God in His mercy and grace called me in to the ministry forty years ago while I was a teenager. Though I was hesitant to accept the call He won over me and I have made the commitment to serve my master and savior Jesus Christ. I still remember the day I heard the voice from the Lord that “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” Isaiah 48:17. When I look back I can see the unseen hand of the Lord guiding and showing me which way I should go. After finishing the basic theological studies in Kerala I left for North India in 1978. Since then all these years I had the privilege to be actively involved in the ministry in North India.
STEPING IN TO THE PROMISED LAND
In 2007 while I was visiting the mission field in Odisha I visited Kolkata the capital city of West Bengal. The main religion in West Bengal is Hinduism but there is a high tolerance policy for all diverse forms of religions. The state has been always known for its rich culture and heritage. Right from literature to politics the state is known to produce world renowned writers and political thinkers. Rabindranath Tagore, Nethaji Subhash Chandra Bose and President Pranab Kumar Mukherjee are few of the examples that come in mind.
West Bengal is the fourth largest populated state in India and in fact it is considered the ninth most populated state in the world with a population over one billion. Poverty, illiteracy, idol worship, witchcraft and black magic crushes in on West Bengal and in particular the city of Kolkata which is overcrowded living largely below poverty line. In Kolkata city there are over 20 million residents living in a nine mile by four mile area and between the hours of 10am and 5pm during the week, the population swells to 25 million.
Pastor P.A. Kurian
Apart from the writers and political thinkers, West Bengal is known for the work of the servants of the Lord like William Cary, father of modern missions, Mark Buntain known as a weeping prophet and a missionary. The service of Mother Teresa, the Albanian born Catholic nun who gave up everything to be everything for the poorest of the poor in the slums of Kolkata is well known. While I was traveling through the city and visiting the memorials of these saints, on one side their commitment and the sacrificial life challenged me and on the other side I saw the need of the power of the Gospel, the only answer to these lost millions. I could sense the power of the satanic forces brooding over this land, making the life of these people more miserable.
Majority of these people never heard the name of Jesus and about the salvation in a meaningful sense.
I left Kolkata with heaviness in my heart. Holy Spirit gave me that burden to pray for this city and the state. I shared the burden with my wife and we kept praying for West Bengal. In January, 2009 IPC General Council contacted me knowing the desire of my heart to give the leadership of the work in West Bengal Kolkata Zone. I am grateful to the Lord and IPC General Council for entrusting me with this ministerial opportunity.
STANDING ON THE PROMISES
All these years I see the leading and providence of the Lord in all areas of the ministry. Finding faithful ministerial associates is one of the difficult issues all mission leaders are facing. I thank God for the ministers in leadership of the zone with a real commitment and passion for the lost souls. Everybody is gifted differently and each one has got a unique ministry which will help the overall growth of the work. We have excellent administrators, prayer warriors, prophets, counselors, mentors, teachers, faithful stewards in finance, evangelists who knows how to present Christ and His Gospel at the right time at the right place. Few of our leaders are of Keralite origin but are born and raised in West Bengal are an asset to the ministry in this land with their multilingual talents. At this time I gratefully remember the faithfulness and the partnership of the saints of IPC Kolkata Prayer Center in the growth of the ministry. We could not see much outcome in the beginning years and at times it was very disappointing. We kept on clinging to His promises and now we see an amazing breakthrough in the growth of the ministry. God in His power raising churches from the shores of the Bay of Bengal to the foothills of the Himalayan mountains of Nepal and Bhutan. Kolkata Bible Training Center is in the process of training and developing able native missionaries to plant churches in the cities and in the unreached villages. When I look over the growth of our ministry over these years, I am reminded of Ephesians 3:20 “God is able to do far more than our thoughts, hopes, dreams, and even our prayers.”