am one of 11
children in the
family. I was very sick in my childhood and suffered from severe asthma and tuberculosis. My parents gave up hope. Finally, my parents decided to place me in the hands of the Master Healer. After a year of sincere prayers, our compassionate God healed me miraculously. Seeing the blessed healing of God, my parents dedicated me for His ministry.
Since my parents were heavily burdened financially, they were unable to send any of their children to school. Moreover, the caste system was very prevalent in those days. The teachers in the government schools were from high caste. Lower-caste students were not encouraged to study because of the problem of untouchability. I was sent to take care of the cattle of a high-caste landlord. I did this for two years.
In those days all the people in my village were illiterate except my church pastor’s family. Seeing the need, my pastor, M. M. Prasad Rao (retired) and his wife Prema decided to start an Adult Literacy Program in the evenings on the church premises.
Our pastor’s family gathered some young, married ladies and a few boys to teach basic literacy. My pastor’s wife was a personal friend to many young ladies in the church, and she was also a good motivator and singer. Mostly through her talent of singing, she gathered many young ladies and taught them songs and stories. The young women were interested. They were very prompt in coming to church to sing songs. After a while, these ladies realized the value of reading and writing because the pastor’s wife sang many new songs from the church hymnal.
An invitation was extended to the ladies, and some boys also came to church for one hour in the evenings to learn new songs for 30 minutes and learn to read and write for another 30 minutes. This became an ongoing program.
Many attended the class with great enthusiasm. Twenty ladies learned to read and write and also sing from the church hymnal within six months. My church became a very lively, musical church. The news spread that the pastor’s wife was teaching the members basic literacy.
In 1968, I was still a shepherd boy caring for the sheep during
Pr. T. D. Francis
Pr. T. D. Francis is the director of Adventist Seminary, Ibrahimpatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India.
the day. The pastor and his wife encouraged a handful of boys to come and learn songs, pray, and sleep in church. I was one of them. We woke up very early in the morning and went to work. Seeing our interest and enthusiasm, our pastor’s wife taught us the alphabet. Soon we received the blessing of reading and writing.
Through the dedicated work and encouragement of our pastor’s family, that group of boys learned well at the evening school and eventually left their work and joined Flaiz Memorial Boarding School, our school of prophets. In 1969 I became a witness for the Savior; I was 11 years old. Three boys in that group became ordained ministers, serving the church, and the rest went to work for the government.
Today 89 percent of men and women in my village are literate. Many are employed. My pastor’s family inspired many through the Adult Literacy Program. I am very grateful and thankful to my Lord for the abundant blessings in my life and for the privilege of training young people for His ministry and being a blessing to them.