I remember the day I attended the interview for MCA admission. I had passed the MCA entrance examination from the M.S. University of Baroda and ranked third out of hundreds of candidates who appeared for the test from all over India. Dad came with me to the university. It was a long wait before my turn came. There were few professors in the room. They asked some general questions and in no time I was confirmed about my selection. I went to pay the admission fee. I was ecstatic and flying in the air with this long awaited breakthrough.
After my 12th, I was upset in not getting admission in the Medicine or Engineering seat. At that time, I had stumbled upon this verse from the Bible – John 16:20 Truly, truly, I say to you, That you shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. I knew in my heart that promise was for me!
And accordingly after 3 years, this breakthrough in the admission washed away all my sorrows. But little did I knew about the struggles awaiting me for the next 3 years!
In the initial days, I was not comfortable with MCA classes. I had never touched a computer keyboard in my life. 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 as programming language, practicals in electronics, and microprocessor related subjects, which were a nightmare for me. The only subjects I was comfortable were Maths, Statistics, and Economics.
During the first month since my college started, pastor Babu Samuel, who had prayed specifically for my MCA admission, came to meet me in the college. One day, I decided to go to his house. It was a church cum house. He was kneeling and praying in tongues with others beside him. It was first time I heard somebody pray in tongues. I felt weird when I heard. I waited for him to complete his prayers. We talked for some time. Then I went home. Reaching home, my mom asked me if I met Pastor Babu Samuel. I was awestruck how come she knew about the visit. She warned me never to go to his house again. I didn’t understand that time why she hated the pentecostal pastor.
After some days, the pastor came to meet me in college again. I went to his home again despite my mom’s warning. This time, I met Robin there for the first time. He shared his personal testimony. We both were from the Jacobite background and attended the same church in Baroda. 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 difficult for me. Nevertheless, I passed the first semester miraculously with grace marks. Praise God!
In the second semester, we had C and Foxpro as programming languages. It was a nightmare for me to understand the C programming syntax. When the teacher took tests, I would be struggling to write the syntax. I prayed silently she should not come near my desk. It was a humiliating experience. I decided to attend the Aptech computer class at Manjalpur, to improve my programming skills. When I thought, I would fail in the second semester, I managed to pass all 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 at Fatehgunj. It was very different from the Jacobite or Catholic church service I had attended. Unlike the Jacobite churches, there was a greater emphasis on the Word of God after Praise and Worship – which was always accompanied with loud clapping of hands and speaking in tongues.
The Pastor’s home had a good collection of spiritual books. As I gazed randomly, 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 could borrow those 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, I knew only about Jesus, the Son of God. I never heard anyone talk about having 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 a bag. I parked my cycle and from there we went by a 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 was baptized by John, His cousin – 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 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.
One day my parents found out the spiritual books that I had got from the pastor. I received a sharp rebuke. That did not deter me. Whenever I got chance, I attended the pentecostal church or met the pastor.
In the fourth semester, I attended the Boston Tuition Center at Fatehgunj to improve 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 home, I read a book from Oral Roberts sharing his personal 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.
Click here to read Part 1 of My College Days.