By Bharathi Palraj
Kombai, Tamil Nadu, India
I started my ministry in 2013 at Kombai, among children. My daughter (age 13) helped, but in 2016 she passed away. I continued the children’s ministry.
In July 2017 the church started. Initially, we had services in the evening. Later we shifted to the morning. I received invaluable advice and support from the mission center leadership team. Apostle Rick Maupin encouraged us, assuring us of his support.
But after months, I still feared how I would provide ministry without training. How would we minister among people who questioned our ability and status? Would people accept us? Would people trust us when we shared God’s word?
I constantly complained to God about these questions. I prayed for God to send another person to minister in this place. When I was praying about this in 2018, I received a promise from Exodus 4:12 NRSV. “Now go, and I will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to speak” and from Philippians 2:14, “Do all things without murmuring and arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent….” Through these verses, God comforted me.
I have experienced difficulties in some encounters with believers. I used to wonder why I had to face such words despite doing things right. I shared these concerns with the mission center leadership team.
I constantly complained to God about these questions.
They said it was normal to have such experiences. But it was a new experience for me, and I often felt depressed. In those times my sister, Esther Pavusami, comforted me. She said, “Do not back off. The One who called you will definitely lead you.”
(In the beginning, when I was trusting human strength, I often felt badly that my leader and pastor did not comfort me. When I look back, I feel that if they had supported me at that time I would not have learned tolerance in my ministerial journey.)
In 2019, when I was thinking about quitting my ministry, I received a promise from Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.”
Though I have physical weakness, I strongly believe God will never forsake me. I will do God’s ministry with all faithfulness and truth.
Moreover, it is not easy for people to accept a woman ministering to them. But God leads me. Often in ministry, people ask how many new souls and how many families have joined. Today God has given us 10 families and has helped us minister to children effectively.
I have to praise God for giving me a supporting husband. He has given me the freedom to do ministry. I thank God for that.
In the same way, when I approach the mission center leaders for advice in ministry, they offer valuable guidance. I thank God for that.
About the Author
Elder Bharathi Palraj is pastor for the Community of Christ Kombai congregation. She is also a counselor to her mission center president, and Palraj is expected to be ordained a Seventy.