On the Trail of Mary Magdalene

The true depth of love is manifested only when tested in the trials of fire. This love manifests when one is ready to risk it all including their very life, for the people, ideas and ideals that they love. Mary Magdalene outshines the apostles, disciples and all followers of Jesus in this demonstration of her love for their Master. She was a neglected woman battered and shattered in life by the seven demons who relentlessly tormented her for years. It was Jesus who broke this treacherous bondage and gave her a new lease of life. She immediately joined the disciples and followed Jesus till His ascension. She remained with Jesus even at the foot of the cross when all His disciples ran away and stayed there till His body was put into the tomb. She was the first one to reach the tomb on the third morning while it was still dark and was the first one to see Jesus after His resurrection. She became the first person Jesus spoke to after His resurrection, in fact Jesus calling her by her name – Mary. She became the first one to preach the risen Christ when He had asked her to inform the disciples that He has risen from the dead and would meet them in Galilee. This is the last we hear of Mary Magdalene in the Bible. Mary’s life or whereabouts thereafter were not given much prominence in early church history. So the world does not know much about her after the resurrection of Jesus.

Jesus gave me a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Mary Magdalene as I reached Southern France in search of the tomb of St. Martha. According to the tradition of Provence, Martha, Mary Magdalene, Lazarus, Maximinus (one of the seventy) and some companions were put in a boat without rudder or sail into the Mediterranean.

Reliquary containing the Bone of Mary Magdalene

Jesus took care of the boat and brought it to a place called ‘Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer’ in Arles, Gaul (France) in 47 AD. Lazarus went to Marseilles and converted the whole province. Martha went to Avignon and Mary Magdalene retired to a cave in the 3500 feet high rocky mountain La-Sainte-Baume amidst a dense forest, where she spent the last 30 years of her life in prayer and contemplation. The tradition of Provence says that she was lifted up by angels seven times a day and was fed by heavenly nourishments. This proved to be no exaggeration because even today we found no human inhabitation there. The Dominican Order of the Catholic Church have been guarding this relic for hundreds of years. They have set up a hostel nearby for the stay and hospitality of the pilgrims. We were told by the priest in charge of the hostel that we could  reach the cave only by foot and it may require a minimum of thirty to forty minutes’ walk.

So we started and after a few minutes the path began narrowing and we had to climb hundreds upon hundreds of crudely cut steps up the mountain through the forest. The trail was named “The King’s Way” through which hundreds of thousands of pilgrims had walked – pilgrims which included eighteen kings and eight Popes. There is no sign post or anything to show directions on the way to the cavern. There is not even a plank to sit and rest during the climb and no drinking water is provided even in the cave for the tired pilgrims who reach there, exhausted after the climb of more the 2200 feet. Worst still is the fact that no toilet is provided may be because of a perception all the water may be excreted as sweat. It is not because there is a lack of space as there is a building adjacent to the cave where the Dominicans claim that 4 of their priests reside. We were unable to find any humans there even  to clean the premises. We found only a couple of brochures inside the cave and needless to say that these too were in French. There was no refreshment stall in the premises – may be because the authorities may think that it may hamper the penitence of the pilgrims. I put on these remarks because those in possession of this sacred place have failed to show to the world a beloved disciple of Jesus and have dampened the spirits of the pilgrims who reach the site.

Reliquary containing the Skull of Mary Magdalene

However all our frustrations vanished as we finally reached the very place where Mary Magdalene lived the last 30 years of her life secluded from all contacts of the outside world. The cool breeze and the divine aura inside the cave lifted us up to a new plane of peace and mental bliss. There was yet another cave beneath the main one, which appeared to be the place where she had lived. Some of the material inside here were broken and as I was looking at a broken cross there, a French pilgrim told me that there was an attempt to destroy the site during the French revolution.

Basilica of St. Mary Magdalene

Still Mary Magdalene’s statue stood there even after 20 centuries radiating the fragrance of the love of her Master. In the main cave there was another statue of Mary Magdalene being lifted by the angels. The return trek was much easier and as we were having lunch we were told by other pilgrims that the tomb of Mary Magdalene was in the Basilica of Mary Magdalene, which was only an hour’s drive away. We were astonished when they told us that skull of Mary Magdalene was placed in a golden reliquary which could be seen by everyone.

Though the almighty God had given me the privilege to visit the final resting places of many of His beloved saints in different parts of the world, it was the first time that I had seen the skull of a saint. There was another reliquary which contained a tiny piece of her bone. My Master blessed with yet another blessed experience on this journey and that too a rare one to remember throughout my days on earth. 

  

On the Trail of St. Martha

Raaji and I left from St. Panchraas Railway Station in London by the “Euro Star”, a fast luxury train, for Avignon which is in Southern France. The facilities provided in the Euro Star were excellent, and the punctuality it maintains is simply wonderful. Brother Sayo and Gigi joined us from Lourdes, and we went to the Saint Martha Royal Collegiate Church in Tarascon, where Christians have been coming for centuries to venerate the relics of St. Martha.  It is believed that in 48 AD Martha, her sister Mary together with her brother Lazarus, Maximinus (one of the seventy), and Marcella (a follower of  Martha) were put into a boat with neither  sail nor rudder into the Mediterranean Sea by the hostile Jews. Jesus protected their boat and brought it to the shores of Provence in Gaul (Southern France).  Lazarus preached the gospel in Marseilles and converted the city into Christianity, while Martha travelled to Avignon. The inhabitants of Avignon pleaded with her to save them from the monster called the Tarasque, which devoured the people and the beasts of the place. Martha approached the cave with a cross in her hand and ordered the monster to come out in the name of Christ. The monster obeyed and Martha led it to the people who then killed it.  The place was then named Tarascon, and Martha continued to live there preaching the gospel to the inhabitants and converted them. A chapel was built enclosing her tomb, and it became one of the most famous sanctuaries of Provence. In 500 AD, Clovis, the king of the Franks who fell ill as a consequence of his siege of Avignon, came to pray at the tomb of Martha and was healed.

The relics of Saint Martha were discovered in 1187, and a church was built in the Gothic style. Many came there to seek blessings from the hostess of Christ including the kings of France and Sicily, Cardinals and future Popes. The crypt was restored again in the 17th century and two hexagonal chapels were added. Thousands of pilgrims from different parts of the world come to venerate the relics of St. Martha and pray. And Pope John Paul II said that people come to the Collegiate every year “to experience a privileged moment of spirituality in prayer and reflection”.

The faithful flock to this tomb containing the sacred body of St. Martha confiding in her their suffering and hopes so that she can intercede for them. Today the church appears to be considered more as an archaeological Gothic structure than the priceless final resting place of a beloved Saint of Jesus Christ. There are life-size paintings adorning the walls of the church but the faithful who come from different parts of the world cannot understand anything about them other than that they are very old.

Every literature inside this church is in French and nothing is found in English. This indeed was disappointing as we traveled through France. When we traveled along the British terrain in the Euro Star, announcements were made both in English and French but English was heard no more soon after it made its entry into France. I saw many tourists who were disgusted as there was only French and only French signboards everywhere. It may be an attempt to portray French as a great language. While I was not bothered about their policy to uplift their language I was really disturbed at the fact that even a universal church could not provide any literature in English for the pilgrims who assembled there. Neither were there any guides or priests present to explain the great details of the life of St. Martha whose zeal, love and sacrifices for her Master would inspire the faithful who come to seek her prayers and blessings. I praise and thank Jesus for leading me to this heavenly opportunity to seek the prayers and blessings of one more of His blessed Saints.


On the trail of the Lord’s beloved

I have always been fascinated by the lives of the men and women who responded and obeyed the heavenly call and set out, many of whom even sacrificed their lives for God. Leading holy lives, and making countless sacrifices in building the kingdom of God here on earth, many of these godly men and women have been canonized by the different Christian churches, honoring them with the title of “Saint”. Tens of thousands of these canonized saints have faded away from the lives and minds of the Christian faithful through the passage of time, while there remain hundreds of thousands of saintly people whose holy lives have not been celebrated, or been canonized simply because they were not members of any particular church which confers the title of sainthood. We come across many saints in the early church who were with Jesus during his sojourn on earth and had suffered cruel persecutions and even martyrdom. Many of these pious men and women are not remembered much now and their lives after the gospel age remain unexplored. People are more familiar with the popular Saints of the modern times and often seek their intercessions. I want to be clear here that we are not to be praying to the saints, but seek their prayers for us to the only intercessor before God, Jesus Christ.

I deeply love and hold close to my heart the saints adorning the kingdom of God and their prayers and intercessions strengthen the faith of the faithful in the trail for their master.  Some may question as to why intercessions should be made to these Saints as they are dead. They forget to realize that if holy men and women of God in their life on earth could pray, intercede and attain mighty miracles from God for those of the flock who come to them, how much more they can do while they are in the presence of God. Some wonder why intercessions are made to many saints or certain saints. These saints have attained sainthood because they excelled in various missions assigned to them by the graces and gifts granted by the Almighty God. So intercessions are sought by the faithful to saints who have left a trail in their similar endeavors for God. Thus I seek the prayers and intercessions of beloved saints who have done mighty things for God in similar missions. They have been a great source of power and strength to me in the rocky terrains of my spiritual walk. So it had been my desire to set up a gallery of Saints in the Museum of the Word and name it the “Paradise of Saints”.

Though the chapel had been completed a couple of years ago, nothing was done toward making the “Paradise of Saints”. During my last trip to lead a fasting prayer, the Lord miraculously provided me access to a reliquary of St. Martha.  While I have preached many times about Martha, Mary and Lazarus, I had no visions about them as Saints. I decided to explore and follow their trail after the ascension of Jesus Christ.  While investigating and finalizing plans to visiting the final resting places of these saints in between my hectic schedule till September, I received the invitation from Dr.Jai and my sister Grace to attend the wedding of their son Dr.Susheel in London on the 15th June, 2019. I decided to extend the trip to Southern France to find the trails of St.Martha and St.Mary Magdelene. I informed Bro. Joseph Kulangara of our plans to visit and he agreed to join us with his wife Gigi. Thus began the journey to trace the trail of these beloved saints of Jesus.

DOG’S OWN COUNTRY

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Decades ago the government of Kerala coined a phrase to promote tourism in Kerala. The think tanks of the time wanted people across the world to flow into Kerala. Realising that only around 13% on earth are atheists or non-believers in God according to demographics, they decided to include the word “GOD” into their tourist promotion slogan. They thought they could attract the remaining 87% people to this southern tip of India near the equator irrespective of their religious affinities. Ironically, no opposition came either from the governments of political parties who never believed in any form of God or from the predominant Christian communities for whom the Third Commandment of the Ten Commandments which clearly states that, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain,” (Exodus 20:7 – Holy Bible) was clearly violated. Being born and brought up outside India, indeed Kerala had fascinated me right from childhood with its beautiful rivers, temples, churches and mosques in their thousands, the tall coconut trees in their millions, the scores of elephants on the roads and a people who could communicate in English and practice exemplary religious tolerance. All these factors may have encouraged the authorities to promote this piece of land as “God’s Own Country”.

Things have changed today and Kerala has captured the attention of the world itself on the issue of killing of stray dogs. The matter has been taken to the highest law-making authorities of the nation by the animal lovers, especially dog lovers. Before I pen my thoughts, let me say that I love dogs and have found them to be one of the most faithful and loving animals. Their love for their master is immeasurable. I have had a pet dog since I was twelve years old. At present I have my Rottweiler, “Bruno,” who is a member of the Kennel Club of India. It is my love and concern for dogs that prompts me to write these lines.

Those who find cruelty in killing stray dogs should have concern for their hunger and suffering as well. What options are in place currently to feed these starving animals and give them shelter? They live of the wastes of food littered on the roadside and garbage heaped everywhere. Many of them have visible skin diseases. Dogs run down by vehicles are yet another common sight on roads. Those who deplore the killing of these uncared dogs, advocate sterilization so that their growing numbers can be contained. But the question remains, who will take care of these poor animals? We may have to look deeper into the intent and plans of these well-wishers who try and defend these stray animals who are increasingly being driven to violence possibly from their hunger and suffering. How many of these advocates of dog-compassion rehabilitate these stray animals or feed them once a day? These animals in the middle of their tortured existence and suffering do not have the luxury of euthanasia which some nations provide for humans.

Is it not cruelty then to allow these animals to continue to live in misery, hunger and suffering? Let us think aloud! If we are unable to find a lasting solution and lead the nation on this issue, we may have to give Kerala a new slogan: DOG’s Own Country. Then the only consolation would be that the letters in the word GOD still remain in the slogan, just backwards. This reversal may well be a reflection that the values we treasured from old,  are slowly being reversed for the worse.

 

The Divine Vision from a dampening experience

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The vision and mission of the founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators, Mr. William Cameron Townsend, has always been an inspiration to me. So on this World Bible Translation Day 2016, Raaji and I decided to visit their headquarters in Orlando, Florida. At the front desk, I introduced myself as a Bible translator and presented them with copies of the New Testament in the four Indian tribal languages we had translated. He replied to me that their policy did not allow them to accept or endorse Bible Translations by others. I stated that I was there neither for their endorsement nor acceptance but to inform them about these translations, so that these four languages could be removed from their much publicized list of languages that were in need of a translation of the Bible and their resources could be used for other languages in need. I requested them to place these translations in their Asian showcase of Bible translations. Once again I was informed that their policy was to display only the translations made by them. It was evident that their policy of not promoting or letting the world know about other translations made on earth arose from their fear of losing their prominence and benefits.

I had similar experiences earlier from the Bible Society of India, Bible translation organizations and even Churches involved in making translations of the Word.  The common factor is that all of them lament a lot about the thousands of languages in which at least a portion of the Bible is yet to be translated. But they fail to appreciate or accommodate a new translation made by lesser known people with no assets or affluences in some remote corner on earth, because they do not belong to any such organization. They fail to realize that a translation can be made only when a spiritual battle is won, and only spirit-filled men of God can bring forth a translation of the Word of God.

That night, as I poured out my heart before the Lord about this dampening experience, He led me to a new vision: to start a museum to showcase all the Bibles on earth in all the languages translated by any organization, church or individual with an up-to-date record of such translations. It would also show the progress mankind had made ever since God had written the Word with His own fingers and handed it over to Moses for His people. Thus the “The Museum of the Word” was born! It is an uphill task, but God has used such negative situations in the past, guiding me to set new goals for Him, complete them, and crowning them with His blessings.

About two decades ago, I was broken hearted when the Bible Society of India in Bangalore refused even to look at the errors in their outdated Malayalam Bible translation that I had painstakingly documented. They turned me away, asking me what theological credentials I had to propose such corrections. I wept that night at their insults. They did not even bother to look at the corrections or their validity – corrections I had researched and compiled over fourteen years. That night the Lord came to me in all His glory. “Fear not I am with you. I want you to complete and publish the Bible all by yourself and yourself only. Now I am anointing you with the gift to translate my Word,” the Lord said.  The very next day, I started the Millennium Modern Malayalam Bible Project or the 3MBP. The Vishudha Sathya Vedapusthakam, my translation of the Bible in Malayalam, was published on the 22nd of December, 2000. Satan never gave up. I was deported with my family from the country I had worked for twenty-four years because I translated the Bible. It was masterminded by my own Christian brethren. They proclaimed that I was finished forever, as was my Bible translation. Again I heard the sweet voice of the Lord, “I will not let you down. I am with you.”

Yes,  He is ever with me and has enabled me to pioneer translations in 6 more languages!

Three years ago, the leaders of the fasting prayer fellowship I had toiled to build up over three and half decades, conspired together and expelled me from the fellowship with false accusations and injurious insults… It broke my heart. It seemed my efforts of a lifetime for the Lord were shattered by a few people who feared their wickedness would be exposed. Again the Lord assured me nothing was lost and that He would lift me up and lead me in His glorious path. The Lord reminded me of Bill Bright and Merlyn Carothers who faced similar solitudes in their spiritual journey. The Lord helped me to start the broadcast of Word to World Television Channel 165 days ago and the Word to World Centre to house it 24 days ago. The Lord has used every adversity of mine to accomplish mighty feats for Him. And now once again, from the dampening experiences on this World Bible Translation Day arises a new project for His glory- THE MUSEUM OF THE WORD.

Praise the Lord!

 September 30th, 2016

Reminiscences on Father’s Day

Hugs, flowers, greeting cards, gifts, some good food and once again Father’s day is over. My thoughts about father’s day go much beyond these social gestures.

When I think of Father’s day, the very first thought that rushes to my mind is about my Heavenly Father Yahweh, my Almighty God. It is He who allowed me to come on earth through my father whose faith, love, and discipline led me to the knowledge and experiences of my Heavenly Father. Again I am grateful and ever indebted to my Heavenly Father for granting me three loving children. Above all, I have no words to express my love and gratitude to my Heavenly Father for making me a spiritual father to thousands on earth, speaking different languages and hailing from different cultures. This is the greatest of all reasons to place my Heavenly Father  far above all considerations on or about father’s day reminiscences.

My father, late Mr. M.V. Mathews, whom I call Pappa has the paramount position in my heart among mortal humans on this father’s day. It is Pappa, whose life and principles drew me to God. His family life was exemplary – I say because of his care and love for my mom. They were unanimous in everything, doing everything in one accord.

He was very strict, possibly even too strict with me in my childhood with no appreciation or exhibition of love, which my younger siblings got. Fathers Day BlogBeing his first born he could not tolerate any pranks, nor put up with my mischief and strong willed nature. He tried to discipline me with the cane but failed as I refused to be tamed. This went on till the age of 12 and his attitude began to change as there came five others after me. His confidence in me grew and from my 16th year he freely allowed me to handle the finances. It was the tune of thousands those days which today may mean lakhs. He has never scolded or even uttered a word when I ran into losses because of my immaturity. He has never asked me whether I drank or smoked and never asked me for the accounts of his money taken by me. He tried his utmost to give us, all what we children asked for. He sold a piece of his property to pay the capitation fee for my admission to the B. Pharm course in spite of the advices of dear and loved ones who tried to stop him. However, I failed repeatedly in the first year B. Pharm course and went to Pappa with the results of my fourth failure. I expected a shout from him and had prepared myself to apply for a job in the Indian Navy. To my surprise Pappa told me, “I want you to complete the B. Pharm degree at any cost even if I have to sell all my property.” It shattered me because he never blamed me, though he knew that one of the main reasons for my repeated failure was that I was involved in student politics going to the extent of even leading a strike. His words gave me a new sense of hope and confidence. I returned and never failed again, graduating with a first class! I was chosen for a highly paid job even before graduation among 15,000 applicants from all over India. At the end of my final interview conducted by the top brass of the company I put forward my hand to shake hands with the members of the interview board. Everybody except the top man shook hands but he refused. I felt humiliated. When I returned home, all at home were buoyant that I was selected and stood first in the interview. However I told my father that I could not work with a person who had no basic courtesy to shake hands with someone who stretched forth his hand. There were a lot of debts at home and this high paying job would have eased the situation. I thought he would compel me to take up the job due to his financial strains, but he strongly said, “Don’t take it up if you are not happy.” I didn’t take up that job and furthermore, decided never to look out for a job in India. I wanted to go abroad and that wait cost me another 15 jobless months in India. Pappa never ever blamed me and was still supporting me when debts were on the increase- that was Pappa!

His spiritual life paved the way for my own journey. He was the pioneer in building two churches one in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia and another in his native place Mannar Kerala, India. His prayer life was a great example for us, as was his honesty and determination to stand for truth. Indeed his life, love, and confidence showered in me, is the foundation of all what I am today.

The shining stars in the horizon of my reminiscences is that God blessed me with three lovely, loving, God-fearing children and their spouses who share my principles and join me in the building of the Kingdom of God. Their zeal and passion for God till this moment is something I treasure on this father’s day.

Praises a million and glory to my Heavenly Father, for His showers of blessings, for granting me a father and making me a father for building the Kingdom of God on earth.

Praise the Lord
Father’s Day 2016

Veni, Vidi, Vici

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The patrons of the Word to World Television flocked to the weeklong Maramon Convention – the biggest Christian convention of Asia from different parts of the world, for the promotion of their own beloved television Channel “Word to World”. They made history in the 121 year existence of the convention by reaching the message and vision of the Word to World Television to the hundreds of thousands of people swarming the banks of the great river Pamba.

Praise! Praise! Praise!

Praise! Praise! Praise!

Praise! Praise! Praise!

Praise! Praise! Praise!

Fluttering like butterflies in their Yellow or Blue uniforms, they found their way to all people, old and young ,men and woman alike on every road and lane leading to the convention handing out sun shades, hand fans and copies of Word Vision and Bible Times.  Neither the scorching sun nor the long walks or even the continuous standing could dampen their spirits. The epitome of each day’s activity was the spirit filled praise session of the patrons proclaiming the glory of the almighty God. It touched the hearts of thousands who were returning from the convention. It brought everything to a standstill – the buses, cars, and the traveling pilgrims. Police came in several times to keep the crowd moving who stood spellbound at the heavenly melodies… History was being made, as never before had a television channel yet to begin its regular broadcasts, gone into the hearts of the people.

Bibles for Bibleless

Bibles for Bibleless

H.E. Archbishop Kuriakose Mor Severios Valiya Metropolitan

H.E. Archbishop Kuriakose Mor Severios Valiya Metropolitan

This journey started when my heavenly Father commanded me after the glorious 72 hour fasting prayer at New York to go to Maramon convention and conquer it. It seemed an impossible task as only about 20 days were left for the convention. The premises for stalls at Maramon were all sold out well in advance…. It was difficult for our brethren worldwide to come to the convention as they had all taken all their vacation to attend the annual fasting prayer….  I was in New York and there were none around to go ahead with the massive preparation to fulfill God’s command.

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But I was sure of one thing.  My commander, the Lord of hosts had supreme confidence in me and thus He had commanded me to go and conquer the ocean of souls that would gather at Maramon.  He led me and His own people whom He had brought to be with me  from Canada, The Middle East  and India, every moment – every day and at the end  to hoist His flag. Julius Caesar upon his conquest of Asia Minor had famously said “Veni Vedi Vici” – meaning “I came, I saw and I conquered. So too, the patrons of Word to World Television who came to Maramon can lift His banner high and proclaim We Came, We Saw, We Conquered.

PRAISE THE LORD

Medias that makes a man God

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The media in their unending race to capture the attention of the human mind very often use superlative words, adjectives and descriptions without weighing the implications and influences that are brought about by such usages. Recently a legend in the field of sport, visited India and the newspapers were vying each other to report the event with the greatest importance. A leading Newspaper of India published the photograph of the celebrity on a full page with the Himalayan caption “GOD ARRIVES”.

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The use of “GOD” by media to glorify people who have the greatest records in various activities of human life is becoming more frequent. The media very often forgets that the great majority in the world revere, respect and regard God as the Supreme Being, the creator and the ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority. There are many who consider God as a superhuman being worshipped as a deity having power over nature and human fortunes. Is it not foolish and absurd to compare this sanctified and sacred word “GOD” to glorify the two legged human beings whose sojourn on earth vanishes with their breath, with the Almighty GOD who is glorified, magnified, worshipped and referred on earth in different names as “YAHWEH”, “ BRAHMA”, “ALLAH”,“ZEUS”, “JUPITOR”, “AHURA MAZDA” or the “GREAT SPIRIT” ???

The consequences of such media gimmicks can be understood only when we realize the future of ignorant and innocent people who accept and begin to worship such Living Media Gods whose life is dependent on the tick of their hearts and that too in a country where people make temples for living actors and worship them. Let all those who love “GOD” always stand for God and strive to Sanctify and Glorify His Holy name irrespective of regions, religions and languages. Remember each reaction matters as even a single drop of water in a great ocean has its own identity.

World Bible Translation Day

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The World Bible Translation Day enters its 50th year of existence ever since the US Congress established it on September 30, 1966,  as a permanent day of the year to honor Bible translations. This day was chosen, as it is the feast of St. Jerome, the patron saint of Bible translators. He pioneered the first major Bible translation of the world, translating the Word of God from Hebrew to Latin to make what is called the ‘Latin Vulgate’. There are many to be remembered on this auspicious day,  including John Wycliffe, who translated the whole Bible into English from the Latin Vulgate and William Tyndale, who was burnt at stake for having translated and published the Word of God into English from the original Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. His last words as he was being burnt at stake, “O Lord open the eyes of the King of England,” opened the door of Heaven and decades later the king of England himself brought out the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, which has by far the greatest number of printed books in the world till date. After the martyrdom of William Tyndale, thousands were persecuted and shed their blood, including his disciple and associate, Mathew Rogers, who was also burnt at the stake in front of his wife and eleven children for helping to complete the English translation of the Bible which Tyndale left unfinished. Ironically, a prominent Christian church was behind these outrageous and cruel persecutions against all these Bible translators. These martyrs remain unsung heroes and are seldom remembered by the present day churches.  The unfading crowns of these martyrs in heaven can be seen by the so called Christian leaders only when they leave their abode on earth.

It is estimated that there are about 6,819 spoken languages in the world, of which more than 2,700 are yet to have even a verse printed. In this grand total, India has around 447 living languages of which 29 languages have more than one million speakers. According to unofficial estimates,  the Word of God has yet to reach more than 375 languages in India .

Ironically, the established Churches of different language groups are neither bothered about their outdated Bible translations nor about the language groups who do not have even a single verse of the Bible in their language. The wealthy Christian churches and Bible making societies are more focused on beautiful buildings, business and educational establishments than to give the Word of God to millions of poor brethren in different language groups. In my personal experience, they neither pioneer the translation of the Word nor do they encourage people who struggle to get the Word to other language groups.

My bitter experience is that Satan used Christian leaders to try and crush my translation of the Modern Malayalam version of the Bible – Vishudha Satya Vedapusthakam. My wife and I both lost our jobs abroad … my children… their education. They tried to keep this Bible out of the Christian bookshops in Kerala. In spite of all the ridicule and discouragement, the Almighty God has carried the Vishudha Satya Vedapusthakam to the hands of hundreds of thousands across the world. Though no awards, rewards or appreciation came from the so-called overseers of God on earth, my testimony on this sacred day of prayer is that, He never let me down and lifted me further up to present His Word to the Paniya, Jennukuruba and Banjara language groups, making the Word of God, the first piece of literature ever presented and printed in their language, since their existence on earth. God enabled me to pioneer the translation of the Bible into the Telugu language, which is the second largest language group in India. And above all, the Lord blessed me to present the Christian Walk Bible, the first ever Study Bible in any language in the world on Fasting Prayer.

Bible Translations presented by Bro. Dr. Mathews Vergis

Bible Translations presented by Bro. Dr. Mathews Vergis

God made all these possible without any aid from any Church or Bible making societies, but just by the earnest efforts of my brethren in my fasting prayer ministry across the world, who fast and pray in unison crushing  the barriers of churches or congregations, under the banner of “WORD TO WORLD”.

I place my humble prayers at the feet of my Heavenly Father beseeching blessings for all those who have shed their blood and laid down their lives for the translation of Word of God and for everyone engaged even at this very moment in translating the Word to the untouched languages, to carry the Good News to the uttermost parts of the earth.

Praise the Lord!

The Happiest Onam of my life

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After several years, Raaji and I were in Kerala during the Onam season. Memories of Onam celebrations about 50 years ago at Mannar (my father’s ancient family home) are still afresh in my memory. The “Kaduva Kali” (Tiger dance) of those years are too good to be forgotten.  In this form of village entertainment, one will paint himself as a tiger and another dressed himself as a hunter with a gun. They go from house to house and dance to the rhythm of the drum beats for a couple of minutes until the tiger is shot down. Nowadays I do not see such dances anywhere, but hear instead, of tigers coming out of forests and visiting people in different parts of Kerala.

Gone are the many customs and traditions of the Onam celebrations of yester years. Massive measures are taken to ensure the pomp and splendor of Onam celebrations to make it an international Malayalee festival, fostering love and care for one another irrespective of cast and creed as in the times of Mahabali. But today, the poor man would have ran away in shock and despair after seeing the revenge, rivalry, and bloodshed amongst our people.

Leaving all this aside, what makes Onam truly special to every Malayalee household is the luxurious food they prepare for Onam. The one tradition that has continued even today is the ancient principle of Onam   “Kaanam vittum Onam unnanam”, which means that one should have good food at Onam even if it requires selling one’s possessions. So I told Raaji that I wanted her to prepare a real Onam Sadya as I am expecting a couple of friends. She bears the brunt of the cooking with no one to help, as I am very helpful only with my tongue to taste and give suggestions when she brings the important dishes to me before the final serving.  So Raaji started cooking right from the morning, bringing out all her culinary skills, and by 1pm she managed to make half-a-dozen dishes along with Ada Prathaman and Semiya Payasam. She was a bit upset that the guests had not arrived, so I finally told her that they would not come but I have to go to them. Raaji understood what I meant and together we made Ona Sadya Packets.

I set out to meet my guests, deciding to take lunch only after giving these packets to some poor ones on the way side. My driver, Arun, expressed his doubts about finding someone in need because it was Onam. I told him the Lord would show us the needy ones. As we drove around, I met a poor old man lying on the roadside. I went to him, gave him the packet and told him that it is Ona Sadya. He stood up with folded hands… I cannot forget the toothless smile on his face… Arun captured that great moment – thanks to the mobile phones cameras. As we went forward we met a couple of women. They did not speak my language but hunger is a universal language of the have nots. The glee on their faces when they understood it was food is too good to be forgotten.

We had our Onam Sadya at about 3pm with a heart full of happiness, praise and gratitude to our Heavenly Father who made it possible to have this delicious Onam Sadya and make Onam true for at least some who never had an opportunity to even have one dish of the Ona Sadya.

I am posting a couple of photographs to show you the real joy on the faces of these poor ones.

Onam Guest 2             Onam 2 Guest             Onam Guest

When you bring such a smile to a poor human being, remember Jesus will be telling His Father “(your name) gave me something to eat.” And that made it the happiest Onam of our lives!!!!

Share-A-Meal…..

“You gave me something to eat”