My College Days in Baroda – II

After my 12th, I was upset about not getting admission in medicine or engineering.

At that time, I 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!

During my BSc final year, I appeared for the MCA entrance test at MSU. It was a highly coveted course in 1998, with only 35 seats available, out of which 25 were for General Category and the rest for SC/ST/OBC.

The day when the MCA results were declared, I was in my room, with my face on the study table, in a very somber mood. At that time, Deepak Gupta came to my house and shared the news that my name was shortlisted for MCA. I went to college to confirm. I saw my name on the list. I ranked third out of hundreds of candidates who appeared for the test, from all over India. Praise God for this miracle 🙂 I also passed an MBA entrance test from Ahmedabad but I decided to join MCA.

I remember the day, I attended the interview.

My 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 was on the mountain top with this long-awaited breakthrough. 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 a programming language, practicals in electronics, and microprocessor related subjects. All these were a nightmare for me. The only subjects I was comfortable with, were Maths, Statistics, and Economics.

During the first month of my college, I met pastor Babu Samuel, who had prayed specifically for my MCA admission. And, I decided to go to his house at his invitation – Sharon Fellowship Church, opposite the Methodist Church, in Fatehgunj.

It was both a church and a house. He was kneeling and praying in tongues with others beside him. It was for the first time I heard somebody pray in tongues. I felt weird when I heard it. I waited for him to complete his prayers. We talked for some time. Then I went home.

When my mom came to know that I met Pastor Babu Samuel, she warned me never to go to his house again. I didn’t understand that time why she hated the pentecostal pastors.

After some days, the pastor came to meet me in college. 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 traditional church. I got some encouragement after meeting Robin and hearing his testimony.

In the first semester of MCA, I was having a terrible time with my studies. The subjects were too difficult for me. And I was spending more time reading spiritual books. 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 C programming. When the teacher took tests, I would be struggling to write the syntax.

To improve my programming skills, I decided to attend the Aptech computer class at Manjalpur,  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.

On Sundays, under the pretext of attending the Aptech computer class, I attended his Home Church. 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 by 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 “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 the Holy Spirit and experience Him personally, not just gain theoretical knowledge.

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 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 – 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 bold step I took, purely out of my love for God. In those days, there were attacks against the Churches 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 the 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.

Once my parents found out that I was reading the spiritual books secretly. I received a sharp rebuke. That did not deter me. Whenever I got a chance, I attended the pentecostal church.

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 with the passage of time, I was not comfortable playing hide and seek.

I happened to read a book from Oral Roberts where he shared his personal testimony about why he left the Pentecostal church. I felt that message was for me. Gradually, from the sixth semester onwards, I stopped meeting the pastor or attending his Home Church.

Although this brought peace at home, my spiritual growth stunted.

To be continued

About Abeesh Thomas

A Writer, Entrepreneur and Worshiper
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