Life With God Is A Faith Adventure Par Excellence
Twenty-nine year old Sungeeta Jain was born and raised in the United States of America. Born into a Jain family, Sungeeta did not know the Lord until 1990, when her entire family converted to Christianity. Prior to the family's conversion, on June 14, 1986, Sungeeta and her family were in a devastating car accident that left Sungeeta confined to a wheelchair. At the age of ten, Sungeeta had to relearn how to live her life, from putting on her socks, to moving about using a wheelchair. At the same time, she learned how to believe in herself and trust God. Determined not to let her disability hinder her, Sungeeta graduated from a top engineering college in the US with a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering. She also went on to get a juris doctorate degree in Law. Out of college she worked as an advisor to two high court judges. She is currently working as an associate in the premier law firm in the the United States. Among the many blessings of God in her life, Sungeeta won the title of Miss Teen of Washington in 1993, becoming the first person in the world in a wheelchair. She was also third runner up in the Miss Teen of America Pageant. Over the years Sungeeta, a Jain Christian has had the privilege of sharing her testimony and about how God has touched her with school children, political figures, churches, hospitals, youth groups and community groups both in India and the United States. God has powerfully moved at all gatherings, healing the sick, delivering the oppressed and filling His people with the baptism and power of the Holy Spirit.View all articles by Sungeeta Jain
As a teenager, when I gave my life to Jesus, I could never have imagined the awesome adventure I was about to embark on. It is an adventure that has allowed me to travel to the ends of the earth, partner with the forces of good, and battle against the legions of evil. It is an adventure that has allowed me to see, hear and experience the supernatural as I have put on the helmet of salvation, taken up the shield of faith and wielded the sword of the Spirit.
Now some may say I am being overly dramatic. In America, we are used to living a simple, mundane, predictable Christian life. But, over the years, I have come to realize that Christian life is anything but simple, mundane or predictable. This year alone, for me, has been full of adventure, excitement and the unknown. I started the year as an employment attorney for a prestigious law firm – working around the clock on a high profile case – making good money. I am ending the year unemployed in a foreign land – working to reach and help nameless people – living completely by faith.
The Adventure Begins
On June 14, 1986, my family and I were in a devastating car accident. We were returning home from Vancouver, B.C., when all of a sudden, our car skidded on gravel and flipped into a ditch. What followed was like a bad dream. There were doctors and nurses all around me, shoving all sorts of tubes into my body. When I finally woke up, although the doctors had gone and there were no more tubes, the fact remained that I could no longer use my legs.
I was sentenced to life as a paraplegic.
Immediately I spiraled into depression. Questioning everything. Questioning my future. Questioning God. Questioning my very existence. Why me? God, why did this happen to me?
After the car accident, my family became extremely spiritual. My mom prayed from morning until night, religiously folding her hands and bowing her head before the long line of gods in the makeshift temple in our home. Pundits would tell my parents that if they “donated” a certain sum of money, the pundits would perform a ritual and I would be healed. My parents spent thousands of dollars, but there was no healing. We tried acupuncture, reflexology, ayurvedic medicine…all to no avail. We chased after every ray of hope anyone would give us.
There was no peace in our home.
Then one day, we met a Christian man. He offered to pray for me. Because his prayers were free, my parents obliged. He began telling me of a different kind of God. A God of love. For years I had believed that God was upset with me. That I was being punished for my sins. But this man was telling me that Jesus loves me. He loves me so much, He died for me.
Through a series of events, which I will not get into here, within a matter of weeks, my entire family was saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. Even before we fully understood the “Christmas story” and the “Easter story,” we were speaking in tongues.
Immediately, our lives took a 180 degree turn.
Like most baby Christians, at first, I was on fire for God. Within months, my family was lead by the Spirit to embark on our first mission’s trip to India. The Lord promised that His angels would go before us and He would give us the words to speak. He is true to His word. All we had was the simple faith that all things are possible in Jesus’ name and no matter what, Jesus is stronger. As we laid our hands on the sick and oppressed, all we knew to do was to say, “In Jesus name.” Then we would pray in tongues. The Lord did the rest. People would spontaneously begin repenting. Evil spirits began to flee. The sick were healed. Many were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.
When I returned home, everywhere I went, I shared about Jesus with those around me. But, like for most Christians, the fire of my first love soon began to grow dim. I didn’t backslide…but life happened.
I would still go on missions trips for one to two months out of the year, and see the power of God, but the remaining ten to eleven months were spent living “life as normal.” First engineering college, then law school began to consume my time. As I began my first job, I realized there were not enough hours in the day to eat, sleep and work. At the law firm I found myself working six to seven days a week, ten to fourteen hours a day. It was normal. Everyone was doing it.
But, where was the time for God?
Faith is an Action Word
While working at the law firm, I would often watch the window washers cleaning the windows of the building across the street. The window washers began from the top of a 30 storey building, harnessed to two ropes; they slowly let themselves down one floor at a time. They seemed at ease as they chatted and performed the task before them. Now that is faith. The two men had faith that the ropes would sustain them and they would not fall.
Watching the window washers reminded me of a quote from the author CS Lewis I once read:
You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by a rope over a precipice. Wouldn't you then first discover how much you really trusted it? Only a real risk tests the reality of a belief.
I thought I had faith. I said I had faith. But sometimes I wondered...what would I do if that faith was put to the test? What would I do if I were forced to hang from the rope?
I have often heard, “Faith is an action word.” But how does one act on his/her faith?
Back on Track - Faith in Action
In May of 2005, I had my first experience with “mall ministry.” Mall ministry is a term we use for ministering outside of church meetings or organized gatherings. Mall ministry is ministering wherever you are to those around you. It is really going into all the world and preaching the good news.
We began going to shopping malls in the greater Seattle area and offering to pray for people as God led us. It may sound easy, but it is actually quite scary. It takes a lot of boldness to walk up to a complete stranger and to offer to pray for him or her. You never know how they will react. Most people are a little surprised and taken a back. Some are happy to receive prayer. Others are offended at the invasion of their space.
The second time we did mall ministry, in early June, about eight of us went. Before we broke out into teams of two or three, I briefly talked to a young woman who had just returned from a mission’s trip to Mozambique. She told me that when she was there she prayed with a man who was deaf in one ear and God completely restored his hearing! She also was part of a team that prayed for a blind person and the person's eyesight got better. Praise God! When I heard about these miracles, I said a short prayer to the Lord telling Him that I wanted to see these kinds of miracles. I wanted to see the creative power of God at work.
Pam, Kelly and I formed a team and headed out into “all the world,” after saying a quick prayer. The first person we approached curtly told us, "I don't want any." The second person we approached began to tear up as she said, "I am not ready." The third person we approached shooed us away as she said, "Move on." No one wanted prayer...and they were being kind of rude. It takes enough courage as it is to approach a complete stranger and to offer to pray for them, but after being (rudely) shot down three times in a row, the fear factor definitely increases.
My first reaction was to call it a day. But then, I began talking to God. He reminded me of the Great Commission. We are to “go” and “preach” and “pray,” He will do the rest. So, I told Him that regardless of how many people turned us down, I would keep approaching people. And, even if no one wanted prayer today, I would be back next week and the week after and the week after. I would not be deterred.
At this point, we saw my little brother, who had organized the ministry outing. We told him that no one wanted prayer. He told us to pray and ask God to intervene. So, Pam, Kelly and I stopped in the middle of the mall and began to pray. We put the ministry in Jesus' hands and asked Him to guide us as to whom to talk to and to work in the hearts of those we talked to. As soon as we opened our eyes, we saw a blind woman (she had a cane to identify her) to our left. She was sitting down, attempting to eat her lunch. Pam and Kelly said we should approach her. I felt hesitant...what if she too rejected us? Or worse yet...what if we offended her? I knew I was just making excuses. So, I took a deep breath, said a quick prayer and approached the woman. I reached out and gently touched her hand to let her know I was there, and introduced myself. Pam and Kelly followed suit. Her name was Emilee.
We began talking with Emilee. She said she was a Christian too. As we continued to talk, we offered to pray for her. We told her that we believe in healing. And we believe that God can heal her. Emilee hesitated. Then she responded, saying, "I believe that sometimes God makes you a certain way because He wants you to be that way. There is a purpose behind it. I don't believe God wants to heal me."
I was not expecting that answer, but immediately I said, "No, no, no, no. God wants to heal you. Even if there was a purpose behind you being blind, I believe that purpose is fulfilled. Part of the purpose is that He wants to be glorified through your healing. So many people will come to Christ through your healing!"
I began to share with Emilee about the many miracles I had witnessed. When I was done, Emilee said, "But I don't think God can heal me. I have been blind since I was born." But she agreed to let us pray for her. She had nothing to lose. Emilee then began telling us about various birth defects. She had been born with crooked feet and her ankles were always in pain. Also, she could not straighten her left arm.
Now, I did not have enough faith to believe that God would heal her eyes if we prayed for her. But, I knew that if we prayed for her ankles God could heal the pain and straighten them out. So, I asked her, “Emilee can we pray for your ankles?” She agreed.
We began praying for Emilee’s ankles and feet. I looked up at Emilee’s face. She was in shock! I asked her, “What is happening?” She replied, in a shaky voice, “Something’s happening.” I asked if we could pray again. She said okay. As I put my hand on her leg, I literally felt something move in her leg. Excited, I exclaimed, “Emilee did you feel that?” She said, “Yes!” We prayed four times and her ankles were completely straight and the pain was gone. She said her ankles had never been completely pain free like that before!
We were all in a state of shock.
Now, I still did not have the faith to pray for her eyes, so I asked Emilee, “What else is wrong? What can we pray for?” She said she could not straighten her left arm. We said a quick prayer and asked her to straighten her arm. She slowly began straightening it…all the way! We began to rejoice.
She said, “I gotta call my Mom. I gotta call my Mom.” I asked her to wait until we were done praying.
Still not wanting to pray for her eyes, I asked Emilee, “What else is wrong? What can we pray for?” Emilee said, “Pray for my eyes!”
Shoot! I was not ready…but I hesitantly said, “Okay. What do you see?” She said she could not really see anything. Her right eye was completely blind. She was extremely nearsighted in her left eye. She could read things that were one or two inches away from her left eye.
I said, “Close your eyes.” We laid hands on her and began to pray. Then we asked her, “What do you see?”
I do not think any of us really expected her to see anything. But, all of a sudden she said, “I see something black.” Now, the only black thing I could see was a sign that was about 20-30 feet away. Surely she was not seeing that. I asked her, “Can you read it?” She said, “No.”
A little unsure of what had just happened, we asked her to close her eyes again. We said another short prayer and asked her to open her eyes and tell us what she was seeing. She said, “It has the letter ‘G’ on it.” The sign really did have a letter “G” on it. Almost in disbelief I asked, “Can you read it?” She said, “No.”
She closed her eyes again. We prayed again. She opened her eyes, and as she burst into tears, she said, “It says, ‘Godiva.’” She had just read a sign 20-30 feet away! We all began to rejoice and praise God. She was not seeing perfectly clearly, but she was seeing!
Again Emilee said she needed to call her mom. And of course, this time I did not stop her.
Then for one hour we continued to pray with Emilee. Each time we prayed, she could see something more, something further, something clearer. Finally, she said, “I can see from my right eye!” We said, “What?” She repeated, “I can see from my right eye!” Her right eye had been completely blind. To test it, Pam put her hand over Emilee’s left eye. I started holding up fingers. Emilee told me exactly how many fingers I was holding up!
We stopped praying with Emilee after about one hour. She was exhausted. She could not see perfectly yet, but she was seeing. As we left, Emilee said to us, “I thought I would be blind my whole life. I never thought I would be able to see. But I am seeing now!”
Calling the Ordinary
As Americans, we are taught to pride ourselves in our individuality and uniqueness. But, to tell you the truth, I am just an ordinary girl. There is nothing “special” about me. I have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, a juris doctor degree in law. I am an attorney by profession (or at least I was, until October 2005). I was born and raised in Seattle. The youngest daughter of a middle class family. In my free time I like to write. I enjoy drama and acting. I am somewhat artistic. I love music. I collect Barbie dolls. Like I said, I am just an ordinary girl.
I Corinthians 1:26-29 says:
26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.
God is calling the ordinary to do the extraordinary.
An Adventure in Faith
On September 1, 2005, my mother and I were ending a 5 week mission’s trip to India and Indonesia. We were supposed to fly back to the US on that day. Just a few hours before our flight, I went to the market to buy some VCDs. As I was about to enter the shop, a ten-year-old boy stopped me. He asked me to purchase the yet to bloom, purpled hued, lotus flowers he was selling. I told the boy I did not need the flowers. As I looked over at the little boy, I noticed that there was something wrong with his eyes. But, I did not say anything.
The child pleaded with me to buy the flowers. I tried to explain to him that I did not need the flowers. I was headed back to the US in a matter of hours, so I would not even be around to see them bloom. But, then the little boy said the magic words. He told me he was hungry. Although I told the boy I still did not want to buy the flowers, I promised to buy him dinner when I was done shopping.
As I exited the VCD shop, the little boy approached me again. I asked him his name. Sakir. I again noticed there was something wrong with his eyes. This time, I felt compelled to ask him, “Is there something wrong with your eyes?” Sakir nodded, “Yes.” He told me that he had a congenital cataract in one eye. As a result, he had been blind in his right eye since birth.
I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me, and I blurted out, “If we pray for your eyes, Jesus can heal them. Can we pray for you?” As soon as I said this, I felt a surge of panic run through my body. What was I saying? What was I thinking? What if God did not do it? I tired to back-peddle, qualifying my statement. But the Holy Spirit stopped me. So, in faith I repeated, my voice shaking a bit, “If we pray for your eyes, Jesus can heal them. Can we pray for you?”
The little boy was shy, and perhaps a little confused and taken off guard, but he agreed. Right there, in the middle of the marketplace, I reached my hand out and placed it on Sakir’s forehead. My sister and I began to pray. After saying a short prayer, I asked the boy if he felt any improvement. Honestly, I did not expect that anything had happened.
But, to my surprise, Sakir responded and said he could see more clearly. I felt the faith within me rise. With excitement, I asked Sakir if we could pray again. This time he immediately jumped on the offer.
As we continued to pray and test Sakir’s eyes, a few people began to gather around. They began asking the boy if he was telling the truth about the healing. He insisted that his eyesight was improving with prayer.
To ensure that Sakir was not just trying to please me, I asked him if he was telling the truth. I promised him that regardless of whether his eyesight improved or not, I would buy him dinner. I just needed for him to tell the truth. Sakir repeated, “I am telling the truth. I can see now.”
We prayed again. Again he felt an improvement. He said his vision was almost perfect. More people gathered and began to question Sakir. Soon Sakir got a little flustered with all of the attention and became shy. He said he did not want any more prayer.
So, then as promised, we took Sakir to buy him some food. After he was done eating I asked him if he wanted ice cream. His reply was an emphatic, “Yes, please.” My sister took him to get some ice cream.
As I was waiting for my sister to return, I began to look at things at a small jewelry stall. Suddenly a boy in his mid-twenties came up to me. Kamal Singh. He said, “Ma’am that boy’s eyes were just healed. I have pain in my eyes. Can you do something for me?” I said, “All I can do is pray for you. Jesus can heal you.” I reached over and prayed for his eyes. Immediately the pain went away.
Then three of Kamal Singh’s friends came to me. One asked, “Do you only pray for eyes or can you pray for other things as well?” I told him, “I can pray for anything in the name of Jesus.” He asked me to pray for his foot. He had a metal rod in it and it would sometimes hurt. We prayed.
Then another boy, Deepak, also in his mid-twenties said, “Pray for me too. I am very near sighted and cannot see far away. If God healed the boy from cataracts, He can heal me.” So I prayed for Deepak. I said five to six short prayers and he was completely healed.
By this time a crowd of twenty to thirty people had gathered around me. They began to question. “What is she doing?” “Is this some sort of vibration technology?” “Is this a science?” I responded, “No, this is Jesus.” I heard as the word spread in the crowd, “Oh, she is praying in the name of Jesus.”
I started to pray for different ones. My sister, standing on the outer boundary of the crowd, also began to pray for the various needs. As we were praying, a police officer came and broke things up. He said to the people, “She can’t heal herself, how can she heal you? She is making a fool of you all. Someone is going to pick your pocket in this set-up.” I replied and said, “I am not doing anything. God is healing the people.” But, when I noticed the time, I began to leave. We needed to get home, eat dinner and get ready to drive to the airport to catch our flight back home.
But, people kept asking for prayer. So, I announced that on Friday at 10AM anyone who wanted prayer could come to our house in Faridabad and someone would pray for them. I told them that I was leaving for the US, but my sister would be there to pray.
The policeman again told the people it was fake. The people did not listen to the policeman and followed me. Many of them began pleading with me to just pray for them or their children one time before leaving. How could I not? So, I stopped and started praying again. God started to heal a little boy’s eyes and a man’s back. Again, as I was praying the policeman came and began to threaten us, “I will beat you up and throw you in jail if you don’t leave right now!”
It was getting late and we had a flight to catch. So, we began to leave, again. The people followed me to the car. I prayed for people even as the car was pulling out of the parking lot. As we arrived home, a sixteen year old boy was waiting. His name was Ankit. Ankit said that he would be in school the next day at 10AM, so he wanted prayer. He said that he was easily distracted and was not able to concentrate on his studies. We prayed.
When I got inside the house, two young women came. One of the women said her husband had called her from the market and told her what had happened. He had instructed her that she must come to our house for prayer. We prayed with her for a family situation. Then my sister told me to share with the girls about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We did and the girls received the Holy Spirit right there and then!
I began to eat dinner. Ankit showed up all of a sudden with a friend, Sanjeev. Sanjeev had bad eyesight. His eyes were so weak that he would get dizzy. We said two short prayers and his eyes were completely healed. Then we shared with the boys about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Both boys received and began speaking in tongues!
With this unexpected, mini-revival breaking out, how could we just fly back to the US? God had greater plans! I begged my Dad to change our flight back to the US.
The next morning, we got up early in the morning, and began praying at 8:00 AM for the 10:00 AM meeting. As we were praying, I kept feeling the Lord tell me: “Lean not on your own understanding. Your ways are not My ways. This is the day the Lord has made.”
As 10:00 AM approached, we ate breakfast and waited for people to arrive. We went outside on the veranda. The clock struck 10:00 AM. No one came. Soon it was 10:15 AM. Still no one had come. Why weren’t people coming? Indian standard time?
At around 10:30 AM, we went inside and began to pray. As we were praying, we began feeling a little disheartened that no one had come. But, yet the anticipation remained. We just knew that God had great and mighty things in store. He could not have caused us to change our flight for nothing.
As it neared 11:00 AM, all of a sudden there was a little commotion and four women and a man came for prayer. Then two boys came. And after that people started coming for prayer. Over the next ten days, twenty to thirty people came every day for prayer. Many were healed and filled with the Holy Spirit. We saw the Lord heal asthma, arthritis, hernias, slipped discs, sinus problems, eyesight problems, and hearing problems. The last day a lady who did not have an eardrum started to hear. Some of the people even had their healings medically verified.
Many started coming for regular Bible studies. They were so hungry for the word of God and to know Him.
To Be Chosen
Many of us have seen famous preachers on TV, heard the stories of healing evangelists, listened in awe as people recount testimonies of amazing miracles, and thought, “Lord, I want to be used in that way.”
“God, I wish I had a calling on my life like that.”
But then we step back and we examine our lives, we look at ourselves and think: “I don’t really pray enough.” “I don’t read my Bible enough.” “I make a lot of mistakes.” “I give in to temptations.” “I am not a mature Christian.” Or “I am just an ordinary person.”
“God has not chosen me.”
In Matthew 20:16, the Bible says, “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
This scripture has often been used in the context of salvation. However, it is equally applicable to the call of God on our lives. It is like an employer looking to fill a vacant job. Many are called for the interview, but only a select few make it past the interview to receiving an offer of employment. Employers are attracted to applicants who display an enthusiasm for the job, an eagerness to work hard, a sincerity, a loyalty. Those of us who have been through the interview process know all too well that it is not always the most “qualified” person who lands the job. Employers are looking for whom they perceive will be dedicated workers. Employers choose the applicant who sticks out.
In the same way, the Lord is not looking for the “perfect Christian.” He is looking for those who are willing to take up their cross and follow Him. Like it is often said, “God is not looking for ability, He is looking for availability.”
Many are called, but few are chosen. It is up to us to lift up our hand in the crowd and say, “Lord choose me. Lord send me. I am willing to go.”
A New Adventure
During the ten days that we stayed over in India after the miracle in the marketplace, God began to work in our hearts. At first, we tried to deny it, but we knew that the Lord was calling my mother and me back to India. He was calling us back to the people, who in less than a fortnight had made their way into our hearts.
We left India on September 11, 2005. I returned to work on September 13, 2005. On September 16, 2005, I gave notice at my job. In the flesh, it was not easy to do. I was turning my back on all that I had worked for…all that I knew. Trading it in for the unknown. But, in the Spirit I knew I had no other choice.
On November 11, 2005, exactly two months after we left, we returned to India. Our vision is to follow-up with those whom the Lord touched in September by having prayer meetings and Bible studies. We also aim to establish an orphanage and school.
The Lord keeps re-assuring us that He is in control. He will provide the finances, the ability, the resources, the connections, the people…EVERYTHING. We just need to be obedient and trust in Him.
With a step of faith, a new adventure has begun.
Now some may be thinking that it is awesome that my mother and I are following the call of God on our lives. But, God has a call on your life. It is up to you to heed that call.
You may be thinking, “Oh, no, no…God does not have a call on my life now. That is for the future…or maybe that was for the past. Not now.” Let me assure you God has a call on the life of each and every person who is reading this article. And that call is for now.
I am not saying that God is telling you to leave everything you have and move to a foreign country. No. There may be some of you who God is speaking that to. For each one, the Lord has a special calling. Often it is a progressive calling. As you are faithful in the little He has entrusted you with, He will enlarge your territory.
So, if you are tired of routine Christianity and want to embark on your own adventure with Christ, I make you a two week challenge. For two weeks, spend time in prayer asking the Lord to reveal the calling on your life. And during these two weeks, put your faith in action. Step out of your comfort zone. Testify to that friend, or stranger, whom you have felt the urge to testify to, but never have. Pray for the impossible situations you and those around you are facing. Believe for a miracle.
Raise your hand and ask the Lord to choose you.