When I planned our trip to attend a seminar in Indonesia,little did I expect that the Lord was going to give me a new vision about the building of His Kingdom. Very little is known in the outside world about Indonesia or about the Christian Churches in Indonesia. It was a rare and rich experience to be a part of the prayers for the “Global Harvest”at the Indonesian Christian Church during our recent visit to Jakarta.
Indonesia is a unique country comprising several islands and has approximately 726 languages. I have yet to come across another nation in my travels which has these many languages. It is also one of the poorer countries of the world which I have visited. The Indonesians appear to be simple and honest people. On the three hour train ride to Ciberon,I found the countryside to be as poor as in North India and modernization had not crept in. The train journey was indeed a pleasant one with A/C coaches and reclining seats and the cleanliness maintained was remarkable as compared to my experiences in India.
Christianity is the second biggest religion in Indonesia which is around 10% of the population. The unique feature of Christianity in Indonesia is that Protestantism and Catholicism are considered as two different religions and are included among the six religions of Indonesia recognized by the government. Of the 23.5 million Christians,7% account for the Protestants which number about 16.5 million and the remaining 3% are Catholics numbering about 7 million. There is no curtailment or restriction on worship though new churches are rare.
“Alkitab”is the name of the first Bible translation in Indonesian language. It has now been replaced by the TERJEMAHAN BARU,meaning the New Translation which is the most popular of the 22 available translations of the Bible.
What was amazing to me was that,of the 726 languages,some portions of the Bible or the whole Bible has been translated into about 100 languages. This is indeed remarkable considering the meager resources for the Christians of Indonesia.
My seminar at the “Lembaga Alkitab Indonesia”,which is the equivalent of the Indonesian Bible Society was very fruitful. The well organized Bible Museum at the headquarters is indeed praiseworthy. It really gave me a new dimension to my dreams,of setting up a Bible Museum.
Though I have been leading fasting prayers in many nations across the globe,I must admit that I have not prayed for a rich Global Harvest for the Lord. The Holy Spirit led me to a new vision about the Global Harvest,at the worship of the Indonesia Christian Congregation in their prayer for a rich Global Harvest holding artificial golden stalks and ears of wheat in their hands. Though a small minority with little knowledge of the Christian activities on earth,their earnest and honest prayers touched me. Their purpose driven prayers were illuminated by the golden stalks and ears they held in their hands. The prayers of these small groups of Indonesian Christians to reap a rich Global Harvest for our Lord should ignite our prayers too,for a great Harvest on earth for our Lord as we approach the end times.
Today many modern Christian groups question the necessity of fasting prayers in their spiritual walk. For many such, their anointing of the Holy Spirit is only the ecstasy experienced in their praise and worship sessions, lasting a couple of hours or more. Many are not concerned about their time before and after such sessions. The phenomena of the anointing of the Holy Spirit is not merely a short worship session experience but a continuous 24/7 presence. Those who are anointed and led by the Holy Spirit should always be aware that Satan is at their heels to destroy their anointing. He hates them as they are away from him,and lead others away from him too! So he wants to destroy the anointed people of God. That is why Peter warns us to be vigilant,“because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion,seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
Jesus forewarned his followers about the adversary Satan and gave them a mighty weapon to defeat him – “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:21) He proved that by his own life, defeating Satan by fasting and prayer. Thus Jesus established fasting prayer as the divine weapon for the children of God, to defeat Satan, in their spiritual walk.
We have stepped into the dawn of the New Year with new dreams,renewed hope and aspirations of prosperity. However,many of us fail to think on how to fulfil these in the days ahead. They would have reached this New Year without achieving or attaining any previous dreams though they had the very same thought process for ‘New Years’ in the past. Why? Why?
Their dreams,hopes and aspirations couldn’t bloom and bear fruit because they could not bring about the CHANGES in their lives which were required for attaining these goals. Only when changes – changes for the better –are brought about in our visions,attitude and the relationships in our lives,can the days ahead grant us the blessings we desire! Changes in our lives are achieved only when we change and enrich our relationship with God. God wants to grant us the blessings we long for … but only when we change from the past….
To bring about this change in His people He has commanded a process for His people;to sanctify them and build an everlasting relationship with Him,to crown them with His blessings to be His glory on earth. And that process of change is Fasting,as proclaimed by God himself in Lev 16:29,30,and 31,Num29:7 and again 3 times through His prophet Joel. “Sanctify ye a Fast,call a solemn assembly,gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God,and cry unto the LORD. (Joel 1:14)” (Joel 2:1,2:15)
It is to bring about this change and establish an everlasting relationship with God,to experience the power and presence of His Son Jesus Christ with the power of the Holy Spirit,that the Inter Denominational Christian Fellowship of USA,Inc. has declared an International 24 Hour Fast on the 9th and 10th of January,2014. Restore your relationship with God ,renew your dedication to Him and experience the touch of the nail pierced hands of Jesus,making possible the impossible with healings,deliverance and above all,the amazing anointing of the Holy Spirit to make you a glowing testimony for Jesus in 2014 and ever after… God bless you.
As I travelled across Kerala during this Christmas season I saw hundreds of thousands of colorful Chinese paper stars with dazzling lights adorning towns,roads,and villages of “God’s own Country”. I cannot question the wisdom of the people of “God’s own Country”,in celebrating the birth of God’s only begotten Son in a pompous manner. However,these beautifully made stars by the Chinese did raise a couple of thoughts in my mind.
I am not a Communist,but I admire certain ideologies of Karl Marx,the founder of Communism,and Mao Tse-tung,who effectively revolutionized the world’s largest populace to Communism. I have been to China a couple of times and seen the industrious and illustrious Chinese people working hard without any of the slogans,strikes,or tantrums that paralyze public life. These Christmas Chinese Stars made me wonder how different the comrades around me are.
These Chinese stars found their way to the St. Thomas Christians of Kerala too –who have been dividing and subdividing,forming thousands of churches in the love of the Son of God,who was born and grew among the poorest of the poor. Many of them are competing in their ‘star’ count for making news in the media,while some are trying to make an entry into the Guinness Records by making their ‘stars’ as big as possible.
Amidst this glamour and glitter,I was approached by a couple of villagers from a mountain-top village called Bonekkad,with an area of 1200 acres,about 53 km away from Trivandrum. They wanted food for the poor,neglected people of Bonekkad on Christmas Day. I went there myself,to look into their sorrowful stories of starvation-deaths and poverty. I saw there the remnants of an old tea and cardamom estate planted by the British. Now there are only about 300 families left,as they have nowhere else to go. I did not see even a single Christmas star in any of their rotting shelters. There has been no supply of electricity for several years now,and Kerosene lamps are their only source of light. There are neither wells nor water supply. Their source of rust-tasting water comes through the huge rusted iron pipes laid by the British,ninety years ago from the river Kallar. There is an old dispensary without a doctor or medicines even for a fever or diarrhea. There are supposedly 4 to 5 bus services a day to connect them to the nearest town,down the valley 20 km away but only a couple of them operate. The houses are all simply shattered shelters. There are 3 churches in Bonekkad,which belong to very rich International churches,but they have done very little for the welfare of these poor people. I shared the plight of Bonekkad with a few of my friends around the world. The Word to World Welfare ministry was established. A request was made to cut a part of their decorations and to sacrifice at least one of their delicious dishes on Christmas day,to share the joy of Christmas with these poor people. About 38 families joined me in this noble cause.
Thus we were able to provide food packets worth Rs.550.00 to each family,which included 5 kg of rice,500g of sugar,500 g of coconut oil,one coconut,250g of Chilli powder,Coriander powder,Tea dust,salt,and other minor spices. While I was there,some of them asked whether we could give them a piece of cake as well –neither they nor their children had ever tasted one so far. Their request touched me and reminded of the thoughtless wastage at our homes. Special Christmas cakes were made for them.
The plight of Bonekkad inspired me to search for other such places around the capital of God’s own Country. Nine other places were located and as Christmas draws to a close,the small sacrifices of 38 families have helped the Word to World Welfare to share the Joy of Christmas with 948 poor families. While the hundreds of thousands of paper stars fade away after Christmas,these 38 families radiating divine love to these poor people,have become the real ‘stars’ of Christmas!!
Let compassion,comfort,and care for the poor be a part of your Christmas celebrations,paving the way to Heaven’s blessings for a peaceful and prosperous New Year!
It was at the Annual three day fasting prayer in New York, at the end of December 2012, that the Lord commanded me to build a church in the Ecumenical Convention Centre at Bangalore. This seemed a difficult task as this had to be built in an existing structure full of beams and huge pillars. Traditionally for most apostolic churches,the Mass can be celebrated in any premises –all that is needed is a table and a couple of candles. In fact,this is how small groups of believers celebrate Mass in places with no churches and in remote areas where there are little or no Christians. However such a makeshift church was not what the Lord wanted me to build. I have always desired to offer my heavenly father the best and most beautiful in whatever I do. The Lord promised me that His hand which was upon Ezra would be upon me too,to guide and strengthen me to accomplish this mighty task for Him. It was this blessing of God upon Ezra that enabled him to lead his people from captivity,lay the foundation and eventually build the second temple of Jerusalem.
On reaching Bangalore, I was greeted by utter spiritual darkness at the ground floor of the Ecumenical Convention Center that had to be restructured into the church. In the six years since it had been built,no worship had taken place there,and it had become a den of devils. The task at hand was made even more difficult by the fact that the prayer fellowship occupying the first floor was against a church being built there because their prophetess has prophesied that it was not God’s will to build a church there. Their venerable prophet also uttered the same words and started praying against the building of the church. Little did they realize that these uttering made by them in the name of prayer,was actually strengthening Lucifer himself who was all out to thwart,defeat and destroy me and prevent the construction of the church.
God’s hand was upon me throughout the whole process as He had promised me - revealing to me His plans for the church,just as He had shown His servant David the plans for the temple of Jerusalem, and guided me with the wisdom He had granted Solomon to build the temple of Jerusalem. The construction of the church was completed by the grace and hand of God amidst all these adversities. The Church was consecrated on April 3rd,2013,by His Grace Joseph Mar Koorilose Valiya Metropolitan amidst the praises and prayers of scores of people who had come for the ceremony,even from abroad. This is the fourth church the Lord had blessed me to construct and dedicate for His glory in the name of His Son Jesus Christ .The grandeur and uniqueness of the holy place,by far,is rarely seen in any other Churches.
The hand of God had miraculously and victoriously helped me accomplish the task He had entrusted me. Yes! The impossible is made possible when the hand of the Lord is upon you,guiding you and leading you. Praise be to His Holy name.
Most of us would have made very many resolutions,inspired by the Holy Spirit,at the dawn of the New Year,setting new goals for building the kingdom of God in 2013. Now that 10 days of 2013 have already passed by,let us take the time to reflect on what exactly we have done to accomplish these goals. Thomas Edison,one of the greatest scientists the world has ever seen,soon after the discovery of the electric bulb,remarked that a genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. In my spiritual experiences spanning over four decades,I have found this to be true even in accomplishing tasks for God.
Millions across the world are inspired by the Holy Spirit to attempt and accomplish great and mighty things for God. Their inspiration however,soon withers away,as they are not willing to perspire or toil hard,for the fulfillment of the goals inspired by the Holy Spirit. Some cite repeated failures or earlier reverses as the reason for their hesitation to start working. Edison confessed that he had attempted 3000 theories,before he could successfully invent the electric bulb .He never gave up though he failed during the previous 2999 attempts. Satan will use our past failures to discourage us,and make us disregard the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. He will even dishearten us,bringing to mind,our past sufferings in our endeavors for God,where God has remained silent and is yet to answer us. The divine calling of Moses should ignite us to action! At 80,when life seemed waning and wasted as a shepherd in the wilderness of Midian for 40 years,the Almighty God called Moses for one of the greatest missions He had for any human being.
Yes! We are not finished as yet. He still wants to use us! That is why the Holy Spirit has inspired us with new goals for God in the New Year. There are those who feel that there is no need to rush,as there remains yet another 355 days of 2013! They should be mindful of St. James warning:Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away (James 4:14 NASB).
So let us take that first step forward. Our Heavenly Father,who inspired us through the love of His son Jesus Christ,will empower us with His Spirit to accomplish the goals He has set before us.
Praise the Lord !
2012 started off with a bang,with the blessings of graces showered by the Almighty God at the Annual 72 Hour Fasting Prayer at New York. The New Year was joyous as the Lord gave us the privilege to celebrate the marriage of my son Ajay with Ansu,solemnized by His Grace Joseph Mor Koorilose. The entire ceremony and reception was indeed blessed by the love and mercy of the Almighty God,the presence of His son Jesus Christ,and the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. It was a new experience for the attendees unlike other modern day weddings. Thus,the Lord wiped away our tears,which were shed for the past couple of years on Ajay’s issue,and removed once and for all the ridicule we suffered,even from spiritual spheres. Both my daughters,Viji and Reji,were pregnant. Viji gave birth to a sweet baby girl (Sharon Rose).There again,it was a miracle,as she had a miscarriage earlier and was not conceiving for some time (with a lot of questions hurled at me). We were all anxious about Reji,who continued her pregnancy despite repeated medical advice to abort the child. She believed what God had assured me that He would save the child and that He had chosen the child. Nathan was born with serious medical problems,but the Lord miraculously healed him with a couple of operations. It was an unquestionable medical miracle,with every step documented. His miraculous recovery was posted on You Tube with more than 3000 hits and about 5000 CD’s of Nathan’s testimony were freely distributed in the Middle East and other countries. In October,God blessed Ajay and Ansu with a son Vijay (Mathews Vergis III),granting us three grandchildren in 2012.
As the Lord was leading me with miracle after miracle,Satan was filling the leadership of my ministry with more and more of jealousy. It reached new heights when I became a victim of cruel character assassination by the leadership of my ministry in a three-day fasting prayer in Kuwait. The fasting prayers conducted by the leadership thereafter were similar to the fast conducted by Ahab and Jezebel,where Naboth was falsely accused and stoned to death. I was even branded as a false prophet led by an evil spirit. Though many,whom I brought up in spiritual world,betrayed me,I experienced the stupendous love of my heavenly father more than ever before. He was speaking to me,comforting me and revealing His great plans for me. He told me to remain silent,and He would lift me up and prove to the world that I am led by the Holy Spirit.
In the meantime,I chose to undergo a Bariatric surgery as the Lord instructed. He was with me and I never experienced any pain other than the discomfort of the IV needles and tubes being inserted. It is no exaggeration when I say that Jesus was beside me comforting and strengthening me during and after the surgery. Just a month after the surgery,I left for the Holy Land leading a group of 50 of my brethren,and even led a 24-hour Fasting Prayer in Jerusalem. It was a mighty experience with the Almighty God Himself guiding me,the presence of Jesus,and a heavy anointing of the Holy Spirit on the participants of the fast. The most significant part of the fast was that the Lord in His glory told me He is going to lift me up publicly. I believed it completely,but did not know how the Lord would bring it about.
God provided me the opportunity when the organizers of the Christian Expo 2012 invited me to take an active participation in the event by being the main sponsor and to launch Word to World TV at the Christian Expo. They requested me to organize a Bible exhibition,as I had done at the Maramon Convention years ago. I was reluctant,but once again the Lord assured me that He would send people to help me organize the event. Thus,many came for the event from abroad and all of us stayed together at Tiruvalla for the whole week enabling tens of thousands to understand and see the glory of the Word of God. The Biblex 2012 spread in 3000 sq.ft. was the biggest draw of the Christian Expo 2012. To my surprise the organizers arranged for the release of my book on Jealousy in the inaugural function by His Grace Philipose Mar Chrysostom Valia Metropolitan. I saw the Hand of God in it,as it was the Lord who asked me to write a book on jealousy while I had undertaken my 9th 40-day fast in June 2011. He had granted me the grace and Wisdom of Solomon to complete it in His grace,so many who had been cut away by Satan’s sword of jealousy,may be saved.
Above all,God gave me an opportunity to speak at the public meetings of the Christian Expo. Thousands from different churches and denominations,from various parts of Kerala,attended the Gospel meetings every evening,which was followed by a musical show. The Lord used me in a mighty way,when I gave the gospel message on the 4th day. Many surrounded me after the message saying that the Lord comforted them and they were touched by the Holy Spirit. Thus,the Almighty God had proved to the pundits of evil spirit in my fellowship about His abundant anointing on me.
God crowned me with stupendous Gifts and Graces at the Annual 72 hour Fast at the end of 2012,which by far brought me the greatest blessing in my spiritual life for the past 43 years. It was attended by people far and wide through video streaming. Hundreds were anointed and renewed by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the fasting. It was the greatest spiritual experience of my spiritual journey in a span of four decades. The Lord blessed me with gifts and graces,which very few have ever attained before. I am really very very thankful to the leadership of my parent ministry,who tried to tarnish my reputation and hurled insults at me publicly. It drew me nearer and nearer to God,and finally made God in His mercy to shower His gifts and graces on this poor ‘worm’.
Yes! I was thrown into the fiery furnace of hatred and malice by the leadership of the ministry which I had built up from scratch with my sweat and tears over four decades. The leadership blinded by jealousy,bitterness and avariciousness wanted to destroy me. This enabled me to cling on to God more and more and brought His unfathomed love to me more than ever before. He commissioned me in the dawn of the New Year for an International End Time Ministry,a far cry from a ministry so far confined to only a few hundreds of people in different countries and now shrinking and sinking because the leadership had been struck by Satan’s sword of JEALOUSY. And at the end of it all,God has chosen this poor worm to be made into a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth to thresh the mountains and make the hills as chaff (Isaiah 41:15) and to march forward in the New Year proclaiming His glory to the world.
PRAISE THE LORD!!
I reached NY a couple of weeks back to attend the Baptism ceremony of my first grandson,Nathan. It was one of the most important events in my walk with God.
Nathan had developed Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) at the 18th week of pregnancy,and the specialist doctor had regretfully advised an abortion. My wife,Raaji,and I were heartbroken as we sat in the presence of God. Saddened,I told God that the Adversary would use this opportunity to accuse and ridicule us further. The Lord spoke to me,saying “I have already revived him. He would have been dead because his intestines had moved up,pushing and squeezing his heart and lungs. He is my child. Do no harm to him,and I will take care of him.”I conveyed the Lord’s message to my son-in-law,Jebu,and daughter,Reji,as they were the ones to make the final decision. Trusting in the Lord,they chose to continue with the pregnancy and informed the specialist team of their decision. The doctors were not at all happy. They warned of the 60% mortality rate and of the huge medical bills involved. However,they were surprised and taken aback during Reji’s next check-up. Nathan’s heart was working perfectly in spite of the pressure it was under. This was the first in a series of God’s miracles in Nathan’s life.
As the pregnancy progressed,Reji was diagnosed with Vasa Previa,which is found 1 in 2500 women with a mortality rate of 50-90%. The umbilical cord got shortened,putting both mother and child in grave danger. God miraculously healed them of this condition. Unexpectedly,Reji’s water broke in the 31st week,and immediately a C-section was done. By God’s grace,Nathan was born on February 27,2012. It was indeed a miracle that Reji had already been admitted to Stanley Morgan Children’s Hospital,in New York earlier in the week. If this had happened at home or in any other hospital closer to our home,Nathan would have been in grave danger because none of the hospitals around have the sophisticated and advanced facilities of Stanley Morgan Children’s Hospital.
Nathan was moved to a ventilator right away. An emergency surgery was required immediately,but the heart lung machine could not be used,as Nathan was too small and fragile. The medical team could not wait any longer,since each passing moment could prove more fatal for Nathan. A five hour surgery was done in which his intestines were moved down. But his wounds could not be closed,because there wasn’t enough space in his abdominal cavity to hold his intestines. At great risk,the wound was kept open and finally closed a few days later. God protected the wound from any infection. More miracles followed in the next 48 hours. God’s mighty hands moved his heart and lungs to their proper positions. The lungs expanded fully,and the heart continued to function properly. The issue of excess bad blood circulating throughout the body was resolved. Nathan’s bilirubin count was dangerously high,but when I cried out before the Lord,within 24 hours,God brought it down. Nathan’s doctors were concerned that he wasn’t passing urine after the surgery. After 72 hours,prayers to God Almighty enabled urine and stool to pass without any problems. Yes,it was only through prayer at every step and the Lord’s healing that helped Nathan survive every crisis. The ventilator was removed,and Nathan was discharged.
Jebu and Reji had documented Nathan’s situation right from the 20th week,when the doctors had advised abortion. Jebu and Reji wanted his healing to be a living testimony to the world,well documented with case number and details of the medical team so that no traces of doubt remained. Nathan’s video testimony was put on YouTube,and hundreds of my spiritual friends contacted me. There were some who wept because of the agony we had to go through,and many praised the Lord for His mighty miracles. Many sent it to their families,friends,and all their connections so much that views for the video on YouTube rose to over 1500. Some even copied the video on a CD and passed it on to their brethren who have no access to the internet.
Yet,amidst this show of solidarity and support for the glory of my miracle-working God,I also heard very negative comments from people who claimed to be led by the Holy Spirit. There was a shepherd in my ministry who strictly told his sheep not to see or speak of this testimony at all. Incidentally,the Lord had used me numerous times to lay my hands and pray for him and his family lifting them up miraculously during many a crisis. The reactions and responses to Nathan’s testimony revealed to me the true nature of the Spirit that was guiding many of the leaders in my ministry. It exposed their shallow relationship with the Almighty God even more than their jealousy and hatred towards me.
May the Lord bless and guide the hundreds and hundreds of my brethren,known and unknown,who continue to glorify God by sharing this testimony. Praise the Lord!
Majority of the Christian Churches are celebrating Pentecost on Sunday ,23rd May . Most of these celebrations have become a continuation of tradition with the annual repetition of worship commemorating the day of Pentecost ,when the Holy Ghost descended on the apostles for the first time as cloven tongues of fire. Though chants are sung,prayers said and celebrations held annually on the day of Pentecost,the modern Christian fails to experience this Power from on high. He is thus left behind in despair and dismay eroding his faith,persuading him to seek comfort in other religions. In their quest to acquire power on earth,the Churches at large have failed to acquire the ‘power from on high’. The flock are left behind without any experience of this ‘power from on high’,which Jesus wanted His disciples to attain after His ascension.
Christmas,of which Jesus had neither taught nor instructed,is the epitome of celebrations in the Christian world while the Holy Spirit of whom He taught in detail is totally neglected. The two things He commanded His disciples to do when He was no more in the world,was to celebrate the Eucharist in memory of Him and to attain power by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The first of these,the Eucharist is celebrated every week and the flock partake the body and blood of Christ. This is easily done and Christ is remembered with the rituals performed as often as possible. The second command to be put into action was that the disciples should be endued with’POWER from on high’.
The whole situation becomes so complex and difficult only when one realizes the true meaning of what Jesus spoke. In Greek ‘endued’means ‘to be clothed with’or ‘to be transfused with’,or ‘to be put on’;Power didn’t mean money power,membership power,numerical power of cathedrals ,churches or clergy,but it meant miraculous power,or spiritual power;and ‘on high’meant altitude,Sky,etc. This clearly shows that man cannot attain this power by some traditional ritual as it is not given by any human being but the Almighty God Himself. Jesus told His disciples before His ascension that they should wait in Jerusalem for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit in Greek is given as ‘Hagios’meaning holy,and ‘Pneuma’meaning ‘gentle breeze’or ‘current of air’etc. The most important aspect is that,like a wind or breeze,the Holy Spirit cannot be seen but experienced. This is achieved only when man repents of his sins ,cleanses himself and then presents himself in holiness before the holy presence of God. This process cannot be completed by a mere public celebration or commemoration of that event and that is why the present day annual Pentecost worship and celebrations fail to bring down ‘the power from on high’.
Do you want to be endued by this ‘power from on high’? Hundreds have experienced this power in a mighty way in our just concluded 72 hour fasting prayer in New York. You too can! Surrender yourself before God,asking him to forgive your sins and wash you clean by the precious blood of His son Jesus Christ. Then beseech Him to grant you the Holy Spirit and He will. He will abide in you and guide you day by day.
This is my experience ! I pray it become Yours Too!!!
My first voyage across the Bay of Bengal for 7 days was when I was still in my mother’s womb. Today people don’t take to the ships for crossing the seas. In those days ships were the common mode of commute to cross the seas. It took 7 to 8 days to cross the Bay of Bengal from Madras and reach Penang in Malaya. The two passenger ships in this route were SS Rajula and the State of Madras. God had given me the privilege to cross these seas again when I was six and nine. I have only faint traces of the last of these seven day trips which was made when I was nine.
It was in 1962 that God gave me,a mere 12 year old lad then,the rare privilege to fly from Singapore to Madras with my father. In those days Air travel was rare and a luxury used by the affluent. Hence children travelling by air were rather rare or uncommon. We flew in Air India,which by all means was a Maharajah in the skies,true to its icon the turbaned bowing Indian Maharajah. It was a noisy 4 propeller Super Constellation aircraft and everything in that six hour flight was excellent,the food,the petite pretty hostesses and the exquisite interior. I was taken to the cockpit at the request of Pappa.
It was one of the best moments in my childhood to see the plane tearing apart the clouds and going forward in the sky. I felt that I was very near God,just as mummy had told me that God was in heaven and on my further queries about heaven she would point to the sky. My little mind was full of awe and adoration for God as she had told me that God created the sky. God gave me yet another privilege to fly again a couple of years later,this time all alone from Cochin to Kuala Lumpur via Madras. The flight to Madras had stops at Coimbatore and Trichy. It was a Dakota aircraft which could carry about 30 passengers. It was one of the most horrible bumpy flights in my life and I vomited throughout the flight. However the flight from Madras to Singapore was on the Comet 4 C which had no propellers,as it was a 4-engined Jet which took only half the time of the Super Constellation to reach Singapore. Air India was indeed a Maharajah among other international airlines,the prominent of which were BOAC,QUANTAS,TWA,PANAM etc.
My spree in the air came to an abrupt end when Pappa had to leave Malaysia due to ill health and settle down in Kerala. Changes were taking place in the Indian political horizon. The Indian government stripped off the royal privileges of the Maharajas of India and their annual privy purses. As an icon,the Air India Maharajah had won the respect of millions who took to the skies. But he too was booted out like the erstwhile Maharajas of India. The voyages which I began in the seas while I was still in my mummy’s womb and continued in the air came to a sudden halt as I was completing the high school. To fly again as in my childhood seemed a distant dream.
Â My air travel was replaced by rail travel. The trains had steam locomotive engines using charcoal as the fuel and pulled dozens of narrow compartments,most of which had only the third class facility with plain wooden seats. Majority of these railroads were meter gauge and narrow gauge. Broad gauge railroads were found only in metropolitan cities. Only the two tier compartments had foam mattress on their berths. Not only were they filthy with ash and charcoal dust everywhere,but even the atmosphere was fortified with the stench from the toilets. Soon,I too became a part of it with my frequent travels during my college days. I realize now that it was God who protected me in my wild train travels. I call them wild because I loved to hang out at the door,even though there were empty seats inside,to enjoy the buzzing wind striking me as the train shot through the villages and the rural countryside,the rustic beauty of which enchanted me. In those lonely moments I adored the goodness and greatness of God as I had done in my childhood from my very first trip in the skies. Perhaps it was that attitude of silent,secret adoration and love for God that made Him choose a useless fellow like me and anoint me for the building of His Kingdom.
God resumed my air travel after 12 years,in 1976. It was an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Bombay to Addis Ababa. Though the frequency increased as the years went by,it became a part of my life after I took up His mantle,heeding His call 25 years ago. He gave me the privilege of travelling hundreds of thousands of miles in the air across the continents in the leading Airlines of the world.
Â Prayer is my first agenda in the flight as the seat belts are fastened and when Raaji,my wife is with me we pray together without drawing the attention of adjacent passengers. I feel near to Him every time I fly as in my first flight when I was a 12 year old lad. I sink into His presence and He enables me to pen and tune His praises. He reveals the secrets of His Word in teaching and translating the Bible and grants me the knowledge and wisdom to go forward in my spiritual walk. Though the Air India Maharaja with whom I started flying with is gone with the erstwhile Maharajas of India,the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords leads me on,empowering me to declare like David “The heavens declare His righteousness and all the people see His glory”.