|“Jesus, did you really die for me?”
by Susheela Raghunathan
Greetings to you all in the matchless name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! It gives me immense joy and great pleasure to give my testimony and glorify His name.
My name is Susheela and my husband’s name is R. Raghunathan. I am the mother of three children: Nanditha (10 years), Vinesh (9 years) and Nishitha (6 years) and we live in Chennai.
I am a post graduate with a diploma in computers. Although my ambition was to appear for the civil services and become an IAS officer, I consider it a great privilege and honour to be an Ambassador for Christ. We were running our own computer business for a decade when our Lord called us out for His work on a full time basis in the year 2004. We waited on the Lord for His guidance and the ministry that He had specifically called us for, and in the year 2008 our Lord enabled us to start an organization called Christhava Brahmana Seva Samithi. The organisation helps converts from among Brahmins find their identity in Christ, grow in the Word and share the Gospel to their fellowmen. This, according to Romans 10:1 where even though Apostle Paul was called as the apostle of the gentiles, yet his heart’s cry was for the Israelites. This was our hearts’ cry and the Lord’s leading that the seed of the gospel may be preached to the unreached segments of our society.
I was born as the second child in a Namboodiri family from Kerala. As Hindu Brahmins we were quite religious and traditional in our approach. We are five siblings in all. Astrologers predicted that my father would die if I was born. They also suggested that if my father went overseas he would be able to ward off the evil effect of my birth. As a result, he took leave from his office, a government enterprise, and went abroad. However, when he returned home after sometime, he was placed under suspension because some of his detractors inspired his department to charge him withholding an office of profit while still being in government service. The famil fell into bad times and all the misfortune was blamed on my birth. All this was too much to bear for a sensitive child like me. I was blamed for every bad thing that happened in my family. In desperation, I turned to the deities at hoe and prayed for recompense to be made to my family. Meanwhile, my father had moved the high court to challenge his suspension order.
I studied in a convent run by Catholic nuns. One verse that was found on the wall of a nearby church compound was this: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”. This verse used to comfort me a lot as I was burdened by the tag of bringing bad luck to my family. Even as a child, I used to go to the chapel in my school and chant mantras. Somehow the serenity of the place brought me much peace. When I was nine years old, one of my aunts whom I adored came home. While chatting with her, my mother again raised the issue of how I brought bad luck to the family. That was the proverbial last straw. That day, at the chapel in the school I broke down before the crucifix of Jesus Christ. There was a caption above the crucifix that said ‘I died for you.’. I said, ‘Jesus, did you really die for me?’ ‘Is there anyone who loves me in the world?’ At some point during my tearful prayer, I felt someone tapping me. I turned around and found none but heard a voice tell me ‘I am there for you.’ That was a real experience for me. An in inexplicable sense of joy filled my heart and I thought to myself ‘this Jesus, the God of Christians is very nice and kind.’ That day, I added an image of Jesus Christ along with the deities in the pooja room of our home.
Around that time, I received a copy of the New Testament from Gideons International at our school. Fearing reprisal, I wrapped it with an old newspaper sheet, stuck a school label on it to disguise it as a text book before taking it home. Though I didn’t quite understand many of the passages in the Bible, the book of Psalms appealed to the wronged child in me. I could empathize myself with most of the situations that the psalmist was in and identified myself with him. My only source of comfort and encouragement during those childhood days was this Bible. I knew the Lord’s Prayer by heart and started saying that along with our regular chants and mantras at home.
While I was in 9th standard, there was a poor Christian boy, Wesley, in our neighbourhood who used to study his lessons under the street lamp at night. My father took pity on him and let him come home and study with us. Wesley knew of my love for Jesus Christ and Christians. I used to envy Christinas as I found them to be generally a happy lot. One day, Wesley asked me if I had accepted Jesus as my personal Saviour. I didn’t know what that meant. When I pestered Wesley to tell me how I could accept Jesus as my Saviour, he led me to say the prayer of salvation. No sooner had I finished the prayer than I started speaking in tongues. Later, Wesley told me I had just been anointed by the power of the Holy Spirit. I accepted Jesus Christ and the Lord revealed me that He is the Only Way, the Truth, and the Life and there are no other gods beside Him (Galatians 1: 12). Until then, I had considered myself a cursed being for being blamed for every misfortune. But now I was a new being; the new infilling of the Holy Spirit gave me a new identity in Christ. Much later, God answered my question about why He allowed so many misforturnes in my life. In 2 Corinthians 7: 10, it is said: ‘Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret.’
Around the same time, my father lost the court case after 13 years. Although he moved the Supreme Court against the High Court order, there was a lot of strife at home and even the latest misfortune was blamed on my birth. However, this time it didn’t bother me because I was being strengthened in the Lord and His Word. I restarted my prayer of recompense for my father although this time it was in Jesus’ Name that I prayed. I prayed God should win the case for my father and recompense him by giving him salaries of all the years he had lost along with interest. Exactly a year later, my father won the case in the Supreme Court. The court ordered that all my father’s dues be paid to him along with interest and rejoin the company with the promotion he is eligible. While we were all thrilled at this happy development, only I knew the Lord had fought the case and won it for u. this incident served to invrease my faith in Jesus. Slowly, I was confident enough to share the Gospel with my siblings. One day, my father saw me reading ‘Our Daily Bread’. In a fit of rage, he grabbed the booklet from my hands, tore it and burnt it. Not satisfied with that, he beat me up as well for bringing ‘discredit’ to the family by bringing Christian literature home.
On August 14, 1995, I took baptism along with my younger sister in NLAG Church (Little Mount, Chennai) during my second year of college. At college, I was boldly sharing the Gospel with my friends. I told anyone who cared to listen that Jesus Christ is the only solution to all problems. Since the burden for souls was increasing in me, I was sharing the love of Jesus Christ with everyone I came across. God enabled me to bring many souls to His kingdom.
Bible clearly says that we should not get yoked with an unbeliever and hence I had prayed for a secret Christian as a husband who would also have the heart to do ministry. My Lord granted me this prayer and today we are labourers in His vineyard (Matthew 9: 37).
With God’s grace slowly, one by one all my siblings namely Sashi, Sujatha, Ravi and Priya came to the Lord and accepted Jesus as their Saviour. It took almost 15 years of persistent prayer banking upon the Lord’s promise according to Acts 16: 31 for my family’s salvation.
Today all my family members have come to Jesus Christ. My mother (P. Vijayalakshmi) pased away last year at the age of 59. However, she had also accepted Jesus as her Lord before she died. Both my brothers are in the Middle East. Along with their work, they also labour in God’s Vineyard. My father (N. Ramachandran) is in his seventies. It gives me great joy to see him grow in the Lord.
Our organisation Christava Brahmana Seva Samithi, started as a mere fellowship of among believers from brahminical background with 52 families. Today within a span of 3 years, it has reached to 425 families, and our Lord enabled us to start an indigenized Church planting movement called PRARTHANALAYA for all those who would like to worship Christ without breaking our culture.
I would like to write about a small incident that took place in my life. While I was doing my postgraduate sudies, an elderly woman from my neighbourhood accosted me on the road and asked me if I was going to the church. Afraid she might sneak it to my parents, I reluctantly told her that I was. She immediately asked me if I had also taken water baptism. I told her I had. The woman held my hands with love and jumped up and down on the road. She told me how she had been praing for the salvation of my family for several years. Her prayers, she said, were being answered then. If wone woman’s prayer who was in no way connected to my house is answered, then surely, every seed that you sow and every tearful prayer that you utter will surely be richly rewarded according to Psalm 126: 6.
All praise and glory be to God alone!
[from the booklet in the DVD entitled IN SEARCH OF TRUTH in Tamil, produced by PRARTHANALAYA]
Susheela Raghunathan8 05 2013