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The ministry of an amazing mother

Imagine, as a family, having to feed 700 people at one sitting.

It happened recently in the family of Moggill minister, Rev Deva Sugirtharaj.

But when the story is told, the occasion is understandable.

Because the event was about the death of an extraordinary servant of Christ in India, Deva’s mother, Sarojini.

Deva was unable to make it for the funeral, attended by 1400, but was there for the period of grieving and celebration carried out according to the local custom. This included the family gathering and meal.

To start with, there were 300 relatives. The other 400 were legitimate gate-crashers, most who traced their entry into the family of Christ through Sarojini.

Sarojini had a most interesting heritage, in that her mother was one of the baby girls rescued by the famous missionary and author, Amy Carmichael, from the traditional Indian custom of the mortal denial of new-born females.

Sarojini was the last child born into a rich family in the Tamil region of south India.

Following her father’s early death and her mother being badly psychologically effected, Sarojini had a required arranged marriage at the age of 15.

The shock was that he was from the poor caste and she hardly knew anything about him. Nor about her new live-in family, which she discovered all slept on the floor.

Her tears flowed for 40 days and 40 nights. And she was an Anglican and they were Lutheran.

There were four sons and one daughter when her schoolteacher husband died after 19 years of married life.

Mother Sarojini was obedient to a strange call which she believed was from God. There were many times when what was judged mystical and unbelievable became reality in the experience of this devout Anglican.

Her well-to-do siblings left her to fate when she took her brood from family support to live in a compound. The church’s usual negativity towards widows was cruelly worse in her case.

Thus began a remarkable ministry among Muslims, Hindus and Christians.

Moggill minister Deva tells how the young family miraculously thrived on water and prayer for breakfast. At the same time, the small teacher’s pension was tithed to the church. As time went by, there was the amazing provision for university training for her children.

In the compound, the time came when 200 people, many from non-Christian allegiance, gathered at the home for ministry based on prayer.

At the beginning of her compound life, Sarojini laid hands on her four sons, believing there was the promise of God that they would become ministers of the gospel. That has happened, although one had firmly embraced political action before changing direction.

Family members were with Sarojini when she spent two-and-a-half hours in prayer, announced that she was going to the Lord, went to bed and was in his presence within five minutes.