Testimony of Lex Thakur.
Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by Me.
" (John 14:6)
I was born into a Hindu family of Gurus near Karachi in Sindh (now in Pakistan). My father and forefathers were “gurus” of a sect of Hinduism and were landed gentry with all things provided for. Our sect goes back a few centuries when our ancestor was given the keys to rule and propagate the religion of this god who appeared to him. Following the partition of India, our family moved to a town near Bombay, India and our thousands of “chellas” (devotees/disciples) were scattered throughout North India, Pakistan, and a few overseas.
My father died when I was 12 years old, leaving my elder brother the title and responsibilities; the title being inherited by the eldest son. Soon after, the responsibility fell on me when my brother went abroad. I learnt partly from my grandmother and partly from one of the elderly disciple who accompanied me on my first travels to visit my “flock” , the duties and rigorous life that was expected of me. I learnt to pray early in the morning daily, after an early bath and purification, to my god and meditate on the “mantras” that I learnt from my uncle.
It was a life of strict discipline, righteousness, rituals and traditions of my forefathers. I studied not only the “shastras” (book) of our religion, but also “Ramayan” and “Bhagvat Gita” (the main Hindu scriptures) and then preached them to my disciples. In addition to preaching and visiting (travelling thousands of miles each year) there was also counselling, reconciliation, attendance at births and wedding ceremonies, etc. Our family of gurus was like the high priest or head of a sect (similar to the Pope for the Catholic church) who is respected, revered, and worshipped - even our picture (in our absence).
My disciples would carry me on their shoulders so that my feet did not touch the ground. They would wash my feet upon reaching their homes and would drink that as “anjal” and would meet all my needs/wants/preferences. All our material and financial needs were gladly met by the tithes of our disciples. They also served us in every way possible because they considered it a privilege and honour to please us so as to please god-guru being a mediator between god and them.
However I wanted to study and be an engineer. I graduated from Baroda University and came to England in early sixties for further studies, with a view to returning after a year. But the God that I now serve had a different plan for my life. Soon after coming to London I met Sointu, an Evangelical Lutheran girl from Finland. After our marriage in 1967 my life was spent in pursuit of a better career and better life for my family. We had a good life - our own house, car, holidays abroad, three beautiful and talented children, and promotion to middle management in a very short period of time, with a promise of a stake in a Consulting Engineers practice.
In the humdrum of my busy life, I seldom prayed to my god. However my wife normally took our children to Church on Sundays and taught them Christian principles. I did go to Church on a few occasions when our children were taking part in a play at Christmas or a Harvest festival. I had no understanding of these festivities nor was I afraid of Christianity - after all my religion was much older and better than this religion and I was half way up there, being a guru, anyway. Then, as if my luck had run out, my ambitions and plans seemed to be dashed. We had to move to North of UK for a job and a new life. My wife and our children had to re-adjust to new environment and conditions. I was too busy pursuing the progress in my career yet again, many times ignoring needs of my family. Neither my life nor job were working out the way I had planned.
God often brings people to Himself through crisis, this happened to us as well. I began to question the existence of God and wondered what purpose there was in life to continue. My wife, in the midst of it all, was praying for God to intervene and help me and the family. God always answers prayer. While on a holiday in Finland, Jesus called my wife to follow Him and later in the day at the Church she heard a voice from heaven saying “you shall be saved and with you your household will be saved” . (For a fuller account of Sointu’s testimony and God’s hand in this all, you can read her book, obtainable from us, called “Willing to Serve?” ) Sointu promised the Lord to serve Him after giving Him excuses about me being a Hindu guru and the children being young. The Lord did take her on her word and now she is serving the Lord too.
Five years later - to the day - God led us to a “Crusade” which was being held in a private school in the next town. I had no idea of the term “crusade” but thought that it would be a kind of children’s play as it was being held on a Saturday in a school. We were a bit late in arriving and found that the place was completely packed out. We thought may be we did not book the tickets and the “play” must be very popular we would not get in. Just then a lady from nowhere (angel?) came out and got hold of my wife’s hand and dragged her in. Well, I with our three children followed her in. To our amazement she took us through the crowd of happy, clapping, singing people to the front row (near the stage) and found just five empty chairs!! The front row in a theatre cost more and this was all free ... I thought this can’t be bad. The songs and the music they were playing was very different to that I had heard in a church but the songs were all about Jesus.
For the first time I heard the speaker speaking about Jesus as if he knew Him. He was sharing how Jesus was healing people of all kinds of diseases and giving life and happiness. Well these were missing in my life. After the meeting we found the people very friendly and warm and we tried to find out who these people were? One lady told us that they were Christians and that when she goes home she takes her Jesus with her! I could not understand how she could say that. Because even to me, a Hindu, Jesus was one of the gods, and you did not carry a god in a handbag? So how could she speak like this about a God who is up in heaven, who is to be revered, respected, feared, and worshiped. But our curiosity made us to look for a Church where these kind of “loving and friendly” people would be. The Lord led us to a Church in our town where the people were very friendly and made us most welcome and saw for the first time the love of Jesus in them.
We heard a business lady, who happened to be there for the first time, explaining how her life had been changed, in a very short period of time, by Lord Jesus who took her to the Philippines to be a missionary to head hunters. She was sharing how Jesus was able to heal the sick not only in that country but also in the UK. Now I had heard from my grandmother and some of our elderly disciples of such miracles being performed by our god way back. But I could not believe that these things could take place in these modern times and especially in the West. She was also calling God her “Father” and Jesus her Lord and friend. Now as a Hindu I knew that Jesus was one of the 33 million gods that we had but in no way could one bring god down to make him their father or a friend. However, I witnessed miracles taking place that night - yet all she prayed was “in the name of Jesus ... ”
That night I was convinced that there were good and evil forces at work in this world. My heart was already stirred and I saw that there is power in the name of Jesus even today, which no other god had. I also started to understand that though there are various roads in life, only one of them leads to heaven, and that is through Jesus Christ (John 14:6). The others, if attempted would lead to destruction and even to death. My emptiness and meaningless life was filled on 23rd October 1983 when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. Soon after this, the Lord showed me a vision of how Jesus hung on the cross, His precious blood drops running down His head and face from the crown of thorns, crying “ Father forgive him for he knows not what he is doing” (I didn’t even know these were the words from the Bible). I realized that Jesus loved me so much that He went to the cross and gave His life for me . I also realized that my “Father” bought me with the highest price, the blood of His beloved Son. Well, I thought that my life would be just fine and all my problems would disappear.
My problems (perhaps of different kind) had only just begun. Temptation and fears of loosing my inheritance, position, privileges and power, wealth and all that was mine/my son’s by right, even rejection by my people and the family. I would be called a traitor and a disrespector of family values and traditions. “How could you do such a thing? ... What is there to gain? you fool, you are going to loose everything” . There was turmoil and doubts in my mind and there was no one to understand me. After four months of trials and testing, I cried out to the Lord “help if you really care for me and show me whether I am on the right road?”
The Lord knows how much we can take and His timing is always perfect. On Thursday the 23rd February 1984 in my office at lunch time the Lord gave me a language that I had not learnt. I never thought that I was even worthy to receive this “gift” of God which I had heard being spoken by mature/elderly Christians in the Church. On Friday morning around five o'clock, I woke up with God’s voice thundering like rushing water in my ears, “There is only one God” . I needed this to be completely free from my past beliefs. On Sunday the 26th February I went through water baptism which I had cancelled the previous week (though my family and others were going to go through with it). I thank God that He gave me the assurance that I needed so desperately just in four days and sealed me with the Holy Spirit of promise (Eph.1:13).
The Lord used me initially in the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship (FGBMFI) to go around and share my testimony in various parts of UK and I saw the Lord touch many lives. Then the Lord opened the doors in Tenerife in 1985 to witness to the Indian (Sindhi) businessmen and also to preach in various churches in other parts of England. This was the start of my involvement in local fraternal of churches to see them brought in to unity through joint Evangelistic outreaches. Also to equip myself properly to serve my God, who called me by my name on the day I surrendered my life to Him (Isaiah 41:9-10), my wife and I attended a Bible school. I was taken into the leadership in our church in 1988 and became an assistant pastor in 1995.
During this period the Lord also took me back to India in1991 when my mother, after seeing Jesus for herself, accepted the Lord Jesus as her Saviour. And from then on, by God’s grace I have been able to share, through crusades, the Good News in India in several cities and witness God move in power. From 1996, the doors opened to Finland to do meetings in various towns where we saw the Lord’s mighty hand in healing cancer, deaf ears, and various other diseases as well as bringing restoration and joy to the afflicted ones. In 1997 the Lord opened the doors to Texas/New Jersey in the US and while there for the first time, by a miracle I was invited to a TV station (channel 22) to share my testimony and pray for the people.
I have also shared the Good News on a Radio Station. The Lord has taken me around the world e.g. back to India, Europe, USA, Canada, Russia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, etc. to see His Kingdom come in the demonstration of power and might. I just praise God that He has brought me up from the farthest corners of the world to take His message of love and healings to the people who have no hope and are suffering. My God that I serve now made me a shepherd of His sheep in a church in Rossendale, near Manchester for five years, to enable me to care and love them as He loved me. Now I itinerate internationally wherever the Lord takes me. My heart’s desire is to see the Kingdom of God increase. I can say as the Apostle Paul, “What things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. And I have become all things to all men that I might by all means save some.”
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” . - Ephesians 4:11-12