I grew up in Bengaluru, India, to a family who loved and cared for me. I was raised in a different faith, not knowing anything about Christ. My life changed when I finished my 10th grade of school and had to decide what I needed to do next in my life. My parents were simple people with a simple lifestyle. My mother sold flowers, and my father worked as a gardener in a nearby field, so I had to help support my family. So, instead of going to a regular day college, I attended an evening college. I worked throughout the day and attended college in the evenings.
I was a shy boy. In my second year of college, I met a beautiful woman, which was love at first sight. Her name was Geetha, and she is now my wife. Geetha and I dated for five years. After several challenges, we were finally married. I started attending the Church where my wife belonged, then I did not know of Christ, and after a while, I accepted the Gospel. My participation in the Church was nothing at all. We decided to attend Church every Sunday only if the speaker was interesting. If not, we went out to the movies and enjoyed our time. We did not have a purpose in our worship. We were just Sunday Christians only when we wanted to.
A year after our wedding, we came across a man, David Rama, who then travelled from Switzerland looking for an alliance to get married to a Christian Woman in India. David was interested in Charlet, my wife’s sister. So, David helped me in finding the Church. To our blessing, there was only one branch in Bangalore. We had the missionaries come to our home. We were not interested but called the missionaries out of courtesy for our brother-in-law, David. But, little did we know how much the Gospel and the truth would change our lives forever. The missionaries who taught us were Elder Swamy and Elder Lal from the Fiji Islands. I often skipped the lessons when I knew the elders were at home. I also tried escaping and going to my terrace when I knew they were walking towards our home. When I attended the classes, I had bad questions and never asked questions that mattered.
I never saw the need to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ since I had already been baptized in a different faith. But one day, our missionaries told us they had a week left and would be happy if we accepted the Gospel. Again, we weren’t interested but agreed to make them happy. The missionaries were so thrilled and excited. I was not able to comprehend why they were so happy. My wife and I accepted the Gospel on November 18, 1990. My wife was pregnant then, so she had to be immersed many times before it was right. Later, my mother also accepted the Gospel. I am glad we made that decision even though, at that time, we were clueless about what we were doing. We made a choice, and understanding that choice came after that. We continued attending the Church here and there. We always attended Church late because we did not want any assignments during sacrament meetings. But in no time, I was asked to give a talk. With very little public speaking experience in English, I was nervous, but with the help of my brother-in-law William, I gave my talk.
As my time in the Church increased, my love for the Gospel increased. The fellowship in that branch of less than 20 was something I had never experienced before. When we attended the investigator class, the teacher’s brother Ebenezer Solomon was so kind and always welcoming with a smile. Slowly, I had an opportunity to serve as a clerk. I fulfilled it to the best of my ability. My callings helped me come closer to the Savior and increased my love for the Savior. We continued to teach the Gospel and help our families grow.
We have two daughters, Serah and Leeza, who were raised in the Gospel. Soon, I had an opportunity to be a branch president. Though I felt overwhelmed with the responsibility, I was very grateful that I had the support of my wife, who always stood by me. Mostly, the assurance from our loving Heavenly Fathers and my Savior, whose grace, help and strength always helped me in my service to the Church. When the branch was divided into the second branch, I was the branch president there and again had the opportunity to serve as a branch president when the second branch was moved to the Convent Road area. When the borders changed, we were assigned to the Ramamurthy Nagar Branch. I was again given an opportunity to serve the Lord as a district president. I always say that I had missed an opportunity to serve the Lord as a full-time missionary, but with the callings and confidence the Lord had in me, I think I did teach people and served the Lord. I enjoyed serving the members in the Bangalore district, including KJF, Chennai, Coimbatore and Erode. I enjoyed working with the Youth and YSA members and helping them serve the Lord in His way.
Now, I serve as the Patriarch for the Bengaluru Stake. When I received my Patriarchal blessing, I had no idea I would one day be giving blessings to others. The Lord has been kind to my family and me. Through the trials, I never lost my faith in Christ. HE IS MY ROCK AND MY STRENGTH. My family and I have been blessed to be sealed as a family in the Manilla Philippines temple. Nothing can match that blessing of being with God and my family forever. My children, too, decided to marry in the temple and are reaping the blessings of the Gospel.
As a timid boy with no knowledge of God and His plan, my life has been turned completely because of the Gospel. I know it can change anyone and everyone. The blessings of the Gospel do surely come, sometimes in the time least expected, but they come at the right time. I am a witness to it. I know if we put God first and seek Him, we will be blessed and happy for eternities.