Seventeen Hours of Marathon Bible Studies in India
In early 2004, Dr. Veena Aranha, who has a doctorate in computer science, came to Mangalore, India, from Australia to be with her dying father. Just a few weeks before this, I started to study the Bible with her brother. He informed me about her coming and requested me to study the Bible with him while she was there.
Veena, who was a staunch Roman Catholic, was not too happy that a protestant pastor was coming to her brother’s house for Bible studies. Nevertheless, at the insistence of her brother, she agreed to sit for the studies. But she kept a safe distance, sitting far away from us as I started discussing some vital Bible doctrines with her brother. As I gave many Bible references, she too opened the Bible and cross-checked to see whether what I was saying was true or not. We had a discussion for around four hours, and she asked me many questions for which I gave her Bible answers.
After two days, I came back to continue the Bible studies with her brother, and Veena was getting interested and moved closer to us but still kept a little distance. We could physically see how the Lord was drawing her to the Word! This time our Bible study stretched over eight hours, and we covered a lot of ground. Veena had more questions, and they were all explained from the Word. She was now getting convinced that what I was presenting was true, and this time she requested me to come one more time before she returned to Australia.
In the meantime she informed her husband Praveen in Australia about the Bible discussions she was having with me, and he warned her to be careful about entertaining false prophets and deceivers! But she realized that what she was learning was precious truths from the inspired Word of God.
When I came back for our third Bible study, I was happy to see that Veena pulled her chair even closer this time to get into the inner circle as we opened God’s Word. Since this was supposed to be my last Bible study with her, we had a really long study of God’s Word. As the apostle Paul taught the people at Troas the whole night, we, too, burned the midnight oil and had a study from 10 am to 3:30 the next morning. It was a study that spread out over 17 hours without a break! Even at the dining table we kept on discussing, as the thirst in Veena was very strong, and time was also precious for us. I was obviously exhausted after speaking for so long, but Veena was all keen to receive more!
The next morning she said that she had just a couple of questions, but the study just went on and on, and we had another 10 hours of Bible studies. In four days we had close to 40 hours of precious time digging into the mine of God’s Word.
Veena was excited to keep her first Sabbath. She said she wanted to visit our church and spend the Sabbath in the presence of God. She was in Mangalore for three weeks, and I met her during her final week there. The first Sunday she went to the Roman Catholic church; the second Sunday her brother took her to the Pentecostal church that he was attending, and the third Saturday she came to the Adventist church! She gave her testimony in our church about how she came to see her dying father and how God used that time to resurrect her dead faith to the living truths of God’s Word. Her father passed away that Sabbath evening.
Veena was all on fire, sharing the light that she had with the many relatives and friends she met in Mangalore. There was nothing else that came out of her lips except the words of God. People could see that the Word of the Lord had touched her and impacted her greatly. The Word was so precious to her that she held the Bible in her hand as she left for the airport to go back to Australia.
She called me on the telephone before she headed for the airport. And the sentence that she spoke was the best I could hear. She said, “Michael, thank you for leading me to my Saviour. I’ve found Him!”
She was so full of zeal for the Lord that she shared her new found faith with her fellow passenger on the flight to Australia from India. When her husband Praveen saw her and the new zeal she had for the Word of God, he told her something strange. He told her, “I made a mistake sending you alone to India. You went as a staunch Catholic, and now you have come back as an Adventist!”
Veena then contacted the Adventist church in Sydney. Pastor Lloyd Grolimund visited them, and slowly the Bible studies continued in their home. Finally Praveen, too, was convinced that this was the truth, and Veena and Praveen soon were baptized as Seventh-day Adventists.
Brother Praveen is now a deacon in the church, and the whole family is actively participating in the worship and sharing God’s Word with the rest. Ritika, their daughter was also recently baptized.
By Pastor Michael Pedrin, Mangalore, India. Website: www.clearbibleanswers.org.