Friday, March 16, 2012


We were in Coimbatore - hot, dry Coimbatore where the power grid is so overheated that the electricity is turned off for ten hours a day. The sun blazed down mercilessly and the thermometer climbed. I didn't know how people who live there year round could bear it.

And then the day before the College's graduation Dad was asked to speak that night at an ordination service for an alumnus of the College. Dad had not met the man and would not have a chance to talk with him before the ordination service. But on the recommendation of the President of the College, Dr Cherian, Dad agreed.

That evening Dad got up and spoke on what it meant to be ordained. He mentioned that he would not normally take part in an ordination service but this man had come very highly recommended not only by Dr Cherian but by the other local pastors and teachers, who knew him well.

Dad talked about three calls that are listed in the New Testament. The first is to everyone - to accept Jesus Christ as Saviour. The second is to the people who respond affirmatively to the first call, and it is to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. The third call is to a small minority of the second group and it is the call to preach. He told of another ordination process where he had been involved. The candidate had presented the best doctrinal statement that Dad had read. He had gone through several rounds of meetings with the committee, of which Dad was a part. The members of the committee had hammered him with questions. Then finally, on the last night of meetings Dad asked him this question: "Suppose we don't approve your ordination and we cannot ordain you. What will you do instead?"

He said that the candidate grew quiet for a moment and then said, "I don't know what I would do. I have to preach!" 

"That was the answer I was looking for," replied Dad.

And then he called for this evening's candidate for ordination to come forward to give a brief address to the congregation.

"Kristy Kumar, please come forward," intoned the gentleman who was facilitating the ordination service.

Nothing seemed to be happening. I looked back at the room and I thought I saw a head and shoulders moving in the aisle. As I continued to watch, an extremely short man made his way slowly to the front of the room, lurching slightly with each step he took. With great deliberation he negotiated the shallow steps at the side of the platform, and finally he made his way to the pulpit. 

Someone adjusted the mike downward, and he started to speak. 

"My name is Kristy Kumar," he began in heavily accented English. He said that he had been born into a Hindu family in a gypsy tribe. When he was about five years old he somehow fell into a "burner," he called it, and was horrifically burned from the soles of his feet to his chest. He was rushed to the hospital, where he spent huge amounts of time undergoing painful treatment. He was unable to walk for five years after the incident. He couldn't read and write; he couldn't go to school.

But one of the worst moments for him at that time was when he heard his doctor tell his parents to give up the effort, just to abandon him. "He is useless," were the words the doctor said.

Useless ...

He was not encouraged by his parents to study or to try to get an education. He managed somehow to get through grade eight or nine and then he got some kind of employment. And there he heard about the Lord Jesus, who loved him enough to die a terrible death - for his sake!  How could he be useless if this were true?

He ultimately trusted God to save him from his sin; and then as he started to read and study he felt called to preach and to minister. So he achieved his diploma, ended up at this College and with a lot of effort made it through his degree program. It took him six long years.

Then he went back to his home state of Uttar Pradesh and to his people; and after a lot of work and several years he managed to start not one but two churches in that state. 

He even got married last year!

It is a given that pain is a constant companion in his life. But he said that he can endure it because he has to preach and minister in these churches.

"That is all; thank you," he ended. Dad rose up, visibly moved, from his seat. "Now that is what I would call a pastor," he said. "I would be honoured to place my hand on this man's head and ordain him."

He called the other pastors to the stage and someone directed Kristy to kneel. Slowly, slowly, he eased his way down to his knees, and the pastors who had gathered for this solemn occasion each laid a hand on Kristy's head. Dad prayed for him, committing Kristy and the ministry that had been entrusted to him to God's care and concern and protection.

When the prayer was over, two of the pastors tenderly reached over and helped Kristy struggle back onto his feet again; and then one by one they shook his hand.

And slowly, slowly, Kristy Kumar lurched his way back down the aisle to his seat toward the back of the auditorium. But as he walked his face was alight with joy.

I didn't see Kristy again during the conference. I wonder if I'll ever see him here on earth. But I do know that when you have a call like Kristy has heard, whatever your call might be, you don't need to let little things like vicious scarring over two-thirds of your body,like your parents making no push for you to succeed at anything, like your own doctor calling you useless, to be an excuse for not following your calling.

He has confirmed for me unequivocally two things:

That "slowly and steadily" does indeed win the race. 

And that in the eyes of God there is no such thing as a useless person.


  1. Dear Karyn - Again I acan barely see through the water. I am always moved when I read your writings. Thank you for the wonderful report. What a story of courage and dedication to Christ's cause.

  2. Great to read this story, Karyn! We can't wait to visit you when you return to 3H!

  3. Beautiful, Karyn! Love you guys and praying for you. xo

  4. What a wonderful example of God taking the things/people who have been rejected, cast aside, considered "useless" and making vessels of great honour and worth out of them. May Kristy Kumar continue to bless hundreds. Hunt Hut

  5. "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord."

  6. so encouraging, Karyn! I was delighted to read your blog as we work in U.P.(Uttar Pradesh) too!

  7. I can just imagine the radiance that was exuding from his heart, as he slowly walked back. His face alight with joy. This touched my heart & ended with your two truths. So good.


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