“Believe what you read in the scriptures”
I believed the verses from Lamentations 3: 22_33 and I got through the BA Final exam. We were transferred to Vizag and joined MA Social Work Andhra University. We were five girls and 23 boys in our batch. I forgot about God and His scriptures, Became worldly again enjoying life to the utmost with the beautiful and rich girl friends again. Beach, Quality Ice cream parlour visits, Library studies, canteen trips ,Movies, Picnics, Field trips, became routine of my life.
Our girls batch consisted of Pamela Thomas, Mangavalli, Nirupama, Andal, and me.
Andal got married in the first semester itself and left the college. Nirupama is like Ruth in BA class in ASD Womens’ college Kakinada. Pamela Thomas is a Christian girl, Mangavalli also got married and jolly go lucky girl. We are for fun loving full of ‘Joie de vivre’ exuberant and enjoying life to its fullest. Ours was perfect life, cleverest, best friends, each one was rich, beautiful batch of girls We used to giggle aloud, commenting on any one on the road, if no one was visible we used to read wall posters upside down and make some joke over it and laugh aloud. Nobody knows why we giggle so loudly among ourselves. Having such beautiful and rich girl friends who are naughty and never care about boyfriends was such a great experience. We were studious and attended classes seriously too.. So we got a good name in the University campus. So we four became close friends and did combined studies, at my home and in the University Library. We were naughty girls, and boys dared not to talk to us.
One day after we studied in the library from 8 am to 1 pm we were hungry so wanted to go to the canteen to have some eatables to quench our hunger. As soon as we came out of the Library building, I saw a red background Poster on the wall of the sit out cement bench. As usual my eyes linger on the poster to make some joke on the poster. But I saw it was Christian poster, with Big white letters, “ Revival Meetings All are invited- 6.05pm at CBM High school quadrangle speaker name Joshua Daniel was given.”
I said casually to my friends ‘Hey what do you mean Revival meetings? Are they good?” Immediately Pamela answered, “ Leela, My dad is CBM school Head Master, our house is in the CBM school campus only, come tomorrow, you can visit our home also”
Immediately I remembered my oath to Jesus that I would pray for the exams for His blessing. So I said instantly, “Ok I will come tomorrow,’ Seeing Nirupama getting excited with this piece of news, I warned her,’ Hey Nirupama, I will come only tomorrow’s evening, I won’t come every day, Ok??” I crisped sharply. For which Nirupama was happy and told me that she would come to my home on Venkateswara Dhibba, where we rented a house to stay. I told her to come to my home at exactly 5pm. There ended this topic of going to Revival Meetings. I thought of those meetings I attended in Guntur to witness the healing ministry of Br. Sol Braken along with my friend Johnna Mahimardhini.
We finished our lunch in the canteen, went back to the Library, stayed in the Library till 8pm and reached home. I was very thin and suffering from mild bronchitis. My dad took me to the doctor and I was taking a course of injections which were very costly. I got this bronchitis because I like the smell of Petrol very much and used to sniff the petrol cotton balls very much, secretly. Actually I was addicted to this smell. But no one knew about my addiction.
Soon after the exams Rokkam Subbarao Uncle and myself planned to have a tour to the agency area near Vizianagaram, bewitched by an Evil spirit namely Bhanamathi. We both planned to get hold of this evil spirit to kill a woman who trapped my dad by her evil tactics. My mom was suffering from this relation , I Wanted to help her by going to this Evil spirit and enticing it with Mantras. We have semester exams in the month of March 1974. Uncle and I planned to go to the agencies in the month of April. Uncle wrote to me that he would come to our place in the last week of April. That was the master plan. This uncle was also a Police officer and devotee of Mummidivaram Balayogi, used to fast for Ekadashi, Highly principled man, and very loving person, he was the husband of my beloved aunty Kantha Mani. I was like their first born child. Every summer since 7th class I used to spend time with them. I was always welcomed to state with them and they used to look after me more than their own children.
It was April 4th 1974, as Nirupama and I planned I studied scrupulously from morning till 5 pm, had bath, asked mom to cook for me some rice, so I ate rice and potato curry, Waited for Nirupuma anxiously to go to Pamela Thomas ‘s house and then to the Christian Meeting. But Nirupama did not come at 5pm as she promised, waited for her till 5 :30pm anxiously booking down at the entrance of the street to our house up on the hillock.
Suddenly I was warned in my ears, by a male voice,” If it is cinema, would you go late like this?”-immediately answer came in my mind, ‘No I attend the trail party also when I go to cine theatre, so immediately I shouted aloud, ‘Mom, I am going to the Pamela’s house, if Nirupama comes ask her to come over there’ I grabbed the bounded Bible which was in the shelf of chicken, dirty, so I covered it with newspaper and I ran down the staircase down to the road quickly, as if some body was chasing me. I got into a city bus at the Photo Studio centre, and took a ticket and reached Pamela’s house. Pamela’s mother received me and said, “OH Leela, Pamela is not in the home, she went to a friend’s house, she will come soon, please sit and wait for her”.
I sat in a comfortable chair, and waited for 5 minutes. Again I heard the same male voice in my head,” You came for prayer and wasting your time here? Go at once”
I was bewildered, hearing such loud warning, in my skull, got up at once and said loudly addressing Pamela’s mom,” Aunty, I am going to prayer meeting, tell Pammi that I came and ask her to come down to meet me” I could not stand even a single second more, as if somebody chasing me I ran down the wooden steps and got into the Prayer hall instantly. I saw some chairs there, but a thought came into my mind,’ OH no chairs are not for me, I will sit on the floor’ and sat in front of the dais in front row beside an old woman, Exactly 6:05 pm one tall fair gentleman fully tucked came on the stage. Very few people were there in the audience. I waited for a foreigner ,an American to come to the stage to give a message. But when this gentle man started to speak, I asked the old woman, ‘Is this man going to talk now’? I queried. For that the old lady answered “Yes” I was utterly disappointed, “ Oh Indian, after all, uph, I thought some white skinned speaker would come, any way. Let it be.’ I pacified myself.
But when the speaker started to speak I felt shivering in my back bone, he was giving references from Old testament, which I did not know, when he gave references from New Testament, even that I did not know, so I tried my level best to look into the bible to see the verses he was quitting, utterly failed to do so, I closed the Bible, and took the notebook from my handbag started to scribble the references in it.
The speech was thundering, I was trembling to listen to him, I was sweating profusely, he quoted mostly from Jeremiah, Ezekiel, I was utterly shaken to my utmost. At last the meeting was over, I stood up and saw people going to him and praying for them. So I too went to him and asked him to pray for me. He asked me what I have to pray for?”. I did not know how to address him so I addressed him as ‘Sir’ Sir I need blessings, pray for me’ for which he laughed and prayed over me. I could not understand even one word in the Prayer, thanked him and got down the dais. Soon after I got down I was encountered by Dr. Lalitha Aseerwatham, and Dr. Mercy the two medicos from Rangaraya Medical college which was adjacent to our Police Bunglow who I was acquainted with in Kakinada. They Were so very much happy to see me, they were laughing, very unlike them and took me to Br. Vijayakumar was telling him “Brother we prayed a lot for Leela to come to these meetings, You see, God brought her to us. God answered our prayer.” They Were giggling happily. But for me after hearing the speaker, I felt utmost shame, fear, and sorrow. I thought “How can these people laugh like this even after hearing such terrible speech? I can laugh with them, for I am getting tears, I will leave them at once to reach my home” I told myself , and I do not remember how I reached home that night.
Next day, the next day, every next day I attended those meetings. I realized that I am a sinner, God is holy, and if I die now I will go to hell immediately” I was convinced of this daily. Daily I was meeting the preacher, asking him to pray for me and when he asked me what for he has to pray I told him for blessings immediately to get down the dais and reach home.
One day I heard a testimony of Br. Theophilas, I wondered how can a sinner like him be forgiven, how can God talk to a sinner? On the seventh day when I Went to the speaker to pray over me, he said joyfully ’sister actually we planned only a week day for these Revival meetings in Vizag, but now three more days extended, it means ten days, I never preached ten days in one place so far. Maybe God extended these days for you only” I smiled sheepishly at him. I did not understand even a single word, he said there is my sister and my mother showing them in one corner of the stage, go and talk to them’ Obediently i went to them and introduced myself to them and they too were very happy to see me, but I could not understand one iota of their words, took leave from them and reached home.
After 10 days of my sincere attendance to these revival, I heard the evangelist announced that he will be available in Coromondal guest house which is the opposite to Governor’s Bungalow on the opposite cleft.. I wanted to go and meet him so I asked him the address again and noted down in my journal. I went there along with Nirupama. Why I went to meet him to ask him to pray over me and to get blessings. That’s all, there was no other thought in desiring to meet him. When I met him he asked me to come inside a big room where there was a big table, there were two chairs on each end of the table. He asked me to sit in one chair and he stood at his chair, and asked me ”God is speaking to you? Sister?’ I was shocked to hear that type of question, Which I had never heard of before. I was staring at him, not knowing what and how to answer him. He continued his questioning like this again, “Did God show your sins sister?” Not understanding his question I stared at him. He said ”Kneel down sister I will pray for you.” As soon as I knelt down the Spirit of God was poured upon me, I started to weep without my knowledge, I started to confess the sins of mine and my family, my dad sobbing. After he finished his prayer, I stood in front of him and he said in a soft voice, ‘Sister go and confess your sins to your parents, and set right things with God.’ I did not know what to say, he continued to say like this again. “God will speak to you”. This is something new I have heard in my life till then. He added “ I will pray for you, God and pray at home sister” I was numb and lost all my senses. I was staring at him dumb stricken. I nodded and met his sister and mother who were in the other room as per his instruction while I was coming out of his room. I met them obediently after a few minutes. Both of them were very happy to meet me. But I felt guilty thinking,’ Why did I speak of my life to him? Am I going to become a Christian, after all? Oh should I take off my bottu ( Symbol of Hindu women on their forehead) . Why do I have to stop seeing movies, the only entertainment I have in my life? “ These and many other questions bombarded me in my mind. As if I made a grave mistake by asking him to pray for me, I ran down the cliff and reached home without speaking even one word to Niraupama.
As soon as I came home, the Spirit of God again gripped me. I knelt down to pray, but I did not know how to pray. I remembered the pamphlets given in Br. Sol Braken meetings in 1967. Now this year is April 1975 .9 years have passed since I got those pamphlets. I never had a glimpse at those papers in all those years. Retrieved back those papers carefully from my old iron box and read them. What I read I do not remember now, but they pacified my stormy heart. I tried to read the Bible , I started to read the Gospel according to Matthew. Then My dad came from Office in an Inspector dress. As soon as I saw him I started to weep bitterly. I asked my mom to come from the kitchen and asked her to stand beside my dad and I prostrated at their feet in tears and begged them to forgive all my trespasses, my follies, my lies. I told them everything in my life and asked them to pardon me. I still remember the colourless face of my dad staring at me. My mom wept with me. When my sisters came from college , as soon as I saw them I hugged them and asked them to forgive me for my loveless relationship with them .They Were surprised a little bit. My life has changed..
Mostly they were Happy saying to one another “ O Leelakka changed a lot for good”
Taking this an advantage for I was not quarrelling as before they started to tease me by stealing my things, like bangles, accessories etc. I Tried to forgive them as much as possible. Begging them to come with me to the prayer meeting which I started to attend at Railway quarters terrace, where Br Matthew was living. Br.Jacob, Br Vijayakumar Sr. Ruth used to come to the meeting from Vizianagaram and Kakinada.
The next day while I was reading Matthew I came across this verse: “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, Leave your gift in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them then come and offer your gift” Matthew 5:23,24
I stopped there at once, I was staring at his verse, unable to proceed further. I remember How I fought the house and wondered how I maintained my power as the daughter of a Police officer. How I locked them in the Police control room for one night with the help of Head constable and some constables. I stopped reading the bible as soon as I knelt down I confessed my pride at His feet and went to the house of the house owners and begged the mother to forgive me in tears. Nobody could stop me from sobbing. After a half hour they tried to pacify me and asked me why I am asking them to pardon me. I told them in between “ Jesus Christ came into my heart, Unless they give me my trespasses I committed against them Jesus will not forgive me”. Again I started to weep bitterly. ( Continue)
God started to speak through His word. I had a question, “Will God forgive me? What is repentance or CHANGE OF MIND? How does God say that He has forgiven me? I am praying about these crucial questions. God started to speak to me in sundry ways in diverse manners
Every one should ask these questions to be born again as Jesus told Nicodamid. How God spoke to me I will write in the next chapters.
God spoke to me through the verse in Colossians 2 :13,14,15
When you were dead in your sis and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave you all your sins,
He cancelled the charge of your legal indebtedness which stood against you and condemned you
He has taken it away , nailing it to the cross.
He disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them triumphing over them by the CROSS.
THE SAME MALE BRAS VOICE SHOUTED IN MY HEAD ONCE AGAIN.
“Leela Do you believe this verse I fulfilled in your life?”
“Yes yes Lord I knew you have forgiven my sins canceled them ,you have take them away by nailing the EPISTLE on which you wrote my sins, to the cross You have given me triumph over the sins of mine by the CROSS”
That’s all I became a new creature in Him. Newborn baby in the Lord.As a little baby I craved for mother’s milk I craved for the word of God.