‘Just tell people what God did for you’

True to his word, Rev Chandran shared his life story as we sat looking out over Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, until well past midnight.

As a young boy Chandran would go to the Hindu temple with his father and grandfather to offer prayers to the Hindu gods but when his father died, Chandran’s mum, who was a follower of Jesus, was left to care for her four children.

Angry at God and at his relatives who deserted his family and left them in poverty after his father’s death, Chandran looked for answers in life. After gaining a computer science degree in three years, he wrote programs for ATM machines. Later a business partnership with a friend saw him reselling music tapes, working long hours and earning very good money. To Chandran, it seemed that people liked and respected you when you had money and people knew who you were.

Although baptised earlier to please his mum, Chandran was not close to God and although now quite wealthy, Chandran’s heart was still empty. Every day at 10 in the evening he would return home on the bus to his mum who was waiting up for him. His stop was the last one on the bus route and he would fill in the travel time by reading the graffiti on the backs of the stainless steel seats in front of him.

One night as the bus began to empty of people, and he was feeling especially down, he challenged God, ‘You say you are God and forgive sins and do all these miracles. There are sins of mine that my friends know and my family know – but there are my sins, my worst sins – that only you and I know. If you are God, can you forgive those sins?’

He turned to stare out the bus window in dismay and when he looked back, the seat that had a minute before been graffiti-free, read: ‘Nothing’s going to change my love for you‘.

Here were the words Chandran had waited all his young life to reach his heart. In tears he ran home to tell his mum. The following days saw him eager to tell everyone he met about Jesus.

Searching to do things for Jesus, Chandran enrolled at seminary. In his first week he was told that he would have to do exams, study history and live off an allowance of 50 ringgit. He returned home and planned to tell his mum that he had a better idea than attending the seminary; he would earn more money working and giving good donations to support the churches work instead of becoming a pastor. As he prayed with his mother, tears flowed as he realised that he had been telling God about all the things he was going to do for God, and God was simply saying, ‘I chose you; you didn’t choose me’.

Chandran became a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Malaysia and then moved to Sabah where he now serves with the Basel Christian Church in Malaysia (BCCM),  continuing to learn lessons and face challenges as he proclaims Jesus’ love. Long work hours, burn out, budget deficits, a stillborn child and housing costs have been part of his journey in life, but it’s his compassion, hope, trust and faith, and his deep love for Jesus that now flows through his words. He knows Jesus is in his life.

Chandran knows, ‘It’s the struggles that God uses to make me stronger. I believe that when you take care of the work of the Lord, that Lord will take care of your business. It is the Lord’s name that should be glorified. God chooses the worst of the worst. Witness is telling about your life. You don’t need to know from Genesis to Revelation. You just need to know what God did for you – and then just tell people what God did for you!

Chandran is pastor of one of the English-speaking congregations of the BCCM. He and his people partner in ministry and mission with the Bahasa Malay congregations of the BCCM to share the message of Jesus’ love with the indigenous people of Sabah.

Many of our partner churches are working in new territory for the kingdom of God; therefore, spiritual attack is their everyday reality. As a member of a congregation, school, or family, or a couple or individual, you are invited to commit to praying for our partners in mission. For regular prayer point updates, go to www.lca.org.au/international-mission/act-now/pray

Read more stories about our partner churches in Malaysia (Sabah) at http://www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/international-partners/malaysia-sabah/