THE SERVICE OF SACRIFICE, REV.D. SATHYAMURTHY & PASTOR STELLA
Covid-19 has presently put the second most populated country and the largest democracy in the world in survival mode. Loss of work, hunger, homelessness and poverty are just the tip of the iceberg. The uncertainty of the future brings with it many sleepless nights to breadwinners, especially those who survive on the wages they earn on a daily basis.
With churches not assembling and church members themselves struggling, the situation is very grim. Sadly, many Pastors across the country are struggling to provide for their families amid the lockdown, especially those who come from poorer communities and remote areas. As days pass by, the pressure keeps building up.
Over the past month, Persecution Relief received many desperate calls from Pastors & Believers across India requesting help and support. Each story brings disappointment and sadness. Christians and their families who have not eaten a square meal for days, many of whom scrape whatever little they have to meet the needs of their families, especially their children.
However, not all the calls we received were distress calls. There were a few men and women of God who rose to the occasion with great courage and above all-FAITH IN GOD! These were the ones who put the needs of others before their own. Taking responsibility and initiative to go out of their way to reach out to those who were helpless.
Meet Rev. D. Sathyamurthy and his wife, Pastor Stella. Originally from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, they have been married for 15 years and have 3 young children, 2 boys and a girl. Rev. D. Sathyamurthy began serving the Lord when he was just 17 years old. He has been ministering for the past 35 years and presently serves with Shiloh Ministries in Karnataka, India.
With house rent to be paid and three young mouths to feed, Rev. D. Sathyamurthy and his wife encountered challenges of their own amid the Covid-19 pandemic. However, they were moved with compassion when they learned about the hardships that their fellow pastors were facing as they could identify with their suffering. They would daily receive calls from fellow pastors and believers, who sorrowfully shared their plight with them. With most of them not having a ration card and no help from the government, their condition was deteriorating.
Not having the resources to meet the needs of their fellow believers in Christ and knowing that they could not lean on their own understanding, the Reverend and his wife decided to look to God and fast and pray for seven days. After the seven days of prayer and fasting, God led them to the website of Persecution Relief. They got the organizations contact number from there and hesitantly tried to establish contact.
Initially, they were unable to connect with Persecution Relief, but because God had clearly directed them, they did not loose hope and kept trying. “Because God told us to call, we had great faith that Persecution Relief would help us.” Exclaimed Pastor Stella.
Their obedience to God and perseverance paid off. Ultimately, they were able to connect with the organisation and received more than what they had expected. Persecution Relief provided them with financial support to cover basic monthly groceries and supplies for an entire month. As part of their service and thanksgiving to God, Rev. D. Sathyamurthy and Pastor Stella made their own share of sacrifices.
First, the couple acquired necessary permissions from a local Police station to conduct a relief drive. They then made purchases and packed hampers for distribution. Next, they hired a vehicle to load the supplies in and drove to 7 different places in the Rural Bengaluru and Kolar districts of the Indian state of Karnataka. At every place, they would hire a hall and invite the Pastors to come and pick up their hampers by observing social distancing norms. All in all, they were able to bring relief to over 220 families of Pastors.
These trips that Rev. D. Sathyamurthy and his wife made involved leaving their 3 young children behind and spending the whole day outside, driving from place to place-all of this at a bigger risk of exposing themselves to possibilities of being exposed to the Corona Virus.
“I am very grateful to Persecution Relief. We know many stories of people who were hungry for days together, but they have food now. Many Pastors and believers have testified that God sent help at the right time.” Said Pastor Stella. “An Evangelist and widow named Mable Bagyavathy approached us and told us that her family stayed hungry for 3 whole days because she did not have any food, she was so happy and grateful when she received the relief hamper!”
We do understand that there may be many more people like Mable who are struggling across India, does this thought move your heart with compassion? It is easy for us to feel safe and comfortable inside our home while we read this story, but is God calling you out to service? Is the Holy Spirit challenging you to reach out in some way or the other?
Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. This is the Word that Rev. D. Sathyamurthy, his wife and many others are living out. Persecution Relief encourages you to be available to God and his calling, primarily during this time when our Nation is in pain. It is God’s people who hold the solution to every problem. He will tell you exactly what to do, but only if you are willing to say ‘YES’ to his call!
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