Paulraj [Paul raj] stepped into the circle of migrant workers sitting under a streetlight in the city of Singapore. He reached into a bag and pulled out a bottle of juice for each person. Then he sat down among them, opened his bottle, and took a sip. It was time to worship God.
The men were tired and lonely. Most had traveled to Singapore from their homes in India to earn money to support their families. They hadn’t come to the streetlight for the free juice. They thirsted after God.
Since 2007 Paulraj has been a Global Mission pioneer working among the thousands of migrant workers in Singapore. Most live in huge dormitories that house 10,000 workers. Paulraj finds ways to befriend these people. He asks them about their lives, their families, their challenges.
One evening Paulraj strode down the street at dusk. The streetlights flickered on as the tropical evening darkened to night. He noticed a man squatting near a lamp post reading a book. Paulraj slowed and stopped near the man. He squatted down beside him and saw that the man was reading a Bible. “May I share a verse from the Bible with you?” Paulraj asked quietly.
The man’s eyes widened. He hesitated a moment before giving Paulraj the book. Paulraj turned to Isaiah 48:17 and read: “This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go’” (NIV).
Martin, the man squatting in the lamplight, looked at Paulraj. “I’ve never heard of God’s commands before,” he said. The two men talked briefly about God’s commandments. Then Paulraj asked about Martin’s family and any personal issues he faced. When the conversation seemed to end Paulraj stood to say goodnight and started toward home.
Turn around, a voice said. Ask the man to pray with you. Paulraj recognized God’s voice. He retraced his steps and invited Martin to his home. Martin accepted the offer, and the men walked together to Paulraj’s home for a cold drink and more conversation. Before the evening ended, the two men had prayed together.
Paulraj visited Martin often after that, and eventually Martin asked to be baptized into the Adventist family. He became Paulraj’s first convert.
The government of Singapore doesn’t allow open evangelism among the migrant workers. So Paulraj makes friends for Christ through English and computer classes, health services, and family counseling. He even celebrates national holidays with the workers.
“Why do you do this?” some workers ask.
“Because God loves you and so do I,” Paulraj answers simply.
Now he can hold programs on Saturday nights outside the large dormitories. He includes short morals-based videos, singing, and even prayer. The workers often stop and listen or take part.
One man named Sankar noticed a group of people praying as he walked past one day. He stopped and watched for a few minutes. When Paulraj saw him he waved an invitation to join the group. Sankar stepped closer and was drawn into the friendly conversation.
Sankar returned the next week, and Paulraj engaged him in conversation. He didn’t preach to him, but asked questions that showed he cared. Sankar continued attending the meetings and gave his life to Jesus.
Then Sankar was seriously injured in an accident that killed two other men. Paulraj visited Sankar in the hospital. Sankar’s eyes deepened in intensity as he told Paulraj, “I must go back to India and share what I’ve learned about God’s love with my people there.”
Sankar has returned to his homeland, where he’s studying to prepare himself to spread the gospel.
“Among the migrant workers in Singapore there are workers from almost every city and town in India,” Paulraj says. “If we can lead them to Christ, imagine what they will do when they return to their homeland!” Paulraj has begun training converts for just such a ministry.
Paulraj praises God that more than 50 migrant workers are among those who have given their lives to Christ through his ministry. They meet in small groups in his home and even under streetlights, singing, studying the Bible, and praying for one another. “I’ll do anything I can to introduce someone to Jesus,” he says.
Our missions offerings help establish churches around the world through the work of more than 1,200 Global Mission pioneers such as Paulraj and his wife.
Paulraj Masillamony and his wife, Maria Jeeva, are a Global Mission pioneer team working among the Indian people in Singapore.