Daring to choose Jesus
Sunil Nadarajan and Dr. Sindhu Subhadra have come a long way in their walk of faith. Both of them hail from Hindu families. Sunil is a computer engineer based in Chicago, where they live with their three children, Rose, John Paul and Jessy. Sindhu, a stalwart of the JY Pro-life movement, got involved in Jesus Youth while in Medical School. The two of them are very active in the Jesus Youth of America. Some excerpts from an interview.
Sindhu: I was very religious and had a strong faith in God even as a child. My father was a Hindu priest and I used to help him with pujas and other rituals. I studied in a Catholic school, but it was from my mother that I received the first seeds of Christian faith. She used to frequent St. Anthony’s Church for the Novena. Gradually, her conviction that we would receive whatever we ask of St. Anthony in faith, sank into my heart. Thus, with the desire to excel in my studies, I also started going for the Novena. It was during the course of these visits that I had my initial exposure to the Christian faith.
Sindhu: During my third year at Kottayam Medical College, I met two students Sini and Rani who were very different from others; they were so loving and pleasant. I learnt that they were Jesus Youth. Sini and I became close friends. She used to talk about Jesus. I was really amazed at her relationship with Him. One day she told me about a campus meet she had attended and of her devotion to the Eucharist and the Rosary. That night when I got to my room, I invited Jesus into my life. It was 31st July 1993. I then began reading the Bible not just for information, but for life. About the same time I heard of the conversion of two notorious characters in the campus, Dr. Mathew (now a priest) and Dr. Julio (presently an animator, JY Singapore). Their conversion brought tremendous changes in the campus. I went to the Jesus Youth prayer group to find out what had caused them to change. Gradually, with the fellowship and love I received from the Jesus Youth there, I too adopted a Jesus-centred lifestyle. I was drawn to Jesus in the Eucharist and had a deep desire to receive Jesus in the sacrament. I used to go for Mass every day and it hurt when I could not physically receive Him. I knew that potassium cyanide was so potent that a drop of it could cause instant death. I thought to myself that the Lord Jesus was so much more potent that surely He could permeate every cell of a person’s body. So great was my longing and such was my faith in the power of Jesus present in the Eucharist, that I used to touch my friends and receive Jesus hugs from them when they had received communion!
Sindhu: My family had no problem believing in Jesus as one among many other gods. But sparks did fly, like when there were rumours that I had got baptized. But they were pacified when I promised them that I would not receive baptism without their consent (and I did keep my word).
Sindhu: It was tough. Initially I had a lot of intellectual doubts, but I got the conviction that life is to be protected. When, as a student I was posted in abortion clinics, I insisted that I wouldn’t do abortions, assist in contraceptive surgeries or propagate them. I had arguments and disagreements with my professors and pro-abortion colleagues. My professors even threatened to withhold my degree, but it was really worth it. We managed to dissuade many who came to these clinics for abortions. It was rewarding when we got invited to the baptism and birthday celebrations of such children. The Pro-life ministry started off with awareness programmes. We then began to train people, release brochures, pamphlets, etc. After I got my medical degree, instead of opting for post graduation, I chose to work part time for three years, so that I could be more involved in the ministry. It was a tough decision, but I had prayed over it. Seeing that I worked just three days a week, my mother reminded me that we didn’t have any money to give as dowry. I assured her that God would not put to shame those who trusted in Him. Sure enough, God brought Sunil into my life. It was really His plan that I didn’t study any further. He knew where I was headed. When I got married I moved to America, where only an MBBS Degree is recognised.
Sindhu: I was like any other girl. Even after coming to Christ, I had my own dreams and expectations of the man I’d marry. I gave Jesus a list of the qualities I wanted in my partner and said, “Here now, make my partner”. Gently Jesus asked me, “Which of these qualities are required for the Kingdom of God?” I realized my folly and tore up the list. Three years later when I had to take a decision regarding my marriage, I made another list with just three qualities. He should be a Catholic, be devoted to Our Lady and should love God more than he loved me. When I first met Sunil I was a bit apprehensive. But then, we discussed every aspect of our lives and I was really amazed by his love for the Church and the Eucharist. He even had more insights than me on pro-life.
Sunil: The software industry is highly lucrative, with attractive incentives and perks. I began my career with a desire to make money. When I first came over to the US, I used to work long hours. Several months later, on reflection, I realised that God hadn’t brought me here just to earn money. I decided to give first priority to God, and began to set apart time for the ministry. Ever since, I have been blessed in everything I do. Today I earn ten times more than what I had set my eyes on initially. As Project Leader, I am entrusted with some of the toughest projects, for they know I can be depended on. Sometimes it is tough and I still work 17 hours occasionally, but only when I need to meet a deadline so that I can take a week off to be present at some JY programme. At such times, Sindhu is very supportive. And of course I can see the way God blesses my family and my career.
Sunil: Whatever we have is given to us by God. He has been very faithful to our needs. So we use whatever we have for His glory. We are accountable to God for the way we spend the money He has given us.
Sunil: We have received so much, this choice is only natural. One consideration was the ministry. If it had to grow, someone had to pay the price. So many people had invested their time, talent and energy in forming us. We felt it only right to do the same. The other thing was family. When we enter into marriage, we are entrusted with the family. Money can never buy the love and care that we alone can give our children, In the American context, with both parents working, it is virtually impossible to give attention to the children. So we are very clear about our priorities. God comes first, the family next and everything else only after that. It’s not that she won’t ever take up a career. When in time she does, it will be for service, not money.
Sunil & Sindhu: There are three persons involved in our marriage. Sunil, Sindhu and God. It is God who sees us through all our trials. We always pray to Our Lady for strength, wisdom and courage to run our family and we pray the rosary often. The binding force in our marriage is the Eucharist. One decision we took after our marriage was to go for Holy Mass together and pray together everyday, no matter what. The Eucharist is what sustains our marriage. And when we have disagreements, we resolve them at the earliest. We are not just husband and wife, but also each others’ guardian angels.
Sindhu: A small team comprising of our family and a few others made a three- week mission trip to reach out to the students at the University of Illinois, Urbana, Champaign. It was only by God’s grace that we found a home very close to the campus from where we could continuously intercede. While we were there, we met many of the students personally and shared about Christ with them. We also held a ‘Vigil for Life’ in the campus. Jesus Youth Prayer has been started by the JY students of DePaul University and Dominican University in their campuses. An initiation has also been made in Milwaukee School of Engineering and St. Louis School of Pharmacy.
Sunil: Live a Christian life. This is the greatest challenge for us in today’s world.