I grew up in a Hindu family in Georgetown, Guyana. Ours was a middle-class, midsized family of seven children. I was number seven – the gift to the family! My father was a well-respected man in society with a job in upper management and my mother took care of the children.
Although my father attended the Lutheran church since his youth my mother continued her Hindu faith and her involvement with the Hindu temple. As I was growing up I would attend the Lutheran church with my Dad on special occasions, such as, Christmas and Easter. I would also attend the Hindu temple with my Mom, mainly because there was good food there!
As you can imagine, religion and religious truth was not a big thing in my family. The thinking was that all religions are OK and what really matters is that you are a good person and didn’t harm anybody. We grew up in a pluralistic society where we had three of the major religions in the world coexisting in relative peace – Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. It was not uncommon to find a Christian church, Hindu temple and Muslim mosque at the corners of a crossroads. The fourth corner probably would have a rum shop – since drinking was the fourth religion of the land!
|I came to believe because when I first heard the message it had that ring of truth to it. Of all the claims I had heard to that point, or since, it just made the most sense to me. As another preacher has said, it strangely warmed my heart.|
It wasn’t until I was 14 that I heard the gospel of Jesus Christ in a clear way. I had gone overseas on summer holidays and when I returned home for school in September I noticed that my good friend, Jonathan Muir, had completely changed. He no longer swore and he didn’t want to skip class for a drink at the corner rum shop. Instead, he was always talking about Jesus and how God had changed his life. Of course he was brutally ridiculed by his schoolmates now that he had “found religion”. But he was unashamed and undaunted by the mocking comments of his friends. In fact, he would even try to bring something of the gospel into class work. And he kept on inviting us to the Christian meeting, put on by Inter-School Christian Fellowship, which took place on Monday afternoons after school.
Well, just because he was my friend, and just to appease him I decided to go to one of his meetings. It was there that I first hear clearly the gospel of the Lord Jesus. That it didn’t matter how nice and “good” we were because God’s standard of goodness and righteousness was higher than the best that any human could do. But because God loved us so much and wanted friendship with us that he sent Jesus to make the way possible for us to IN HIM re-establish fellowship with God. All we were called to do was to simply acknowledge our need of a saviour and put our faith in Jesus as that God-given Saviour.
People come to faith in Jesus for different reasons – because he healed them, or rescued them from a major crisis, or for some such reason. I came to believe because when I first heard the message it had that ring of truth to it. Of all the claims I had heard to that point, or since, it just made the most sense to me. As another preacher has said, it strangely warmed my heart. As I have intimated, I grew up in a safe and secure environment. At the age of 14 I had not had any major crises that sent me on a search for the meaning of life. But when I hear about Jesus I just knew that he satisfied the longings of my heart. So I became a quick believer; within a few short weeks I became a follower of Jesus.
I remember, with fondness and tenderness even now, that in the days subsequent to giving my life to Jesus that I would choose to walk home after school in the hot tropical sun just so that I could enjoy the presence of the Lord in my life and the warm feelings that I had in my heart. I didn’t fully understand all that this meant but I knew that I was happy and felt the reality and closeness of Jesus like never before.
My relationship with the Lord began to grow and I learned much from that Inter-School Christian Fellowship chapter. My problem though was that I didn’t actually attend a church and so when I was away from school on holidays, and when I left school, I did not have any fellowship. So it did not take too long before the issues of this life began to crowd in and impinge on my fellowship with the Lord.
For about eight years I backslid. The Lord was always faithful though even while I was unfaithful to him. He always made sure that there was a strong Christian in my path, such as Carl Franklin, a co-worker of mine. But it wasn’t until I had moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia and in my last year of university that I reconnected with the Lord in a meaningful way. I was strongly influenced by two fellow students from Botswana, Southern Africa, of all places. Neo Kwakwa and Judah Bosa became good friends and wonderful witnesses to the Lord Jesus. They were also active in the local Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship chapter.
At about this time my father, who was my hero in many respects, died quite suddenly and my life was thrown into a tizzy. To commemorate the first anniversary of his passing I felt like I should go to church. It was during that service, as the preacher talked about being filled with the Holy Spirit and overcoming the lifestyle of “yo-yo” Christianity, that I decided to surrender my life again to the Lord. It was a glorious encounter! I was wonderfully discipled by some of the Inter-Varsity folks and grew in leaps and bounds in those last remaining months of university. I had three roommates at that time – none of whom were Christians – and they all remarked at the change that had take place in my life. I was also actively attending a wonderful church.
My plan was to give them two weeks before actively pursuing a career in business – which was my area of studies. However, God has different plans for my life!
Soon after I graduated from university I heard about this Christian mission agency called Operation Mobilisation that had a ship, MV Logos, which would be coming into the port of Halifax in the summer for two weeks. They were looking for volunteers who would help them in their ministry while in port. I was very interested in what they did and was quick to volunteer. My plan was to give them two weeks before actively pursuing a career in business – which was my area of studies. However, God has different plans for my life!
While volunteering during those two weeks I was so impacted by the ministry in general and by some of the individuals that I met onboard the Logos. Julio Vega, for example, was a dentist from Costa Rica who felt the call of God to missions and leaving his practice he joined the ship as a deckhand! I felt that I wanted to spend some time with these kinds of young people who were making radical commitments to the Lord and to serving him. Well, the Lord opened the doors wide and within a few months (a mini miracle) I was allowed to join for a year.
It was during that year on board the Logos that God solidified his calling to missions. After my year of being stretched, humbled and energised with a passion for Jesus and a lost world I returned home to pay off student loans and prepare for a missionary life. God lead me to work for Inter-Varsity as an accountant before going to seminary for more theological training.
I then returned to OM and to the ship ministry, this time on the Logos II. It was a wonderful time seeing the hand of God move in situations where only his activity and intervention would make the difference. I got the privilege to preach the gospel in several nations of the world and see many come to faith in Jesus.
However, as time went on I began to get really tired on the inside to the point of burn out. When my commitment with OM ended I returned home to Toronto. Through a series of events I ended up at the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship where the outpouring of the Holy Spirit has been making a big change in my life, as it has done for so many others from around the world. After all these years, I’m beginning to learn that God is a Father – an Abba, Daddy God – who is kinder and gentler and more gracious than I have ever imagined. I am discovering that my real worth is not found in what I do – even for God – but in the fact that I am first and foremost loved by him.
That makes a huge difference to how I work and how I relate to people because now I am not driven to perform and to impress God and others. Now I am learning to live out of a place of security in my Daddy’s embrace… although I am not there 100% yet!!
While I’ve been an active member of the church since 1996, I joined staff in the finance department in 2001 and later began to do some missions projects with the church. I’ve has the privilege of going to places like Mozambique, Ukraine, Brazil, and Uganda – just to name a few – and to seen the beautiful fruit of the transforming power of the message of the Father Heart of God, the greatness of the cross of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.
It was at TACF where I met my wife, Elsie, and we’ve been happily married since 2002. Now, since June 2007, I have relinquished my role as paid staff at TACF and Elsie and I have begun our ministry as associate itinerant ministers with TACF and leaders of our mission agency, The Peniel Mission. It has been a leap of faith and we have seen the Lord faithfully taking care of us and opening opportunities for us to take the heart transforming message of His Great Love to the nations of the world! And, we’re loving it!