The First Miracle

Pastor Stephen was born in India into a family of five children. This is a family that is part of three generations of Christians. He was the youngest and his birth itself is a miracle.

Pastor Stephen tells the story, “I was born around 10pm - the whole family was excited about my birth, but I was born as a blue baby. The doctors at that time had no medication for this. My mother's doctor told my parents that I was going to die within two hours and that my dad had to rush out and make arrangements for the funeral. The coffin was made ready, the pastor was called and my mother was crying at the time. The pastor asked what name they wanted to give me, because without a name a child cannot be buried. So I was named Jayaraj Stephen. The doctors were waiting until 12 midnight when the heart was supposed to stop and they would then take the body away.”

“But my mother prayed and said, 'Lord, you have done so many miracles with the Israelites and other people and if you do this miracle one more time I will give my son to you.’ So, with that prayer everyone was waiting for midnight but then the doctor came and he congratulated my mother. I was given no medication, no treatment, I was not even kept in an incubator and I am still living and I am now 65 years old.”

Because he was a sickly child his parents wanted to give him the best life, so they educated him as an engineer. His mother was very strict as she brought him up and she taught him the Scriptures. “If I didn't read my Bible or say my prayers no food would be given to me,” Pastor Stephen explains. “As a child I became the altar boy in my Anglican church, but there was always a vacuum within me. I would go to church, whether sunshine, rain or storm. But I got nothing out of the church. There was a huge vacuum in my heart.”

As a mechanical engineer, Pastor Stephen rose to the highest order in his country and reported to the Transport Minister. His position was Class One Gazetted Officer.

A New Life and New Challenges

In 1989, his in-laws had migrated to Sydney and they asked him to come and visit. “I came here on a sponsorship and also because of my profession,” Pastor Stephen says. “I went for the interview with the High Commissioner - he saw my award and he said, 'I am choosing you.'”

“So the whole family migrated to Australia in 1989. Having said this, the fact that I rose to such a high position back home, the Institute of Engineers in Australia recognised my qualification and they decided to give me a corporate membership straight away.”

However, Pastor Stephen couldn't find work for two years. The country was in recession at the time and he couldn't find work of any kind wherever he went. “For two years I struggled so much,” he went on to say. “My children were only small. The eldest was four years and the youngest three years old. I came to the point that I couldn't provide for my family, so the only alternative was to commit suicide. I was going to church in Sydney and I asked the senior minister if he could give me the keys - that I wanted to pray my last prayer before I would die.”

“I believed that there was no point in living and so I went to pray for three days and on the third day, something happened to me. When I was praying I felt the whole church revolving, the Holy Spirit came and I encountered Jesus in person. When I came out I was a totally different person.

The very next day the senior pastor called me and said, 'I am appointing you as a pastor.'”

“He gave me 35 families to look after. I had no training, no real knowledge of the Bible, I had no preaching experience, but still I was pastoring.”

Called to Bible College

At that stage, Pastor Stephen found work as a Project Manager. He was getting good wages, but still there was so much trouble within the family.

“The Lord spoke to me at the time and said, 'You are to go to Bible College.' I put it off because my work was so hard,” he explains. “I used to bring work home, even during the weekend. But the voice of The Lord was so strong that I did some research and went to Moore Theological College.

When I went to enrol, I was $5 short of paying the fee so the idea was coming to me not to go. However, I thought I would still go and tell the receptionist I am earning good wages and that when I receive my next pay, I will give her the last $5. With that I went and asked the receptionist to enrol me now, even though I didn't have the last $5. She looked at me and said, 'Take all your funds back, whenever you get the money just give it to me.'”

The four years at the College was a very difficult and horrendous experience for Pastor Stephen. “I was fighting with my wife, there was no peace in the house,” he says quite honestly. “I was travelling by train - which was taking me to the wrong station for one whole semester. Every day I went through so much pain and suffering with my studies. Ultimately, when I finished and graduated and I came out of that building, God opened my eyes and He taught me the Bible. I knew that was the reason that Satan wanted to take away the blessings that God had kept and preserved for me.”

Gift of Compassion

Meanwhile, Pastor Stephen was ministering on the weekends and he began to realise that God had given him special gifts. People were being healed when he prayed - it was certainly something new to him. When he prayed, something would happen. He continued in his ministry and it developed so much that people started coming to him. This was only by word of mouth and was happening seven days a week.

“In 2000 the Lord spoke to me and said, 'I want you to pastor full-time.'
So, I resigned from a very good job,” Pastor Stephen states.
“It was giving me so much money to pay the mortgage, but I did resign and became a full-time pastor. The demand with people was so much.”

Pastor Stephen is the voluntary assistant pastor at the Anglican Church in Auburn in Sydney – they do have another paid assistant. “Although I don't have any financial help, I still work full-time as a pastor,” he admits.

Today, Pastor Stephen understands why he went through those trials and trouble - because God has put him in such a position so that he can have compassion for others. “If I hadn't gone through those trials and tribulations myself, I wouldn't be able to cry for other people,” he says. “I cannot see the suffering for other people. So I have tears when I pray - God is merciful - He heals them.”

“Big churches are not able to give that one-to-one ministry, because they are so busy. People are really crying out for that one-to-one and are looking for deliverance. Many people, who are afflicted by witchcraft, are crying that there is nowhere to go. The trauma and torture they go through, nobody can understand. They are traumatised and it brings sickness and diseases in their body. There is little help available nowadays.”