“I have never met such a man and I will never meet another like him. He is a man of Love, compassion, purity, discipline, and morals; a man with a heart for the poor; a man who keeps his word.”
The challenges of life for this young Christian minister were many. Poverty, religious opposition and the inherent struggles of life had so bound him that he saw no possible way out other than to rely upon His Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. His small church building was regularly visited by deadly cobras and scorpions during their services. His dreams of reaching and improving the lives of the people in his community were stagnated until, providentially, someone came along, invested in him, and assisted him in realizing his God-given call and potential.
Born and raised in a Christian family, I eventually accepted Jesus Christ as my personal saviour in 1989 at the age of 19. I immediately began working as an evangelist and, a few years later, the Lord led me to start a church ministry. He then directed me to the exact place where I was to build the church. Miraculously, we bought a half acre of land, with the help of my parents, and, in 1997, the church began with seven members. It was very small, measuring 18 by 40 feet, and was on the outskirts of the city. There was no compound wall; neither was there a restroom. Cobra snakes and scorpions would visit us while the service was in progress. It was extremely frightening.
I was also very poor. Each month, I would receive an offering of approximately $30, with which I had to care for myself, my wife and my twin daughters. Our difficult financial situation placed a great deal of stress on my family life.
In the year 2006, I contacted Rev. Dr. Austin de Bourg, after having read one of his books, "Insights into the Mystery of the Trinity." I extended an invitation to him to conduct a Ministers’ Conference that I was hosting for the first time, with over 500 Pastors. He graciously accepted my invitation and came to India for the conference which was held in October 2006. After the conference, I was eager to have him preach at my church, which was a very long way from the city in which the conference was held. It is here that the breakthrough started in my life and in my ministry.
My church building was extremely compact, with almost no ventilation. It had a very low ceiling, felt like a sweat-box and was at the brink of collapse. So Dr. de Bourg sat outside the church and assigned the preaching to the Minister who had accompanied him to India. While the service was going on, he observed ladies leaving the church and going into nearby bushes, then returning after a short while. At the end of the service, out of curiosity, he asked me about the movement of the ladies and I told him that they were going to the bushes to relieve themselves. This was their only option because there were no washroom facilities. Dr de Bourg wept at the idea and also at the thought that any one of those women could have been his mother, whose roots are in India.
The Lord Jesus Christ laid on his heart to build a proper Church for the people, with proper bathroom facilities. I had petitioned the authorities for permission to build a church on the compound and had been waiting for permission for over two years. The Hindu community had opposed the idea and had petitioned the authorities against it. Dr. de Bourg prayed over the land and prophesied to me that, in two weeks, the authorities would grant me permission to build. He also counselled me, through the spiritual Gift of the word of wisdom, about changes that needed to be made in preparation for the authorities’ coming visit. In two weeks, the authorities came, as was prophesied, and, within a few days, permission was given to build. It was during the visit of the authorities that I saw the power of prayer and the result of the spiritual Gift of the word of wisdom that was operating in his life.
The Trinidad Christian Center, of which Dr. de Bourg is founder, sponsored the construction of the new multi-level, multi-faceted and modern Siloam Worship Centre. The church sanctuary seats 2500, and is outfitted with 36 functional toilets, a home for my family, and a residence for orphans. It is a beacon in the city of Suryapet, India.
Today, the church is growing very quickly. From seven members, we now have over 400, in a region where the culture and religion is Hindu. We hope to eventually construct other churches in areas where there are none, to start a Bible School, to establish educational and technical/vocational institutions, and to increase our outreach to the destitute, orphaned, street children and lepers. Also, every year since 2006, Rev. Dr. de Bourg has financed the Ministers’ Conference in different parts of my state. Ministers from 23 districts attend and Rev. Dr. de Bourg teaches, imparts more of the spirit of God, and motivates and inspires them to be more effective in their ministries. Out of his teachings, many of their lives and ministries have drastically changed and they have been able to realize phenomenal results in their churches and communities: the raising of the dead back to life, healings, miracles, and conversions to Jesus Christ and Christianity.
Rev. Dr. de Bourg has not only helped me but many others I know here in India. For instance, he helped a couple in our church financially, who were in hiding and about to commit suicide because of their overwhelming debt to money lenders who wanted to take their lives as they could not repay their debt. Now they have a thriving business, are debt-free, and are happy and committed Christians. He has also helped several ministers, in various ways, to move ahead in their ministries and family life.
I am proud to call Rev. Dr. Austin de Bourg my “Dad.” Not only my Dad, he is also my Spiritual Father, my Mentor, my Instructor, my Motivator and so much more. He has set me on the right path and positioned me to be effective in my personal life and ministry. Dad is a man of Love, compassion, purity, discipline and morals, who has a heart for the poor and the broken. At the sight of the poor and downtrodden, he weeps. I also know him as a man who keeps his word.
He has undoubtedly made a great and lasting impact on my life.