When my father decided to travel to Singapore for the first time, he was thought to be crazy. I heard one man saying ‘what is he going to do in Singapore while the real need for gospel is here in India’. Some thought that God’s service is not for school teachers or for that matter lay men. Most important for my father was that he was called personally by the Lord. As a matter of fact He was with my father from the beginning, bringing him out from the poverty stricken family in a negligible village called Elamarru, making him one of the first highly educated in all our families, offering him the privilege of building several lives as a school teacher, and then
eventually utilising the same skills in His own service. My father’s life is a story of success, success that is deeply rooted in the Almighty, from a hopeless fatherless village kid to one of the leading missionaries and Christian leaders in our region.
The guy who criticised my father’s travel to Singapore is now engrossed in his own travel schedules all over the world. It took time for him to realise some secrets of success. My father is a visionary; he could see many things before several could open their eyes. He did not go to a single place on his own; he was lead by Him all the time, and everywhere. This was the secret for his success.
My father values friendship. He has the best communication skills, and most importantly ability to keep people together. The very fact that I have been seeing his old friends from my childhood till date gathering on every occasion is heartening. The very fact that the list of friends and well wishers keep increasing every time is unbelievable. This is the power of rapport he maintains and the level of affection he shows for his people.
When it comes to simplicity there is none that could beat my father. It is a known fact that many ‘new comer’ missionaries are extremely fashionable with little passion. My father is by his nature a very down to earth person with absolutely no egos. He fully understands the meaning of life, and believes there is no place for pride in it. A nomad or a millionaire would get a same reception from him. I and my brother many times warned my father to be and behave like a ‘missionary’, a term which he never understood. He has remained adamant, and arrogantly humble in all ways.
My father is a very powerful prayerful person, although I have never seen him pray for long hours or with heavily loaded words. His prayers were simple, a communication style that was appreciated by God. I know that he had no scheduled hours for prayers, but whisperings that continued deep inside his heart through the day, everyday. I don’t know whether there are any pending desires of his heart, but I am sure most of them are answered.
“Behind every man’s success there is a women” is a statement that is at times most wilfully abused. My mother was never behind my father, but always besides him. She is equally educated, and I have to confess that she is a much better teacher and organiser than my father himself. I haven’t seen such a fluent English speaking Government school teacher. She is multitalented, and played an indispensable role in the entire life of Bethel Ministries along with my father.
As an insider I used to feel that my father is not the best administrator. Whenever this thought comes to me, I used to wonder how then he could lead so many people and organisations with little impediments. I wonder how he is able to succeed in whatever he does. He has become a role model for many a people, and an established leader. He is highly respected, admired and loved by all our foreign missionaries. I have realised already long back that there is something in him that is more powerful than himself. After all how many fathers would delegate their powers to the children while they are still active and kicking? That’s the administrator in my father.
There were days during my childhood when our family went through a huge financial turmoil. I did see how my parents, especially my mother, struggled to keep our ship from sinking. In all my prayers I asked Him to give me an opportunity to serve my parents, offer them all the luxuries, a fine resting time after all the hard work. Unfortunately for me, even He wanted to do the same and everything by Himself. Until today, they had no want. What a blessing.
I don’t remember how much time my father spent with us when we were children, but besides his busy schedules he has ample time to spend with his grand children. I personally do not remember the affection of my grand parents, but our children are so blessed.
It is a real moment of celebration when my parents entered into their seventies. God has been so gracious to us for providing such wonderful parents. He has kept His promise and took care of them all through their lives. I am sure He will continue to be with them for many more years to come.