I would like to share with you about three life-changing events.
The Accident – sungeetajainThe first event happened when I was ten years old. One moment I was sleeping in the back seat of my parents’ car with no worries in the world, and the next moment there were ambulances all around, and doctors telling my parents I would never walk again. Before the accident, I was a normal ten-year-old girl. I could walk and run and jump and dance. But, after the accident I found myself confined to a wheelchair, unable to move or feel my legs. I spiraled into depression. Everywhere I went, people stared at me and felt sorry for me. I felt sorry for myself. At the age of ten, I felt like my life was over. My dreams would never come true. I would be an invalid for the rest of my life.
The Pageant – Now, I am going to skip over the second life-changing event for a few moments and share with you about the third life-changing event. The third event happened when I was in the twelfth grade. I was invited to participate in the Miss Teen of Washington Pageant (a beauty pageant for the state I live, it is like the qualifying pageants for Miss India or Miss Universe, but it is for teenagers). My first reaction was that that there was no way I could enter this competition. I had never heard of a girl in a wheelchair entering a beauty pageant, let alone seen a beauty queen in a wheelchair. But my parents encouraged me to pray and seek God’s will. So we prayed and God told me to enter the competition. God also told me that if He has given me a talent, then I should use the talent, and when people say “job well done,” I should give Him the glory. God also told me to thank Him in all things, good or bad, because He is in control and can turn any situation around.
With this guidance, I entered the competition. From the first moment, everything seemed to be going wrong. When I arrived at the venue for the competition, which was almost 2 hours away from my home, I remembered that I had forgotten some of my important paperwork at home. That evening I arrived at the competition around 6:00 PM and assumed they would provide dinner, but they did not. I went to bed hungry. That night, I could not sleep; I was too scared, nervous and excited. The next morning, I was up and ready, way before the wake-up call ever came, waiting for my breakfast. It was supposed to be delivered to our room. But, as “luck” would have it, my room was conveniently forgotten!
The competition began and it was time for the Interview, which was worth 25% of the final score. In the interview, we went before a panel of three judges who could ask us any questions for five minutes. The interview started off okay as I shook the three judge’s hands, and we exchanged greetings. We conversed for a bit, then one of the judges asked me, “you are in a wheelchair, why are you here?” Upon hearing this question, I began to cry. Not only was I nervous, hungry, and sleepy, but it was a difficult question for me. I did not know why I was there. There were about 30 girls in the competition and I was the only one in a wheelchair. I was not like the other girls. Perhaps the judge was subtly telling me that I did not belong.
Still, the interview continued, and through my sobs and with tears rolling down my cheeks, I continued to answer questions. Just as I stopped crying, time was called, and I had to leave.
I went up to my room and phoned my mom. I had never thought that I would win the competition. My goal had been to be in the top eight. Now that I had cried during the interview that was worth 25% of the final score, there was no chance that I would meet my goal. As I told Mom what had happened, she simply reminded me that God had said to thank Him in all things even if they didn’t appear to be “good.”
In obedience, a weak, “Thank You Jesus,” proceeded from my lips.
The next day the final pageant began on stage. They began to announce the top eight. Each time a name was announced, my heart fell. Even though I knew I would not be called as a finalist because I had cried during my interview, I still wished that I would. By the time the seventh finalist was announced, I had pretty much given up. I looked around me and picked the prettiest girl, expecting that her name would be called next. To my surprise, I heard my name. I began to praise the Lord.
That night continued like a dream. From the top eight, I made it to the top four. I could feel God helping me every step of the way. He was telling me what to say. He was guiding me on what to do. Soon it was time to announce the runners-up and the new Miss Teen of Washington. They began with the Third and Second Runner-ups. I was sure that I would be one of them, but each time, a different name was announced. Finally, only another girl and I were left on stage. I looked at her and she was tall and thin and experienced with pageants. So, I prepared myself to be second place.
The first Runner-up was announced, and when I didn’t hear my name, I just burst into tears. Never in my wildest dreams had I ever thought that I would be the new Miss Teen of Washington and the first person in a wheelchair to ever win a pageant against other able-bodied girls.
This is not my victory a lone, but also my Heavenly Father’s. The first question I asked the judges was, “How could I make it even to the top eight when I cried during the interview?” I was told that I had received the highest score in the interview portion. The judges told me that I was a teenager and they had asked a difficult question. The fact that I hadn’t just run out of the interview in tears, but had stayed to answer every question showed strength and courage. Like the Lord had said, “Thank Me in all things and I can turn any situation around.” He turned the hearts of the judges around.
The Transformation – Now, you may wonder how I went from being this depressed ten year old who felt like her life was over, to having the strength and courage to try out for the Miss Teen of Washington Pageant. The answer is the second life-changing event, when my family and I came to know Jesus.
I am from a Jain family. We were a very religious family, especially after the car accident. After the accident, people sent my parents prayers from all over the world saying, “If you say this prayer this number of times every day, your daughter will be healed.” My mom was praying from morning to night to all of the different gods and goddesses, in hopes that I would be healed. But nothing happened. Mom had a constant headache. She was always tense; trying to ensure that she did not forget to repeat any of the prayers people had sent her.
My parents spent thousands of dollars giving offerings to religious teachers who would say “If you give us this much money, we will perform a ritual and your daughter will be healed on such-and-such date.” But, the dates came and went and there was no miracle. There was only tension, sorrow and discord in my family.
Then we met a Christian man who began coming to our house to pray for my healing. As he read to me from the Bible and began to tell me about Jesus, I was confused. I had always thought that God was angry with me and that is why I was in this wheelchair. I believed I was being punished for my bad karma or sins. But this man was telling me Jesus was not like that. Jesus came to forgive us for our sins, not to punish us for them. He told me that Jesus loves me. He loves me so much that He died for me. I don’t know when or how, but I started to believe in this Jesus, this God of love and forgiveness.
The man then introduced us to a Christian family that began inviting us to church. Without fail, they would invite us to attend church with them every Sunday and Wednesday. My parents were not interested in going to church. However, they decided that the only way to stop the family’s constant calls was to go to church and then to tell them, “We did not like it, so we are not coming back again.”
One night, my Mom, Dad and I went to church. My parents prayed a silent prayer in their hearts, “Jesus if you are real, show us something today, otherwise we are not coming back.” I prayed, “Jesus, I know you are real, show my parents something tonight or else I know they will never come back again.”
After the service, we were invited to go to the front of the church for prayer. The ladies gathered around me and started to pray with me, telling me to say “I need you Jesus. I love you Jesus.” But, as I was trying to pray, all of the sudden, I found I couldn’t speak. Soon someone said I was being filled with the Holy Spirit. My parents did not know what this “Holy Spirit” was, but figured since it was “Holy,” it must be ok. A little while later, however, someone said this was not the Holy Spirit, but a bad spirit and they would have to cast it out. They said the whole church would fast and pray and to come back on Sunday and the spirit would be cast out.
We began attending every church service. The people would pray for me, but nothing would happen. They were unable to cast out the bad spirit. The fourth time we went to church, Mom was feeling frustrated and angry. She felt like we were stuck. Because there was this bad spirit we had to come to this church, but the church members were unable to do anything. That night Mom refused to go forward at the end of the service or pray as she was being told to. Up until that day Mom had never prayed to Jesus. Even in church she had just said her own prayers. But that night, Mom does not know why, but she joined her hands together, knelt at her seat and said “Jesus I need you.” As soon as she did this she felt a feeling that she describes as “melted butter” going from the top of her head to the soles of her feet. It felt like God’s love was showering down upon her. She said it was the best feeling she had ever felt. She said she would have done anything for this feeling never to end. But, the feeling ended about 30 minutes later. Mom asked what had happened and was told that she had received a “touch” of the Holy Spirit.
Now, curious about what this Holy Spirit was, Mom inquired further. She was told that the Holy Spirit is a free gift from God that anyone who asks will receive. They told Mom that the Holy Spirit does not possess anyone, cause them to lose their consciousness or force anyone to do strange things. Instead, they told Mom that when you receive the Holy Spirit, He fills you heart with joy, peace and love. They said that the sign that you have been “filled” with the Holy Spirit is that God begins to pray through you in a language you do not understand.
Mom did not fully understand what they were talking about, but said to herself, “If a touch of this Holy Spirit is so good, the entire thing must be awesome. I want whatever it is.”
A week later on Monday, Mom sent us all off to school, telling us that she intended to pray until she was filled with the Holy Sprit. She began to pray and soon she had said everything she could think of saying. She was sitting, waiting on God, with her mouth slightly open, when all of the sudden she began to speak in a language she didn’t understand. Immediately she was filled with such joy, that she danced around the house (and if you know my mom, she does not dance, that was the joy of the Lord in her). When we came home from school Mom was laughing. We had not seen her this happy since the accident.
That night Mom prayed for my dad, placing her hand on his heart. Dad had a very bad heart condition. He could not walk one city block without stopping due to chest pain. The very next day Dad walked from his office, 0.7 miles all uphill without stopping. Praise God! This was the first physical miracle we witnessed.
By the end of the week, my eldest sister said she wanted to receive the Holy Spirit. She began to pray and two minutes later, she was filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking in that other language. Seeing this, I did not want to be left behind. So, I started praying to receive the Holy Spirit also. But, as soon as I started to pray, again, I could not speak. We started to cast out the bad spirit as we had seen them do in church. But nothing happened. We called the Christian man who had first told us about Jesus and prayed with him for 2 hours over the phone. Still, nothing happened. Finally the man said, “I don’t think this is a bad spirit, I think this is the Holy Spirit. Say ‘thank you Jesus’ and see what happens.”
As soon as we thanked God for the Holy Spirit I started speaking in an unknown language. It had never been a bad spirit; it had been the Holy Spirit all along. The people at that church had just failed to properly recognize it. Now that we think back, we see how it was all in God’s perfect plan. The first time we went to church, I was filled with the Holy Spirit. However, it would have meant nothing to my parents. They would never have come back to church. But because they thought it was a bad spirit, they kept going back to church to have it cast out, and in the process Jesus worked in their hearts and showed us all who He is.
The next day my other sister and my father were filled with the Holy Spirit. My family has been following and serving Jesus ever since. Immediately, the joy, peace and happiness returned to my family that had been missing for four years. We went from being a family that never smiled, to smiling so much that people often ask us, “Why are you so happy all the time?”
My little brother was only five years old at the time. For years his faith in Jesus was based solely on our faith in Jesus. But, that changed the summer after my brother turned thirteen. He was diagnosed with a rare and fatal kidney disease. The doctors told my parents that my brother would be on dialysis by the end of the year and dead in three years. Normal kidneys secrete 0-150mg of protein a day. My brother was leaking over 9000mg of protein in his urine. The doctors gave us no hope. Our only hope was Jesus. And when you put your hope in Jesus, He does not let you down. Within one year, despite the doctor’s predictions, my brother was completely healed. His protein levels went from 9000mg to 6mg. Today my brother is baptized in the Holy Spirit, loves God and is completely healed. The doctors are amazed at what they themselves admit is a miracle.
The Promise – Some people look at me and say, “But you are still in a wheelchair. Jesus has not healed you. So, what is the big deal?” But, Jesus has promised me that He will heal me in His time. When I was fifteen years old, Jesus spoke to my mom and told her, “Millions of people will know about Sungeeta before I heal her.” At the time we questioned how millions of people could know about an ordinary girl. However, after I won the Miss Teen of Washington Pageant, my story went in television and newspapers all over the world and millions of people knew about me. If the first part of what the Lord said has come true, the second part will come true as well. He will heal me. Right now the Lord has said that He will take us around the world to preach the Gospel and as we lay hands on the sick they will recover. Then He will heal me.
The Lord has been doing just that. Within months of coming to know Jesus, my family was lead by the Spirit to embark on our first mission’s trip to India. The Lord promised that His angels would go before us and He would give us the words to speak. He is true to His word. All we had was the simple faith that all things are possible in Jesus’ name and no matter what, Jesus is stronger. As we laid our hands on the sick and oppressed, all we knew to do was to say, “In Jesus name.” Then we would pray in the Holy Spirit language. The Lord did the rest. People would spontaneously begin repenting. Evil spirits began to flee. The sick were healed. Many were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.
We continued these annual trips, seeing the Lord do amazing miracles both in India and the US. In the early years, we mostly shared the love of Jesus with our friends and family. But, in the summer of 2002 the Lord spoke and told us that He now He was going to take us not only to our family, but to the people of this world, to share His love. After that, God opened the door for us to minister in churches, hospitals, slum, schools, businesses, conventions, street corners, marketplaces, and just about anywhere people will listen. We have seen people healed of all manner of diseases, financial difficulties, job issues, tension, addictions, and oppression, as we pray in the name of Jesus.
The Future – On September 1, 2005, my mother and I were supposed to fly back from India to the US after a 5 week mission’s trip. Just a few hours before our flight, my sister and I went to the market. A ten-year-old boy, Sakir, approached me and asked me to purchase the lotus flowers he was selling. I noticed that there was something wrong with Sakir’s eyes.
“Is there something wrong with your eyes?” I asked.
Sakir nodded, “Yes.” He told me that he had a congenital cataract in one eye. As a result, he had been blind in his right eye since birth.
I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me, and I blurted out, “If we pray for your eye, Jesus can heal it. Can we pray for you?” As soon as I said this, I felt a surge of panic run through my body. What was I saying? What was I thinking? What if God didn’t do it? I tired to back-peddle, qualifying my statement. But the Holy Spirit stopped me. So, in faith I repeated, my voice shaking a bit, “If we pray for your eye, Jesus can heal it. Can we pray for you?”
Sakir was shy, and perhaps a little confused, but he agreed. Right in the middle of the marketplace, I reached my hand out and placed it on Sakir’s forehead. My sister and I began to pray. After saying a short prayer, I asked Sakir if he felt any improvement. Honestly, I did not expect that anything had happened. But, to my surprise, Sakir responded and said he could see more clearly. I felt the faith within me rise. With excitement, I asked Sakir if we could pray again. This time he immediately jumped on the offer.
We prayed a few times and the Lord restored vision to Sakir’s eye. Word of the miracle spread through the marketplace like wildfire. People began asking for prayer and the Lord began performing miracles. A crowd of approximately thirty people formed around us. That night we saw many vision problems healed as well as healings from a variety of pains. Four people were even filled with the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in tongues.
With this unexpected, “mini-revival” breaking out, how could we just fly back to the US? God had greater plans. I begged my Dad to change my Mom’s and my flight back to the US.
Starting the next day, random people began coming to our home in India for prayer. Over the next ten days, everyday, twenty to thirty people came over for prayer. Many were healed and filled with the Holy Spirit. We saw the Lord heal asthma, arthritis, hernias, slipped discs, sinus problems, eyesight problems, and hearing problems. The last day a lady who did not have an eardrum started to hear. Some of the people even had their healings medically verified.
During the ten days that we stayed over in India after the miracle in the marketplace, God began to work in our hearts. At first, we tried to deny it, but we knew that the Lord was calling Mom and me back to India. He was calling us back to the people, who in less than a fortnight had made their way into our hearts.
We left India on September 11. I returned to work (as a lawyer) in the US on September 13. On September 16, I gave notice at my job (I was a fifth year associate at a large Seattle-based law firm). In the flesh, it was not easy to do. I was turning my back on all that I had worked for…all that I knew…trading it in for the unknown. But, in the Spirit I knew I had no other choice.
On November 11, Mom and I moved back to India to start The Orphanage Project and to work as God leads us.
The Challenge – Jesus has completely changed our lives and He can change your life too…if you give Him a chance. As soon as we came to know Jesus and were filled with the Holy Spirit, instantly, the joy and happiness returned to my family. God, who had once seemed so far away, is now right here with us. When we pray we no longer wondered if God hears our prayers, but we know that He not only hears our prayers, but He answers them as well. When we cry we no longer wonder if God sees our tears, but know that He not only sees our tears, but wipes them away. When we are happy we no longer wonder if God sees our happiness, but know that He not only sees our happiness, but celebrates with us. God is real to us.
Believing in Jesus does not mean changing your culture or your heritage. I am still very much Indian. I am a strict vegetarian. I wear ethnic clothing. I speak Hindi. I observe cultural traditions. Believing in Jesus simply requires a change of heart and a new relationship with our Creator.
I do not expect you to believe in Jesus because of what you have just read. I did not believe in Jesus because of anything anyone told me. I asked Him to show me if He was real. He did. In the same way, if you ask Him, with an open heart and mind, to show you His reality, He will. Close your eyes and ask Him now. You have nothing to lose, but everything to gain. Just pray, “Jesus, I need You. I want to know You. Show me Your reality.”
Source: Sungeeta Jain – A Queen in His Kingdom, taken from the website: http://www.jesusbranded.org, from the link
http://jesusbranded.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=16&Itemid=61, accessed on 10th November 2008