Vassula in India, May 2002
India, 25-28th May 2002
On Saturday, May 25th Vassula, Catarina and I arrived at the airport of Mumbai late in the evening. Waiting for us there were Celine Vieira with Vijay and Shirley Lazarus – who had arranged for us to stay in a wonderful apartment below their own, giving us all the necessary privacy that Vassula needs during her trips. Once there, we were informed of the itinerary of the next days. At dinner, Vijay and Shirley shared with us how much they were touched by the messages of True Life in God Celine and Catarina had given them just a few weeks earlier, especially by the ones regarding Our Lady. Vassula had the opportunity also to share with our friends in Mumbai the wonderful news of her trip to Bangladesh and what God had planned for us there.
The next morning our schedule of the day began with a Baptism of a young Indian man from a Hindu family, Bharat, who was to be baptized at the Catholic Church in Mankhurd. Celine and Catarina had arranged for his baptism to be during Vassula’s visit in Mumbai so that Vassula could be one of his godparents. Bharat had read all the volumes of the messages available in English and decided to become a Christian. "The messages of True Life in God, as he wrote earlier in his testimony, helped me to develop a very new, unique, active and personal relationship with Jesus. They substantially helped me to appreciate and comprehend the Bible to a greater extent". I have no words to describe the happiness of this young man. At the end of the Sacrament, he was glowing like an angel! Leaving the Church, we were invited at Bharat’s house to celebrate with the family their joy. Bharat had the chance to share with all of us how God touched his heart and changed his life while reading the messages.
After a couple of hours of rest we departed for St. Anne’s Church for evening Mass in Bandra. Following was Vassula’s meeting in Mumbai at the Sacred Heart’s Church Grounds. With Celine as the coordinator and many friends of True Life in God (Joe de Silva, Elaine and Anthony Murray, Stanley Rodrigues, Hilary Aguir to name a few) helping for days to prepare everything for our prophet in Mumbai, all was ready for the meeting. It started at 19:00 and lasted for about two hours. About 4,500 people (Hindus, Buddhists, Christians), lay and religious, attended the meeting and listened to our Lord’s message. Even people from abroad, like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait had come to Mumbai only for that meeting and left the next day! Vassula spoke about many things: about God’s paternal love; about the importance of repentance and prayer; about unity, reconciliation and peace. The audience listened to what she said with great attention. Following Vassula’s speech, Bharat gave his testimony of conversion and the impact the messages had in his life. It was his first day as a Christian and he wanted to share his happiness with everyone! The meeting ended with healing prayer from Vassula and vote of thanks to God and Vassula from Anthony Murray.
At dinner with Vijay and Shirley Lazarus and members of their family, we were informed that Vassula’s speech was broadcasted live on a local TV station! We were happy to hear that many people had asked the TV channel to re-play it again as many didn’t have a chance of viewing it! We were all very happy because Jesus didn’t stop surprising us with His plans, as until the previous day of the meeting nothing was certain! Praise is to our Lord!
The next morning Shirley took Catarina and myself into the city. Vassula preferred to stay back and rest. I really enjoyed observing how people live in Mumbai. So different a culture than the one in Europe! Shirley’s hospitality was extraordinary.
Around 3:15 we departed for Vassula’s second scheduled meeting in Mumbai, at the Tabor Divine Retreat Ashram in Kalyan. Celine and some other young people came with us for this meeting. Fr. Mathew Elavunkal, Director of the Retreat Center, warmly welcomed Vassula and the rest of the group when we arrived. Vassula’s speech started at 6:00 p.m. and lasted for nearly two hours. Around 1,500 people had the opportunity to listen to our Lord’s message, not all of them Christians! Hindus and Buddhists where also present. There was absolute silence when Vassula was talking. I really felt that the audience absorbed every single word that came out from our prophet’s mouth. The atmosphere was so peaceful and the Holy Spirit was so powerful! The meeting ended with a prayer from Vassula and hymns to our Lord and we headed back for the city.
The next morning, May 28th, Catarina escorted Vassula and myself to the domestic airport. Vassula’s last TLIG meeting for this Asia trip would take place in Bangalore, south of India. Catarina did not join us because, with Celine Vieira, had to meet with other TLIG friends and newcomers in Mumbai and re-establish a prayer group and form an Association. We really missed her presence.
We arrived in Bangalore around 10:50 a.m. Mary Abraham and other new friends of True Life in God warmly welcomed us with beautiful exotic flowers. This was Vassula’s first visit in Bangalore. Mary Abraham was the pioneer to bring the messages in Bangalore some time back, share them with friends and with Sebastian Alcanther and Carmel Prabhu – among others - took care of advertising Vassula’s visit in their area. The meeting was scheduled to take place at St. Anthony’s Friary Church and Mary had arranged for us to stay at the Church’s guest rooms. This was a unique experience for me.
The meeting was held early in the evening, after Mass. About 3,000 people attended, among them many Hindus as well. The Church was so full that some people had to listen to Vassula while standing outside the Church. Vassula gave a brief introduction of how her angel approached her and prepared her to receive the Messages from our Lord, and covered many of the subjects the Lord mentions in the Messages. She also indicated that the Lord had sent her to India in the past and that a lot of prayer is needed for this country. Prayers that come from the heart can even stop wars.
It was obvious that the evil one was not at all happy with Vassula’s visit in Bangalore: while Vassula was speaking the lights went off and when the organizers managed to repair the problem her microphone stopped working. With God’s grace the problem was settled right away and Vassula managed to complete her speech.
The next morning we had breakfast with some friends of TLIG. One of them gave Vassula a book with extracts of the Messages translated in Konkani (one of the many languages spoken in India). That was another nice surprise from our Lord. Yet, that was not the only one.
Mrs. Celine Manayani, another friend in Bangalore, informed Vassula that with God’s grace and people’s generosity she managed to build a house for unmarried mothers "Karuna Niwas, Home of Compassion" and that in her heart she always wanted also to build a house for poor children. After listening to Vassula talking about the Beth Miriam’s around the world and their different function in every country, Celine said to Vassula that she would like to give as a gift half an acre of her land to True Life in God to build a Beth Miriam for less fortunate children in Bangalore! What a surprise! Glory is to God!
Mrs. Manayani invited us to go and see the "Karuna Niwas" and the land she was talking about. I thought that we would see a small house. I was amazed by what I saw: it was a huge retreat house, with a wonderful garden, a huge kitchen, very clean and nice bedrooms for the mothers and their children. It even had a room where they teach music to the children and they sing hymns. The chapel was on the first floor for prayer time, adoration and Mass.
God has really helped Mrs. Manayani to build this house. I pray now that with the grace of God TLIG we will be able to build the first Beth Miriam in India. God did His part: through Mrs. Manayani, He is giving us property. It is our turn now to help build a "home" for the poor children.
Later on that afternoon we departed Bangalore having in our hearts a lot of joy and blessings. When we arrived in Mumbai we informed our friends about everything Jesus had done in only one day in Bangalore: the people’s attendance at the meeting, their eagerness to start their own TLIG prayer group, the property and the idea to have a Beth Miriam in Bangalore, etc. Everyone was exited and happy and praised God.
Our trip was reaching to its end. Early in the morning (around 2:00 a.m.) Vassula and I departed Mumbai for Rome, Italy. Honestly, I have no words to express my gratitude to God for allowing me, the sinner, to escort Vassula on such a spiritually profound mission! So many lessons to learn from and teachings from all the happenings that Jesus led us to experience in such a short time that it will take a long time to absorb! I give glory to God who allowed me to participate and live these blessed moments with Vassula and my brothers and sisters in Asia. I pray that God will always protect all of them and bless them. I also pray that God will continue to give strength to Vassula to accomplish her mission, spreading His Love Hymn to every corner of this earth!
TLIG group in Athens, Greece