POPULAR actress Nagma opened up about her faith and mission in her life for the first time to the media in an exclusive interview with The Christian Messenger.
This newspaper’s founding editor Robin Sam spoke to her for close to five hours in an exhaustive interview concerning her faith, the recent issue over her testimony at Nalumavadi in Tamil Nadu, the rising violence against Christians, her personal life and plans for the future. Excerpts:
When did you come to realize the saving power of Jesus Christ?
I was born on Christmas to a Muslim mother and a Hindu father. I went to a convent school from childhood. I was exposed to Christianity from a young age. I went to Mount Mary Convent School in Bandra, Mumbai. There, Mass was a routine feature. I always thought I am very special to God because I was born on Dec 25th – perhaps because the world celebrated the day.
Even though I was not a believer then, I still enjoyed a constant companionship and relationship with Jesus Christ but never really mentioned this as it would have seemed odd then.
A bit later in life, I came across a book called ‘Conversations with God.’ That confirmed to me that the power that was speaking to me all along was God Himself. Now when I look back, I feel that God’s hand was strongly upon me all along even though I hadn’t realized it then.
As God is just and fair, He has given us a free will to decide and make our choices whether good or bad because of His mercy and compassion.
There was a time in my life when things were going on really well. Yet, there was this big vacuum. There was no all-encompassing peace though life was busy and my job competitive. It went on like this for several years. After 15 years of my career, I started feeling the futility of it all and began asking myself questions like ‘Why am I here?’, ‘What’s God’s plan for me in my life?’ and ‘What’s the purpose of my existence?’ I asked myself these questions when I was doing really well in life just like how King David felt even when he had everything going his way.
Since I was spiritually inclined I read a lot of books in that genre. I also started practicing meditation. I was teaching Art of Living for nearly 12 years. But Jesus continued to intrigue me. Since one of my aunties was a Christian, I kept urging her to tell me more about Christ. In the year 2000, in one such discussion, I said my salvation prayer.
Like it took the Israelites 40 years to reach the promised land that should have been covered in just 11 days I took nearly about five years to submit completely to the will of God. Just like Jonah, I was going on my own trip.
But in 2006, I became ill. I had a viral fever that the doctors weren’t able to diagnose. I had high temperature and was hospitalized. That’s when a Punjabi guy in my fraternity who was married to a Christian woman visited me and gave a CD. It contained a sermon titled ‘Freedom from fear’ by Brother Johnson, an evangelist in Goa. For the next six months I kept listening to the CD. Like the Bible says: ‘Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God.’ After six months, I told myself: ‘Now, I want to read the Word.’ I began with the New Testament. I told God: ‘I am going to read your Word. Help me and be my teacher.’
While reading the New Testament, I realized the importance of baptism and also of joining a church. Therefore, I immediately joined Pastor Shekhar Kalyanpur’s New Life Fellowship in Juhu, Mumbai. I took baptism on Jan 4. Since 2007 was a year of rest I decided to take a break from films and continued my Bible study fervently.
Source: Taken from the website: http://www.christianmessenger.in/interviews/nagma1_011008/453.php, accessed on 17th December 2008.