Pastor Akila Ramasamy, Tabernacle of Jesus Deliverance Ministries (Coimbatore, India)
I grew up living a devoted Hindu lifestyle honouring my family and community by adhering to strict Hindu practices. I come from a wealthy family and am married to an established man in my village. Previously, I was also a teacher and leader in the worship of idols and traditional ceremonies.
To others, it may seem like I had everything and needed nothing more. But deep inside, I was struggling with oppressive suicidal thoughts and the emptiness of being barren after 3 years of marriage. I attempted suicide 8 times but was miraculously spared. I never understood how I survived.
One time, I tried to hang myself with a sari and I could literally feel my bones breaking but by God’s grace, the sari cloth ripped and I was released. Another time I attempted suicide by overdosing on medication but I was revived.
My house servant, who was a Christian, saw my struggles and tried to share the gospel with me. Despite my harsh rebuke towards her, she continued praying and fasting for my salvation. I was angry but at the same time deeply moved. I wondered why would she pray and fast for me since we Hindus only pray for ourselves. The practice of blessing others never quite occurred in the Hindu religion. The difference I saw in my Christian servant spurred me to want to know more about the Christian faith.
So I quietly enquired about Christ and asked my servant to secretly bring me to church to learn more. There I had a powerful encounter with God and received deliverance. The pastor prayed for me and said that I will do mighty works for God in many nations. He also said that God had seen me and spared me many times for His purposes.
Upon hearing that, I knew immediately that it was a word from God as there was no way the pastor would have known about my many suicide attempts. God was the one who kept me alive throughout my ordeal. So I boldly prayed to Jesus and said, “If you are really the one true God, I will believe in you only if I conceive a baby in the next one year.”
During this time, I was given a New Testament Bible and I began to seek God fervently to learn more about Him. I would hide in my bathroom and study the Word secretly. As I read His Word daily, I found life in every word and received peace beyond my understanding.
About two weeks after my first encounter with God, I woke up in the middle of the night and heard a voice telling me that I would conceive a boy. I knew it was the Lord who was speaking to me. Two weeks later, I became pregnant!
I continued to meet with fellow believers in secret to study the Word and eventually also received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Soon after, my husband discovered my secret life of pursuing Christ. It was a huge blow and disgrace to him. He took me to the village centre and publicly beat and mocked me, destroying the bible I hid in my wardrobe and demanding that I renounce my faith.
Time and again, he would beat me so hard that by the end of it, my nose, mouth and ears would be bleeding. At the village centre, he would scold me, demanding I tear my bible and abandon Christ. He brought me to the village leader who asked me to choose between Christ and my husband. My answer was “I choose Christ!”
As a result of my determination, I was banished from my husband, home and village.
Journey of Faith and Obedience
In my culture, it is very tough to be a ‘husbandless woman’ with an infant child. And since I lacked finances to sustain myself and my son, I decided to start a pharmacy to earn some money. Even though I knew God was calling me to full-time ministry, I told God that I will only go into ministry when my children have all grown up.
About a year into my pharmaceutical business, I suddenly felt the right side of my body become numb and paralyzed while I was at work. I had to be hospitalized at as result. While I was at the hospital, God began to speak to me through various people. Once again, He was inviting me to obey and answer His call. A holy conviction suddenly fell upon me and I repented. I was instantly healed and discharged from the hospital – all within 5 days!
I decided that it was time to step out in obedience. No more holding back, no more running away from the call of God upon my life. As my full-time ministry journey began, I witnessed countless miracles and testimonies of lives being transformed by God. God blessed and grew the ministry immensely. During challenging seasons, He strengthened me, giving me the boldness and courage to stand firm in the midst of adversity. I saw the goodness of God in empowering me to build His Kingdom.
All these years, God had been so good and faithful to me. In due time, the Lord softened my husband’s heart and he welcomed me home after 7 years! He even supported me in my ministry work.
The idols previously in our home were removed and my husband even offered to build a church in our home. During this time, God also moved in the hearts of my family. I saw my parents come to know Christ, and eventually my extended family too – all 40 of them! God is ever so good and faithful!
It is not by our own strength or talent but it’s about depending on God 100% for He alone is the one who will lead and guide us. As we surrender our lives fully to God, we’ll see that He makes everything beautiful in His time.
So I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back, no turning back!