David and his family were here with us this week as well as his mother. His father died a few years ago but she was awarded her 25 year service pin on Friday night.
The history of their family is incredible! I am sharing it with you , as told by David himself. It reveals the long reaching effects of missions and the fruits of missionary work. I hope you will be encouraged to get involved in missions in some way.
A Product of Missions!
by missionary David Divakar
Our story begins in British-India in the year 1890. A Hindu guru (teacher), in the small town of Sandoor in Southern India, sat under a Banyan tree teaching his disciples as he did every afternoon. This guru was a “Janghama” who came from a high cast and was greatly respected among other gurus. His name was Bassaiah. In a society where the human feet are considered unholy and therefore never allowed to touch another person’s feet, Bassaiah’s disciples would wash his feet. They would then drink that water as holy water because they worshipped him as a god and considered his feet holy. One day, Bassaiah was reading from the “Kodaykal Vachanayagollu,” which is one of the religious books in Hinduism. As he read and explained each verse from this book to his disciples, he came across a passage that said, “All religions will ultimately be done away with, but a religion started by a carpenter will survive.” For the first time in his life, he was at a loss for words because he had no explanation for this passage as he did not know the meaning himself. He thought Hinduism was the greatest religion in the world. For this reason he was a priest in that religion, but now his own book told him otherwise. Carpenters were not considered of much affluence because they were of a lower cast. The words from this book troubled him because he did not understand them.
In another part of the world, a missionary with the London Missionary Society said good-bye to friends and relatives as he and his family boarded a ship for India. India was a world away for a man and his family to leave their comfortable lives in England and go to a hot desert climate. However, their hearts burned with a desire to tell the masses of India about Jesus. The Lord in His mighty way brought this missionary to Sandoor and burdened him to preach the gospel. The missionary poured out his heart to the people. He preached the gospel of Jesus Christ without fear or compromise. The Indian people around him were interested in what this Englishman had to say because it was something they had never heard before. However, they were very reluctant to accept what he had to say because it was too bizarre for them to believe. Their religion expected them to do a lot of work in pleasing their various gods before they could even hope of having a chance to get to heaven. However, this man was preaching about a God who did all the work for mankind and the only thing man had to do was to believe. Day after day the missionary preached faithfully, but no one turned to Christ.
One day Bassaiah happened to be listening to the missionary. While the missionary was preaching, he alluded to the fact that Jesus Christ was a carpenter by trade before he entered his three years of public ministry. Suddenly Bassaiah realized that what he read in his book and what the missionary was talking about were probably one and the same. The missionary saw the old guru and knew that he was the most important person in that town. Out of respect for his position in society, the missionary invited Bassaiah to the place where he was staying. The guru accepted the invitation very reluctantly because he was considered a holy man in his society. Any association with a non-Hindu would be unacceptable. Nevertheless, Bassaiah went with the missionary. The missionary presented the gospel to the old guru. The old guru was awestruck by the fact that God cared enough for him that he would take upon himself the form of man and die on the cross to save him from his sins. This was the first time the old guru realized that the God who created the universe cared enough to love him and shed His blood for a sinner like him. This concept of God loving man was so new and yet so wonderful! The old guru bowed his head and asked Jesus to come into his heart and save him from eternal condemnation.
When Bassaiah’s disciples heard that their guru had become a Christian, they threatened to kill him and his family. With his family and all the luggage they could carry, Bassaiah left the town. They left behind their home and many acres of land. They never looked back. The townspeople made the missionary leave town that very day. He did so with a very sad heart. The missionary had labored so earnestly, yet there was only one soul that came to know Christ as personal Savior. Although he was happy for that one soul, he left Sandoor a disappointed man.
What the missionary never knew was that Bassaiah’s son would later pastor a church for forty-five years and that he would have a son who would retire from the police department and become an evangelist. Also, he could not have known that the evangelist would have a son who is Edwin Divakar, BIMI missionary in India, and that his son would be me, David Divakar. I am the fourth generation after Bassaiah Divakar to be privileged to be called to serve our Lord in the land of India. I praise the Lord for that missionary from the London Missionary Society. No one alive, today, knows his name or whatever became of him or his family. However, their legacy will live on until Jesus comes back. On that glorious day when I bow my knee to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, if I get a chance I want to say, “Thank you, Lord, for sending that missionary, and thank you, missionary, for being willing to go where the Lord led you.”