John Calvin Thathapudi didn’t always believe that. Raised in a good Christian family with strong Christian values and convictions, both his parents and grandparents were pastors and missionaries. Even so, Christianity was, to John, just a ritual with some basics to follow. Though active in the church choir, he never attended Sunday school. “I loved Science, believed everything it said”, he states. “And to believe Genesis- it seemed foolish and ignorant. I was controlled by my human instincts and developed a callous attitude towards God. Having seen my parents’ hardships and trials in ministry, I developed a hatred towards God. When asked whether or not I would like to be a pastor, I remember responding ‘you cannot expect me to be a beggar.’”
What changed him?
“My mother’s prayers.”
“I was having a difficult time with my studies at Loyola College where I happened to stay for six months in the Student Hostel.” Despite his indifference, or perhaps outright hostility, toward God, John tried to seek Him regularly, particularly during his struggles at college. Finally, in October of 2009, “God spoke to me through Isaiah 43:25. ‘I am He who blots out your transgressions… and I will not remember your sins.’ God’s Spirit convicted me… I confessed and repented for my sins.”
John made up his mind to spend the rest of his life in service to Christ. “He has put a strong desire in my heart to serve Him among the intellectuals and educated. Nobody ever expected such a change in me.”
John, who was a sponsored child through Compassion International until 2013, learned personal evangelism through Campus Crusade for Christ while serving in the slums of Chennai. He attended International Youth Fellowship, Inter-Collegiate Prayer Fellowship (Tiruvella), Come Ministries India, and five months of Discipleship Training School with YWAM, Chennai.
His interest these days is apologetics and teaching future leaders who will impact their communities. He attended SAIACS, the South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies, where he obtained an MDiv in Theology and Ethics in March of 2018. “I am hopeful that my studies will broaden and deepen my understanding of His written word so I can defend Christ among intellectuals who are in spiritual darkness and to those who are in intellectual confusion.”