I was born into a Syrian Christian ( Eastern Orthodox) family-Syrian Christians claim to have started their Christianity from Apostle Thomas himself who came to Kerala, India. We have the largest Jewish Synagogue of Asia, in Cochin, Kerala. My mother may have little Jewish blood in her!! We were always regular in my Marthoma Syrian Christian Church, I went to all traditional activities of the church but had not received the Lord. In 1967 March/April, Billy Graham Evangelist Crusade was held in Ranny, Kerala, and my home town. Dr. Akbar Abdul Haqq, an Associate Preacher, whom I heard preach that evening invited people to come forward to receive Christ and I did. I then dedicated my life for the Lord’s service and I believe that it was a decision beyond my conscious normal thinking but of the Lord, for which I am eternally indebted to the Lord!
Before long, with another friend, I went to a Bible College in Bangalore. Four years later I graduated and took another adventure to serve the Lord in N E India, close to Burma and China border. That again was another event that perhaps was not my normal decision but the Lord’s leading. Being from South India and from a different culture, (N E India was like Japan for an American).
I met my wife, Kung there in this new culture and we did not have much in common, (language, food, dress, culture or anything), But love, our faith, the Lord and a desire to serve the Lord no matter what or where brought a strong bond in our marriage. Together we started, she being 19 and I being 24, a long journey -teaching in Bible Colleges and Pastoring a Church. That took us through many storms and windy roads. The Lord opened the door in 1984 for me to study at Northwest Baptist Seminary in WA. Upon return to India, we first started a short term Bible College and a Christian School in Manipur, N E India in 1991. Kidnapped by the terrorist in Manipur, on March 6th 1992 and beaten by the Hindus earlier in Bangalore, the Lord kept me safe and I was miraculously released: He Is always our strength and our Refuge in times of distress!! We moved down South again and started Maranatha Baptist Bible College a few years later in 1998.
I did not understand what the future held when I first decided to follow the Lord at 18, in 1968. Today we have 3 children, their spouses and 6 grand Children. I am 70 and Kung 65 but our only desire continues to be to serve the Lord with all our strength. Kung is a praying woman, and it has been a great source of strength through the years! Our Children all know the Lord and are active in the ministry. Our grandchildren are taught to honor the Lord and I believe, will receive Him and some of them will serve the Lord in this difficult and dangerous country. The Lord has shaped my faith during these 50 years of ministry and I am so thankful for the physical strength he gave me to serve Him. Yes, I had many ups and downs. Isa. 54, especially v. 17, was a portion of Scripture that came to me in a unique way in 1972 when I was praying and waiting on the Lord to go to NE India, a day after my Bible College Graduation. That promise has become more real and personal to me along the way with many other portions of the Bible.
Since we started Maranatha Baptist Bible College, and later added the Seminary program, the Lord has enabled us to train and equip many young educated men and women with solid quality Bible Education and a little fire in them to go and preach the Gospel. Thank God we have over 700 graduates most of whom are in the ministry in India, Myanmar, Nepal and Bangladesh and one in China. We also have an Orphanage that is directed by our Son Timothy and his wife Julie. The burden of ministry ever increases at times it is some form of persecution, or threat, or an uncertainty of the future or a law by the government. and often financial burden.
I am thankful that I can present these matters before you for your prayers. Thank you for praying and sharing the burden with us. Thank you for the financial support. PJ and Kung Mathai