Thomas Diary - A walk through my life

Part 1: My College days in Baroda.

During my BSc final year, I appeared for the MCA entrance test at MSU. It was a highly coveted course in 1998, with only 35 seats available, out of which 25 were for General Category and the rest for SC/ST/OBC.

The day when the MCA results were declared, I was in my room, with my face on the study table, in a very somber mood. At that time, Deepak Gupta came to my house and shared the news that my name was shortlisted for MCA. I went to college to confirm. I saw my name on the list. I ranked third out of hundreds of candidates who appeared for the test. Praise God for this miracle 🙂 I also passed MBA entrance test from Ahmedabad but I decided to join MCA.

I remember the day, I attended the interview.

Dad came with me to the university. It was a long wait before my turn came. There were few professors in the room. They asked some general questions and in no time I was confirmed about my selection.

I was on the mountain top with this long-awaited breakthrough. But little did I knew about the struggles awaiting me for the next 3 years!

In the initial days, I was not comfortable with MCA classes. I had never touched a computer keyboard in my life. The subjects were very different than what I had studied until my BSc. It was my first encounter with the computer-related subjects. We had Fortran as a programming language, practicals in electronics, and microprocessor related subjects. All these were a nightmare for me. The only subjects I was comfortable with, were Maths, Statistics, and Economics.

During the first month of my college, I met pastor Babu Samuel, who had prayed specifically for my MCA admission. And, I decided to go to his house on his invitation – Sharon Fellowship Church, opposite the Methodist Church, in Fatehgunj.

It was both a church and a house. He was kneeling and praying in tongues with others beside him. It was for the first time I heard somebody pray in tongues. I felt weird when I heard it. I waited for him to complete his prayers. We talked for some time. Then I went home.

When my mom came to know that I met Pastor Babu Samuel, she warned me never to go to his house again. I didn’t understand that time why she hated the pentecostal pastors.

After some days, the pastor came to meet me in college. I went to his home again despite my mom’s warning. This time, I met Robin there for the first time. He shared his personal testimony. We both were from the Jacobite background and attended the traditional church. I got some encouragement after meeting Robin and hearing his testimony.

In the first semester of MCA, I was having a terrible time with my studies. The subjects were too difficult for me. And I was spending more time reading spiritual books. Nevertheless, I passed the first semester miraculously with grace marks. Praise God!

In the second semester, we had C and Foxpro as programming languages. It was hard for me to understand C programming. When the teacher took tests, I would be struggling to write the syntax.

To improve my programming skills, I decided to attend the Aptech computer class at Manjalpur,  When I thought, I would fail in the second semester, I managed to pass all exams. Praise God:)

In my spiritual life, I was playing hide and seek, meeting the Pastor, and attending his Home Church.

On Sundays, under the pretext of attending the Aptech computer class, I attended his Home Church. It was very different from the Jacobite or Catholic church service I attended. Unlike the Jacobite churches, there was a greater emphasis on the Word of God after Praise and Worship – which was always accompanied by clapping of hands and speaking in tongues.

The Pastor’s home had a good collection of spiritual books. As I gazed randomly, my eyes fell “Good Morning Holy Spirit” by Benny Hinn, and “I believe in Miracles” by Kathryn Kuhlman. Until that time, I didn’t know Benny Hinn or Kathryn Kuhlman. I asked him whether I could borrow those books to read and he willingly agreed.

The moment I read those books, I was instantly attracted, like love at first sight. It was beautiful to know about the wonderful Third Person of Trinity through “Good Morning Holy Spirit.” In all my upbringing, I knew only about Jesus, the Son of God, Mother Mary, and saints like Parumala Thirumeni. I never heard anyone talk about having a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. After reading the book, I had an eager desire to know more about the Holy Spirit and experience Him personally, not just gain theoretical knowledge.

I followed the steps mentioned in the “Good Morning Holy Spirit”, for repentance. I remember the day, 21-Aug-1998, Friday, when  I took baptism.

I rode on my cycle to the pastor’s home, with some clothes in a bag. I parked my cycle in the car park and from there we went in a believer’s car to a riverside. There was a Hindu temple on the river bank. The water was not clean. I expected the same experience that Jesus experienced when He was baptized by John, the baptist – the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus, and a voice came from Heaven, “He’s my beloved Son.” I was hoping all my weakness in the flesh will die after taking the water baptism. But nothing of that sort happened. I didn’t experience any supernatural infilling of the Holy Spirit.

Nevertheless, it was an important and bold step I took, purely out of my love for God. In those days, there were attacks against the Churches by the Hindu fanatics. The pastor appreciated my boldness to take baptism at such a time.

After the water baptism, I had a supernatural hunger for reading the Bible. The scriptures which I didn’t understand earlier became alive. Miraculously, from the third semester onwards, my grades improved. I was doing well in my studies.

In the fourth semester, I attended the Boston Tuition Center at Fatehgunj to improve my Oracle/SQL knowledge. The tuition was even closer to the pastor’s home.

But with the passage of time, I was not comfortable playing hide and seek.

Once at the Pastor’s house, I happened to read a book from Oral Roberts where he shared his personal testimony about why he left the Pentecostal church. I felt that message was for me. Gradually, from the sixth semester onwards, I stopped meeting the pastor or attending his Home Church.

Although this brought peace at home, my spiritual growth stunted. I backslided from God.

I finished my MCA in 2001 and by God’s grace got my first job at Amtel, Baroda during the time of recession. Click here to read about the rest of my journey into the corporate world.

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