“From Darkness to Light”
I was born in a beautiful part of the world called Suva, Fiji Islands. Actually, my father and mother had fled to Fiji from the Punjab in India to avoid the civil war which raged before the division of India and Pakistan. I was the third of seven children in our family. I was raised on a farm and knew what it was to work in the fields from my earliest childhood. Our life was simple, and I had time to think about the meaning of my life. I often wondered what the purpose of it all was.
I was fortunate to attend a Christian school where I was exposed to the teachings of the Bible. I cannot remember hearing the gospel, but rather we studied the Bible as a school subject. All of the students in our school had to line up for morning prayers. In our home I heard about the Sikh religion, and in school I heard about God our Creator and Jesus Christ the Savior. I spent all of my school days, twelve years, in that school. I have many happy memories of friends and teachers that I met in my school. One of my teachers told us of the death of his own brother who had died without Christ as his Savior. This left an impression on my mind about life and death. I was gaining knowledge about God, but I was not a believer in the God of the Bible. I even approached my father to ask about becoming a Christian myself. Of course, my father gave me the best advice he could, which was that I should seek wisdom from one of the gurus.
I finished high school and began to look around for opportunities to better myself. I followed my brother to Vancouver to seek a life for myself. I started out working in a furniture store and ended up in the same company for 13 years. These were years when I was free to do what I wanted because my parents and family were far away, and I had few restraints upon me. Nevertheless, there was still something missing in my life. I was not satisfied. One great blessing of that period was that I met a genuine Christian. God was working in my heart, preparing me for the acceptance of the gospel.
In the meantime, my parents came to Canada, but sadly my father’s health was failing; he had bone cancer, and passed away within two years of his arrival here. My father’s passing was a loud voice to me about my own life and destiny. I had never seen death, but on my very first experience of it, it was my own father. Surely God speaks in the circumstances of our lives! Just when I was passing through the personal loss of my father, I was also hearing the gospel from my fellow worker at the furniture company. God’s timing is exact.
By 1981, I had been married for three years, and, with my wife Manju, was invited to attend gospel meetings in the Victoria Drive Gospel Hall where Mr. Oswald McLeod and Mr. David Oliver were holding special meetings. The night I was saved, March 31, 1981, I was impressed with the reverence with which the people listened; their quietness and interest caused a deeper interest in my own heart and mind toward the gospel. I was completely interested in what was going on, my mind was clear, and I was able to think about what I heard. That night I learned of my own guilt and depravity before God. The sin I had tried to hide under a cloak of religion was known to God, and there was no use trying to appear to be what I was not. But I also learned of God’s love in Christ for me in spite of my own guilt. That night, although I knew little of the Bible, those two great truths became real to me, and I left believing the gospel. I had become a new person in Christ. My life has been a journey from far-off Fiji to Canada, from my sin to forgiveness in Christ, from knowing nothing of the God of the Bible to knowing Christ as my personal Savior and Lord.
God’s salvation has changed my life completely. It goes without saying that I am not claiming perfection, but I am thankful to God for what He has done in my life these past twenty years, and I look forward to the future with great anticipation. “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6).