It is my privilege to share my testimony and experience of serving the Savior of the world Lord Jesus Christ for the past 20 years.
Born in a stable of a Hindu family at village Liligada, Gajapati district of Odisha, eastern India in 1960, I had no knowledge of Lord Jesus or Christianity. Soon after my birth a devil attacked me with a severe sickness and I was about to die, but because of God’s grace and His mercy I was delivered from evil attack and was healed through a holly person when he prayed over me.
As a small boy I used to accompany my father to many temples and places of Hindu pujas (a prayer ritual performed by Hindus to host, honour and worship one or more gods) where my father used to offer animal sacrifices. After the completion of my matriculation (Class XI) in 1976, I started reading Ramayana, Mahabharata and other Hindu scriptures but I could not find the truth nor could I discover the true God in it.
Since my heart was longing to experience the true living God I started reading the Holy Bible, then my eyes were opened and I could discover the true God who loved me so much so that He gave His only Son Jesus for my salvation (Jn 3:16). Lord Jesus did not come to this world to be served but to serve me and humanity (Mk 10:45), not to call me servant or slave but to give me the authority to become the son/ children of almighty God (Jn 1:12-13), and gave His life on the cross for me (Lk 23:46) for the remission of my sin (1 Jn 2:2) to save me from hell and give me eternal life, which means He loved me more than His life. He came down to lift me up to the heaven; He emptied Himself to fill me with peace and happiness.
When I read the Bible, I came to know that before I was formed in my mother’s womb I was called to serve Him (Jer 1:5) and “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined… moreover whom He predestined these He also called, whom He called these He also justified and whom He justified these He also glorified… If God is for us who can be against us” (Rom 8:29-31). Then I realized that God has called me because God has saved me and protected me miraculously from many dangerous sickness, evil attacks and enemies i.e. God has plan for me to serve Him (Jer 29:11).
With this purpose, God has kept me far from bribe, drinks and bad habits (during my 27 years of service in police department in Odisha, I have not accepted even Rs. 1.00 as bribe nor taken a drop of alcohol nor I had any bad habits like smoking, drugs or adultery). I was called by God because I was a fool and weak person in the sight of the people, for He chooses and calls foolish and weak people (1 Cor 1:27). God has called me by my name (Is 43:1).
Since 1994 many times God has revealed me about my vocation in dreams. Once on May 22, 2009, Jesus personally led me to a single room and anointed me by placing His right hand on my head in a very vivid dream. On Oct 3, 2006 I was travelling by Hirakhand train to preach in a deanery level retreat at Jeypore town, Koraput district of Odisha. During that journey at 4.30 am, God called me by my name literally. I have heard His voice and I have no doubt of it.
Why I entered in to preaching ministry
When I came across the holy word of God as, “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved…how they will call upon unless they have faith…how they will have faith unless they hear someone preach the word of God…faith comes from hearing and hearing from the word of God (Rom 10: 13-17). Again “…Whoever believe will not perish but have eternal life (Jn 3: 16; Acts 16:31), then my zeal for the Lord was boosted within my heart. Who will preach? Everyone is busy in for one’s personal interest.
Today people are starving for the Word of God i.e. sound doctrine (Amos 8:11) and God’s children are being destroyed for lack of Biblical knowledge (Hos 4:6). Therefore, Jesus is commanding us to, “Go into the all world and preach the Gospel to every creature, he who believes will be saved” (Mk 16:15-16). Like any one I could notice the present scenario of the world that due to inadequate preaching of the Gospel in form of sound doctrine, many Christians are losing their faith fast and with dead faith jumping from denomination to denomination to seek the truth and some have lost the sense of sin and fear of God. At this critical juncture Jesus sadly asking, “Whom shall I send and who will go for us (for preaching)? (Is 6:8). Then I said, “Here I am send me (Is 6: 8(b), for you have saved my life from death for this purpose. I too felt “woe unto me if I don’t preach the gospel” (1 Cor 9:16). Hence I started my ministry since 1994.
Providentially I came in contact with an international Catholic preacher Dr. D. Jayanand of Bangalore, who came like an angel to Odisha in 1994 and for the first time started a charismatic prayer meeting at Liligada, Mohana Parish under Berhampur diocese thereby brought a charismatic moment. God used me to organize this meeting as well as translating His message simultaneously from English to Odia. About 10,000 people participated in it and many received blessings including physical healings. Since then almost every year we have been organizing these prayer meetings across Odisha in four dioceses and by now the works of kindling the fire of Holy Spirit in the hearts of thousands have been enhanced. As advised by Dr. Jayanand, I went to Divine Retreat Centre Muringoor, Kerala, to attend retreats as many as seven times, and then I too started preaching the Gospel. So far I have been preaching in several villages, Parishes, dioceses and regional level prayer meeting/charismatic retreats, including youth conferences, in four diocese of Odisha and in several places outside my home State: Kolkata, Goa and Manipur as well. The merciful Lord is also using me to train the lay catechists, address the seminarians and ecumenical gatherings, including giving commentary in the electronic media on Biblical events.
Appreciation and Award
In the year of laity, a regional conference was held at Cuttack in 2012 where I too gave a Gospel message and I was awarded in the presence of archbishop and three bishops for proclamation of Gospel. When preachers come from other states to Odisha, I help them in translating their messages.
Bishops, Priests and Religious who were pleased to appreciate my preaching in pen and paper have highly recommended me for such works.
By the grace of God my ministry is increasing day by day, therefore I am thinking of entering into the full time ministry.
Kindly uphold me in your precious daily prayer and Holy Mass; I am always ready to serve the Lord, build His kingdom and to lead the people to have God experience.
(Upendra Nayak, OPS, Deputy Superintendent of Police, is lay charismatic preacher based in Cuttack, Odisha. His email: email@example.com)