Having been born in India, I grew up in Macomb, IL, where my father was a Mathematics professor at Western Illinois University. Though my parents were devout Jains, they did not indoctrinate my sisters and me.
As a child, I had some exposure to Christianity but knew very little about specific Christian beliefs. I vaguely recall when I was in elementary school that some group gave me a small NT at my public school, but I was not able to really read it with any understanding (I do not recall that I really tried that many times to read it anyway).
Sometime during my childhood years, I was moved in a way that I could not comprehend then by the Crucifixion and Resurrection scenes in the movie Ben Hur. I was also exposed to and affected by Christian scenes in other movies like the Robe.
As a college student, I had exposure to some Christian beliefs through friends, books, and occasionally going to church and other religious gatherings. I recall being moved in an inexplicable way on a number of occasions when I attended a Catholic Newman Center on the campus of Western Illinois University. Although I did not much care for or really understand what else was being said or done in those services, I did find–even though I was a lost person at the time–the singing of the Lord’s Prayer near the end of each service to be a richly fulfilling and moving experience.
Moving to Cookeville, TN, I intensely pursued New Age teaching and practices for some time. I would often meditate and engage in self-hypnosis while listening to Baroque music. Some of the music tapes that I used regularly in those activities had Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, and the Hallelujah Chorus on them. Although I heard these great Christian music pieces over and over again, I had no real comprehension of what I was hearing during those times.
On one occasion, I wandered into a Christian bookstore in a mall in Springfield, IL. While browsing through a number of books, I came across some books that warned that the New Age movement was satanic. Something in those books spoke to me, and I became concerned about what I was doing.
As time passed, I became more interested in Christianity. A visit to the Public Library in Cookeville, TN, brought some Christian books to my attention. Out of the dozens, perhaps hundreds of books at the Library on religion, God directed me to read several that presented His truth to me.
One book that I remember reading was called The Incredible Plan of God. This book provided me with a rich overview of the entire Bible story, though I was still not saved at the time.
Through my reading, I was exposed somehow to the Model Prayer from Matthew 6, and I remember praying that prayer many times before I was saved. God also led me to read some apologetics books that presented me with evidences for the historicity of the Resurrection.
Through that reading about the Resurrection as well as through my reading a tract that someone put on my car windshield, God finally opened my eyes and brought me to himself in January of 1990. I believed in God’s raising Jesus from the dead and asked Him to save me.
Looking back on all the various influences that God used over the years to bring me to Himself, I praise Him for His great mercy in sparing me in so many ways from spiritual ruin. To God be the glory—great things He hath done!