My testimony. Where do I begin? I was born and raised Hindu. I lived beside a temple back home in Sri Lanka and my family consisted of very devout Hindus. We worshiped idols day and night, participated in rituals and gave offerings of food and money to the temples. I grew up not knowing who Jesus was because I lived in a Hindu populated village and, well, I thought the only god – or gods I should say – were the ones that my family and I worshipped.
When I was 7, my family moved to Canada and we started our life here. Around the same time, my mom’s sister who lived and still lives in Switzerland came to know the Lord. Growing up, she would send my family simple tracks or videos of Jesus’ life to expose to us a greater love that we did not know. My parents were always dismissive of these; we never bothered to even read them and just threw them in the trash. When I was in middle school, we used to get these pocket bibles with Proverbs, Psalms and just the New Testament. I was curious and secretly started reading the New Testament and the life of Jesus. I couldn’t let my mum know I was even remotely interested because I am pretty sure I would have gotten into a lot of trouble. So you can say that God was stirring something inside of me to reveal Himself to me, slowly.
In my teenage years and while attending high school, I met a boy. He was Christian. He kept inviting me to attend his church on Sundays, and I did a couple of times. Still, I was just passively attending church here and there. Fast forward to my undergraduate at York, my friend invited me to come out to a Christian campus group meeting that spread the Gospel and just loved on Jesus. I gradually started attending. Again, I wasn’t serious about it, but I definitely felt a tug within me to attend. I know I wasn’t serious about Jesus, because I still attended rituals at the temple and worshiped idols at home with my family.
March 7, 2009. This day, my whole world turned upside down. One day at work in a retail store, I was greeted by two loss prevention workers who worked with cops. They took me to the back of the store to have a chat. Let me give you a little background as to why this was happening. A little less than a year before this very significant day, I was approached by a couple of guys to be a part of something. What was this something you ask? I was presented with an intriguing offer: All I had to do was assist in their criminal master mind idea and I would get a huge chunk of money out of it. Of course my priorities were mixed up so I said yes, and so for a year I was involved in unlawful gain, a.k.a. fraud.
I confessed everything to loss prevention and they drove me to Durham to meet with the DA who was then dealing with this case. I was sitting in the back seat, and we were driving on the 401 going east. I looked to the fields along the side of the highway and I saw a bunch of crosses. These crosses appeared as if they were made by two sticks and assembled together and planted on the ground by people. I asked the loss prevention officers, “How come there are so many of these crosses on the side of the field?” They looked at me as though I was crazy because they couldn’t see what I saw. Only I could see these crosses on the side of the field and knew the Christian God was showing me something. At that exact moment, I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart and decided to live, only to worship Him and Him alone. I started tearing up because of this overwhelming feeling that was building up inside of me, ready to overflow. I closed my eyes and I prayed silently in my mind. That was the first genuine prayer to my God, asking Him to help me get out of this somehow. I didn’t know what I would do if I had a criminal record on my file. What would my family think? I asked God, “Help me! Help me get out of this and I promise I will devote my entire life to serving You, and You alone”. I know God heard my prayers, because when I met with the DA, he cut me a deal. If I agreed to be one of his witnesses, then this incident would be erased from my record and I would walk away a free person. I couldn’t contain my gratitude to my God who answered my prayers! Right there and then, I burst out in tears. So I wrote out my witness testimony, and I was on my way home.
After that day, I started living my life differently. When you accept Christ into your life, you are a new creation. You no longer have the desire to be the old person you were. Let me tell you, Christ was changing me for the better. My language and tone of voice started to change. I used to curse A LOT, and lash out at my parents. When the living God lives inside of you, you don’t want to use those kinds of words. I would feel so unclean whenever it would slip here and there as I was learning and growing in understanding what it means to be a Christian. You don’t want to do the things you used to do because it just isn’t appealing or attractive to you any longer.
One day, as I was studying in my room, I had this sudden urge to go to the room where all the idols were and throw it out of the house and into the trash. Back then, I didn’t know if it was God that was speaking to me, but now I recognize that it was His voice inside my thoughts. You see: you don’t have to be a Christian for many years to hear God. God will speak to you if you just surrender your whole heart to Him. My parents usually come home from work and pray before eating dinner. My mom always opens the door to the room where the idols used to be so she can pray. This time, to her shock, it was empty! Since my bedroom is right beside the idol room, I heard everything that was going on. I prayed that I wouldn’t get in serious trouble for what I did. My heart was beating so fast as my mom opened my door. She asked me what happened to the “gods” in the room, I said I threw it out and asked if she had an issue with it. She said, “No.” and slowly walked away. It was over just like that! All that worrying for nothing. How little faith I had whether He would protect me from this. I was clearly still growing in my faith.
The only consistent prayer request over the years was for my family to be touched by God; the real God; the only living God. My family has definitely been affected by my salvation first hand because they’ve witnessed my transformation right before their eyes. One day, I invited my mom out to a healing crusade where an Indian Pastor visited to preach the Gospel. At that event, my mom was healed of her arthritis in her arm. I know that God ignited a spark inside my mom that day! Slowly but surely, one by one, my entire family has been touched by God. They have given their life to Christ. Now through them, my extended family is beginning to know the Gospel and some of them have already given their life to Christ. Just two summers ago, my grandmother was saved and baptized. My parents’ donations have helped build a church in our village back home so that more and more people can hear the Gospel and experience the love of God.
God took one person, little me, to touch my family, who was then used to touch the lives of strangers back home – and the ripple effect continues! If there’s anyone reading this that is struggling with faith that their family can get saved through the love of Christ, God wants to reassure you through my testimony. Don’t doubt His power to do the impossible.