Gospel for Asia (GFA) celebrated its 40th anniversary on July 3, 2019. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long since we began this journey! God has been so incredibly faithful. Over the coming months, I would like to share with you some stories from GFA’s history in a series called Journey through Time. I hope you will be encouraged by looking back with me and seeing all the ways the Lord has worked, even in times when we couldn’t see the full picture of what He was doing.The Cry of a Mother’s Heart. It all began with the prayers of a simple village mother.
All her life, her heart’s cry was to see one of her six sons go into full-time ministry. Yet one by one, it seemed each of her children were destined for secular work. All my older brothers seemed content to live and work around our village of Niranam in Kerala, India.
One day, she cried out, “O God, let just one of my boys preach!” Like Hannah and so many other saintly mothers in the Bible, my mother had dedicated her children to the Lord. That morning, while preparing breakfast, she vowed to fast secretly until God called one of her sons into His service. Every Friday for the next three-and-a-half years, she fasted. Her prayer was always the same.
But nothing happened. Finally, only I, scrawny and little—the baby of the family—was left. There seemed little chance I would preach. I was comfortable on the edge of village and family life, moving in and out of the scene almost unnoticed. A Welcome Wake-Up Call Then, one day, my mother’s prayers were answered. A visiting team came to our village to present the challenge of faraway North India. As they explained the desperate need of the subcontinent, I felt a strange sorrow. That day I vowed to help bring the love of Jesus Christ to those mysterious states to the North. At the challenge to “forsake all and follow Christ,” I somewhat rashly took the leap, agreeing to join the student group that summer to minister in needy parts of North India.
My decision to go into the ministry largely resulted from my mother’s faithful prayers. Although I still had not received what I later understood to be my real call from the Lord, my mother encouraged me to follow my heart in the matter. When I announced my decision, she wordlessly handed over 25 rupees—enough for my train ticket. I set off to apply to the mission’s headquarters in Trivandrum, Kerala. And thus the journey began.