From Persecutor To





    Like millions of other young men growing up in the heart of south India, Philip was just another village lad, whose life revolved around home, school, and friends. He belonged to a large, devout, Hindu family, which like most traditional Indian families was very closely knit. Nothing out of the ordinary seemed to break the monotony of his life until one day when he was in his teens, he was recruited by a militant political organization called the RSS. This is the same radical faction which assassinated Mahatma Gandhi for acceding to the dismemberment of India at the time of independence. Rabidly nationalistic, their motto is "India for the Hindus." Their goal, as might be expected, is to drive out all western influences, including Christianity, from the country. Now there was some excitement to Philip’s life. Marching beside his fanatical peers, shouting patriotic slogans, vandalizing the local Christian churches while persecuting those belonging to this despicable foreign religion, he discovered the euphoria of an adrenaline rush, and perhaps even some meaning, however distorted, to his otherwise humdrum existence. Little did he realize at the time that his life of excitement had only just begun, that soon he would be experiencing euphoria of a different sort; compared to which his past adrenaline highs would pale into insignificance. For One mightier than all the Hindu gods he worshipped had chosen him as a brand from the burning, just as He had done Saul, the persecutor, two millennia before.

     Just when it seemed that life was going great, Philip fell ill and all four of his extremities developed severe, crippling contractures. He calls it a "polio attack," although the precise medical diagnosis is unknown. In any case, he was rendered unable to use his hands or feet. He was only fifteen years old, his entire life stretching before him, but now he was for all practical purposes relegated to the sidelines, a mere cipher in the eyes of society. His self-worth hit rock bottom, as dark, devastating despair rolled over him. Selling a portion of his ancestral properties, his father made the rounds of all the doctors and hospitals in the region in a futile bid to find healing for his son. Everywhere the answer was the same: It is hopeless; his condition is incurable; don’t waste your money on human help. So they turned next to the Hindu gods they revered, but to no avail. They even sought out the Muslim mosques and Allah, but help was always out of reach as he sank deeper into the abyss of depression. At one point he even considered ending his misery by drinking poison out of a bottle, but at the last moment his courage failed him. Perhaps he knew in his heart that he had not totally exhausted his avenues of help. Nevertheless he carried the bottle in his pocket.

     For six years Philip suffered unimaginable agony of spirit. All his friends deserted him, and even his family just endured him. He was a pitiful wretch, if ever there was one. But finally, swallowing his pride, he decided to give the Christians one last chance before ending it all. And so it was that one Sunday morning found Philip hobbling toward the local Pentecostal church he had vandalized in the past. This time, however, he was not about to break its doors or destroy its tile roof. Slowly making his way to the front of the congregation he requested that the pastor pray for him. The surprised pastor, of course, was glad to oblige. But just as on numerous previous occasions, nothing happened. Three more months dragged by. Then one day the pastor dropped by for a visit. Greeting Philip he asked how he was doing. "I’m not even one percent better," said Philip dejectedly. The pastor tried to encourage him and exhorted him to give God glory and recognize Him as the true God whether he was healed or not. So this is what Philip did right then on his knees. But nothing happened outwardly to break the long drought which was withering his parched, despairing soul. Thus another week passed into history.

    The following Friday Philip was alone in the inner room of his house. It was past noon. He had been praying and crying for several hours already, but the walls appeared to be closing in relentlessly on him. The darkness of his soul was blacker than midnight. He had obtained a Bible by now and was trying to read it, but his desperation was driving him to the breaking point. And then it happened, the moment which will live in his memory through life, even into eternity. Suddenly the gloomy, palpable silence was shattered by a "divine, heavenly" voice. "Get up, get up," it urged, "Let your hands down. Don’t keep them tied up." Scrambling to his feet, Philip whirled around, his whole frame quaking with fear. But his terror-stricken eyes saw nothing unusual. Not sure if he had been dreaming, he glanced around the room to get a grip on himself. No he was not dreaming. The voice sounded again, more insistent, "Let your hands down; don’t keep them tied up," while a strange dizziness came over him. At this he realized what was happening. The Holy Spirit was taking possession of his body! Raising his eyes heavenward he cried, "Oh God, this is the turning point of my life! You are going to heal me today. You are the only true living God! I will proclaim your name wherever I go." Immediately his arms, which for six years had been contracted at the elbows, pressing against his chest, and his hands which had shriveled like claws, dropped to his side completely normal! And his feet and toes, which had contracted inwards so that he shuffled about on the outside edges, instantly straightened out.

     Philip is at a loss for language to describe his feelings at this point. From the blackest depths of despair his spirits were propelled into the stratosphere, nay, into the very courts of heaven itself! Unable to contain himself he dashed outdoors screaming, "I’m healed, I’m healed." Just like the beggar healed by the apostle Peter outside the temple in Jerusalem, he wasn’t sure whether to walk or run or jump or all three at once. Grabbing a bicycle, he pedaled furiously to his parent’s home as the neighbors came running out of their houses to see what the commotion was all about. Their eyes grew big as saucers and their mouths fell open as they realized what they were witnessing.

     But Philip didn’t stay long at his home. He remembered his promise to proclaim the name of Jesus, so getting back on the bicycle he rode a total of more than sixty kilometers that day, covering over twenty-five of the surrounding villages. All he knew to say was, "Jesus is the true God. He healed me. If you want peace and joy and happiness in your life, just come and bow before Him." The news was electrifying! Hordes of Hindus acknowledged that day that something unexplainable had happened before their eyes. Their gods had suffered an ignominious defeat at the hands of a superior God being proclaimed by Philip. The seeds of truth began to take root in their hearts. And some years later when Philip returned with a fuller knowledge of the Three Angels’ Messages, more than two hundred of them stepped forward and joined the Remnant church of Bible prophecy! Praise God!

     Philip’s healing occurred in 1977, but it was five years before he became a Seventh-day Adventist, having learned the truth from a pastor of our faith. And what is almost as remarkable as his own healing is the gifts of the Spirit that the Lord has entrusted to him. His ministry has seen some truly astonishing instances of healing from diseases of the mind and body which were considered incurable by medical science. Some of these "healings," as may be expected in the rank heathen culture, have occurred after hair-raising encounters with evil spirits. But the narration of these marvelous, faith-building stories must wait until later because of the constraints of time and space.

     What must wait, too, are his spine-tingling experiences of deliverance as God interposed to save him from near-certain death at the hands of his former political friends, who became his mortal enemies following his conversion to the "foreign religion."

     Today Philip carries on a vigorous work which encompasses the full spectrum of the gospel; namely, healing, teaching, and preaching. He lives in a tiny, one room shack with his wife and two young sons. His wife operates a day school while he spends all his time in "village evangelism." As noted, more than two hundred pagans, who look to him as their pastor, are today rejoicing in the Three Angels’ Messages on account of his labors. No human hands may have been placed on his head to ordain him to the ministry, but from his fruits it is obvious that Heaven has been pleased to separate him to the ministry to the Hindus of South India. Praise God!

     Let all God’s faithful recognize this fact. Amen.


Part 2

     The news of Philip’s cure spread like fire through a parched prairie. Everywhere he went there was sure to be a crowd of curious villagers to whom he could witness, and he lost no time in declaring that Christianity was the true religion. For a time no one dared oppose him whom the gods appeared to have favored so highly. But the novelty of his cure dissipated soon enough from the hearts of the RSS leadership, his erstwhile comrades-in-arms. The significance of a former cripple going about winning converts to the hated western religion was not lost on them. Their movement was taking a beating in the public mind. The situation was becoming intolerable. The rage within their breasts reflected on their countenances as dark, ominous scowls. An emergency council was convened with one item dominating the agenda: How to stop the renegade. The decision that ensued was unanimous: An ultimatum would be delivered. If Philip did not immediately stop preaching Christianity, he would be eliminated. The last of the last iota of sympathy for him had evaporated. His life could now be counted in days, if not hours.

     "You traitor," the ruffians thundered one day, cornering him in the street, "How dare you’ve joined with the Christians? You must be getting money from the States. Hinduism is the most glorious of religions. We have all we can desire in our religion. If you don’t stop spreading this foreign religion we will kill you."

     Philip’s response was a dignified, eloquent silence. If he was afraid, he did not show it. But the real proof of his courage came with the passing days as he boldly continued preaching to the villagers. He had tasted the ambrosia of the gospel, and nothing—not even dire threats against his life—would be allowed to keep him from sharing the Jesus he had come to love. How could he deny the One who had mercy enough to cure him of his terrible malady? From the depths of hopeless despair he had been lifted to the heights of joy and hope. Far rather would he risk losing his life than chance making his Savior sad by bowing to the edicts of men. And, besides, had he not pledged, in the days of his affliction, to spread the name of the God who could heal him? No, he could never let intimidation cow him.

     Rising up early he would take off for the villages around. As might be expected of a newborn Christian, his knowledge of the Scriptures was very limited. He could not give a Bible study on the 2,300 days yet, but he had a testimony which was as powerful as it was simple. Soon he would have an eager crowd of villagers milling around. To them he would relate the story of his incredible healing, and taking out his Bible would begin reading aloud from the gospels. Then, raising the pitch of his voice he would plead earnestly, "Jesus is the true God. He is superior to all our Hindu gods. If you want joy and peace and power in your lives, I invite you to come and bow before him." The effect frequently would be dramatic. Many would come forward and acknowledge this great God who had cured him.

     It quickly became apparent that Philip was not going to be brow beaten into submission by the RSS. He realized he was signing his own death warrant by flouting their wishes, but he could not bring himself to stop. While his obvious fearlessness further irked his enemies to new heights of hatred. Seething with uncontrollable fury they posted his name on the blackboard of the RSS offices and swore to kill him on a certain date. Philip, however, was not informed of this last decision. Nobody leaked the news to him. Thus, unknown to him, his last day on earth came hurrying on apace, while the hands of the clock ticked steadily toward the decisive hour. The fateful countdown had begun.

     The day set for Philip’s execution dawned bright and cheerful, no different from countless others before. As always, he had breakfast, then set out boldly, yet unassumingly, on his mission for the kingdom of heaven. He was blissfully unaware that even at that moment grim hands were sharpening knives to plunge into his chest that night. Nor was he aware of the deadly serious, supernatural struggle being waged over him. The mighty angels of heaven had been commissioned to protect this saint of the Most High, while the demonic forces of hell vainly tried to obstruct access to him. A cosmic showdown, worthy of the nail-biting attention of the universe, was in the offing, and he didn’t even know he was on center stage in the spotlight.

     Arriving at the fist village, Philip made contact with his interests as usual. Nothing seemed amiss as he prayed and studied with them. Then bidding them farewell, and promising to see them again soon, he continued on to the next village where the same scenario was repeated. Thus he made the rounds of the villages before setting a homeward course late in the day. The sun was westering low by the time he started back. It would be quite dark before he reached home, but he thought nothing of it. He had been over the same dirt road since childhood and knew every dip and curve like the back of his hands. However, there was just one thought which caused him a little apprehension: The road home led past the RSS offices which were somewhat isolated. There were not many houses in the area. With the threats emanating thence it was not the most congenial place in the world to be near at night. But stifling his uneasiness, and sending up a prayer, he reminded himself that he had been that way after dark before. Today would likely be another routine, uneventful passage. How greatly mistaken he was!

     It was around nine o’clock when Philip finally came around the bend and saw the dim kerosene lights of his village in the distance. He felt relieved to be so close to home. The RSS offices in the foreground appeared deserted. No lights shone through the cracks in the wooden windows and doors. Everything was quiet except for the chirping of a few crickets in the grass. The huge tamarind trees lining the road were as silent sentinels keeping watch over weary travelers. Silhouetted against the starry heavens they were comforting in their massive permanence, but the shades of night assumed a somewhat eerier blackness beneath their large overhanging branches. A gentle breeze blew through their leaves and rustled in the bushes beside the path. It was a picture of peace. Even the mangy dogs, lying on the cowdung-paved yards of the mud houses, barely twitched their noses as his familiar footsteps approached. After all, the village was getting ready to bed down for the night. Nothing seemed to suggest that danger lurked in the shadows, as Philip unconsciously picked up his pace to go past the dreaded offices of his enemies.

     Suddenly, like a thunderclap, the peace was shattered. "Stop!" a gruff voice boomed. Philip froze in his tracks, heart pounding madly in his chest. As if out of nowhere, more than a hundred dark forms quickly materialized from the shadows, completely surrounding him. Escape was impossible. Breaking into a cold sweat, Philip realized his utter predicament. He had walked into an ambush. The time had come for him to bear his last testimony, and seal it with his blood. Breathing a desperate prayer he watched as the figures drew closer, making the circle tighter about him. And now in the dim light of the stars he recognized his former friends. Something glinted in the hands of several—daggers! Others had stout sticks and stones. The leader stepped forward, "You have disobeyed our orders to stop preaching Christianity," he yelled." "For this you must die!"

     If ever he needed presence of mind, Philip needed it now. He could see no ray of hope, but a strange calmness took possession of him. Heaven seemed near. Turning to the leader he replied, "You wish to kill me. That’s fine. But before you do, please allow me five minutes to say something. At the end of five minutes you can go ahead and kill me, I won’t mind."

     "All right, all right," retorted the leader impatiently, "Go ahead and say what your problem is. Hurry up!"

     This is all the break Philip needed. Seizing the opportunity he looked about earnestly at them and began: "For many years we were friends together in the RSS as we harassed the Christians and destroyed their churches. Then I fell sick and became a cripple. For six years I was among you, a destitute, but not one of you even came near to help me. You did not speak one word of encouragement when I was at the point of despair. Now Jesus has shown mercy and healed me, and you wish to kill me for preaching His name." Then waxing bolder and more eloquent as the Holy Spirit took control, he continued, "Christianity is not merely a religion, it is the way of truth. Jesus is not only for the Christians, but for all of us too. . ."

     For a few minutes there was pin drop silence as Philip’s words burned their way into the hardened hearts of his detractors. But soon, catching himself, the leader realized what was going on—he was the audience at a powerful evangelistic sermon! "That’s enough," he cried, "Something strange is happening to our hearts as you’re speaking." He drew imaginary circles over the left side of his chest. "If you keep this up you’ll convince all of us to become Christians too!" Then casting his weapon aside he turned and strode away.

     A murmur rippled over the mob. It didn’t sound threatening. Now soft thuds could be heard as those carrying rocks dropped them harmlessly to the ground. The murmur grew fainter. More people were leaving the malicious ranks, their thirst for blood completely gone. A few more moments, and all was still again. Philip was left standing alone under the stars, punctuating the happy silence under his breath with praises to the God of heaven.

     It would be wonderful if it could be reported that Philip was never persecuted for his faith again. But unfortunately, this was not the case. Just as the devil left Jesus alone "for a season" following his defeat at the hands of our Lord in the wilderness, so he left Philip for a while he licked his wounds and regrouped his forces. He was not about to give up without a fierce struggle. His next strategy was to employ his (Philip’s) parents against him, and the cosmic contest entered a new, more perplexing phase. The plan was to capitalize on an old, proven tactic—fear and human pride. But the God of heaven had His counter-plans carefully laid too. The enemy of souls was about to suffer another crushing blow.      However, the story must wait until we can meet you again in these pages.

God bless.

 From Persecutor To Persecuted

The story up to this point:   Until his teens, Philip was like many millions of children growing up in southern India. Then one day he was recruited by a radical political faction, the RSS, dedicated to eradicating all western influences from India. He became active in persecuting the local Christians when, shortly, he fell ill and developed crippling contractions of all his extremities. Every effort at finding the cure proved futile. Philip was devastated.      A virtual beggar for six years, he contemplated suicide, but, at the last moment, backed out of drinking a bottle of poison.    He turned to the gods of the Hindus, but they were unavailing, as was Allah of the Muslims. Finally, swallowing his pride, he went to the local Pentecostal church where the congregation prayed for him. Nothing happened then, but three months later, while praying alone in great agony of spirit, he heard a "divine" voice instructing him to "untie" his hands and let them down. Tremblingly he obeyed and was instantly cured. Shouting with joy, he jumped on a bicycle and rode home, then on to twenty-five surrounding villages, triumphantly proclaiming Jesus of the Christians, This caused a sensation and many Hindus acknowledged the true God. But his former political friends were enraged. Moved by a spirit from below, they served him an ultimatum to stop preaching Jesus or face death. Philip launched into an earnest appeal which touched the hearts of his enemies. They left him unhurt and rejoicing. The Devil retreated for a while, but was not about to give up. His next strategy was to work through Philip’s parents. But the God of Heaven was looking after His own. The enemy of souls was about to suffer another crushing defeat.

Part 3

     Their attempt to kill Philip thwarted, the RSS leadership realized that another method to stop Philip from spreading Christianity had to be devised. They now turned to his parents, and with barely veiled threats coerced them into cooperation.

     The elder Mr. Jagadeesan was a man of standing in the community. He was fairly wealthy by local standards and commanded much respect in the village. A staunch Hindu, he was an exemplary patron of the village temple, but his son’s conversion to Christianity was an acute embarrassment. Much as he rejoiced in the healing Philip experienced, he was nonplused by his determination to spread his new-found faith. Secretly, he wished he could learn more about his Jesus whom Philip was so enamored with, but his pride stood in the way. It would never do to let the world know he had leanings toward the foreign religion, so he covered it up with an outward bravado. He would protect his dignity at all costs. Thus when the RSS leadership strongly recommended that he rein Philip in, he was easily persuaded to comply. But he wanted to avoid offending Philip too, and decided to exercise great tact and wisdom.

     "My son," he called gently to Philip one day, "You say Jesus has healed you. I really don’t see anything wrong with that, but we’re facing a serious problem as a family. The RSS leadership is very upset that you’re preaching this Jesus to all the villages about. They have threatened to destroy us all if you don’t stop this activity. My own dignity and standing among the people are at stake. Let me suggest something. Why don’t you simply read your Bible at home, for my sake, don’t go to the different villages."

     Philip listened with head bowed respectfully. He felt a lump rising in his throat as the significance of his father’s words hit home. A titanic struggle was raging within his breast. He loved his family dearly. They were all so closely knit. It would be the greatest tragedy if anybody was hurt on account of what he was doing. He wanted so desperately to say, "Okay, Dad, I’ll do as you say." And yet, how could he say it?    Hadn’t he promised solemnly that he would proclaim the God who had healed him? But again, maybe Jesus would understand if he reneged this time. After all, it was too dangerous—not for himself, but for his beloved family. He would gladly suffer for the sake of Jesus, but why should his family face harm on his account?

     Drawing aside the cosmic curtain, unseen and unsuspected by Philip and his father, one might have beheld a gripping scene, such as has been enacted innumerable times since Father Adam brought sin into the world, and arrested the attention of the unfallen universe. For a battle, as grim and terrible as any fought in the history of humankind, was in progress between the hosts of darkness and the legions of heaven. Back and forth the deadly conflict raged, depending on which direction Philip was leaning.    


     Now the demonic forces under their evil commander appeared to succeed in engulfing him in doubt and despair. Now the white-clad angels of heaven thrust them back and restored peace and joy to his heart. Until at long last Philip made his final decision: He loved and respected his father, but he loved Jesus more. He would not disappoint his Saviour. Behind the invisible curtain one would now have seen the bright angels succeed in completely linking their arms about Philip, and heard a hallelujah song as the news of victory was transmitted across the expanse of the heavens from world to world.

     Not wishing to hurt his father and appear rebellious, Philip made a noncommittal reply to the standoff. He knew deep in his heart that no human ties could ever stop him from carrying out the commission he had received from heaven. And in the days following he continued to slip out to the villages. Soon, however, the RSS got wind of his defiance and returned to ratchet up the pressure on his father.

     The elder Jagadeesan was beside himself. What was he to do with Philip? He could not wish for a nicer son, but his activities were landing him in a heap of trouble. As he mused on what course to follow, a plan began to formulate in his mind. He would try one more time to appeal to Philip, and if he succeeded in stopping him from preaching, well, but if not, he would resort to a foolproof measure. This measure-of-last-resort, however, he could not divulge immediately.

     The next time Philip was at home, his father again called him to himself. Then he did a most unbelievable, extraordinary thing—something in fact so rare in an Eastern patriarchal society as to be almost unheard of and probably to warrant newspaper headlines! He actually fell down on his knees and grasped Philip’s feet. "My beloved son," He pleaded, "Have pity on your mother and me. Keep your religion to yourself, but please don’t go about preaching it. We will all perish at the hands of the RSS if you don’t listen."

     If Philip had a gargantuan struggle the first time, it was infinitely worse now. To see his dignified father humbling himself on the floor in such abject fashion was almost too much for him. He felt the lump rising in his throat again, his eyes misted over. He longed to relieve his father’s distress, but how could he do it without offending his God? If he could have looked with supernatural vision he would have noted the spiraling escalation in the conflict between the forces of good and evil over his soul.   Reinforcements from both camps would have been seen rushing to aid their own sides. But Philip was riveted to the Rock, and nothing, not even his father’s agonized pleas, could shake him loose. The holy angels rejoiced at another victory.

     Choked, but fighting to hold back his emotion, Philip bent over and picked his father off the floor. His hands were trembling. He tried to reassure his father that he would do all he could to preserve his honor and dignity, and to protect the family from harm. But he could not refrain from telling about his Savior who had showed such mercy to him.

     The ensuing days were difficult for Philip, but his resolve was strong. Relying on divine help, he continued the preaching rounds of the villages. It was now that Father Jagadeesan decided the time had come to implement his measure-of-last-resort. He wished he didn’t have to do it, but his hand was being forced. More than mere human help was needed to change Philip’s mind. The cosmic contest was taking a decidedly more ominous turn.

     A few days later, under the pretext of making a business trip, Mr. Jagadeesan left to visit the neighboring state of Kerala. He had heard of the mighty powers of the shamans (witch doctors) of that region. He intended enrolling the services of one of them to convince Philip of the error of his ways. After some haggling a price was agreed upon and Mr. Jagadeesan, with the shaman in tow, returned home. He chuckled to think of the surprised, perhaps frightened, look on Philip’s face when he would see their "guest."

     It was close to midday when the unlikely duo reached the village. The shaman lost no time in beckoning Philip to himself. The sooner he finished his job, the sooner he could collect his fees!      Unloading his sack from his back, he proceeded to open it. The eyes of the onlookers nearly popped out of their heads as the articles of his trade were exposed. A human skull with empty eye sockets stared at them, grinning a hideous, toothy grin. An assortment of other human bones came to view too, as did a variety of animal horns, teeth, hair and nondescript body parts. A bottle containing a mysterious liquid added to the interesting mix. But the thing that caught the singular attention of Philip was a figurine approximately six inches tall. He could not recall ever seeing anything with such a horrible, malicious look on its face. He didn’t have to guess, he knew at once it was a representation of the Devil himself.

     Drawing a circle about three feet in diameter, the shaman instructed Philip to sit cross-legged inside it near the top, while he arranged his charms in front. This done, he looked at Philip. "You have one last chance to decide that you will no longer preach Christianity," he growled menacingly. "If you refuse, I will cast a spell on you and return you to your former crippled condition. Now make up your mind quickly."

     It was with some foreboding that Philip had watched his father come home in the company of the shaman. He felt his mouth go dry and his heart begin to race, but he gave no outward indication that he was afraid. He remembered his previous deliverances by One who was mightier than all the gods of the Hindus. Now sitting inside the sinister circle, facing the angry medicine man and his frightful charms, his response was to close his eyes. "O God," he prayed silently, "You are the only true, living God. I am Your humble servant. This man is a fraud, a false prophet. He doesn’t know anything. Please come down and place Yourself between him and me."

     The shaman noted Philip’s response with scorn. But half afraid that he might cave in without the aid of his antics, he feigned impatience. He was anxious to demonstrate his invincible power so he could claim his reward. So without further ado, assuming correctly, that Philip’s silence was a refusal, he launched quickly into his carefully rehearsed routine. Renting the air with unintelligible incantations, he waved his arms in bizarre patterns with different objects in his hands by turn.    The mysterious liquid he sprinkled over Philip and the charm on the floor. The family stood quietly around, keenly observing every detail of the proceedings, expecting any moment to see Philip’s hands and feet shrivel back into their previous withered condition. Philip remained statuesque.

     For an hour the rigmarole continued unabated. But it was becoming apparent that something was not quite right. The shaman’s face was growing grimmer by the minute. Notwithstanding beads of sweat on his brow and running down his scraggly beard, his movements were becoming more energetic, the pitch of his voice more frenzied. It was clear he was doing his very best.

     Another couple of hours dragged by with no hint that the gods were listening, much less acting. Now the shaman was beginning to show signs of tiring. He was not waving his arms as vigorously anymore. His voice was hoarse, body drenched in perspiration.      The onlookers were growing restless. How long would this drama go on? Soon a new phenomenon became evident. The poor man began to break off in the middle of his chant to slap himself and scratch vigorously. Now it was his arms, now his belly, now his back and chest. A puzzled look came over him. Intermittently he began glancing around as if to make sure an escape route was still open. And now a nameless terror overwhelmed him. He stopped altogether.

"What’s the matter?" Mr. Jagadeesan was anxious. He wasn’t going to pay him for nothing.

     "I don’t know," the man replied in shocked disbelief. "There’s something wrong here. This fellow has a superior power. My charms are all dead, and I can’t explain this itch. I think it’s time to quit. Don’t worry about paying me, just please don’t tell anybody what happened here. I need to save my business." So saying, he hurriedly gathered up his paraphernalia, slung the bundle onto his back and unceremoniously bolted out the door. The angels had battled mightily for four hours.

     Once again Father Jagadeesan fell on his knees. "O my son," he spoke with emotion. ‘Your God is the true God. Please pray for us. We want to follow Him too."

     This dramatic story of the Christian God was noised far and wide, bringing him praise and glory.

     And Philip’s standing as His especially favored one was confirmed in the minds of the populace. Many former Hindus today can trace the beginnings of their conversion to this time when the God of heaven signally honored the faith of His humble servant. Amen.

Sudhir Pandit