I remember the day of my interview for MCA admission in the M.S. University of Baroda, 1998 after passing the entrance test. Dad had come with me to the University. It was a long wait before my turn came. There were some professors in the room and they asked general questions. After the interview, I went to pay the admission fee. I was ecstatic and flying in the air with this breakthrough. Little did I knew about the struggles awaiting me for the next 3 years!
I was not comfortable with the classes in the initial days. I had never played on a computer in my life. And the subjects were very different than what I had studied until my BSc. It was my first encounter with the computer related subjects. We had Fortran programming on a Unix computer, practicals in electronics, and microprocessor subjects, which were a nightmare for me. The only subjects I was comfortable were Maths, Statistics, and Economics.
During the first month of the semester, Pastor Babu Samuel, who had prayed specifically for my MCA admission at my home, came to see me. Check this post to read, how I met Pastor Babu Samuel.
One day, after college, I went to his home. He was kneeling and praying in tongues with others beside him. It was for the first time I had heard somebody pray in tongues. I felt weird when I heard. I waited for him to complete his prayers. We talked for some time and then I went home. Reaching home, my mom asked me if I met Pastor Babu Samuel. I was awestruck how she came to know about the visit, and I said Yes. She warned me never again to go his house. I said OK. I didn’t understand why she didn’t want me to go to the Pastor’s house.
After some days, the Pastor came to see me in college. I went to his home again. I met Robin there for the first time. He shared his personal testimony. We both were from the Orthodox/Jacobite background and attended the same church in Baroda in the initial days. I got some encouragement after meeting Robin and hearing his testimony.
In the first semester, I was having a terrible time with my studies. The subjects were too hard for me. Nevertheless, I passed the semester miraculously with grace marks. Praise God!
In the second semester, we had C and Foxpro programming languages. It was a nightmare for me to understand the C programming. When the teacher gave random tests, I would be struggling to write the syntax. I was praying, she wouldn’t come near my desk. I decided to attend the Aptech Computer class at Manjalpur, to improve my programming/computer skills. When I thought, I would fail in the second sem, I managed to pass all the exams. Praise God:)
In my spiritual life, I was playing hide and seek, meeting the Pastor, and attending his Home Church – Sharon Fellowship Church, opposite the Methodist Church. On Sundays, under the pretext of attending the Aptech computer class, I attended his Home Church service, at Fatehgunj. It was very different from the Orthodox/Jacobite/Catholic service. There was a greater emphasis on preaching the Word after a brief Praise and Worship with clapping of hands and speaking in tongues.
The Pastor’s home had wonderful spiritual books. My eyes fell on the book “Good Morning Holy Spirit, by Benny Hinn”, and “I believe in Miracles by Kathryn Kuhlman”. Until that time, I didn’t know Benny Hinn or Kathryn Kuhlman. I asked him whether I can borrow the books to read and he willingly agreed.
The moment I read those books, I was instantly attracted, like love at first sight. It was beautiful to know about the wonderful Third Person of Trinity through “Good Morning Holy Spirit.” In all my upbringing, all that I knew was about Jesus, the Son of God. I never heard anyone talk about a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. After reading the book, I had an eager desire to know more about Holy Spirit and experience Him personally, not just the theoretical knowledge.
In my childlike humility, I followed the steps mentioned in the book, for repentance. I remember the day, 21-Aug-1998, Friday, when I took baptism. I rode on my cycle to the Pastor’s home, with some clothes in the bag. I parked my cycle and from there we went by car to a riverside. There was a Hindu temple on the river bank. The water was not clean. I expected the same experience that Jesus experienced when He got baptized by John the Baptist – the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus, and a voice came from Heaven, “He’s my beloved Son.” I was hoping all my weakness in the flesh will die. But nothing of that sort happened. I didn’t experience any supernatural infilling of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, it was an important and a bold step I took, purely out of my love for God without any one’s compulsion. In those days, there were attacks against the Churches in Gujarat by the Hindu fanatics. The pastor appreciated my boldness to take baptism at such a time.
After the baptism, I changed clothes and left home on my bicycle. Mother was suspicious whether I was meeting the Pastor. But out of fear, I denied any meetings. I hated telling lies, though.
After the water baptism, I had a supernatural hunger for reading Bible. The scriptures which I didn’t understand earlier became alive. Miraculously, from the third semester onwards, my grades improved. I was doing well in my studies. Praise God.
One day my parents found spiritual books inside my studying table. I received a sharp rebuke that day. Nevertheless, whenever I got chance, I attended the Home Church or met the Pastor secretly.
In the fourth semester, I attended the Boston Tuition Center at Fatehgunj for improving my Oracle/SQL knowledge. The tuition was even closer to the Pastor’s home. But in my heart, I was not comfortable telling lies to my parents. There was a spiritual war within me.
One day, in the Pastor’s house, I read a book from Oral Roberts sharing his own testimony, why he left the Pentecostal Church. I felt that message was for me. From that time onwards, I decided to stop playing hide and seek. And slowly from the sixth semester onwards, I ceased meeting the pastor or attending his Home Church.
Although this brought peace at home, my spiritual growth stunted.
To be Continued….