Photo by Jason Archer
Arun, a Free Methodist pastor in Mumbai, India, has lacked the ability to see for most of his life.
“When I was born, my eyes were very good, but when I was 3 years old … [my] mom [was] told that something had happened and my eyesight had gone,” Arun recalled during an interview in October 2013 when the Free Methodist Church in India became a general conference. “I got a cancer, retinoblastoma.”
A doctor told Arun’s mother: “If you will not remove the eyes, he will not survive.”
Arun’s parents followed the doctor’s advice and had his eyes removed.
While Arun no longer had eyes to see, he still could witness God’s work in his life.
“When I was in college, for the first time in my life, one of my friends had given me a gospel,” Arun said. “One day, I got a vision. One day, I got a dream.”
Arun said he saw a person — possibly an angel — beside him. The person told him to repeat the phrases “God’s kingdom is near,” “believe the gospel” and “the time has come.”
He had never previously experienced a dream like this one.
“I was astonished. I was surprised,” he said. “I repented and felt very peaceful, and from that time, I surrendered my life. I just started ministry among visually challenged people.”
Arun married Rebecca, who also is blind. They came to faith in Jesus out of two different religions. Their parents watched with skepticism as they took this new path.
Rebecca joined him in reaching others for Christ through a Mumbai ministry center that reaches out to people from nine language groups and many individuals with special needs.
Arun and Rebecca were blessed with two seemingly healthy children — Angkor and Apollos. In May 2006, as Apollos turned 6 months old, he began to have vision problems. The couple took Apollos to specialists.
“They found Apollos had the same problem with retinoblastoma in both eyes,” Arun said. “This was shocking news for me and my family.”
Physicians claimed that chemotherapy could save Apollo’s life, but not his sight. Family members responded by regularly taking Apollos to a church to pray for him.
“One eye doctor had said, ‘Just remove one eye because that tumor is bigger,’ so we removed his left eye,” Arun said. “Then a surprise; the right eye began to see fully.”
Apollos now can read and write. His restored vision was not the only unexpected blessing.
“My family — my mom and my dad, my brothers … they all came to the Lord this way,” Arun said. “That’s a miracle, and this miracle happened by my son, Apollos, and God has used him.”
His son’s restored vision and his family members’ salvation remind Arun of Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:26: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”0