Jacob Kunthara, 23, is working on his master’s in engineering in Trivandrum, India.
My family was Catholic, but when the charismatic Catholic movement came, people in the church started reading the Bible. My father began reading the Bible and convinced my mother to do so as well. A colleague of my father’s told him that the Catholic system of worship was wrong, and my father began attending a more charismatic church. We were still Catholics, however.
When I was 12, my father went to work in Saudi Arabia. While there he got a digital TV and was flipping through the channels. He came across a religious station and stopped to listen. The speaker talked about the Sabbath, and my father thought he knew more about this subject than the television speaker. My dad decided to take notes on the man’s lecture and disprove the man’s theology. But as he studied the texts the man had given, Dad realized that he was wrong and the speaker was right. He continued listening to this Adventist station, and often took notes on the sermons.
When he returned home for vacation, he told us what he had learned from the TV programs. He looked up “Adventists” in the phonebook and discovered that there was an Adventist school and church in our area. We didn’t go there to worship, but Dad returned tithe to this church when he’d come home. The church pastor visited us from time to time, but I wasn’t too interested in what he had to say.
I joined a band at school and became quite interested in music. We created some of our own music and recorded CDs. My interest in music was so intense that I didn’t spend much time studying. My grades showed it, and my parents were worried that I wouldn’t get into any college when I finished high school.
I wasn’t into religion, but I knew that the Sabbath was true. My dad had told us that. Sometimes on Saturdays I would remember it was Sabbath and feel guilty for doing some things, but not enough to take a stand.
As my high school graduation approached, my dad returned home permanently. Now he had more time to talk to us about the faith that was becoming more precious to him. We began attending the Adventist church as a family. Mostly only my father was convinced that this was the right church, but the family went with him to church because he asked us to.
I had taken my twelfth-grade exams, and the scores were not good, so I knew I would have to take entrance exams to get into a decent college. So I went to a special school that would prepare me to take entrance exams. This was a year filled with coaching classes. During this time I was expected to be in the dormitory when I wasn’t in class. We were awakened to study early in the morning and then again after classes. This wasn’t a social time at all. We were there to study. I couldn’t listen to music or hang out with friends. I missed my friends and family, my free time. And I was bored.
I had taken my Bible with me, and I began spending a lot of time reading it. Starting with Genesis and Matthew I began reading through the Bible. With no entertainment allowed, I spent hours reading the Bible. At the end of the course I was near the top of my class—I credit that to reading the Bible. Still, I didn’t go to church. Saturdays were exam days, so it would have been terribly difficult to go to church. And I wasn’t ready to fight to go to church yet.
(To be continued next week)