A New Life

A New Life Hero Image A New Life Hero Image

“I grew up in northern India in a very big family. We were a joyful, conservative, religious Hindu family.

“I learned that if I did good, I would get good in return, and if I did anything bad, something bad would happen in my life – or maybe my next life. The concept of karma and a desire to please my parents left me in a cycle of shame and guilt as I continued in high school and college. When I started performing poorly in academics, I no longer felt worthy of being my parents’ son. They had done so much for me, and I felt like I couldn’t measure up.

“Suicidal thoughts and an almost fatal drunk driving accident brought me to my knees. My parents met me with unconditional love, but I needed to do something different. I created my own moral guidelines for my life and desperately desired to live a successful life that my parents would be proud of.

“That’s how I ended up attending the University of Texas at Dallas for a master’s program.

“In my first week, I quickly realized that this college experience would not be what I expected. Dallas looked nothing like Hollywood!
“I was eager to turn around and go back home to India, but some new friends who consistently pursued me made my time surprisingly enjoyable and fun.

“One of those new friends was the first person I met when I landed at the airport in the US – Jeff Baker, a Watermark member and volunteer in the Watermark International Student Initiative (WISI). This ministry connects and builds relationships with international students at nearby Dallas universities. They also coordinate airport rides with international students when they arrive in the US.

“After the first night when they gave me a ride to campus, Jeff and his friends continued to reach out with invitations to social events, dinners, game nights, and a weekly Friday night gathering.
“I noticed something very different in the people at WISI. They would intentionally reach out during the week to ask how I was doing, how my classes were going, and if I needed help as I adjusted to my new life in the States.

“I continued to show up to WISI’s gatherings. Through fun and intentional conversations and time together, I would learn with other international students about the Bible and the ways God loved us.

“I began reading the Bible on my own and attending a weekly Bible study with friends from WISI, gradually learning more and more about Christianity. Then, a friend invited me to Great Questions, a ministry at Watermark that provides a place for anyone and everyone to ask questions about God and the Christian faith.

“The first night I went, I simply listened as the leaders and volunteers had informed, educational answers to each question. In the weeks following, I made a point to search for tough topics online to stump him and prove myself right. But every time, my inquiries were answered with grace and honesty.

“After three months, I ran out of questions! Through my research and the wisdom of other believers, I knew so much more about God and Christ’s sacrifice for me. But pridefully, I still didn’t put my full faith in Him.

“In the midst of my continued doubts, I began praying to God. I asked Him to reveal Himself to me. I asked for a dream or a sign to show me He was real.

“Over the following month, I watched as friends experienced life change as they surrendered their hearts to Christ, and I came to the realization that I didn’t have to wait for God to reveal Himself to me in a specific way. I needed to step out in faith and confess that I believed (Romans 10:9). I prayed to God to help me obediently follow Him, and I fully confessed that I trusted in Him as my Savior.

“Now, I pray every day to be more like Jesus, full of unconditional, selfless love. After all, that is how God showed Himself to me in the first place – through the love and care of His followers.

“For so much of my life, I’ve wanted to prove to my parents that I was a good and worthy son, but right away, God lifted that weight for me. He showed me in His Word that I don’t have to prove anything to earn His love and that my identity is in God, not in others approval. I am able to love and respect my parents even more, and learning how to bridge my Indian culture and faith in Jesus. (1 Cor 7:17-24)

“In the past, anxiety and overthinking would fill my heart, but I am learning to surrender everything to Him. Now, as I desire to follow His path for me, I’m experiencing more wisdom and discernment than ever. I am a member here at Watermark, in a community group with other believers, and working through the steps of re:generation, Watermark’s biblical 12-step recovery program.

“I was planning to come to Texas for graduate school, work for a few months, and then head back to India. But the Lord did so much more than I could’ve ever expected. Through His Word and His people, God changed my life.”