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Inspiring minds: D. Augustine Jebakumar

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Augustine Jebakumar was born in a small village of Swayerpuram, Tirunelveli which is in the southern part of Tamil Nadu, India. He was born to his father A.D.David and mother Joy Florinal on 20th August, 1947. He was born in a God fearing family and his mother Joy Florinal was longing for her first child to be a baby boy and as per her wish, she was blessed with a baby boy. So, they joyously named him as, ‘Augustine Jebakumar’. They called him ‘Augustine’ because he was born in the month of August and they called him, ‘Jebakumar’ because he was the fruit of their prayers.
Childhood
Jebakumar’s father A.D.David was an Indian air force personnel and his mother Joy Florinal was a teacher by profession. His parents were very particular about their son Jebakumar to an extet that right from his early days he grew up with strict Christian disciplines. So, they taught him virtues like integrity, discipline, orderliness, austerity, and sacrificial – service. His mother being a teacher taught him to read bible when he was only three and a half years old and when he was five years old, she would not give him his morning coffee unless and until he reads a chapter from the bible. When he was seven years old, he had to tell her the gist of pastor’s sermon delivered in the Sunday service. Every Sunday he had to memorize and recite a brief prayer from a prayer book and a chapter from the bible.
During his childhood, Jebakumar witnessed many atrocities perpetrated by caste-fanatics and saw how it spews out venomous hatred and vengeance against the harmony of people and this sowed the seed of missionary vision in his heart. He realized that, gospel is the ultimate solution to the varied problems of the caste-stricken societies in this nation. This is how Augustine Jebakumar’s childhood was.
Studies & Work
Augustine pursued Diploma in Mechanical Engineering from Sankar Polytechnic College and scored highest marks in the class. Being a meritorious student, he was given government sponsored apprenticeship in a reputed company called Metal box Pvt. Ltd. at Thandiyarpet, Chennai which lasted for six months and later he joined an another reputed company named English Electric co., Pallavaram, Chennai.
Salvation
Augustine used to attend his Sunday services at a CSI church in Pallavaram. When days passed, he became a member of that church. He used to engage in all church activities like children’s ministry, youth group, and choir team. But, often times he used to feel the lack of peace and emptiness in his heart. One fine evening, he locked himself in a room and cried out bitterly due to his peace less life. Suddenly he felt someone whispering in his ears, “The wicked has no peace.”, this trembled his heart and he started questioning himself, “What did I do?” Since, he never entertained any sinful act. Soon, God brought a cinema screen like structure before him and showed him his hidden ugly thought realm of life. After watching, he was utterly shaken and was left astounded. Now, he realized his deplorable sinful nature and felt guilty and shouted, ‘such a wretched and sinful person has no right to live.’
At that very moment, he saw the crucified lord Jesus Christ before him and said, “I carried away all your sins on the cross; trust in me and accept me my peace I give you, peace that the world cannot give you” at once, he refused to accept him and said, “I shall accept the lord when I attain the age of 55 and serve him then” the lord asked him, “What if your life ends today?” He was speechless and at last he completely surrendered himself to god and the peace of God flooded his heart like a river.
After this Augustine wanted to share this joy and peace with others so he decided to tell about Christ to others. At first, he shared this message of Christ with 200 children of laborers who were working in a stone quarry of Pallavaram. He used to visit them every week along with his colleague bro. Selwyn who was a Malayalam-speaking person. And it continued with many children ministry, healing ministry and gospel meetings.
The call
One Tuesday night, as Augustine was praying for our country ,god showed him a clear map of Bihar and asked him to resign his job and go there as a missionary. He refused to go Bihar and kept this call as a secret and did not share this with anyone. But, God revealed this to many people and they used to tell Augustine that, ‘God is sending you to Bihar’. After this Augustine made a plea to god that, “Please send two missionaries in my place; I will support them.” But, god turned down his plea.
September 1972, Friend’s missionary prayer band conducted a prayer camp at brain school in Chennai where a team of twenty young men went to help them out with serving of food and Augustine was one of them. After the second day of meeting it was about 10 o’clock in the night Augustine was strolling around the small playground of the school. Suddenly, he saw bright shinning words written on the sky as, ‘October thirteenth’
As he was still thinking about that in a great surprise, what was going to happen on that day? He heard a voice commanding him, “Resign your job and go to Bihar” He laughed at it and when he was not ready to accept that, a loud voice said, “Son if you don’t go, I have none” at that moment he saw, two very beautiful eyes in the sky. Tears were flowing down from those eyes and fell on him. Now, he was broken and fell face down and said, “Here I am” and obeyed to the voice of god and left for Bihar on 19th of October 1972.
Later, Augustine started an organization named ‘G.E.M.S’ and registered the same with the govt of India. Accordingly, the acronym G.E.M.S means;
G – Go to the unreached
E – Evangelize them
M – Make them disciples and
S – Send them to reach others
Thus, the expansion of GEMS, “Gospel Echoing Missionary System”
From then till now, he is working faithfully as a missionary. His messages have inspired many people especially youth which includes me. He did not have the privilege of studying in a Bible college but God has enabled him to preach to Bible college professors. I always used to think, he is a perfect example of Apostle Paul and later did I know that at first before starting his ministry he took a resolution to minister like Apostle Paul. How great is our God that he strengthened him to minister like Paul. Along with this, god has also enabled him to open polio homes, orphanage, hospitals, schools, and colleges. I praise god for raising such a man from my land.
“Bihar which was once known as graveyard of missionaries is now turned into vineyard of missionaries and only God can do it.”

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Inspiring minds: Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa was, and still remains, an inspiration for one and all. If one word were needed to describe her, it would surely be – love. Her divinity and angelic soul were devoted to the destitute and the helpless. Her service and selflessness towards her fellow human beings earned her names, ‘Saint of the gutter’ and ‘Angel of mercy’. She was the living embodiment of the word ‘compassion’.

Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu on August 26, 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia. She was the daughter of a successful merchant and his wife. She was their third and youngest child. Until the age of 18, she had not seriously thought of becoming a nun. However, she had always been inclined towards spirituality. At a tender age of 12, she already felt that God was calling out to her and she was to be ‘The one’ to spread the message of the love of Christ.

Finally, at the age of 18, she left home when she realized her true calling and joined the sisters of Lorento. They were an Irish colony of nuns who had teaching missions in India. She taught in St. Mary’s school for several years and it was here that she chose the name sister Mary Teresa for herself, after the saints, Teresa of Avila and Therese de Lisieux. She even became the principal of St. Mary’s in the year 1944.

On August 17, 1948 she dedicated her life to the aid of others and started a religious community, and often said, “Give till it hurts.” She eagerly sought out not only the hungry, the homeless, the suffering and the dying, but also went so far as to feed, house, heal and restore the dignity of the unwanted, the unloved and the uncared-for in society. She unabashedly embraced all those people who had become a burden on society, and were shunned by everyone. She was the last refuge for those suffering from leprosy, HIV and Aids. She was a vocal advocate for the anti-abortion campaign, and is known to have called it the ‘Greatest destroyer of peace’.

She used to dress neatly in a blue – bordered white sari which has become a symbol of her order today, she would travel across Kolkata to help all those who needed her – lepers left to die by everyone around them, helpless women, and even abandoned babies with umbilical cords still attached to them. Shocking as it may seem it was all very true.

She looked at the poor as if God was seeing them, and loved them as God would love them. She saw her God in serving them. She always gave top priority to prayer; as she believed that God put the love in her heart that she was to give to the poor. People who knew her closely were awestruck by her devotion towards a prayerful life.

On September 5, 1997, she left for her heavenly abode. It was a huge loss for the world. Many people have since claimed that heaven has gained another star. Needles to say, mother Teresa was a living saint. Her secret was very simple; she prayed. When she was alive, she touched the hearts of millions. Her passing away has forever left a void in this world.

Mother Teresa, the mother of all, still lives in our hearts and will live forever.