Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj
On thanksgiving day 2021, I want to thank God for the fifteen different houses I have been privileged to stay in during two decades of my married life (2021).
The house we stayed in Saket, New Delhi, in 2001 – we just had one room in a house of three bedrooms. From there Evan and I organized tracts outreach to one of Delhi’s earliest malls, the Ansal Plaza. I wrote the first version of the Bubbly tract sitting in that room using Evan’s desktop. Young people we pastored would home and once we took them to Nirula’s. The fruit market outside our home had the best fruits from all over India.
From there we moved to another house in Lado Sarai behind the Central Bank of India in Delhi. It was a village which had a lot of kids who benefited from the Compassion International project which Evan managed then. As we waded through that village, the kids would come running behind Evan crying out ‘ma’am, ma’am’! We got our first set of furniture there – from a sale with furniture used by international diplomats who had left India. We still use a tall stool which I got for Rs.800/- in that sale!
We moved to our third house in New Delhi – it was not even one year since we had gotten married! This first-floor house was so close to the electric lines above, that I could have reached out and touched them, if I wanted to! It was a house where I realized my call was not to be a pastor in the long run, but to be an evangelist or a travelling Bible Teacher! So, I say bye to my pastor role, from here.
By 2002 July we were in house no. 4 . We stayed in one-room in Kannamoola, Trivandrum. Our things were shipped from Delhi by Agarwal Packers in ‘Hunter Douglas’ boxes. We were now missionaries with a leading missionary organization.
The next house was searched out for us by Uncle Sarasam who lives in Trivandrum. A first floor house in the Museum Bains Compound with the approach road that gave an impression we were climbing a hill. We could hear the roar of the lions from the nearby Zoo. We went to the nearby park and gave out xeroxed versions of the Bubbly tract. We drove in Uncle Arthur’s Vespa to nearby Shengamugham Beach. And had lots of coffee in the Indian Coffee House which almost kissed the breath-taking beach there. I wrote a lot in this house including articles that became lead articles of the famous Blessing magazine. Our son Dale was born when we were here.
House number 6 we lived in for rent was in Jabalpur. I lost my cool when the owner’s dog was about to bite our little son, Dale. That meant we had to shift our home again. It was back to packing yet again!
House number 7 overlooked a church in Jabalpur. It was a first-floor house with a nice terrace. Evan and I with little Dale in tow were in cross-roads then. We knew we could not be travelling missionaries with an organization. We had to be on our own to execute what was God’s unique call for us – to grab the google Generation from going to Gehenna (the word Jesus used for Hell)!
House number 8 we lived in was in the city of Hyderabad. There was no water in this house! When Dale’s backside had to be washed, there wasn’t a drop of water in the rest room! This situation pushed us move to House number 9. This house in Ashok Colony, Kapra region of Hyderabad became the first office of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. We stayed in this first-floor house exactly for 11 months. The first issue of The Days of Your Youth magazine was published from here. Our board member, Franklin, visited us here. We met our long-standing friend, Bro. Christopher here!
House number 9 Evan and I stayed in was near the A. S. Rao Nagar Railway reservation center in Hyderabad. Datasha was born here! The Daniels drove down to meet us here for the first time. I was invited to lead Bible Studies in their centrally located home. I started off with the Bible book summary of the book of Amos. Seven years later we would complete doing short Bible Studies summarizing every book of the Bible. We had an open air on-terrace meeting in this house on Datasha’s first birthday. We shared the story of her miracle birth to neighbors who came. This was just days after I quit my HSBC job not able to cope with both a secular job which I had picked up to support the new ministry I started and the fulltime ministry with our new organization. A dear annan (elder brother) walked into this house and left us an offering the size of which left us stunned. A secular college classmate of mine sent some offering – the highest monthly support we received then – and said he could do that every month! God prepared us for faith-living in this house!
We invited neighbors and told them about the miracle story of Datasha’s birth wrapped with the Gospel in our AS Rao Nagar home in Hyderabad on 12 Nov 2008.
As Dale would often doze off when he returned home in the School bus – the ride took him 45 minutes – we thought it was a good idea to move near his school, St. Andrews, 8 kms away towards the center of the city. We got a house near the Subhash Nagar’s Kallu compound (Arrack shop). A techie was in our home and Evan spend hours counselling her and praying with her. The rains lashed continuously that year – it was the 2009, the year Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Dr. YS Rajashekar Reddy died in a helicopter crash. And as the waters threatened to enter the living room of this house – the tenth house we lived in post our marriage – we knew we had to move, even though we had lived there only for two months. So we moved. We moved to a house closer to the main road – the Military Dairy Farm Road in Hyderabad. This house was just behind the Indian Oil Petrol bunk. This house was put for sale, but the owner was kind to allow us to stay there till it got sold. We ended up staying there from 2009 till 2015 – the longest stretch we have stayed in any home so far. Both Dale and Datasha received Jesus as their Savior in our family prayers as Evan and I led them into sinner’s prayer following the explanation of what salvation meant. I graduated with a Doctor of Ministry degree from here in 2014.
In this house – house number 11 – God blessed us. He gave us a confidence to pay rent that touched five figures for the first time. And we did that before the 6th of the month. We never missed this deadline and all our house-owner’s loved this about us. This house was a triplex house – three floors. It had four bed-rooms. God filled this house with Google Genners. As I led Bible studies, people would even sit on the steps leading up to the second floor and hungrily lap up the Word of God served without compromise. We would pray for healing. Couples without children received babies. The Fountain of Tears Against Mountain Of Fears event started off here as our neighbor, Sister Sandhya, encouraged us to start it. The month-end midnight prayer where a small group of corporates entered the new month in God’s presence was begun here. Evan and I travelled to Singapore for ministry from here. The already-paid-for i10 car came to our parking lot in 2011 and the gifted-to-us Yellow Vespa came in 20212. Joel Jaideep would faithfully come and teach me to drive the Car. Sister Arlene Stubbs, our local church’s Senior pastor visited us when we were in this house and our kids recited Bible verses to her!
Finally this house (number 11) got sold and we had to move to house number 12. This house was just across the road in Ved Vihar – a colony of five hundred flats run by Army Professionals. Our owner Vishal was an absolute gem. He would forget to increase our rent and pay promptly for all the repairs we would do in the flat. He had stocked his house with wardrobes and interiors like we never had in any house we had lived until that point. The Bible Studies continued. The Fasting prayers continued. My travels to India and beyond continued. The tracts outreaches to different locations of Hyderabad continued. We would give Bibles and tracts to those who were willing to receive them. Sunny Karumanchi our video volunteer who works in the Corporate world became associated with our ministry here. We would shoot short videos on hot topics right here and elsewhere. God blessed our home with items from the famous Swedish store that opened an outlet in our city – Ikea.
Arul Johnson and his dad attend the Fountain Prayer in Ved Vihar home!
Evan leads in the online Fountain prayer in Ved Vihar
And then the pandemic of 2020 hit. We continued the work of God online from there. When we thought we would live here for a long, long time and do God’s Work, God ensured we moved from there. We moved to house number 13 in Gundlapochampally Village in the outskirts of Hyderabad. Our grandmother, Miss Edith Mary, the person God used to conduct our wedding lived with us there in a home which was like a Spanish villa. One of our neighbors from the next street saw the WhatsApp status on Evan’s phone and asked her, “Do you pray for people?” Evan replied in the affirmative. Then she said, “Can you please come and pray for my daughter?” We were overjoyed!
Our grandmother returned to her village for a visit and the Lord decided to take her to be with him. The date was May 16, 2021. This event would be a trigger for us to make a big decision. We decided to move out of Hyderabad where we served Jesus among the Google Generation for over 16 long years. We decided to move our base to Chennai in what was a largely online world where one stayed hardly mattered as long as there was good internet. What was more we got to see our parents – both retired missionaries – who stayed in nearby Vellore more often.
House number 14 where we stayed was in Velachery, Chennai. We have memories of going to the terrace and praying under the massive tree that covered that house! We gave the Bubbly and Dhoni Gospel tracts to small groups of people who walked into the Pheonix Mall in Velachery. We drove to Vellore and visited our parents when we got the opportunity. We sold off our AP-registered i10 and Vespa from here. It was an emotional moment. As this house also got sold, we had to move again.
And I write these lines Evan and I have moved to house number 15 in the span twenty years of marriage. We feel blessed to stay close to a compact, cool flat close to the School that Datasha goes to. We are blessed to stay here. Dale leaves home to join St. Stephen’s New Delhi from here.
We thank you Lord. We thank you for the nice owners you sent along the way! We thank you for the kind neighbors you surrounded us with!