Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”.
My dear fellow saints of the Bride of Christ,
Greetings, Shalom and love from your Bro. P. G. Bhalerao from Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India.
I count it my God-given opportunity and a special privilege to share my short testimony for God’s glory and for the edification of the Bride saints wherever you are.
I humbly wish to describe my spiritual stand in the words of Apostle Paul – The Ephesian Church Age Prophet-Messenger who testified saying: “But by the grace of God, I am what I am; and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain” (I Cor. 15:10).
In this context, I feel led to repeat what Bro. William M. Branham shared in one of his sermons: “I am a sinner saved by grace, your brother in Christ”. It goes without saying that all the true believers Bride saints, including myself know and firmly believe that Bro. Branham was the Prophet-Messenger to the Laodicean church Age. Amen! He was a scripturally and supernaturally vindicated servant of God.
Bro. Branham began his ‘Easter’ message by singing:
Living He loved me
Dying He saved me
Buried He carried
My sins far away
Rising He justified
Someday He’s coming
O glorious Day.
The words of this short chorus spell grace: G-R-A-C-E, five syllables! Five is a number of GRACE!! Amen. The words: Living, Dying, Buried, Rising and Coming state the five spiritual facts of Eternal Salvation!
‘He’, the personal pronoun speaks of the one Divine person of the ‘Godhead’ – The Man – The Lord Jesus Christ, the sacrificial work done by Him on the Cross was for me, a wretched sinner and for every predestinated child of God i.e. the every repentant individual, born again sinner irrespective of your gender. Scripturally baptized obeying the scripture Acts 2:38and without a shadow of doubt states that God did this through His only begotten Son- the Lord Jesus Christ who reconciled us to Himself – God in Christ according to II Corinthians 5:17 – 19.
So, dear brothers and sisters, it thrills my heart to know for sure that God does not impute trespasses against me (Romans 8:1-2). Now I am a child of God. I am made righteousness of God in and through Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1-2; 15-16). According to the gospel of John 1:17, Jesus Christ has made me a partaker of that grace. The scripture assures us – “for by grace are you saved through faith: and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). I fully believe it, have accepted and appropriated it by faith. The gift of Eternal Life… Eternal Salvation. I am really overwhelmed to confess and share that… that gift is mine. Amen! I am sure it is yours too! Amen!
Therefore, my dearly beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord, with these few meditational heart-felt thoughts and sincere feelings, I would like to share my testimony as briefly as possible, for God’s glory.
I was born and brought up in a very small and secluded village named ‘Dhorja, in Ahmednagar district. My parents were farmers. My siblings and close relatives were all Hindus – idol worshippers.
According to the school records, my birth date, is April 4, 1937, which means currently I am 83 years old. God willing, I hope to complete 84 years on April 4, 2021, which is just 2 months away from today (at the time of writing of this).
So far I am privileged to be alive because I never take life for granted… according to the words of a little chorus … ‘Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before!’ For every single day I am permitted and privileged to live, it is for His glory … For every single breath of mine, I praise thy name O Lord!’ are the words of a little chorus the Lord inspired me to write and which I sing always!
[Note: The words of the song of praise were given to me by the Lord on one of the Sunday mornings in August, 2002. The song is printed at the end of this testimony.]
Every day of my life, as I look back, my heart is filled with gratitude for all the highs and lows, ups and downs in my life knowing that all things have worked together for my good because I love God. By God’s grace, today I am the oldest person in my Bhalerao Family. It’s all by His grace and fathomless mercy… Nothing else! Praise the Lord! The word of God says: “with long life, will I satisfy him and show him my salvation” (Ps 91:16)
How true and apt for my life till date! Isn’t He wonderful! Amen!
I also firmly believe that it was all God’s grace and undeserved mercy. It was a definite leading of the Lord little by little. The perfect realization and the constant fulfillment of the key verse in my life i.e. Romans 8:28 in my life.
THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST CAME TO MY VILLAGE
(Australian Churches of Christ- foreign missionary’s role and contribution)
In God’s own good and appointed time-table, since 1920, slightly before or around that period, some kind, loving and caring Australian Churches of Christ, foreign missionaries along with their Indian associates came to my village. They preached the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to my family and the neighbors in the vicinity.
Later, during their periodical visits, they distributed some written portions and tracts. In those days, illiteracy was rampant at our place. One copy of the Bible in vernacular language was presented to my uncle (My father’s elder brother). He being a literate person and highly respected in the village. I feel like calling him ‘The Cornelius’ of our village!
Thus, the gospel seed was sown verbally and through the printed copies. At this time, Christian songs and hymns played an important role in those humble beginnings.
In the due course of time, my uncle, my widow grandmother, my parents, most of the family members including a few other villagers of our clan or caste became Christian in 1920 or around that time… By the way, historically a century has just past at the end of 2020 since my family and few others who had accepted the gospel as they understood it then. Is it a coincidence? NO! It was all by His grace! I feel privileged to be here and share… after all it was a part of His sovereign perfect plan of Redemption! Praise the Lord!
The missionaries had built a small school-cum-worship place in the village. My uncle was taught and was given a sizable ‘First-Aid-Box’ to treat the ordinary illnesses and ailments. Educational and medical help were the two main aspects of missionaries’ gospel ministry in those days.
Anyways, my early-elementary education was completed in vernacular language which was a starting point in that village for the rise of missionary school. Later on I was sent in a mission-run Christian boarding school in Baramati in Pune district. My high school education was completed up to metric level in Baramati in a Brahmin school. That was the year 1958.
After my father passed away, we had to go through a severe famine in our area. My maternal uncle, named as Mr. D. B. Garud, who is no more took my younger brother and myself to Baramati Christian Boys Home. He was studying there and was in good terms with the Lady Missionary Superintendent. During 1946 to 1947, my uncle worked there as one of the monitors called as Rector. He was used by God as a timely instrument to create in me interest and love for Bible. Any ways, I always loved the Bible very much as I use to memorize many Bible verses with great interest, joy and love…
Later on, for college degree, I got an opportunity to go to a Christian College in Ahmednagar. That college was a very good place for Christian upbringing such as Sunday Chapel services and participation in Christian- spiritual activities such as ‘Students Christian Movement’ (SCM).
Now, I conclude with my academic phase. I feel this is an appropriate place to make mention that I enrolled myself in the Union Biblical Seminary (UBS) in the year 1963 to 1966 at Yawatmal, which is now situated in Pune. I don’t know how to describe the 3 years spent at UBS. All that I can say is that it was a big package of conglomeration of mixed experiences! I don’t have anything against the institute itself! But for God’s glory, I must emphatically mention one important fact that during that time, I found a very valuable golden nugget. It was permanently imprinted in my heart for the rest of my life and the ministry which was in store for me in the future. You may ask, Brother, what was the Golden Nugget? … Well! It was the eternal scriptural fact and that is “GOD WAS IN CHRIST”!
It so happened that in one of the lectures on theology. A person named Dr. K. C. Matthew from the state of Kerala drew a vertical line on the blackboard, pointing an arrow from top to bottom and said, “God was in Christ”. I cannot tell whether he realized the complete significance of that phrase…But my dear brothers and sisters, it struck my heart like a ‘Thunder bolt’… the reference to this is found in II Corinthians 5:19, which says, “To wit, that God was in Christ…”
O dear saints of God, I am eternally grateful for that revelation! But to tell you the truth, I hid that golden nugget in the closet of my heart until the Truth of the End-Time Message was fully revealed to me step by step as the years passed by. This revelation was expounded through the Word Ministries of God’s chosen vessels… to name some of them: Bro. William Branham (through his printed and tape messages), Bro. Solomon Jacob, Bro. Raymond Jackson, Bro. Richard Gan, Bro. Richard D’Souza, Bro. Hubert D’Souza, Bro. Vinod Menezes, Bro. Sona Dethe, Bro. James Veremu, Bro. Billy joseph, Bro. Valley Serrao, Bro. Andrew Phiri… and many more. Blessed be the name of the Lord! At this point just one verse to sum up everything would be “O the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and his ways are past finding out!” Romans 11:33.
My brothers and sisters, fellow saints of the BRIDE OF CHRIST and FELLOW PILGRIMS…I am overjoyed and I humbly welcome you also to rejoice with me for what God has done for me. Amen!
STORY OF DANIEL
The story of Daniel and his companions Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had been a tremendous fascination to me since my early childhood. Later on in the due course of time, when the foreign missionaries were receding, I was appointed as the Person-In-Charge of the Missionary Station (center) at Shrigonda… which can be said: A Jack of all trades!
FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH BRO. SOLOMON JACOB
In the year 1975-76, a brother named Solomon Jacob of Amravati was invited by me to our Mission Station Compound to teach and preach in the ‘Summer Bible School’ specially organized for Christian Youths of the churches by the organization and a few Christian Leaders of the village churches.
The ‘Summer Bible School’ was scheduled in the month of May, 1976. Bro. Solomon Jacob, in those days was closely associated with the Alliance Mission and Church in Amravati. His godly mother Sushilabai Jacob, fondly known as Jacob Aunty was very active in that church and in other church activities as well.
I had not met Bro. Solomon before, but through my Christian relatives and independent missionaries in Rahuri, I was introduced to him and they too recommended that I should invite him for the Summer Bible School at Shrigonda, which I did prayerfully.
Bro. Solomon did not go to any Bible School or college but was well versed in the scriptures. He was an Indian Jew- a famous football player. He had a unique ability and gift to preach and teach the word of God. It was proved by his personal experience of salvation and a living testimony of a miraculous healing of his fractured knee.
In the ‘Summer Bible School’, Bro. Solomon taught from the Book of Daniel, using a big colored chart. That was the time when I became very interested and was made known that according to the word of God; we are living in the end times and the time of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
After the Summer Bible School, in May 1976, he gave me a book entitled “An Exposition of the seven church ages” by Bro. William M. Branham (U. S. A). For the first time in my life, I got a book of this kind and for which I am so thankful to Bro. Solomon and eternally indebted to the Lord. For a while I kept the book on the shelf… but after reading it, the message from the book beckoned for my attention and gripped my heart. It opened my spiritual eyes and ears. Later on, Bro. Jackson preached on the same topic in 1978 convention at Bhusawal, India. I was thoroughly delighted… shortly I am going to give you more detailed account about the Bhusawal- All India Convention and the miraculous role played by Bro. Jackson.
In the year 1977, another denominational preacher came in my contact. A very interesting guy indeed! His name was Rev. Joseph L. G. Hiwale from Bhusawal, Dist. Jalgaon, Maharashtra. He used to organize Christian Convention either periodically or yearly in strategic cities in the state of Maharashtra.
It so happened that this Rev. Hiwale got hold of the one copies of ‘The Faith Contender’ through his associate Bro. S. M. Naik who worked in the central Railways Junction, Bhusawal as a parcel clerk. Actually, the copy of the contender was wrapped up around a parcel of a customer. It was considerably torn and shattered but the writing in it was legible and almost intact! Bro. S. M. Naik was startled to read the title- “Seventy Weeks of Daniel-One Week Left”. Bro. Naik requested the owner of the parcel for the wrapper which was useless to the owner and he too gave it happily to Bro. Naik, who cello-taped it carefully. He then quickly scanned through it with great interest and handed it over to Rev. Hiwale. The correspondence address and necessary details of it were at the back of the Contender.
Seeing the address, Rev. Hiwale wasted no time but immediately contacted Bro. Raymond Jackson and managed to go the States to attend one of his International Convention organized by ‘The Faith assembly Church.’
While there at States, Rev. Hiwale explained Bro. Jackson about the “All India Christian Convention” of which Rev. Hiwale was the host. As far as I remember, this happened around the year 1977. Then and there Rev. Hiwale extended a cordial invitation to Bro. Jackson to be the main guest speaker of the convention which was to be held the following year i.e. October, 1978 in India.
To make the long story short, as Rev. Hiwale knew me as the translator of English literature into Marathi language and also being his friend, took the opportunity and almost compelled me to be the translator of Bro. Jackson irrespective of my lack of experience in this field. I was really in a predicament. (a square peg in a round hole!) To be honest with you, I was quite hesitant to accept the offer but as this Bro. kept on insisting… at last with fear and trembling with prayers, I agreed to accept the invitation as a new opportunity and a challenge!
The venue of the convention was a big high school campus. The convention was organized during the Indian Diwali holidays for around 4 to 5 days.
The number of attendees excluding the local Christians was around 250 to 300 representing various denominations from all over the states in India and a few celebrities too!
After my arrival to the venue with my family, the preliminary and introductory session was already over… then I was introduced to Bro. and Sis. Jackson, letting them know that I was to be the interpreter from the following sessions. I politely confessed to Bro. Jackson that I had never translated any American preacher before and that too publicly on the stage! But he assured me of his prayers which was a great relief and comfort!
BRO. JACKSON’S SPIRITUAL DREAM
(A definite foreordained motivating factor to be the convention speaker and the fulfillment of the dream)
On the first or second day of the meeting, Bro. Jackson explained and revealed the chief reason of his visit to India to be the convention preacher.
He said, “Brothers and sisters. I am here by God’s perfect leading and guidance. It is the sure proof of the fulfillment of my spiritual dream; the Lord gave me in 1958… almost 20 years ago!”
Bro. Jackson was closely associated and fellowshipped with Bro. Branham. He narrated that dream to Bro. Branham who WE the end Time Message believers know for sure that he was the PROPHET MESSENGER TO THE LAODICEAN CHURCH AGE. I had read about it in the ‘Seven Church Ages Book’. Naturally, my curiosity was extremely heightened as I was interpreting Bro. Jackson on the stage! It is still very fresh, bright and a live scene on the screen of my memory! Indelibly green!!
Even though I don’t claim to quote Bro. Jackson’s words as it was. Kindly bear with me as I quote him as much as I recall at present.
THE DREAM: “… as usual I opened my letter box near the gate. I sat in my porch. I spread the letters on the small table in front of me. Suddenly a very strange letter attracted my attention because it was not written in English! I was perplexed. Just then, I turned to one side and to my surprise I saw a lady sitting on a chair. A modestly dressed… a saree-clad lady! Her long hair neatly parted in the middle… a very respectable lady! Very politely she said to me, ‘May I help you, Sir..?’
… Handing over the open letter to her, I said, ‘Yes Ma’am, please!’ (The letter was written in the Marathi script used in Maharashtra, India.)
The lady quietly went through the letter and I was watching her with great curiosity… Then with full confidence, she said, ‘Sir, the gist of the letter is as follows:
- Please come and help us.
- Please come and tell us about your Lord Jesus Christ.
- Please do come over and help us…
And I woke up…’
Bro. Jackson realized that the dream he had in 1958 was from the Lord. The following Sunday, after the service, he found some time with Bro. Branham and shared the dream to him.
JACKSON’S DREAM INTERPRETED BY BRO. BRANHAM
Listening to his dream, Bro. Branham said to him intently, “Bro. Junie, (that’s how he used to address him usually) … the lady (woman) in your dream means a country or the church… In that country, the ladies are dressed the way you just described… saree clad- modestly dressed … perfectly ideal and very respectable…
The written gist of the letter is a sure and cordial invitation given to you to go to that land and preach the Truth of the Word of God- The revealed Gospel Message.
Don’t worry; wait on the Lord; He will fulfill the dream in His own time, in His own way.’’
During the meeting in India, Bro. Jackson explained this account of the dream in All India Christian Convention, Bhusawal meetings; he paused for a second or two and then focused his attention towards the curtain of the stage behind him and asked the audience:
Brothers and sisters, have you noticed and read the sentences clearly printed in your own language? Again he paused for another second and repeated the same question… By now all eyes were focused on those three sentences with awe and wonder! All faces were glowing with amazement and admiration! Wow! Everybody began to look at each other. Without wasting any time, Rev. Hiwale or Bro. Naik, the choir leader read aloud those three sentences in Marathi language. Being on the stage, I too read those sentences with my own eyes! Praise the Lord! This was quite unprecedented to me!
The Three Sentences earlier read by one and all definitely spelled out and was a clear cut Macedonian Call! Don’t you think so?
THE BEST WAS STILL AWAITED…!
Immediately after the above awe-inspiring event, Bro. Jackson quickly turned to the sister’s section comprising of the ladies choir group under the pundol pointing his finger straight to one particular sister and exclaimed saying, “Brothers and sisters, This is the lady I saw in my dream in 1958… and today is the day of the fulfillment of that dream right here in Bhusawal-All India Christian Convention-October 1978! The fulfillment accomplished after 20 long years! In God’s own Time… in His own way! Amen”
Lo and Behold!… There was such applause in the arena where everyone was shouting and rejoicing- Hallelujah!
Praise the Lord!! Glory to God!! As I look back, I can very clearly see Bro. S. M. Naik, (fondly known as Naik uncle) the convention choir leader, almost jumping and waving his hands in the air shouting on top of his voice, ‘Glory to God!’
My, what a scene of joy unspeakable and full of glory!
Right after that session, we came to know that the lady encountered by Bro. Jackson in his dream was Sister Vijayabai J. Dalbhanjan from Oosmanabad, a radio singer who was very humble, polite and always greeted everyone with tears in her eyes who was saying, ‘Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! …’ Amen!
Bro. Jackson’s visited India the second time. The Lord brought him back for the message ministry to India at the end of October, 1980, in the city of Pune followed by other places in Kolkata, Bangalore, etc.
The Pune meetings were held at B. J. Medical College grounds near the Jewish Synagogue and as always Rev. Hiwale were the convener.
The meeting was attended by the representatives of almost all the major Protestant denominations and the church groups along with the believers from Bhusawal, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar, Shrigonda, Daund, Solapur and other places from the vicinity. Notable presence was of Bro. M. R. Samuel and a few others with him from Gudiyatam, Tamil Nadu.
Bro. J. V. Londhe of Kopergaon too shouldered quite a lot of responsibilities assisted by Bro. Nana. S. Shinde and his brother Anand Shinde. Bro. Londhe was a great help in every possible way since, he was from Pune.
By God’s grace, once again I was privileged to interpret Bro. Jackson publicly on the stage in the evening meetings and the Bible Studies in the morning sessions organized in a spacious auditorium.
To conclude this sharing and a short meditational message this is inclusive of Bro. Jackson’s brief reports of the 2 conventions and my testimony and the above relative facts. Let me confess and say with confidence and humility that the Pune Meeting was a historic, important land mark and a constant sweet reminiscence of His faithfulness After a short gap, from the year 1983, it was my humble share to continue the Marathi translation of the English ‘FAITH CONTENDER’ edition until 1987 which was entitled as ‘VISHWAS SAMARTHAK’. This Marathi translation literature ministry was also on a small scale but it proved to be a powerful avenue in the spread of The Message with long lasting effects and had a great influence for the glory of God. The Revelation chart prepared by Bro. Jackson was extensively used in the teaching ministry by Bro. Manoj Ranaware of Taklibhan and others. It is still used to give the panoramic view of the whole book of Revelation. Here, I put on record, Bro. Sona Dethe from Ahmednagar who is a gallant brother in the Lord. He is my relative, companion, prayer partner and a helper. He was in the end Time Message before me. To God be the glory!… Ebenezer!… Amen!
NOTE: With all due respect I have to say that some of the pioneers, enthusiastic preachers like Bro. Solomon Jacob and others during the past few years have taken a different route and with this they twist the scriptures in order to denounce the Laodician Church Age Messenger- Bro. W. M. Branham, whom they once upon a time held in high respect. I have no joy in saying that but I have to mention the facts with no intention to start another uninvited controversy.
I have been requested by Bro. Andrew Phiri to sing a little chorus like Praise Song. The simple, meaningful words gripped my humble heart. I wrote the words, sing it and have always shared it with the believers very often. I do believe it can speak to every sincere believer!
The song of Praise is based on the Scripture verses: Ps. 31:5a; Ps 34:1; Ps 89:1.
I would like to sing it for the glory of God. Here I go:
THE SONG OF PRAISE
For every month of every year
I praise Thy name, O Lord…
For every week of every month
I praise Thy name, O Lord
For every day of every week
I praise Thy name, O Lord…
For every hour of every day
I praise Thy name, O Lord
For every minute of every hour
I praise Thy name, O Lord…
For every second of every minute
I praise Thy name, O Lord…
For every moment of every second
I praise Thy name, O Lord…
For every fraction of every moment
I praise Thy name, O Lord…
For every single breath of mine
I praise Thy name, O Lord…
For every single word of Thine
I praise Thy name, O Lord
For Romans eight and twenty eight
I praise thy name, O Lord…
For further correspondence, kindly contact me on the following address:
Bro. P. G. Bhalerao.
Behind Makasare Health Club,
House No 144/31,
Post Vahan Nagar. (V. R. D. E.)
Pin code No: 414006
Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India.