It all began one day in 1994. I was in College and was having holidays. Here I was minding my own business when my elder brother told me that a family who had returned from abroad had started a library near to where we lived.
He said something that caught my attention; that the library membership was very cheap. I immediately went down to the library and found that the life membership was only Rs. 20 which is the equivalent to about a quarter of a US dollar or a fifth of a British pound. I paid the membership fee and then looked around the library. I was extremely disappointed to find that the library had only Christian books which I was not at all interested in reading. The library did however have a lot of magazines, mostly Christian but to my relief I found a few secular ones like India Today and Time magazine. So I borrowed a few secular magazines and was leaving the library when I noticed a shelf kept just outside the library with a lot of leaflets. It had a word on top of the board which meant a lot to me. The word read “FREE”. So I took one of the leaflets and went home. I went through the magazines and when I had finished, read the leaflet which was written somewhat like a story (see example here). A sentence in it caught my attention which I now understand to be from the Bible. It was
what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and to lose his soul?
Mark 8:36 Berean Literal Bible
The leaflet went on talking about our need for forgiveness of sins so that we could go to heaven when our life on earth is finished. At the end of the leaflet was a suggested prayer which said something like this:
“God have mercy on me a sinner. I believe that Jesus is your son and that he died for me taking all of my sins upon himself so that I could be forgiven of my sins. God please forgive me of all my sins. In Jesus’s name”
I knelt down beside my bed and sincerely prayed the prayer as I knew that what was written in the leaflet was true and that I couldn’t argue with it. I knew that I was a sinner and that if I died on that day I might not get to Heaven. After praying the prayer, I thought I might experience having a lot of peace but was a bit disappointed as I did not feel anything.
As I was an avid reader, the next day I went again to the library, got a few more magazines and as I left took another leaflet. This leaflet was scarier than the first as it said,
Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
I again got on my knees and prayed asking God for forgiveness of sins in Jesus’s name as I did’t know whether God had heard me the first time, the day before!
The third day, I went back to the library and told the person who was running the library that after reading the leaflets, I had asked God for forgiveness. He got very excited and told me a story about somebody called Nicodemus in the Bible and something about being born-again. He asked me if I’d like to pray with him and then called everybody in the library and told them all that I had become born-again. I didn’t really understand what the fuss was all about at the time. I now understand why (to know why, click here). I continued going back to the library for weekly prayers and bible studies which they had in the evenings.
Within the next few weeks I noticed a few changes in my life. Mainly three things
- I started having a craving to read the Bible (to know why, click here). My job was hectic and was from eight in the morning till eight at night. I would get home, have dinner and read the Bible till I slept. I would read the whole of the new testament of the Bible through in a week.
- Second thing I noticed was that I became acutely sensitive to trying to do what was lawful (to know why, click here). For example if the driving speed limit was 50 km/hr, I would take effort to make sure to not exceed it under any circumstances.
- Third thing was that I started noticing that God was answering my own prayers. Previously it had been ‘hit or miss” (to know why, click here). For example, there was this lady who was due to have a Cataract operation on her right eye the next day. I prayed that the operation would go well and also that God would heal her left eye as well. As soon as the prayer was over, she started seeing from her left ey