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Motto: To make disciples 4 Jesus :
I am Santhosh, a native of Kerala, S.India. After completing my Post-graduation in Physics and Bachelor’s in Education, I was a teaching in Navodaya- a central govt. Higher Secondary School in Andra Pradesh, India. Immediately after marriage, my wife Sali and I, through discernment, got convinced that the Lord is calling us for mission in North India and so we started off for Mission with a commitment of a year. Later through gradual discernment, it got extended and now for almost 15 years I along with my family of 6 children am part of Santvana Community of Disciples. My children are Joash12, Joanna 10, Elizabeth 8+, Jonathan 7+, Agnes 5 and the baby who is on the way. I am mainly involved in the Proclamation ministry of the Santvana Community.
In the School days I was good at studies, games, music and other extracurricular activities. I was the Junior Foot-ball team captain and also represented the School team which got second place in the State Championship. But all these achievements did not give me an entry into the professional course that I so much wanted. I lacked the inner joy and satisfaction in life that I was searching for in spite of all the regular Catholic spiritual exercises. I was dejected. Then I remembered how joyful my mother and 2 brothers were when they had come back after a retreat. I thought that the joy I was searching for could be received through a retreat of the same kind. Yet I was reluctant to go for a retreat because in those days only ladies or drunkards or people with serious problems went for retreats and all who went had to be necessarily part of a prayer group.
Finally I decided to go for a live- in retreat. Nothing touched me during the talks or prayers. But during the time of confession, as I finished confessing, the priest guided by the Holy Spirit asked few things that happened in my life and tears started flowing from my eyes for nearly two hours. Though I confess every month as sincerely as I can, this was the first time in my life I received a real repentance for my sins and I could accept in my heart that I am a sinner. That confession led me to surrender my life to Jesus and I was ready to do anything for Jesus. He means everything to me and even if others tease me for whatever I do for the Lord I am ready to face it. From that day onwards my interest in prayer increased, Word of God became more meaningful in my life and I received a new meaning in my life. I received more confidence and I became more focused in life. After this surrender, taking major decisions in life became very easy. As I start praying and thinking over it, I get a very clear picture of the situation and with clarity I am able to decide things. Today I am fully satisfied with the life that I lead as a missionary giving my full time to the mission that He has entrusted me.
Mrs Sali Santhosh Testimony
I am a native of Kerala. I was brought up in Chennai and have done all my formal education there. I am qualified with BSc (Mathematics) with a Bed. My parents, two brothers and a sister are all settled in Chennai. I got married in the June 1997 to Santhosh J. Chittilappilly hailing from Trichur in Kerala. He was actively involved in the Jesus Youth movement in the leadership level and had already set apart a couple of years for full time ministry to help with renewal activities in Kerala. I was working as a Mathematics teacher in Kerala when the marriage proposal came along through a mutual friend. He was on the lookout for a partner who would be interested in venturing into the mission fields of north India. Two weeks after our marriage we came to Santvana Community and ever since then we have been serving the Lord as a family in the mission fields of North India through the ministries of Santvana Community. All our five children who are all studying and the sixth who is on the way are fruits of the mission. The Lord has blessed us.
My initial encounter happened in 1990 when I was doing my second year of College at Stella Maris in Chennai, through a retreat that I attended there. At first came a realisation that God is a real loving father who cares for each of His children and has the ability to intervene in the lives of His children if only they permit Him to do so. After that came the tangible experience of the conversion of my father who was an alcoholic to the core and for whom de-addiction seemed next to impossible because we had tried several means. His transformation happened during a charismatic retreat that he attended at Coimbatore about 1 and half months after I attended the retreat. It was a radical lasting change. Though the transformation brought a lot of joy and was a tangible, palpable experience, I basked in its joy but was not ready for a commitment to the Lord. My commitment and a closely connected journey with the Lord started only in 1992 August, after having some very bitter experience when my parents opposed my plans for my life. It was again during a retreat at Divine retreat centre in Muringoor that I attempted to surrender my life to Jesus because I felt Him persistently speaking to me through Jeremiah 29 :11 “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” After a lot of initial hesitance and struggle I gave into the promptings of my spirit and finally said yes to His Spirit. From the time that I made that surrender, when I look back today, I see that the Lord has been very diligently and faithfully leading me through paths that I could never have imagined that I would ever take. After the retreat I was nine months in the intercessory group of Divine at Muringoor. During this time I came into a much deeper relationship with Jesus. He became more alive and a partner in my life to whom I could talk to from time to time and not just at the time of prayer.
Later after marriage as a couple we discerned the call of the Lord to be partner’s of His mission in North India. A Word of God that gave us courage was, “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” Mt 16:26. Now after 14 years (1997- 2011) on looking back there is a sense of fulfilment that we were found worthy to be His instruments. We said yes to Him and are today joyfully carrying out the mission entrusted to us in the community for the spread of His Kingdom.
* An interview with Mrs. Sally Santhosh