We preach Christ crucified!

 

I was born in Goa, and at the age of four my parents took me to Mumbai, India.   Until the age of nineteen,  I grew in one of the slums of Mumbai.   Having finished my secondary school, I entered early morning college.   After college I worked until five in the evening and then went for football practice.   I joined college not because I enjoyed studies but because I loved football. I wanted to represent the Bombay university football team so that I would be picked up by some top senior division team.  All my dreams of becoming a great footballer shattered with an ankle injury.  Later I was strongly moved by the life of poverty that I saw around me.  For the first time I began to ask myself 'what is the meaning of life' and this strongly moved me to become a priest.  So, I joined the Roman Catholic Major Seminary in Bangalore, South India, where I studied for Six and a half years.    The condition of my soul became worse during the days of my seminary than when I had first entered to become a priest.When I started the major seminary, the seminary introduced a course in Marxist Ideology.  I was soon attracted towards Liberation Theology.  I used to read magazines produced by Christian Aid, London.In 1980 I left the seminary and settled in Goa, India.  There I continued to do social work with some priests of the same congregation where I was a seminarian.  I also joined hands with a group in Goa that fought against the bad effects of Tourism, like nudism and drugs. In 1981 I went to Bahrain to work off shore for an American organisation.  In 1983 I got married to Clementina  Fernandes, a beautiful girl from Mumbai and never went back to Bahrain but worked for the same organization in Mumbai. In 1986 I got into a business.  I started a Medical Store in Goa.  Again I got involved with the work of an activist. During this time I assisted a nun to start a drug  rehabilitation centre in Mapusa, Goa.   This nun had lost her nephew due to overdose of drugs.Now my wife was a devout Roman Catholic.  But I constantly told her that all that was found in the bible was not true and that it was written by man.   I also used to tell her that the sufferings of Christ were nothing compared to the sufferings that the political activists suffered.  And of course I also told her that there was no real Jesus in the host.   The last was the only thing I got right before I got saved.In 1987 my wife was diagnosed with a retina detachment.  By now we had one son, Carlton Raj.  We were told to rush to Madras, now known as Chennai, to an eye specialist hospital.   The operation was done.  But it was not successful.  Upon returning home my wife began to go to a cottage meeting in our village called, Siolim.  In the past this group was a Catholic Charismatic group.   She believed that if she went there for 9 consecutive weeks like a novena she would be healed.  However, a few from this group had been converted to Christ and were worshiping the Lord in spirit and in truth.   My wife was confused but she kept going.When the Pastor heard that I was an ex-seminarian, on 10th of March 1988, he visited us with his wife and an elderly gentleman.  The elderly gentleman kept telling me that I should place my faith in Christ the solid rock.  I wasn’t kind to him.  I declared that the Jesus that I believed in was the Jesus that had died for the poor.   Anyway, I was coaxed to go for the bible study by my wife, although she herself did not know what they were up to.  The message was directed towards me in regard to my good works.   All this went over my head.  Then the Pastor prayed for my salvation and I left. As I was on my way to my Pharmacy, a prayer came forth from my heart, “Lord Jesus if you are truly alive, hook me now, or forget about it.”  That night I experienced the peace that I had never experienced before.   Next day I told my wife that we should read the Bible seriously.  For the first time in my life the word of God came alive to my soul and I could understand what it meant.   I knew that the Bible is the word of God.  I knew for sure that Christ had risen indeed.  My habit of swearing and other habitual sins were gone.  I knew that my sins were forgiven and I was on my way to heaven.   A  month later my wife was saved.After my salvation I immediately began to tell everyone about the Lord Jesus Christ.  My family members, the parish priest, and the people around began to talk against my wife and me.  I lost my business.   The glass windows of my house were stoned.  Mud was put into the petrol tank of my bike.  Even my son who was studying in a Catholic school was harassed by the catholic teachers, students and priests.  His grace continues to hold us in His arms. Both my sons, Carlton and Chrisden now profess Christ. In 2000 I settled in England due to my chronic Asthma.   My son, Carlton,  also suffered from Asthma, much while in Goa. When I came to England for pastoral studies I found that I was keeping in excellent health.    I never wanted to settle in any foreign country.  I must honestly say it was not my doing, but His will.I must thank God that He gave me the opportunity to do the following:I preached the gospel in the Konkani language for Trans World Radio - IndiaI edited and Published the magazine ‘The Turning Point’ in Goa, India.It was a privilege to evangelise much of the neglected Northern Parts of Goa.Later I preached the gospel in Konkani & English for FEBA Radio – India, while in London.I am very grateful that I was offered to study one year of Pastoral Studies at the Metropolitan Tabernacle (Dr. C. H. Spurgeon’s Church) under Pastor Dr.  Peter Masters.I preached in several churches in London and outside London.I was  a member of the Metropolitan Tabernacle for 5 years before moving to take up the Pastorate at the Wealdstone Evangelical Church, Harrow, in London.