I am Bhagya Raj and I am from India. I was born as an orthodox Hindu and my family strictly followed all of the Hindu traditions. I believed in Hindu gods. Since my childhood, I used to go to Jeevan’s village named Guda. The family in Guda were very close to me and my family. [His father is Jeevan’s mother’s brother.] I used to go to church along with them. Jeevan used to tell me about God, but I never listened to him because I was a believer of Hindu gods. I never showed interest to listen to him. As time passed, I became more aware of the True God. I never thought that I would accept God as my God. It took me nearly twenty years to accept Jesus. I’m going to share my experience of how I accepted God, and what made me to believe in him. May 13th, 2018 is a day I will never forget for the rest of my life. God had a plan for me. I never expected that I would go to Guda village, but that day my dad made me drive a car to attend a reception in Paderu. My dad told me that Jeevan was back from America and in Guda. He said that we should go visit him and then go home. I said that was okay. After I saw Jeevan, he asked me to stay with him, since he would be holding meetings in various villages. I was debating whether or not I should, because I don’t travel in a busy or any private Jeep to my city because I get motion sickness. I also only had the clothes I was wearing and no other clothes with me. Jeevan and his brother Krupa told me that they had some clothes I could have. He also told me not to worry about traveling and promised to arrange for me to get home. I don’t know why I agreed, but I did and stayed at his house. Later he explained to me about the work he would do for the meetings. Since I’m a photographer, he asked me to take pictures. I said okay, but we didn’t have a camera to take pictures with. By the grace of God, one of Jeevan’s friends offered for us to use his very good camera without us even asking him. I didn’t expect this, it was the first miracle I saw from God.
The next day we went to a church dedication [in Vanthurba village]. There he introduced the team from M.O.R.E. I.M., the Evangelist Matias, his secretary Martha, and two young siblings, Eric and Claudia, who came to India to preach. Since this was my first day, I was busy taking pictures and so I didn’t talk to them. That afternoon it was raining heavily. The roads were flooded. I heard that there was an evening prayer in a remote area. My cousin Krupa and I asked Jeevan to go. He said no, because the road was muddy and it would not be safe to go by motorbike. We insisted and went ahead of them to that village. The team followed us and preached in the meeting. As Matias sir was delivering wonderful words from the Bible, I was not showing interest towards him because I didn’t believe in Jesus. This was my experience from the first day with the team.
The next day there was a meeting in Hukumpeta village [ a Pastors and Leaders Conference]. As usual Krupa and I went there on a motorbike. The team came and started preaching. I don’t know why, but I started listening to the words of the men of God. I was so impressed by their words from the Bible. After the meeting we went back to our home. Krupa went to another city to write his exams. I stayed with my cousin Jeevan. He took me to a village named Munchangiputtu for the second day of the pastors conference. I was taking pictures, but also I was listening to the men of God. I was thinking in my mind that I want to accept Jesus, so I wanted to go to Matias for him to pray for me. As many pastors were going to Matias to take blessings, I was standing a bit far away from him. He saw me and called me by my name. He told me that God has a plan for me, that I was here for a reason, and that God was going to bless me. He told me to close my eyes, and the whole team prayed for me. They blessed me, and from then I started accepting Jesus.
The next day we all went to Odisha where there was a three-day pastors conference. By then I was totally involved with the team. It was our first day in Odisha. The people received us in a great way. The people in Odisha are good and true believers of God, the way they pray, the way they showed their love toward God is excellent. I felt so lucky to be part of that conference. I want to thank Jeevan for taking me to Odisha with an awesome team. The same day we went to another village in Odisha. It was not developed [it didn’t have electricity and no roads to get there], but the people in the village are true believers of God. Our driver saw their love towards God and started accepting God as well. He asked Jeevan to buy him a Bible. When the day was over we all went back to the hotel. I think it was around 3:30 early in the morning. I heard voices from outside, and when I went to check the team was praying even though it was so early in the morning. This really inspired me a lot. The meeting was successfully held and they honored me with a blue shirt. I felt so happy. We went back to Paderu, but our hearts stayed in Odisha where we spent so many wonderful days. I continued my journey with the team. When it was time for the team to leave India and me to go back to my home, I felt so bad. I wanted to continue working with Jeevan. I wanted to dedicate my talent to God’s service. I was thinking if I had a chance to go back to Guda, I would like to go as fast as possible. After two days, Jeevan called me and asked me to come back if possible. I was both happy and sad. I needed to complete my previous commitments, which I had left pending, but God provided me with a miracle. My dad called and asked me to come home early to travel with him back to Paderu. [Paderu is very near Guda.] I was so happy to go back to the village again. This time God had a special plan for me. When I came back, Jeevan was giving baptisms. I asked him about being baptized. He wanted to discuss it with me first more clearly from the Bible. He told me that we were going to Odisha on the thirty-first and I could be baptized there. I was so happy when I heard we were going back to Odisha. I was baptized in the place I love and blessed by the man of God. I was so happy to take baptism along with fifteen people in Odisha. I gave my testimony and shared my experience. It was a great day.
I asked my cousin about a band which he was wearing on his wrist. He gave me a new one with a verse from God’s Word. The verse is Jeremiah 29:11. He explained to me what the verse means. I strongly believe God’s Word and that He will give me a good future. I have faith in God. I’m going to dedicate my talent to God’s service and I want to serve God with my cousin.
I didn’t pray to God to give me clothes, but He blessed me with two bags full of clothes. It’s all God’s plan for me, and I believe it. I believe now in giving like the verse that speaks about how much you sow, you get more than you sow. When Matias sir was preaching he spoke about an offering. At that time I only had 30 rupees in my pocket. I gave it as my offering. Later Jeevan gave me 5000 rupees to thank me for my work taking pictures. It was really a miracle.
I would like to thank one of the team members, Eric, who gave me clothes, I am so thankful to you. The team who came to India, I’m so thankful to you guys. Hope all of you guys are doing good. All of you are always in my heart. I would like to mention my cousin Jeevan, the Director of HFAIM. I’m feeling so proud of him. In childhood, he didn’t know English, and I could speak much more than he could. Now he knows more than me. All of this happened because he believed in God. Today God gave him a good life. I want to thank his wife, Mindy, for supporting my cousin. You really worked hard to build churches in India and have money to buy a bike for a pastor. May God bless you, sister Mindy. I got inspired from you sending toys to the children. Next time, I’m going to save some money to buy toys and chocolates for the kids on behalf of God. You’re my true inspiration, sister. Please pray for me and my new life in Christ. I’m going to stay with God till my last breath. Amen.
I’m going to stay with God till my last breath. Amen.