Sangeev & Priya Sukantha

28 March, 2017

Sangeev

I was born in India and into a Christian home; being blessed to be part of a solid bible believing family.  At the age of 9, the family relocated to Australia where I heard a sermon about hell.  I was gripped with fear and talking with my mum that night, I asked Jesus into my heart so I could go to heaven with my parents.  This was the beginning of a simple and sincere faith in God.  At this age, I was convinced I was a Christian and was going to heaven.  Throughout my teens, I was a ‘good boy’ even though at times a little mischievous in school but nothing too serious.  At 16 I got baptised as I was challenged to consider whether my faith was real or not by my parents.  In order to ‘please’ my parents I got baptised whilst also recognising fully well what baptism was all about and that I was making a very bold declaration and commitment to die with Christ.  I was baptised at Glen Waverley Gospel Chapel in 1992 .  However, It was not until my time at university that I faced my darkest days, where I questioned my faith and wrestled with God.  I would often think about why the people at church were so happy and yet I am so miserable?  I  called myself a Christian, but it is obvious there was a difference between them and me.

I therefore began a sincere exercise in soul searching for the truth.  As part of this exercise I decided that I would be a good person and do everything in life right and according to the bible.  I quickly recognised that I could not get a single thing right and was always falling short of my goal to be good; both in my outward actions and my inward motives.
I was pulling my hair out (figuratively speaking), why can’t I please God?

When over a period of a few months, at the age of about 19 or 20, God opened my eyes to see the actual truth.  I actually can’t please God; there is nothing I can actually do to earn His merit.  I’m actually NOT good at all.  I’m a sinner, depraved, born with a bend to do wrong.  Then, as if the light bulb went on.  It dawned on me!! All along my mum and dad had taught me, “Jesus died for you”, “Jesus forgives you”, “Jesus washes your sins away”.  That is what they meant!!! Something, Someone, Somebody outside me, my life and my circumstances has to save me from all my “wrongs” as I can’t do it for myself.  That person is the Lord Jesus Christ.  All the Sunday school lessons I recalled started to make more sense and to which I broke down and confessed my sins and asked Him to be my Lord and Saviour.  It is at this time that I am convinced that I became a Child of the living God, a Christian, a Jesus follower.
How can I be saved if I did not know what I was being saved from?  I now understood, Christ is my sacrifice to appease a holy and angry God whilst at the same time, His mercy gave me eyes to see this truth, repent and believe; I guess that is why they call  AMAZING GRACE.

That was almost 19 years ago now, so much has happened since then, my walk with Him has taken many ups and downs.  Due to a number of circumstances that occurred over the past 5 years that were beyond my control, God taught me wonderful life long lessons.  Lessons such as, “I will provide for you”, “I know what’s best for you”, “I hear your cry and I will answer”,  “I am your peace”,  “I am your all in all”, “I am the only one you can trust”, “my relationship with Him must come first”, “know Him  and you will have eternal life”.

God continues His patient work in me and I’m sure there will be many more reminders like the above that will come my way as I get older.  There are many life verses I have, but John 17:3 tops it for me at the moment.  “This is eternal life; that you know the one and only God and His son Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”  It is my desire to Love God with all my Heart, Soul, Mind and strength, Love others in an unconditional way by blessing them with the love of Christ in practical ways.  I am keen to see disciple maker being made, whilst enjoying God and living life with the above purposes.

My wife’s name is Priya and 3 children named Sonia, Sahana and Joshua.  We currently facilitate a Missional community group for families, meeting fortnightly.  We also as a family are actively seeking to live on mission and participating in whatever the Lord allows us to get involved in within the local church.

 

Priya

I was raised in a small town called Mangalore in India. Growing up in a Christian home, I was blessed to be introduced to the things of God by my parents and at the church we attended. Another blessing was the privilege of having a great Grandmother whose practical Christian life was a living testimony to us all. I remember when I was 6-7 years old and we visited her in another town, she would tell me about Jesus and then she would tell me things like “You are a sinner Priya! You have to believe that only the Lord Jesus can save you from your sins! You HAVE to repent or you will be on your way to hell.  Read God’s word every day and obey it! ”. This shook my thoughts quite a bit as I remembered the many times I had disobeyed my parents, lied to get out of mischief and also stolen money to buy a lolly outside my school. I also remember being taught about sin in sunday school and was becoming constantly aware that I was a sinner who needed to be saved. God was very much a part of our growing up years and we were taught to love His ways and His word by our parents.

My Parents used to be part of organizing the Evangelical Union discipleship camps for graduates who were young christians from the universities in and around our hometown.

So I used to go along with my parents to these camps.  Usually my brother and I would sit in for the singing time and then run down to the paddocks nearby to watch the people in the fields at work.  At one such Camp I chose to sit and listen to the testimonies of different people who had come there for the first time.  As I sat there and listened to the men and women share their testimonies my heart went thru a turmoil and  I knew that I cannot push away this amazing love of my Lord Jesus that had been prodding me for some time now to repent and be saved.  It was at that camp that I received the forgiveness from the Lord for all my sins and surrendered my life to His Will.

From then on I began the journey of trials and temptations.  Life as a student was the hardest as the temptation to be like my classmates was so strong.  However, am thankful for the Love of my Saviour that shone thru the moments of temptations and brought me back to the peace of being content in Him.  Our family went through a lot of turmoil during those years and I remember clinging onto the Lord for my comfort as my parents got busy looking after my paternal grandparents who one by one became bed ridden and needed constant care at our home.  When my grandfather passed away life became very real to me.  The fact that we all will die one day stood out very clearly and the reality of us standing before our Lord giving an account for our lives; scared me.  I was in my early teens when I got baptized. I remember the feeling of joy I experienced knowing that now my faith was public news, and that I had obeyed his command for His children to be baptized.

I enjoyed sharing my faith with my school/college friends and my cousins. God allowed me to get involved in the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, which to me was a blessing to serve the Lord in the college ministry in my hometown. I am so thankful for technology and for the introduction of Facebook that has got me in touch with many of my classmates with whom I had shared the gospel with many times.  My prayer has been that through whatever means, the Lord would touch their lives and cause them to seek Him earnestly and be saved from their sins.

Getting married and coming to live in Australia was one of the hardest years of my life but what it did was strip me of all family relationships that I was dependent on for my happiness and force me to cling to the Lord as I learnt from scratch the way of live life here. My whole world as I knew it had changed, but God was with me through it all. He taught me to Love His word and to learn to study it like a eager student.

God has taken me through the storms of life many a times and I have learnt that all He wants is for me to be dependent ONLY on Him.  I must admit that I have failed in honoring the Lord in my Christian walk numerous times and yet God’s amazing grace extends more and more each time.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; GREAT IS YOUR FAITHFULNESS. Lamentation 3 : 22,23

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