By Mark Ellis and Michelle Rice —
Although his parents were zealous missionaries, working in many villages on the outskirts of Bangalore, he wanted nothing to do with God. He saw Christian work as a weak and undesirable path for one’s life.
“I will never be in ministry,” Satish Kumar declared. His early years led him away from God in pursuit of worldly accomplishment. He found success working with a software company that did business in Japan and the United States.
Without a wife or familial obligations, Kumar could define life as he saw fit. While he traveled and worked throughout the world, he lived the lifestyle of a seemingly endless party. However, his dreams of prosperity became his undoing. “I was addicted to success,” he admits. “I used drugs and alcohol and hurt a lot of people.”
After a night of heavy socializing on the outskirts of Bangalore – going from one party to the next – Kumar and his friends followed the sounds of music toward what he presumed to be another party.
Instead, Kumar found himself sitting in front of an all-night prayer meeting organized by his parents! “I don’t understand why I didn’t leave as soon as I saw my dad,” he says.
His father read from 1 Corinthians 3: “Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.”
As he listened, Kumar realized he was still high on drugs and alcohol. The power of the words penetrated his heart – he felt convicted at that moment by his impure lifestyle. He prayed, “God, if you’re real, I don’t want to do these things anymore. Take away my desire for drugs.”
When he left the prayer meeting he saw his father had tears in his eyes. What a weak guy I have as a dad, he thought to himself. “I didn’t realize I was the weakest link in the family.”
“The next morning I woke up and got a glass of whisky to drink,” he recalls. But as he raised the glass to his lips he glanced over and saw the lifeless body of one of his friends lying on the floor of their apartment. The friend had overdosed on drugs and alcohol and had to be rushed to the hospital.
That was enough for Kumar. He had reached the point of surrender to God. “I gave my life to Christ,” he says. “Instead of success driving my life, I want you to drive my life,” he told God. At that moment he finally felt complete. “My heart was filled with excitement, contentment, and peace.”
Three months later Kumar quit his job and sought God’s direction for a new path. “My desire now was to know God, and I would do anything possible to take his message anywhere and everywhere.”
Four years later — after steady growth in the Lord and much fasting and prayer — Kumar took over his father’s ministry. The goal of the ministry, Christ Compassion Trust (www.compassiontrust.com) is to “reach, touch, and change” lives. A major portion of the work involves organizing youth meetings in cities and conducting outreaches to village tribes.
“The reason we focus on the youth is that, if you look at India, it is riddled by caste traditions and superstitions. If change is to be ushered into our country it has to begin with the younger generation,” he says.
“As opposed to their parents, students do not hesitate to sit with a ‘lower caste’ person, to share a coffee or a chai.” The ministry of “Reach, Touch, Change” seeks to gather all castes together in one meeting place so that any discrimination and segregation diminishes. “Ultimately,” Kumar says, “they just look at each other as peers…as friends in college.”
Kumar’s ministry also helps jungle tribes to gain self-sufficiency. In some of the areas they work the gospel has not been heard. “Once they become Christian in those jungle areas, they will be forsaken by everybody else…We start by making them more self-sufficient so they don’t have to follow other systems, be on their knees, and just be pretend Christians.”
The ministry helps free bonded servants who have been laboring for 30-40 years: “One by one, we aim to lift these families slowly out of debt. In turn, when they pay off their debts, they are expected to extend help to other families, to bring them out of debt.”
Christ Compassion Trust also rescues children from various forms of slavery. Whether children work in brick-making factories or stone quarries or become trapped in the sex trade, “We work on freeing all such kids from anything that enslaves them. We plan to get them out, hold them with us, give them an education until they are able to recover medically, emotionally, and physically. We find a family and a home for them. If they are not able to find a home, we keep them with us through high school and college until they get married and are ready to leave.”
“We don’t want a one-time cosmic change, but want a chain reaction that will continue on to eventually dismantle the whole caste system in India and the slavery that is part and parcel of this dehumanizing ideology.”
“God put this on our hearts because we are going to raise up a generation that will be cured,” he says. “Christ didn’t die for the high castes, he didn’t die for the low castes, he just died for sinners.”
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