I was born and raised in a middle class family in Calcutta - a city of over 18 million people. It is often said that Calcutta is one of the poorest urban cities in the world. Yet there is a spirit about this great city. This city has been blessed by missionaries like William Carey, Mother Teresa and Mark and Huldah Buntain – who have had a major impact on my life. Personally, my parents and my grandmother played a very vital role in instilling in me spiritual values at a very young age.

Growing up in a country where millions go without food or other basic necessities of life, made me grateful to God for what I had. But, in 1983, life took an ugly turn in our family. My only sister Elisabeth was diagnosed with leukemia. She passed away on June 9, 1983 at the tender age of seven. I was a year and a half older than her. I was shattered. I remember the day she died. We were in our ancestral home in Kerala in the southern part of India, our entire family standing around her deathbed as she closed her eyes.

There was a long silence in that room as many thought she had died. I had no idea what was going on but cried "Sheba," which was her nick name at home. What followed shocked everybody in that room. She opened her eyes, looked at me, and then closed her eyes never to open again. That was my first moment of truth with death. The death of my sister was such a painful thing for my parents - seeing them hurt I had no idea whom to turn to with my feelings. I ended up bottling my feelings within me, and that gave birth to a sense of rebellion and anger towards God.

I would constantly ask God why this had happened to our family, which was so religious and who put God before everything else. I started asking the question which most people ask when they lose their loved one: "Why do bad things happen to good people...?"

I was about fifteen when, at a Vacation Bible School at my home church in Calcutta, Mark Buntain, a missionary to Calcutta from North America, preached on a message from one of the parables from the Bible.

At the altar he laid his hands on me and said a prophetic prayer as to how God would use me one day to impact millions. Now I see the fulfillment of this prayer. I was married on January 27, 2000 in Calcutta to my beautiful wife Mary, and I moved to the United States on February 22, 2001. I left home with $50 and two suitcases stuffed with my clothes and books for a new life overseas. In about four weeks on arriving on the east coast I ended up for an interview at Network Plus on the 81st floor of the World Trade Center. I was escorted to the conference hall. Through the glass windows of the room I saw the most glorious sight of all - the Statue of Liberty.



You can read about what happened to Mary and me on September 11 by clicking here.

For more information, please click to Sujo John Ministries