the first church.

If Jesus crosses the stormy waters to the land of Garadene just to cure one man and waits in the hot sun for one Samaritan woman, and lay waiting on the cross for one sinner on his right hand side nailed to the cross just like him, how much more does he expect from us. This was the value of one soul. Every human beings soul is counted. “If you bring back one man to the Lord then, your numerous sins will be forgiven”

Praise

Now we had a small prayer group in our hose. We gathered during the weekends and prayed for three-four hours. Even though I was in the Ministry for two to three years supporting my husband, I never understood why I should shout at the top of my voice to praise God. Of course by now I knew the first commandment. “That you must love your God with all your strength and all your might.” I told myself let other people do it. God knows my heart; he knows my attitude towards praise and worship, he knows I love him and that I would even dance in front of him but I am not brought up that way. I have a stiff body, which is not used to dancing or forgetting the people who might be watching me while I am in praising. One day I found a verse in the bible, which says praise, does not suit a sinner. Romans 2: 10 they knew everything about God that they should have known but because they didn’t honour him in the way they should God left their bodies dishonour each other. . Not revering God in a way he deserved to be, could lead me to disaster. If I believe the bible is written under the guidance of the Holy Spirit then I have to believe every word of it not part of it. I started turning the pages back looking for some grievous sin I may be in, which prevents me from praising my Creator. Holy Spirit showed me the face of a cousin whom I had no contact for five years. He was a very dear friend to me and had initially introduced my husband to me but was not positive with my decision in marrying his friend- my husband. When he found that I was not going to back on my decision, he cut short the conversation saying from henceforth you and I are not going to have to do anything with each other. Even if we happen to bump into each other don’t even try to talk to me. This is the last conversation we will ever have. I could not lose heaven because of this cousin .I had to reconcile with him. Ever since my marriage I had lived in different houses and different places I could have lost his contact number. But if the Holy Spirit finds us co-operating with him he so loves us, and our soul is so precious to him that he does our work for us. The same day I found the number in an old telephone index from a very old handbag that I had not used for many years. It was just an office no. I called several times, my cousin was on leave but I thanked God he was still working in the same office. After a few days I got him on line. I told him I was sorry we had to go through all this. I was surprised we reconciled after a few minutes conversation and Holy Spirit has kept us in his love to this day. Even more surprisingly I started participating in the praise and worship ever since.

The Importance of Praise was shown to me in many occasions. One Weekend My brother in law and the two of us decided to spend the whole day in praise and worship. I couldn’t participate the whole day because I had to cook food. My husband didn’t like the Idea of me being in the kitchen most of the time. He said to Jesus “if it’s your will that we spend the whole day in prayer then as sign of you acceptance, provide us with food this day. We praised continuously for six hours when our doorbell rang and there stood on the doorway the grocery boy with a big pot of Biryani (It’s an Indian style of cooking rice with meat). I asked him why he brought the food because it was the first time the grocery people made food for us. He said it was one the sales person’s brother’s marriage and he was giving a party to everyone. And they chose to send us one pot. Praise God. The same incident happened again and again and each time I asked this boy why he was bringing the food he would always have the same answer. Unknowingly we chose to praise our God on the day, one of their relatives was getting married. Halleluiah.
Accident

Four years had passed after our renewal. So we went back home to India planning to attend another retreat. I was seven months pregnant with my first baby. We had 12 hours journey by car from our home to the retreat centre. We had travelled almost seven hours when our car overturned. It was twelve O’clock in the afternoon. Everything was quiet for a few seconds. My husband and his mother were perfectly all right our nephew was in the car .he lost his fore finger. They came looking for me I was laying on a rock a little far away. My head was open two-three inches long with the inside visible. I found I couldn’t breathe. Every gasp of oxygen was taken in with much difficulty. The people came running from the nearby houses. They called for a cab and took me to the nearest hospital where they shaved one side of my head and since they found it beyond their scope they asked me to be transferred to another hospital which was another two hours journey. They fixed me with life supporting machine and send me in an ambulance. Since I was pregnant they didn’t give me any painkillers. After two to three hours journey we reached the next hospital.

While travelling in the ambulance so many questions crossed my mind. Jesus didn’t I do your will. Wasn’t it right to attend a retreat. We were coming to be with you and hear your word for one whole week. Wasn’t this baby in my womb created to live healthily in front of your eyes? The doctor had told my husband that there were very few chances of my survival so he was preparing himself to accept my death. On reaching the hospital the neurologist confirmed that this wound was not critical and the main concern could be the baby. However an x-ray was recommended to see for any possible bone fractures and a scan for the baby. The baby lay without any movement, so, thinking the baby was dead the gynaecologist advised to have an abortion. Satan was trying to attack my baby creating an illusion. After the papers were brought in to be signed, giving consent for the abortion, the gynaecologist asked me undergo scanning. This time she said even though the baby is motionless it has life. My son had a narrow escape because of the wise decision made by the gynaecologist. The x-ray results showed both my collarbones and five ribs broken. My legs and arms had few bruises but nothing major. My husband left me alone in the hospital room and went to look for my nephew who was admitted in another hospital to operate on his finger, which was dangling, from his hand. A surgeon along with few nurses came in to stitch my head. Again because of the baby they stitched my head without anaesthesia. There were twelve stitches in my head. Since this city was four-hour journey from my hometown none of my relatives or friends could come in to help us. Late night my husband returned. I asked him to fetch my rosary for me. He put it into my palm. It was only then I realised that I couldn’t even move my fingers. I tried to pass the beads through my fingers but it was too painful I gave up. We prayed a rosary together and my husband was too tired to keep awake he went to sleep on the bystanders bed. I lay there awake on my bed suddenly I felt somebody standing behind me and putting his hands around me. I tried to look up but my body was immovable. I couldn’t lift my head. I understood it was the Holy Spirit who came to console me because only he knew that I would be immovable from now on for at least a month. But that loving embrace was sufficient for me to keep going that one-month Two days later my mother came to look after me. On the third morning the doctor said, “You must now try to walk.”. All the life supporting equipments were removed. I tried to put my feet on the ground. It was like being a baby again. My husband lifted my upper part of my body all the broken bones brushed against each other and the pain was really unbearable. By the pain I could count my bones. Once I was lifted my mother adjusted my feet into proper position so that I didn’t fall. After 10- a15 minutes I was on my feet. I praised God because Legs were perfect. I could walk without any difficulty. It was only the upper part of my body, which had gone immobile. Lying down on bed and getting up from bed changing positions would take half an hour. I first lifted my hands after almost a month.

Praising God with hands lifted high

This was the time I realised the importance of praying with our hands lifted up. Even though I considered myself a prayerful person I didn’t think it was so important to lift our hand s while praying. I told Jesus If ever I pray again after getting healed I will not be so proud as to not lift my hands unto you, you who made it out of mud and sew bones into it to make it strong and gave life to it. . David sings Lord when I lift up my hands unto thee receive it as an evening sacrifice. If this was an easy way of offering sacrifice acceptable to God then I better do it. First lets do the easier things, then God will give more difficult things to do. Some months later I met a friend of mine who was a counsellor and was gifted with visions. He told me “I see you standing with both your hands down and looking up as though you want to lift your hands in praise.” Tears flowed out of my eyes, because God had seen my decision. And has accepted my prayer in my weakness. Ever since I had no difficulty in lifting my hands in front of people.

Financial loss

My husband got jobs but the job timings didn’t suit his ministry so he waited until the lord gave him an appropriate job. Once a visiting preacher and a priest who came to our parish for retreat advised him to stop his ministry for Jesus and lookout for a job saying it was more important to look after the family. They said, “God knows very well that you have a family to look after. First earn some money on your own and when that has become stable you will get plenty of time and then onwards you can continue your work for the lord.” I thought it was right and supported their view. My husband was left without choice. He was forced to leave his ministry by his wife (me) and his +-Spiritual advisors. He thought, “Obedience is better than sacrifice” He started a business. A prayer group friend loaned him a fat sum of money. In less than 2-3 months he set up his own business. Then one day after three months he fell ill. Diagnosis showed kidney failure. The business was left unattended and a salesman cheated him of 30,000 US$. The financial problems we had became so heavy we could not take it any more, loaners calling everyday, our car was taken away. We had a newborn by this time. We were so scared to go out fearing the loaners would find us out. We moved to another house so that nobody would find us. They called me on my phone and came and sat in my office. I felt so embarrassed to tell my colleagues the truth. I had to quit job and since my husband couldn’t go to his office as well we decided to leave the country. We were scared somebody might have already filed a case against us. Fear in our hearts we approached the immigration. The Immigration officer stamped exit on our passports without even checking the computer. God had waited for us there, to help us to cross the Immigration and leave the country

“His mighty hands protected us”.

Back home

We came to our hometown without money, clothes and the basic ornaments. In my town if somebody goes around without ornaments they label you as a Pentecost or born again and being a catholic town, to be called a Pentecost was humiliating. People back home knew about our evangelical work and they would easily mistake us as ‘born again’. So on the way home from the Airport my husband went into a vendor shop and brought imitation jewellery so that I had something to adorn my neck, ears and hands. Three complete years we stayed home without work or money. Our parents and very close relatives supported us financially.

While we were home we went to our parish church and nearby parish churches and conducted prayer meeting and gave the word of God. To preach among your next of kin you need real courage. Not courage but the boldness only the Holy Spirit can give. This was the time when my husband went from one retreat centre to the other and during this time he got acquainted with many preachers, Counsellors, deliverance ministers, prayerful people, holy priests and nuns. We organised many retreats in our parish and nearby parishes giving counselling and paid for people who didn’t have money to go for retreats. All the money, which we spent during that time, was given to us as gifts. Those were days of prayers. All this time we never missed the daily mass, our routine morning and evening prayers and one hour visit to the Blessed Sacrament. We took turns to go to the chapel. Even though I hardly sat for an hour in front of the tabernacle my husband was there for long hours everyday.

Second trip to the Middle East - Life in Solitude

After three years we got a chance to go back to the Middle East. This time my husband got a job and I was at home. The following year was very quiet. Nobody knew we even led a prayerful life. The country we were now didn’t have daily mass - on Fridays we had a service at a school premises. Ever since we tasted the goodness of our lord, -Jesus- we hadn’t missed the Holy Communion. So we went to the priest and asked him permission to receive the holy Eucharist everyday and he gave permission. My husband was a Eucharistic minister. Every evening we went to the chapel along with our children prayed for sometime and then took the communion from the tabernacle, which was in the apartment where the priest stayed. Praying in front of the tabernacle gave us a lot of spiritual strength. As Pope John Paul II stated “there is no better way to the path of holiness”. Other than visiting the holy Eucharist the only other spiritual activity we had was a weekly prayer meeting conducted in this small chapel which could accommodate less than fifteen people.

A vision and a mistake

Ten months after we arrived to this new place I saw in a vision that I’ll be travelling on April 30th. In the vision I saw an airport and on it was written “Heathrow airport”. I asked my husband whether he has heard about an airport called Heathrow. At the time he didn’t know either but doubted it should be somewhere in Europe or America. At the time we didn’t have any plans of going to USA. But suddenly everything took shape the Visas, tickets and as in the vision, we started our Journey on April 30th and 2 days later we did transit Heathrow airport-London. Because this journey was shown to us long before we had even planned we expected a safe landing and secure life. But trouble was waiting for us. It was a time of hard life. Hard job lesser money. The day we landed at the American Airport I could feel the atmosphere was unwelcoming, darkness surrounded me and something in me told me that this was not what God wanted from me. America was beautiful, for anybody else it would have been a dream come true. The feeling that I have gone against Gods plan was always pushing on my mind.

“Balak plans to curse Gods children listening to Balaam. But even though he disobeys God, God goes with him and makes him bless Israel” This was not Gods plan but “How can a Mother forget her suckling child, even if she forgets I will not forget you” “God never forsakes his children”

I went back the way I got here to find out why God brought us here to this land, which he may have had no plans off. During the time we were in the Middle East in the early 90’s we had a prayer group member and his family who came to our weekly gatherings at my residence. This family later migrated to USA and offered to take us to America. Going to America was of course a dream to many. But any material things should not have come before God’s Plan for us. We took advice from an elderly Spiritual lady and God’s message through her was not to go to America. We dropped our plans and informed our friends that we were not interested. After four years when our friends called again we forgot about God’s initial message and again thought it was good idea to go to America. To God we were like children crying for ice cream sold by street vendors. As a mother of five children, if one of my child cries for cheap sweets, sold by street vendors, my answer would be “no”. If they continue to be persistent I would buy it for them. I know they are going to be ill for a day or two either by throat infection or bad stomach. I would have brought them an ice cream of better quality, which is manufactured, to international standards. My older children by now know that they shouldn’t cry for cheap, fancy sweets. Though it was not in my intention to buy these cheap candies I gave it to them because they were persistent and kept on nagging me. Similarly. Though my father in heaven had no intentions of sending me to USA. He gave in to my wish -because he is a father who never interferes in his children’s free will - knowing that because I am a grown up mature person, I would realise the consequences of disobedience and henceforth after I would in future listen to what he says. It is not a father’s punishment but it’s a loving father’s training for his child. We paid a very good price for the training period. But spiritually we got a glimpse of another dimension of life, and our view of Americans changed. “That God loves us even when we disobey him” “God transforms all evil for our good” Can an earthly father forgive a child who is in sin. He may forgive his child when he is repentant not when the child is in sin. My God came with me to the land he himself forbade me from going. The American trip was not in God’s plan but God carried us in his mighty arms when we were still disobedient. Through this incident God was teaching us Obedience to his majesty.

Third trip to the Middle East - Intercession for the Middle East

After much hardship we again went back to the Middle East. This time we started a small prayer group. Members of our prayer group were not regular they came and went we weren’t happy. We were also very irregular. I always had a feeling that God’s plan for me was not conducting a prayer group. There were many prayer groups in this city. I knew I was employed to work in the fields of Jesus. My only doubt was what kind of work God wanted me to do. If God has brought me to this country he definitely has a purpose. We prayed to for so many months asking why God has brought us to this country. Then I remembered a preacher once told me that God simply requires a person to go to a country and pray for that country. I thought to myself why couldn’t I be in another free country, a Christian country and pray for this country. But if this is what God wanted from me then his will be done. I cannot tell Jesus I prefer to conduct prayer meetings and become a healing minister rather than sit in a room and pray for a country of non-believers. He has chosen me to do this then definitely his will be done.

“Every creature in heaven, Earth and the underworld must bend their knees before my Jesus”.

The people around me do not know that Jesus is God. Leave alone unbelievers even the daily mass going Catholics do not believe that salvation is through Jesus, and only through Jesus. The charismatic core group members are discussing weather there is any truth in the dogma that Salvation is only through Jesus. The moment I put my decision into practice the whole world came against me.-my family members, my prayer group members, my church, My spiritual advisors, even those whom I hardly know turned their face away in fear they may disowned by the community. The very earth I was standing on did not want to carry me any longer. I said Jesus “no wonder no wonder nobody wants to be a labourer in your vineyard”. But nobody could hurt neither my family nor me and my loved ones because that was God’s promise” Every hair of yours is counted” I know my God will provide for all my needs. But even if he chooses otherwise his grace is all I need. We gathered to pray, few of us, and our only intention was to pray for this country. God starting working miracles through our small intercessory group. People started coming in for prayers. Un-believers started to recognise and realise Jesus’s presence in their lives. Above all my faith increased. To believe that there really is a God and that Loving God lives amongst us human beings. That feeling was so wonderful. And he uses simple ignorant people to do establish his kingdom

The mission………

People who see me now, may be after ten years or so, are surprised to see the change in me. They remember a young woman who never opened her mouth for any reason whatsoever but now I can speak. My Inferiority complex and my stammering and my fear of the world has gone into past as history.

My Testimony is not so adventurous but to me a sinner who lived in self-created cell filled with books, movies and my own little dangerous dream world to a life totally free holding the hand of my Jesus. And I am sure he loves me even when I run away from him. He will definitely take care of me even if I don’t take care of myself. He will surely lead me to salvation, to the house of the father even though the path forward seems difficult to me.

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