I was born into a Hindu family, the eldest of two children. My mother a doctor and my father a professor, both valued education and taught us the same. At an early age, I began reading the teachings of Gautama Buddha and decided that I too wanted to achieve Nirvana and salvation in my life, but I did not know how to obtain it. I understood that there were two paths in life: the material and the spiritual. Unhappiness lay on the path of material aspiration where everything was temporary. However, eternal peace lay on the spiritual path whose final destination was God.
I wanted to walk the spiritual path in my life. I wanted to walk towards that one final and ultimate God who stood at the end of that path, beyond whom there were no more gods.
Throughout my education from school to graduate college, I studied in a convent and was exposed to Christian missionaries and to their discipline and teachings. I liked the discipline of the nuns and the symbol of Jesus on the cross. But beyond that, I hated Christians and Christianity as a religion. I thought that it was a very immoral religion since most of my Christian classmates lived a very immoral life. Whenever I saw missionaries distributing tracts, I would take them, tear them up and throw them away as I loathed Christian propaganda. If at that time, someone would have told me that I would convert and become a Christian one day, I would have hated myself.
I got married into a very traditional Hindu family in a match arranged by my parents and lived as a Hindu for 10 years of my married life. It was while I was waiting for our travel documents to move to a foreign land that I felt for the first time my past slipping away. I was leaving my two small kids, aged 7 and 8, behind with my parents for an uncertain period. In my heart, huge and fearful storms were rising and I could not control them and I was very afraid. I felt that my past had slipped away and my future held no hope. My present was also not in my control. I felt like a rudderless speck of dust that was being tossed and thrown around in the tumultuous ocean of life. Just then, I saw a Gideon Bible kept on the dressing table in the room. I looked at the Bible and laughed.
I spoke to it saying, “Are you god? My gods did not help me. So if you are god, are you going to help me?”
I don’t know why I did what I did next. I had never seen anyone do this before. I picked up the Gideon Bible and closed my eyes. I then opened the Bible and placed my fingers on a verse.
When I opened my eyes to look at the verse, the words which leaped out to me said, “Keep restrain, I am with you.” I don’t know how, but these words suddenly stopped the storm in my heart and stilled the tumultuous waves within. I held on to this verse like an anchor. Every time I felt the storm in my heart rising, I recited these words and the storm went calm. At that time I was doing the “prosperity prayer.” Every Friday I took a head bath and donned a red saree and performed this prayer. The relative in whose house we were living used to attend a prayer meeting every Friday evening and compelled us to attend this prayer meeting. They prayed to Jesus for each other’s problems and I became a part of this prayer group. Every Friday morning I would do the “prosperity prayer” and in the evening attend this other prayer meeting. This went on for some time. However, during those simple prayer meetings, I started having visions of Jesus on the cross. In my first vision, I saw Jesus nailed to the cross. He was a figure in flesh and blood and I could see His palms nailed and bleeding. I could see Jesus breathing in pain. He was raised up on a wooden cross and His feet tied together by a nail pierced through them. I saw multitudes thronging before Him. I also saw myself standing in that crowd. I looked for Christians in that crowd but could not find many. On seeing this vision, I cried desperately and
wept before God. I asked Jesus for forgiveness for all those times when I tore the tracts while in college. I looked at Jesus and at various Hindu gods and knew that no one in history had made such a sacrifice of love for humanity. After that vision, I realized that Jesus had not died for Christians alone. He had died for humanity and he had died for me too! After this vision, I started reading the Bible.
The second vision I had was after a few weeks during the same prayer meeting. In this vision, I saw Jesus as a tall, dusky figure standing near a short wall and calling to me. He was not talking to me. He was only beckoning to me with His eyes. He was asking me to enter into a small door in that wall. I was so happy that Jesus was calling me that I jumped and ran to Him. As I ran to Jesus, I realized, that I had found my ultimate God whom I was searching for all my life on the spiritual path I always wanted to walk on. My search for God had come to an end. My spiritual journey had begun. I obeyed Jesus and tried to enter into that small door He was asking me to enter. I was sure of finding beautiful things behind those walls since Jesus Himself was beckoning me to enter. But as soon as I bent and steeped into that door with great difficulty, I could see only thorns, thistles and thick briers all around. There was no path to walk on. I had to cut through those thorns and thistles with my bare arms and as I tried to pave a path before me, my hands bled being pierced by those thorns. Turning to Jesus, I asked why He was asking me to enter into this forest full of thorns and thistles. He answered me and said that I had to walk through these thorns and thistles and prove my love to Him. Only when I succeeded in walking through this forest of thorns without complaining, would He wait for me on the other side, to take me to green pastures and peaceful waters. At that time I had not read Psalm 23 and did not know what my vision symbolically represented. Meanwhile in my physical world, I had also started kneeling down in prayer to Jesus every night.
One evening after the prayer meeting, I was listening to the general conversation and suddenly, I lost track of what they were saying. I don’t remember if my eyes were open or closed. I just remember myself sinking deeper and deeper into darkness within. I was falling and falling into a deep and still darkness. The darkness was so dark and so still that even if a thin needle were to fall, it’s sound would reverberate for a long time in that stillness. In that dark stillness even if my eyes were open, I could not have seen anything. But in that stillness, I heard a voice. The voice was very soft at first. It just whispered three words. It said, “Take my stamp.” I did not pay heed to that voice and ignored it. The voice words, “Take my stamp.” I did not know what “stamp” meant. But I knew by faith who that voice belonged to. I knew it was Jesus speaking. Yet, I asked that voice, “Who are you”? The voice said, “I am Jesus.” I asked, “What is ‘stamp?’” Jesus said, “Get baptized.” I did not know what baptism was. I knew it had something to do with conversion but that was it. I asked Jesus, “How can I get baptized? I am a Hindu and married to a Hindu. I have to ask my husband’s permission before making any decision. How can I say yes to you now?” Then Jesus said, “You are a Hindu and are married. However, you are in a spiritual realm now where you have no husband and no father or mother or children. It is just the two of us on this plane, just you and Me. You are free to make your decision now.” Then the voice for the third time said to me, “Take my stamp.” Since Jesus said that I was free to make a decision, I replied, “Yes, if I am free, then I will take your stamp.” The minute I said this, I remember coming out of the trance and I saw myself sitting next to my husband in the physical realm and I realized the enormity of the decision I had just made. I shared this with my husband and informed him that I had decided to take baptism.
From then on, I tried to find out what baptism was and how to get baptized. I left for UAE and had surrendered to Jesus in faith in all matters. I knelt down in prayer to Jesus asking for His counsel and guidance. I prayed to Jesus to show me the way to baptism. The first job I found overseas was at an office where the owner was a Hindu married to a Christian who had been baptized 21 years ago. God was leading me. Subsequently, someone in my office came to know that I was seeking baptism. He was a member of the New Testament Church in Dubai. He brought me to church and introduced me to the pastor. The pastor asked me why I wanted to get baptized. I responded by expressing my love for Jesus. I decided to give up all my jewelery realizing it was all dung before the Lord. On January 9th 1998, I was baptized and soon after I received the Holy Spirit and started speaking in tongues.
All these years until this day, God has led me most wonderfully. In the beginning my parents took it very hard and this affected my children. But now they have accepted my conversion and transformation. Jesus has wonderfully sustained my family and cared for us all these years. My life has been surrendered to fulfill God’s purpose in this world and His will for my life. When I look back from where I came from, I see that my former life was a hardened land full of thorns and briers. God had mercy on this land and decided to plow it. Then God sowed the seed: His word. He cared for this seed which took root and brought forth a tender plant. God nurtured that plant for 11 long years in the desserts of Dubai, watering it constantly. Soon after, He plucked out that plant from its roots and taking it in the palm of His hands, Jesus planted it in another soil. This new land is Canada. Here the Lord is doing a more wonderful work in this plant’s life. Jesus has promised me through a vision, that He would be there waiting for me to take me with Him, when I have accomplished His purpose in this world. I know God will not fail me and He will keep His promise
Source: Testimony, Sunitha Thakur, Pilgrims Journal, Number 84, July-August 2010, New Testament Ministries, Newark.