Weʼre raising £350 to help buy a laptop for Franklyn
- 24 days to go
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Many of you may have read Franklyn's story but if not.. here it is.
Last month my father asked me to leave the house. He was unhappy that I was going to a different church, he gave me an ultimatum to either return to their church or leave the house. He was facing a lot of pressure from his relatives and friends to get me in line, church was like family by leaving the church I had betrayed them.
My family is from a small fishing village about 3 hours away from Chennai, they go to a very religious legalistic Church. We are only allowed to wear shades of white or lighter colored clothing, they have strict rules in the church breaking any of the rules by a family member meant public humiliation in the church. Both my brother and sister went into full time ministry in this church which meant cutting all ties with the world and family and giving everything up. I’ve spoken or met my brother only once or twice in the last one year when he came for our annual church gathering.
I ran a successful business with my uncle a couple of years back and I was doing well. My family wanted to get me married, in India most marriages are arranged by the family, so they found a suitable girl for me to marry. Around the same time my business started to fail, the girl rejected my family’s proposal because of my financial situation. In my culture having a good job and getting married were signs of success and I had accomplished neither. My father thinks this was a punishment from God for leaving their church.
Eventually I had to close down my business. For a whole year I tried really hard to find a job. Every day I would come all the way from my village to Chennai to search for a job. I was rejected everywhere because my English wasn’t proficient and I didn’t have a suitable college degree. At the end of the day after all the job hunting, I would go to Marina beach near the Gandhi statue to sit and reflect on my life, I was really sad and depressed, I didn’t want to go back to church, I hated God, why would he allow something like this to happen to me.
One day I saw some people handing out flyers near the beach where I was sitting. I wasn’t interested initially, but one of the guys struck up a conversation with me and we got talking, before he left he handed me a card inviting me to come to their church. I was bit confused at his invitation, he knew I was a Christian so I didn’t see the point in him inviting me to their Church. I was a bit curious so I decided to go just once and see what this Church was all about.
When I entered church the song “O come to the altar” was being sung by the worship team.
O come to the altar
The Father's arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ
Leave behind your regrets and mistakes
Come today there’s no reason to wait
Jesus is calling
Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy
From the ashes a new life is born
Jesus is calling
At that moment those lyrics of the song came alive for me, I was blown away by the worship and the freedom with which these people were worshiping God. I was a big fan of Hillsongs, I used to watch their worship songs of YouTube. I had always wanted to experience the same kind of freedom in worship. The people in this Church were passionate during the worship jumping, dancing and clapping. After the church got over, the pastor personally spoke to me, gave me a hug and prayed over me. No one had ever done that, not even my own friends. People in this church were really genuine, they lived out what they believed in. I was not welcome in my own house, I had lost all my friends because I didn’t have a job but for the first time I felt welcome and at home.
I decided to start going to this Church, eventually I built a great friendship with Martin an elder from the church he was more than a father to me, he would share everything with me. I started driving a taxi to make ends meet. It’s hard being a taxi driver when you don’t own your own car, I barely made any money. I couldn’t afford to rent my own place so I had to stay at my aunt’s house in the city. A lot of times I would end up sleeping on Martins couch.
It’s been more than two years and my perspective of God has completely changed. I never realized how much freedom there was in worshiping and following God. I was so weighed down by the rules and traditions of my old church. I’ve never looked back since then. I volunteered on the production team in church eventually got promoted to the production head. But I hadn’t yet cut ties with my old church I would go to both places.
When my father gave me two days to make a decision to either stay with them or leave the house, I had already made up my mind. I shared my situation with my pastors, they offered to let me stay at their house for a few months till I could get back on my feet again. They also had a conversation with me about my future and career. There was no future or growth in being a taxi driver. A couple of phone calls later, they put me in touch with someone from another church location in Cambodia who ran a digital marketing company as soon as they heard about my story they offered to train me and started paying me a small salary even before I started. I will soon complete my training, I don’t yet own a personal laptop to work on yet, but I am not worried God will provide.
I think the most amazing part of this journey is the change in my character, taking the bold decision to leave my house has increased my faith, I’ve seen God come through for me in my most difficult times. I have a long way to go, it’s still a big struggle but I am not worried God will come through as always.
I would love for us to be able to bless Franklyn with his own laptop to work from. I have seen how much Franklyn pours into the people around him and it is such a great opportunity to pour into him.
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Jacob Ritchie started crowdfunding