The Testimony of George Pappachen
Meeting Glory for the First Time
Before becoming a missionary to the Philippines, George Pappachen was born and raised in a Roman Catholic family in India. His clan was known for its Syrian Christian heritage. George was the youngest child.
He grew up journeying to school on foot, traveling 7 kilometers back and forth in distance.
By the time he took up Agricultural Management at a university, George was still travelling a long way by two bus rides and more walking. But this season of George’s life in school was the one that changed the course of his entire existence. And all because of a girl that he met in class.
Her name was Glory.
George was a freshman in college when he met her. They were not friends; they were merely classmates. George vividly remembers Glory because she spoke English fluently. In George’s town, everyone learned in Malayalam. But as a college student, everything was taught and learned in English.
All the teachers in his school were religious, and when they had discussions on religion, the teachers often dominated the class with sharp words. George noticed that Glory never seemed interested in their arguments. In fact, she separated herself from others.
One day during lunch time, George and his friend, Abraham, were inside the classroom instead of the cafeteria because they didn’t have money to eat. Glory brought sandwiches to school. She gave George and Abraham a sandwich each, paving the way for a friendship to start. Glory, who was a believer of Jesus, also shared the Gospel to them. She did this daily, so George and Abraham listened to her every day because they didn’t want to lose their sandwiches.
One day, their professor didn’t arrive. Glory boldly shared the gospel to their class, leading George and his classmates to pray the sinners’ prayer and to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. George and his friends obliged. With Glory’s leading, they managed to mouth the prayers in between bouts of laughter.
On their last year at the university—and on on their final exam— George and his friends were about to leave the building when Glory and her friends came up to him. Glory told him she knew that he and his friends didn’t really accept Jesus. With her eyes brimming with tears, she told George, “But one day, God will catch you. God will use you. You become the minister. You become the missionary.”
That was the last time George and Glory saw each other. The year was 1992.
A Change of Heart
Unknown to George, someone in his family was receiving revelation from God through a Catholic charismatic movement. George’s older brother had given his life to Jesus, quit his job, and joined a seminary to learn more about the Christian faith. This brother shared the Gospel to their mother and encouraged George to go to church with her. George did so and was serious this time. He started reading the Bible instead of his usual habit of listening to his battery-operated radio. He knew Bible verses and understood them even without a commentary, as if someone were teaching all these things to him. He eventually understood and believed in God.
Straying from the Call Like Jonah
In India, the youngest child is usually left with the responsibility of taking good care of his/her parents as they age. George, being the youngest, was feeling this pressure coming from his family. To satisfy his family’s desire, he enrolled in Telecommunications Engineering. Even in school, the desire to serve God was so strong. George brought his Bible everywhere with him on campus, and during leisure time, read his Bible. He was experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit in his life.
However, despite the nudge he felt to serve the Lord full time in ministry, George applied for a job in line with agriculture. A company offered him a position and he accepted it. He started working there but suddenly had a strange problem. There was severe pain in his legs and he could not stand after sitting! The doctor was unable to find anything wrong.
What happens next in the life of George Pappachen? What happens when a person strays from his call? What does God do to bring that person back?
Read Part 2 for the continuation of George’s story in One Voice Magazine.