“Believe what you read”
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, ceverst, 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 HeadMaster, 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 inGuntur 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 Kanthamani. 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.K ‘s house and then to the Christian Meeting. But Nirupama did not come at 5pm as she promised, waited for her till 5 :30pm qnaiously 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 theater, 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 center, 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 daisin 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, afterall, 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 Oldtestament, 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 Jermiah, Ezechiel,I was utterly shaken to my utmost. Atlast 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.