Do Not Despise Small Beginnings
Thursday, August 10, 2023
Written by India Gospel Outreach
Praise God for India Bible College and Seminary’s Class of 2023.
This 93rd annual graduation service, held on May 4th, marked a special milestone in the history of India Bible College and Seminary: the first large public graduation service since the beginning of the COVID pandemic in 2020.
Over 1,200 attended, and there would have been more except that at the last minute, bad winds and rains prevented people from coming, and also collapsed the temporary structure erected for the occasion, forcing people inside under more crowded conditions.
This year saw 104 men and women graduate from its various academic programs—an increase of 40 over last year as students made up for lost time. Due to the pandemic, the government commandeered IBC buildings for use as a COVID Care Center from March 2020 to March 2022, closing down in-person classes until the school reopened in mid-2022.
During that two-year period, IBC instructors held online classes, but a number of students either did not have computers or connectivity.
IGO President Valson Abraham, also President of IBC, presided over the event.
Theme of this year’s graduation was, “Christ’s Resurrection and Ours.” This class was represented by 21 different language groups from throughout India.
Keynote speaker for the graduation was Mr. Philips Dayanindhi, Vice President and Chief Digital and Information Officer of Bosch Global Software Technologies, a company with 415,000 employees worldwide, 50,000 of them in India. Mr. Dayanindhi is also a board member of IGO India and a committed Christian, elder, Bible teacher and mentor. His wife is an adjunct faculty member at IBC.
His address, “Small Beginnings, Great Outcomes,” applies to all of us who call ourselves “Christian.” His text came from Zechariah 4:10. He began by telling how John Bunyan, an unknown, poorly educated man, wrote “Pilgrim’s Progress” from a prison cell—a book that has had untold worldwide impact upon hundreds of millions and has never been out of print since it was first published in 1678.
He reminds us that God rejoices when a new work begins, not just at the end. The Bible is filled with stories of people who began small and ended up with great outcomes—Joseph, Daniel, David and the Church itself.
“God chooses you,” he said, “not for who you are now, but what He can make of you in the future.” Each of us is called for a special purpose. What begins as a seed becomes tomorrow’s tree. Do today’s small things as unto the Lord with all your heart. Whatever God speaks to you now, do it, even if it seems tiny and inconsequential, or even if it seems to make no sense.
Your call is unique to you and your particular gifts and experiences. All calls have a common purpose—to build the kingdom of God. Don’t let others distract you from your calls. Remember who called you. Remember your Source. What God begins, He completes.
Mr. Dayanindhi spoke from experience. As a young man from a humble background, he began to work with Bosch as a blue-collar worker. Early on, the Holy Spirit told him, “One day, you will become ‘number two’ in the company.” It seemed to make no sense, but he knew he was hearing God’s voice, and it governed his actions. Today, he has experienced God’s promise. Let God’s promise to you come true as you take action in trust of His unfailing word
Various graduates of this class have testified to the power of God to transform their lives.
Kunal Prashant Banerjee, a Bachelor of Divinity graduate, comes from Mumbai, in Maharashtra. He was born into a Hindu Brahmin family. Both his father and grandfather were Brahmin priests. According to tradition, it was his future responsibility to do priestly work and continue the religious heritage of many generations before him. But God had different ideas.
In 2001, various family members experienced serious health issues. His sister had acute tonsillitis. Kunal suffered from a severe cough, and discovered he had a hole in his heart. His father suffered from severe asthma attacks, and his grandmother from breast cancer. Although his father and grandfather knew all the religious rituals, none of these had any effect on their problems.
In the midst of these multiple health crises, a pastor prayed for them, and they all recovered without having to have any surgery. In 2002, his parents forsook their old traditions and committed their lives to Jesus Christ, but not without strong opposition from other family members. At 14, Kunal also put his faith in Jesus and received baptism. He began to receive prophetic words that he would enter into ministry. At first, he disregarded them.
Then in 2016, while the family traveled by jeep to Gujarat, they had an accident. The jeep overturned at high speed, but no one was hurt. The local people who saw the accident were astonished. Many accidents had taken place at that same spot, they said, but it was the first time that anyone had lived and suffered no injuries.
That day, Kunal knew he had encountered the unconditional love of Jesus and committed himself to ministry. Later, he joined India Bible College and Seminary. He knows that God is calling him to share the love of Jesus with the unreached peoples of West Bengal, in north India.
Ramesh Bahe was also born and raised as a Hindu, in Madhya Pradesh. His mother had complex and incurable physical problems. Though his family were all Hindus, none of their deities helped them. As a last resort, though they still called themselves “Hindus,” they turned to Jesus. Somewhere, they had heard that Jesus heals. So they prayed, waiting with some anxiety to see if Jesus would heal a Hindu.
To his family’s shock, Jesus completely healed his mother. They all realized that Jesus loved them, no matter what, and that He was willing and able to help even them, without even having to pay money. This so amazed them, that Ramesh and his entire family committed their lives to Jesus Christ.
Later God clearly spoke to Ramesh to tell others about Him. This led him to join India Bible College and Seminary where he just completed his Bachelor of Theology course and is waiting for God
to show him the next step.
Sabithi Anand Kumar comes from a nominal Christian family in Andhra Pradesh. While he was in high school, his father passed away, a time that brought many changes in his family. As he reached college age, he was in much confusion about what to study and where. His mother advised him to join a Bible college, but his uncle told him to continue with secular studies.
This confusion moved him to pray to God to show him the right path. Then God spoke to him clearly. Like the boy Samuel, at first, he did not know who was speaking to him, but after some time, he realized that God was inviting him to join Him in taking the Good News to the unreached.
Without hesitation, he obeyed God in this call, discovering India Bible College and Seminary and entering the Bachelor of Theology program. Later, he also completed the Master of Divinity program as well. Now, following his graduation, he is doing ministry in a tribal village in Andhra Pradesh.
Mruthynjaya comes from the state of Karnataka, the only son in his family. An older brother died of malaria in 2001, and Mruthynjaya was born the following year. His mother is a firm believer in Jesus Christ, but his father, a blind man, does not believe in any god or in Jesus Christ. Through his mother, he came to faith in Christ, was raised in godliness and developed a good value system. Though his father did not oppose his decision to become a believer or to enter gospel ministry, other family members did.
With his mother and church family supporting him mentally and spiritually, he knew that God was calling him to become a missionary and church planter. His pastor is a graduate of IBC.
Mruthynjaya testifies to many miracles that God has worked in his life. As a small child, he was diagnosed with acute appendicitis. He had other unusual conditions that prevented the doctor from performing the needed surgery. At this critical time, his mother took him to a fasting prayer meeting. Many spiritual brothers and sisters called out to God for his healing, and his healing was complete. This and many other miracles sustained him during times of family opposition.
He completed his Bachelor of Theology degree and is now working on his Master of Divinity degree. After his studies, he will go wherever God directs him.
Pray that God will guide these four and the other one hundred graduates as they go to their various places of ministry in coming days.
Pray that they will grow in their relationship with God and become effective communicators of the Good News in word and deed.
Pray that they will become effective disciplers of those they lead to Him.
Pray for their families.
Pray that they will become faithful in the little things so God will make them ruler over many things.