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Michael Vijaykumar Story

Michael was born into a family of doctors working in the Campbell Mission Hospital in Jammalamadugu, a small town in Rayalaseema District in Andhra Pradesh, India.

His parents wanted him to follow their footsteps but at the age of 26 Michael plunged into active politics. He believed that temporal power and wealth defined a successful man and he put all his energies to acquiring them. As his reputation grew, it brought him into direct conflict with powerful local leaders. Spurred by the support he received from the people and the successes against his adversaries, Michael slowly metamorphosed into a power hungry, arrogant and cruel man. Violently temperamental, he physically assaulted and terrorized anybody who chanced to cross his path and even his family did not escape his unpredictable and irrational temper. The path of power drew him inexorably into the bloody political landscape of the district and Michael Babu as he was now known became one of the most feared and ruthless factionists the state had ever seen. The entire district lived in a state of fear as rivals fought it out with bombs and guns on the roads. In the fourteen years of his involvement in the politics of the faction ridden District, he was responsible for many murders, riots and criminal intimidation, booth capturing during elections and other crimes against the state and its people. Imprisoned a number of times, he nevertheless wielded power from prison, having terrorized the police force too.

 

Michael could no longer bear the extreme stress of his dangerous existence and the escalating friction with the District Police Chief in 1993 forced him to flee to Madras, now known as Chennai. There he stayed with his relatives, a prayerful and godly family. He observed the happiness and love that the family shared, even in their simple life. He realized the immense difference between his situation and theirs. Questions crowded his mind and he fell into deep introspection on the folly of his ways and thoughts. He desired to know more about what made them so content even though they were not well off as he was, nor possessed the power and charisma he had. They told him of the love of Jesus Christ and his ability to heal the darkness of his soul. They introduced him to the elders of the Laymen's Evangelical Fellowship to whom he narrated his plight. They prayed mightily for his redemption.

There the power of God worked its miracle on his tortured soul. He read the Bible avidly, and started praying to God, seeking the answers that had long eluded him. One night he had an amazing vision. He saw himself laying hand on a crowd of people and blessing them. He woke up and asked himself, "is this not the work of pastors?" After a few days, God spoke to him again through Isa 42. 6. The light of God was shining on that verse.

Disbelief and Catharsis: The stunning events in Madras were viewed with disbelief in Michael Babu's hometown. Many believed it was only a ruse to escape his seemingly inevitable fate. Others believed that it was only another chapter in his checkered life and eventful. Even his own relatives and bodyguards believed the change to be temporary. When Michael Babu returned to Jammalamadugu, he publicly renounced politics. This became headlines in the papers. People saw a visible change in the man they once feared. He spent long hours in prayer seeking guidance for the course his life was to take. Even the most implacable of his enemies were taken by surprise when he publicly and privately asked forgiveness from more than 300 people whom he had wronged, whose lives he had destroyed. He performed this incredibly difficult and even dangerous duty with a serene confidence in the grace and guiding purpose of God.

Michael was baptized in the Laymen's Evangelical Fellowship and he began publicly preaching the Holy word. His transformation was so remarkable that many who came to hear him were themselves changed. Michael's saga had yet another surprise. The criminal cases that were pending against him were miraculously closed by the police and the judiciary and he renewed his work in God. Michael became a powerful witness and an evangelist for Christ and his remarkable testament to the life changing grace of God moves people wherever he goes.

 

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