Monday, March 10, 2008
December: Duke preached a message titled, "The Greatest of the Greatest" to over 800 youth who gathered at the New Life AG Church, Secunderabad on December 22. This message presented the uniqueness of Jesus with clarity, authority and creativity. Many youth gave their lives to the Lord. This message is available in the DVD format.
November: Bro. Mohan Patnaik, a senior member of the UBS Corporate Management Team (and formerly part of HSBC), thanks Duke for his talk to the group of believers of HSBC in November at CBN Office, Hyderabad, and goes on to make further comments.
October:Duke with the choir that lead worship in the Inter-church youth convention in Darjeeling in October - an event in which he preached. Several young lives were touched!
September: Starting from the month of August, in the sprawling flat of Daniel & Magdalene, in the heart of Hyderabad, Duke lead a Bible Study in which he practically n poetically summarized the message of one Bible book. We started with the minor prophet book of Hosea, whose message he summed up using an acronym of the prophet's name. By December, we finished studying five Bible books. Evangelin, speaks to two young hostel-dwellers after one such Bible Study!
August: Duke preached to the alumni of Karunya Institute of Technology working in the MNCs of Hyderabad such as Oracle, Satyam, Wipro, etc in the month of August. His two messages to them, IF DANIEL WERE IN DELL & PRUDENT PARTNER PICK blessed the young people. Here he poses for a snap with them. These two talks are available in the DVD format.
July: Duke's dad, Mr. Jeyaraj, seen with his Duke's mom, Vimala Jeyaraj who holds Duke's new born baby girl, did all the ground work for the registration of G-4 Mission with the Government of Tamil Nadu in the month of July. Mr. Jeyaraj is one of the founders of Blessing Youth Mission and its long-serving Finance Coordinator. A group of trustees was formed to administer this Mission. A separate bank account was set up to hold offering money.
June: This is Fenella Prince, a young woman who works for Wipro, based in Bangalore. She along with Solomon Paul, another young man who works for Sap Labs, Bangalore volunteered this year to maintain our blogspot site, www.G-4Mission.Blogspot.com when we announced in our mag, The Days of Your Youth, that there were vacancies for volunteers!
May: Duke was invited by FMPB, India's largest 'Indian'-money run Christian organisation, at Trichy. Duke preached three messages that blessed the youth who gathered - one on temptations, one on intercession, one on missionary work. Several youth gave their lives to the Lord and His Work. It was just one of the four special youth programs he preached in, in the month of May, organised by four different churches/organisations.
April: It was the month in which the Cricket World Cup played in the West Indies caught the World's attention. We distributed the tract, "One Day at Centurion Hill; One Day at Calvary" - Gospel Tract by Duke comparing the greatest One Day ever played between South Africa and Australia in which South Africa chased 434 with what Jesus did for us on the Cross. In the picture above Mark Boucher of South Africa punches the air after having scoring the winning runs in that heart-stopping, record-crashing match. We distributed it at City Centre, a hip shopping mall in Hyderabad.
Feb 2007: Duke preaches to a group of international students at a church in Neredmet, Secunderabad. He was invited to speak on "What the Bible Teaches on Sex". The young people surrendered their bodies to the Lord at the end of the message.
January 2007: Evangelin Duke with the young single women of New Life AG Church she addressed in a singles meet. She encouraged them to have a close walk with God who in turn would give them a life partner.
HOW WE REACHED THE NOW GENERATION IN 2007!
Second year with every second of God's grace
Another year is over. It was a year drenched in God's Grace. When I turn back and look at the year that has gone by, I can only look high and say, "Thank you, Lord. You made it all happen!" This is our second year of ministry, operating independently, after one year with the Assemblies of God (2002) and three years with Blessing Youth Mission (2003-05). I can confidently say that every second we saw God's grace in our lives this year.
Getting the Facebook Youth Hooked to The Book!
It was the year in which our magazine, The Days of Your Youth , made considerable progress. From single color cover we moved to multi-color cover wrapper by the year end. Each of the five issues (including the double issue) were attractively-packaged so as to make the youth pick it up and read it. The Bible Truth was wrapped around contemporary events issue after issue, in a crisp and creative manner so that the Facebook youth will get hooked to "The Book" (The Bible). A Bible College student wrote to appreciate the article which began talking about Inzaman's tears in his last One Day Match only to go on to challenge the readers for praying with tears for the lost. A man from Jath, Maharashtra , wanted more copies of the issue that had the lead article on the Twenty20 World Cup Final so that he could distribute it to his sports-crazy friends. A young woman working in Dell, Bangalore, wrote to testify that she was touched by the article that talked about 'the black dog of depression'. A pastor of a leading church stopped to shake my hands to let me know how much he appreciated our magazine ministry. It was in this year we started the tradition of publishing testimonies of believers making a difference in the Corporate world in our mag.
They organise the meetings and give the mike to us!
It was the year when God swung wide open the door for so many preaching opportunities. The year began with me preaching the message, "What will you give God this year - Fruit or Boot?" at the Methodist Church, Chapel Road , Hyderabad on the 1 Jan 2007. The invitations to preach were so many that I could not take it all up. I had to turn down invitations to preach in Bangalore, Pondicherry , Kavali, Vijayawada, Coimbatore, Kodaikanal, Miyapur, Kerala and Mumbai. For November 9 (Diwali Day) alone, there were calls to preach in five different towns! But as the Lord led me, I took up preaching assignments from Coimbatore, Trichy (twice), Darjeeling, Kolkota, and Vellore , this year, apart from extensively preaching in Hyderabad .
The Inter-church youth convention in Darjeeling during October this year which saw over 500 youth attend was "the youth camp of the year". I will never forget the sight of so many young people who surrendered their life for active ministry involvement following the final message in this program. It was so well organised by Colonel Ghissing. The combined audience of 6000 that listened to my message on Pooh Poohing Procrastination at the New Life AG Church at Secunderabad was the largest audience I have spoken to in 16 years of preaching. The largest youth crowd I addressed this year was in the tent put up by the very same church on December 22 - the year's last preaching assignment for me. Eight Hundred youth heard my Gospel message, "The Greatest of the Greatest" - a persuasive message on the uniqueness of Jesus. Not only that. Quite a number came forward and gave their lives to Christ when the altar call was given.
None of the meetings I am talking about here were organised by us. Other organisations and churches organised them and asked us to just take the mike and preach. I am referring to organisations/churches/institutions such as Youth For Christ, COSEK (Karunya Students), DELITE (Karunya Alumni), Assemblies of God, Methodist Church, Baptist Church, Believers Church (Gospel for Asia), Indian Pentecostal Assemblies Church, Joyce Meyer Ministries, Morph (HSBC Believers), Genpact Believers, Jesus Calls - Hyderabad, Grace Full Gospel Church, Friends Missionary Prayer Band, Power Hour Church (Artaban Ministries), Ida Scudder School, Yapral Youth Fellowship, CMC Chapel Fellowship and Emmanuel House of Worship. When God lead me to start G-4 Mission in Feb 2006, He clearly told me that this organisation will not compete with the other existing organisations and churches, but seek to complete them, with the God-given expertise in ministering to contemporary youth. And when I see that happening in a small way I thank heavens.
I've Got a Partner....
Though I did most of the preaching this year, I was not the only one to preach. My wife, Evan, also joined in when she could. Her message to the Single Girls of the New Life AG Church, Secunderabad was a blessing to those who attended. On Valentine's Day we shared the pulpit in the One Day Retreat organised by Grace Full Gospel Church Youth.
Testimonies from youth who attended the meeting kept pouring in. An early morning email from a young man who worked for Dell in Hyderabad about how he accepted Jesus in one of the meetings I preached in this year made my day.
No beating about the bush!
The messages preached in select meetings you read about were video recorded. I Will Not Be Silent, No One Loves You More, These Guys Were Killed By God - But Why?, Bid Bye To Backsliding, God-pleasing Relationships, Answers to Common Youth Questions, Taming Tough Temptations, What The Bible Teaches About Sex - those are some of the titles of the new VCDs created this year. Ruby Evangel from Sierra Atlantic and Navamani Kingsley from Delloitte deftly designed the CD covers that showcased these very practical messages. Florussel Satya who is a photo journalist working for Getty Images took time out to shoot one message while I preached it. Preaching is not the only way by which one can serve God, these young people would tell you! These CDs were bought by hungry youth who are on the lookout for practical messages preached without beating about the bush! We even got one CD order from a country in the European Union!
Minor Prophets no longer flat at a sprawling Hyderabad Flat!
Making God's Word relevant to the Google Generation remains one of our priorities and passion. Challenging the Orkut Youth to get obsessed with the oracles of God remains our zeal. God opened the doors for us to get into the heart of one Bible book after the other at a sprawling flat at the heart of Hyderabad each month. It was indeed a privilege to study five different not-so-familiar Bible books (Hosea, Amos, Jonah, Zephaniah and Micah) for five months this year at the home of Daniel and Magdalene along with Bible-hungry. In each study, I tried to summarize the message of the book we took up using acronyms. At the end of those riveting studies in that flat almost kissing Villa Marie College , we discovered that Minor Prophets of the Bible - the Hoseas, the Amoses, the Zephaniahs - are not flat as we thought they were! In order to do this, I had to read and re-read those books time and again - something that also benefited me immensely.
Inviting People for the Lamb's Wedding
Distributing tracts to reach the Youtube Youth is one way I got involved in direct evangelism this year. One brother from Navi Mumbai ordered over 4000 copies of the tract, Bubbly Outside, Yet Empty Inside , an in-your-face Gospel presentation for the Now generation by this writer, for distribution of the same in the most modern of Indian cities. I did not want to stop with my mouth when it came to witnessing. So I used my hands to hand over tracts to masses I bumped into during my train journeys and air travels this year. Notably I gave The Days of Your Youth, each issue of which has a Gospel presentation for modern youth, to ace Commentator Harsha Bhogle and Tamil Serial Hero Vijay Adhiraj, both of whom I met at Hyderabad Airport. I was joined by HSBC colleague Samuel Raj when I frequented the most hip shopping mall in Hyderabad, City Centre for distributing, Bubbly.... After having exhausted the initial 5000 copies of this tract we reprinted another 5000. I got an sms from a man in Kashmir who somehow got to read this tract! We also distributed these tracts to some college youth in Sai Sudhir College , ECIL and Villa Marie College , Somajiguda. Tracts are nothing but a written invitation for the Wedding Feast of the Lamb - did you ever think of them that way? If you did, you too will distribute tracts!
434 runs chased, the Gospel shared!
Apart from regular tract distribution we did some "special" tract distribution as well. When the Cricket World Cup Final approached in West Indies this year, we created the tract, "One Day at Centurion Park; One Day at Calvary Hill" - a tract that wrapped the Gospel around the greatest One Day match ever played, in which South Africa successfully chased 434 runs. This tract was distributed to Cricket Enthusiasts. On World AIDS Day, December 1, we distributed the specially created, "Shah Rukh in DDLJ wouldn't Do It Even In a Dream" to interested youth. These evangelistic efforts were taken in obedience to Old Paul's counsel to the Next-Gen Youth of his time, Titus, that "in every way" we must "make the teaching about God our Savior attractive." (Tit 2:10, NIV).
Corporates for Christ!
Praying in Corporate offices is one of the main ministry activities. "You were the one who preached at Crossfire 2005, weren't you?" asked one of my colleagues after I joined my team at HSBC in March, this year. "Yes, that's right," I told him. Shortly later, I asked if we could pray together during one of the breaks. He readily agreed. This went on for a few days. Then one day, a girl who asked, "Why don't you share something from the Bible before we prayed?" And I did. And this practice which so immensely strengthens our inner man has continued ever since – brief Bible meditations and short supplications all done within three to four minutes – at HSBC, Road No. 10, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad. If there was a non-Christian present, I would use Gospel-echoing sentences in the prayer itself. Those who attended testified to how the verses read directly spoke to their situation. My colleagues, Jiphy Jose, Senora Lynette and others brought people to this unique meet using Philip's method of evangelism, "Come and see!" (John 1:40-42). It is my prayer that such prayers are held in all corporate offices in the planet.
A Fulltime Pastor or Evangelist may never be allowed to enter a corporate office. You need an id card to enter in. Working in HSBC helps me get access to young people I will never have access to otherwise. And that can be gotten only if you join the ranks of these companies. What is more - it helps me take care of my family expenses to a large extent. Paul is my inspiration in this regard. He, I learnt just recently, took care of his own expenses in Corinth, Ephesus and even Rome . He lived there two whole years at his own expense - that's what we read about Paul's stay in Rome, did you notice? (Acts 28:30, ESV). At this point in time, I am sure God wants me to work, be a witness at my place of work, use my leaves wisely to travel and preach, and keep publishing The Days mag to make his Word relevant for the Corporate World. I am talking things one day at a time. It is not going to be an easy task because like each one of us, I will have 24-hour days! But God is giving me grace to do what He has called me to do.
Counseling young people is yet another ministry that the God who gave us the Spirit of Counsel, The Holy Spirit, helped us do this year. I will not forget the day when a young Ugandan couple walked in to our A S Rao Nagar Home for counseling. I also do e-counseling - counseling thro' email. For example, a married woman in the corporate world wanted to know if she could divorce her good-for-nothing husband, thro e-mail. The answer I sent to her probably upset her because she never wrote back to me. But guess what - the answer became one of the articles published in The Days to help others facing a similar situation!
Duke is pregnant - please pray for him!
The book, Wow, Now I Know How (also called Straight Talk on Hushed Up Subjects Without Beating About the Bush) and If Daniel were in Dell (also called Youth Whens) sold several copies this year. Though they are still in the photocopy-spiral bound format the interest young people show in them amazes me. I address issues and problems faced by youth in the light of the Bible in these books and it is not difficult to see why youth are keen to read these works. We must soon bring them out in a proper book format. The Gospel for the Google Generation (a collection of my Gospel messages to contemporary youth), Youth Like You (a collection of youth character studies I have done) are two new books that I am pregnant with right now. Pray for a "safe delivery!"
Writing for a larger audience
Our writing ministry was not confined to just our magazine. God graciously is extending its borders of influence more than I asked for or imagined. Light of Life magazine, the most widely read Christian magazine in Indiarepeatedly published this guy's articles this year. The website, www.2Miles.org hosted a number of my articles. I got an email from the team that is behind this website saying that I was their most frequently featured writer in that website. Since writing remains a primary call of God upon my life, that complement meant a lot to me - I was busy doing what God called me to do! Other websites such as sakshitimes.com and mahalife.com posted what I wrote for The Days mag on their sites, this year. I also took conscious efforts to spot writing talent among the modern youth I knew and encouraged them to write for The Days. And they did. I keep shooting emails to the editors of secular news magazines. One such email earned me Rs.3000 as it was selected as one of the best letters received! Since the quality of writing in Christendom is by and large shallow (sad to say) I am compelled to rub shoulders with secular writers to improve my writings. Ruth Prasanna who works for Google - Hyderabad placed ads for our blogs this year in Google.com itself - something that magnetically pulled the attention of the browsers across the planet who probably never heard of a guy called Duke Jeyaraj. A long lost friend who works for God TV got in touch with us once again using what she saw on typing "Duke Jeyaraj" in Google.com!
The Gift of the Year
The gift of the year was a Dell laptop which a dear brother who works in UBS (Union Bank of Switzerland, not Union Biblical Seminary!) paid for us to have. Girisha who helped me process this purchase online at a concessional rate. God is providing the Grabbing the Gadget Generation from Gehenna Mission (the name of our ministry, if you did not know) some very useful gadgets through His people! We cannot thank God enough for people like him!
Not a penny from a Non-Indian!
It was a year in which God met our needs for the ministry very faithfully. When we began in Feb 2006, no denomination, or Non-Resident Indian or church promised to take care of our ministry expenses. God was our only source. We spent approximately, Rs.1,25,000/- towards ministry-related expenses in 2007. God moved the hearts of willing individual Indians to send us offerings which were more than enough to cover those expenses. Like last year, we did not receive a single cent or a solitary penny from a Non-Indian (not that it is wrong to do so!).
Earlier this year we registered the organisation which I began by faith in Feb 2006 called G-4 Mission (Grabbing the Gadget Generation from Gehenna Mission) with the Tamil Nadu Government. My dad, Mr. A. Jeyaraj did all the groundwork. A board which included qualified non-blood relatives of mine was formed. An exclusive bank account for ministry funds was set up.
From Orissa to Hyderabad
Dambru Anand, a prayerful young man from an interior village in Orissa became our first fulltime worker this year. It is he who packs up the magazines, books, CDs we produce and sends them to you. He also takes over regular family responsibilities of mine (like dropping and picking up my 4-year old son from school) so that I will have more time to write. We are happy that he is a part of our team.
Lime-light and Lime Juice!
The number of volunteers helping our ministry is increasing by the day. Shruthi Joy, a mass communication pro is a crucial member of our mag's editing team. Joy is usually the first person to edit what I write. And she does it with joy despite her packed schedule. Steve Jothiraj also chips in to help in this thankless job as does Magdalene Daniel - a mom to two small kids. Ravi Alomothu, part of the HSBC corporate communication team, was instrumental in our mag having a magical makeover by converting it from Single Color to Multi-Color without much additional expense. Fenella Prince, Solomon Paul, Santhosh William manage our websites so much so that people say, "Wow!" when they see them. Florussel Satya keeps supplying us with good photos for use in our publications. Uncle Nallaraj Edward put us in touch with a family that sold us office furniture for a confessional rate, this year. John Wesley , a college lecturer and an active member of the Emmanuel House of Worship video-taped two of my messages to the youth of his church, this year. The core group of COSEK from Karunya Institute of Technology did the same when I preached in their youth camp. The website carrying our ministry news and articles, www.TheDaysofYourYouth.com was set up this year. Without Bro. Vijay Burton's kind gesture this would have never happened. Sridhar who lives close to our home, drove us for many a preaching assignments this year in his car. Some select folks, living in the bigger Indian cities distribute our mag to interested people in the church they attend and the corporate offices they work in. Sylvester John, Wesley Titus, were two young men who actively sold our books and CDs in the youth camps I preached in. Bro. Christopher, a fulltime minister who lives close to our home, is a person who could be counted on for any help. Dambru Anand, a prayerful young man from an interior village in Orissa became our first fulltime worker this year. It is he who packs up the magazines, books, CDs we produce and sends them to you. He also takes over regular family responsibilities of mine (like dropping and picking up my 4-year old son from school) so that I will have more time to write. We are happy that he is a part of our team. The reward for those in the lime-light and those who make lime juice for those in the lime-light will be the same, I believe.
Large-hearted Preachers !
One of the co-preachers in a youth camp I preached in, Evangelist Freddy Joseph, promoted The Days mag, with passion and persuasiveness. I thank God for such Kingdom-minded servants of God in the Vineyard. Dr. Sam Kamaleson, the world renowned preacher and founder of FMPB, the great missionary organisation, took time out to repeatedly send me emails that egged me on in what I did for the Lord with a pace that is feverish and a resolve that is tigerish.
A Bundle of Delight Called Datasha
On the family front, there were several blessings which the Lord mercifully added to us this year. Datasha, our daughter arrived on November 12, 2007. She did not have a heart beat when she was in her mother's womb, according to the first gynecologist we met. But the God who calls things that are not there as though they are, gave her heartbeat and health after we prayed and now she gives us so much happiness. Dale Nathan, our four year old son, goes to LKG in St. Andrews, one of the better schools in Hyderabad. My brother, Kingsley Joseph Ragland (called Joe), having been blessed by the Lord with a good corporate job with NCR in Pondy pays Dale's fees. Evan, my wife, managed the home front when I took off for ministry tours - one tour in her ninth month of pregnancy. I thank God for having given me a gutsy wife with a golden heart. The incalculable help and moral support of Daniel-Magdalene, Aunty Alice Mony from Orissa and my mom, Vimala Jeyaraj during the time before and after the arrival of Datasha will never be forgotten by us.
Prophet Who Prick !
Before I put a full stop to our annual report I must talk about the Christmas Season meetings I got to preach in. I have already talked about the Youth Gathering in the AG church at Secunderabad that drew 800 youth on December 22. To a small audience in a Roman Catholic Church Parish (
Let us pray
Let us pray that in the new year, 2008, many from the Google Generation will be grabbed from Gehenna; let us supplicate that our race to win the FaceBook Youth for Christ will continue without a break; let us stand in the gap in the Lord's presence so that the yahoo youth will yearn for Yahweh's Word; let us intercede that youth who work for companies like Dell and the like will be plundered from Hell.