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My Story for HIS GLORY
My Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings to you all in the precious name of our Lord Jesus. God transformed me as a lad of seventeen into a mighty arrow to reach the tribal nooks of the great nation of India. I consider it an honor to share what God has done and is still doing in my life.
I was born the eldest son with three other siblings, born in a City called Vijayawada, State of Andhra Pradesh, South India. We were two boys and two girls, and I lived in the same place till this day, my neighborhood is like all the Dalits (untouchables) live on the one side of the street, on the properties or a piece of lands like 80 Square yards given by the government to the poor or slum people to live by. As is common in India, my father struggled barely to meet our daily needs. My greatest humiliation came when I was eleven years old and my father was unable to pay my school fee on time. The head master sent me home frequently until I could bring back the fee, so I missed most of my classes and fell behind in my studies.
As a result, I didn’t do well in mathematics. This brought the attention of the principal who cursed me in front of the entire class. “When you grow old, you will be a cow dung basket carrier,” he said, which meant that I would be good for nothing and my life was doomed.
I’m certain he does not remember that incident today, but my heart is still scared by it. In India, teachers are considered next to gods. Nobody wants to be cursed by them or receive any ill spoken words by them.
Following the same feeble pattern of education, I passed each year only by the mercy of my teachers. But in tenth grade, the government conducts the exam. I failed math, English, science and Hindi. I would have to wait a full academic year to retake the exam.
My father had a good friend who was a pastor and visited our home every week. When he heard of my dilemma, he suggested my father send me to a Bible College run by the Church of God. It was located in a city called Kakinada, situated along the Bay of Bengal, in the south-eastern part of India.
The school ran a tight schedule starting with prayer every morning at 5:00 a.m. and ending with prayer at 10:00 p.m. I did not adjust well to the long hours of religious activities; reading the Bible, classes, manual duties, simple food. And I did not receive a deeper knowledge or relationship with Christ.
Growing up, my influences were the Catholic Church from my father, and the Hindu religion, as my mother was a strong devotee. So everything at this school was going over my head and my heart. I felt like I did not belong there and was wasting my time.
Two months later, I decided to run away. On the 21st of August, 1994, my plan was clearly hatched in my mind. I slipped into sleep but woke when someone clearly called my name. "My son, Jayakumar.” I looked around to see who called me. My roommate was asleep, so I checked outside, but nobody was there. I went back to bed and believe about twenty minutes passed when I heard the same clear voice once more. “My son, Jayakumar.” I roused my roommate and asked if he had called me. He said he didn’t, so I shared what was happening. He suggested that if I heard the voice again, to kneel down and pray.
I didn’t like his suggestion as I still harboured ideas of escape.
I went back to bed, but around twenty minutes to midnight, I heard the same voice again. “My son, Jayakumar.” He spoke my name as distinctly as if he communicated to me on the telephone. Without thinking, I knelt beside my bed. The voice continued speaking. “My son, Jayakumar, I have chosen you before you were formed in your mother’s womb.”
“But I am a child,” I said.
“Don’t say you are a child. Read from the scripture, Jeremiah 1: 4–10.”
4 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” 6 Then said I: “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.” 7 But the Lord said to me: “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ For you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. 8 Do not be afraid of their faces, For I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord. 9 Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me:
“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. 10 See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.” (NKJV).
I had never read from Jeremiah before and while contemplating this, a fireball, that would have fit in my hand, fell in front of me. It was not a figment of my imagination, my blanket burned where it had fallen. The fireball divided into two parts, one to north and one to the south, both two meters distance from the other.
And then it vanished.
I knew the Lord was saying to me that He was going to take me to the north and south part of my nation, to places I had never been before. At the same time, I prayed. I confessed all of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my personal saviour. As the conversation was going on I dropped into the deep sleep and saw a vision
Then I saw a vision of myself standing in front of a harvest field ready to reap. A man dressed in white handed me a sickle to reap the harvest. Yes, I saw myself reaping. So, I did, and when I finished, I was very tired. The same man in my vision said, “Now go and rest.” At the same time the bell for morning prayers rang and I awoke with great relief. I felt like a huge burden had been removed from me and inexpressible joy filled my heart.
By God's grace, I finished my three-year course and received my diploma in 1997. But I still wanted to learn more about the Word of God and pursed higher education in theology. While I prayed about this, an opportunity came to me from the northern part of my country.
At the same time, my family faced its toughest time. My youngest sister Tabitha who was 5 years old then, found with Leukaemia and suffered for 3 years and at the age of 8 suffered and died from Leukaemia in 1996.
My father tore down our thatched roof house in hope of building a new one, before finding out he was not eligible for a bank loan to rebuild a new one. So, he built a temporary, smaller thatched roof house. For him to send me to seminary was financially beyond him. But an Aunty named Navaneetham, who was close friend to our family, loaned him the money to pay for my traveling. I ventured to northern India to Emmanuel Theological Seminary in Kota, Rajasthan.
After a thirty-six hour train ride, I arrived in a state with a distinctly different culture than I was used to. India is a multilingual, multi-ethnic country, with many differences between each region. So, everything was foreign to me; the language, the people, the cuisine, the weather freeze you, as I am used to that cold, because our climatic conditions are so hot like Phoenix weather and with high humidity levels, and the food, south Indians typical menu was Rice and Curry, and where it comes in North India, People cook the Totias, and lentils, and the food served at the seminary mess was so poor, At school, we didn’t even have a phone, very much behind in technology, I had to say in 1997, the world was just learning about emails, so I had to think twice to call home on telephone, where my dad used to send 150/- (Hundred and Fifty Rupees) which is equal to 2 USD, as my pocket money, and barely enough to buy soap, shampoo and toothpaste, it took seven days for a letter to reach home.
I started attending the classes and a team from Liberty University was there to teach a curriculum called, Bible Training Centre for Pastors (BTCP). It was my first experience with American teaching and I found their accent difficult to understand. At the same time, I became very sick and was diagnosed with typhoid fever. I had no money for treatment, no phone to call home, and I also feared failing the semester because I could not understand the Americans.
My temperature climbed dangerously high and I began to vomit in the night. But there was nobody to help me, everybody was sleeping in the midnight, it was uncommon in the seminaries where they offer you the free education, can offer you the free medical care, I came out of the room to Vomit, I thought, I should leave, this is not the place I belong to. Then I heard the same voice as before. The Lord said to me, "No, you are not going from here".
“I am sick, Lord, and I do not understand the language,” I said.
He told me to read the Bible in English and in my native language, Telugu, together. And then my temperature began to drop as he healed my body at the same time. I obeyed the words he spoke to me and read the Bible in English and Telugu together. I referred to a small dictionary many times, and through that process, I learned the English language.
The same year, I had the privilege of meeting and translating for Mark Gonzalez, who was a Compound Pharmacist Student, from Yorbalinda, California, came on a Mission trip with World Help Organization to the Pastors Conference that took place at our Seminar and we developed a close relationship and are still good friends. God continued to bring more people into my life; Pastor Sam & Sherry Holliday of Skyway Church in Phoenix, Arizona, and Pastor Larry Whitehead of Grace Family Church, Alvarado, Texas.
God has used all of these people in key ways in my life and ministry.
Going back to the seminary, God gave me a very good knowledge and command of English. Because of this, I was blessed to be able to interpret for renowned speakers. Yes, at the Seminary. It remains one of the greatest privileges of my life. I did well in my thesis and graduated in February 1999. Out of four-hundred-fifty graduates, I was one of the few asked to stay on as faculty, at the Seminary. I worked there for two years and then heard the Lord’s voice again. He told me to go to places in India where no one had reached with the gospel.
My resignation upset my superiors at the seminary, but I had to listen to what the Highest Sovereign was saying. I entered into full time ministry in 2001 and began to reach the tribes of; Koya, Yerukula, Lambadi, Banjara, Kondareddy’s, among others. These tribes are quite barbaric in their culture, and for one example, still observe infanticide, believing their goddesses are pacified with that.
We have trained eight-hundred-fifty tribal young men and women for the Master. We send them back to their respective villages, and provide bicycles for them to travel and share the gospel. It is a challenge every day. In their journeys, they constantly battle evil forces, heal people with multiple personalities, every journey to visit the villages has been a challenging thing, because you come across the people who were slaves to the darkness for decades, but when you carry the anointing and the walk on the Authority of the Lord, they manifest in a more violent way as the guy at Gadarenes, but when we exercise the authority God has given us, People are healed immediately, teach the Word of God, and plant churches.
It started in 2001 within a county, now the wings are spread into three different states of the Country. I have dealt with many issues; spiritual, physical (malaria three times and typhus once), problems with the government and law enforcement, and life-threatening Hindu radicals. I survived a catastrophic automobile accident with a minor injury to one of my toes, suffered from thirst, hunger, and spent many nights freezing in the jungle.
But God has been faithful through it all.
He even blessed me with my wife Vijayakumari Salluri and two boys. Our first was born fourteen years ago, as a special gift. He was a premature baby boy we named, Sam Holliday. Sam was declared dead in the womb, but by God’s grace, he was born alive and is now in Ninth grade. Our second son Mark Jay Holliday was born on August 2, 2018 and is just over a year old.
Each day often brings a life-threatening situation, but leading with faith, the journey continues with a broad vision to equip more and more people to reach every nook of the nation of India.
Reaching the Un Reached millions with the light of Gospel, Educating the Youngsters, Advocating the Persecuted. Planting the Churches, Helping the Poor and Needy, Helping orphans and widows, Training pastors and Charity
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