Testimony of a Pentecostal Pastor
By Duane McKey
Soman was raised in a Hindu home. His father was the president of the SNDP, a high-ranking Hindu group in Kerala, India. As a young man, Soman was an active “evangelist,” seeking to convert people to Hinduism. He was also a singer for the temple services.
But as the years passed and he became a young man, he got heavily addicted to alcohol. It got so bad that his parents didn’t want him to stay at home anymore, and Soman fell into a deep depression. There was an emptiness in his life, and he decided the only way out was to commit suicide. To do this, he determined the best way would be to climb a pole and grab a high-voltage electrical wire. But as he began to climb, and just as he was about to reach out and grab the wire, his older brother, who had followed him up the pole in an attempt to stop him, seized him and pulled him down.
The family didn’t know what else to do, so they hired an astrologer to find out why Soman was doing this. The astrologer said he needed to spend more time in the Hindu temples, and for a while, Soman tried, but the temples brought him no peace, and he finally concluded that despite the more than 33 million “gods” in Hinduism, there was really no God.
One day, a friend invited Soman to an evangelical meeting. He didn’t want to go, but after a few drinks, he decided to attend.
Soman found that he enjoyed the Christian songs, and the pastor’s message was intriguing. The subject was the wise man and the foolish man. It caught his attention, and when the pastor closed his message by saying, “I know there is someone here today who is a foolish man and needs to give his life to God,” Soman knew the pastor was speaking to him. And when the pastor said that Jesus had not died just for Christians, but for everyone, Soman decided he wanted to give his life to Jesus.
In that moment, he realized the reason he had wanted to commit suicide was because there was no Jesus in his life. When the pastor made the invitation to come forward, Soman stood up and walked to the front. As he did, a huge weight was lifted from his soul. He decided that instead of singing to the Hindu gods, he would sing the story of Jesus.
True to his decision, Soman began sharing Jesus with others, including the customers at his family’s liquor shop. He advised them not to drink, and some were impressed and followed his advice. But his father was not happy. He threatened Soman and insisted that he live secretly as a Christian and not share his new beliefs with anyone. But Soman couldn’t do that. He responded that he had to share what he had learned. So, taking the Bible they had given him at the meetings, he left the house.
An evangelical pastor, learning of his plight, made arrangements for Soman to attend a Bible seminary. Soman stayed there for five years, and during that time, he read the Bible from cover to cover more than 20 times!
Soon, Soman became a respected pastor in one of the largest Pentecostal denominations in India, with headquarters right there in Kerala where he lived. He married and had a family, enjoying the love and respect of his church and community.
Years passed. Then last year, in the spring of 2022, a lady who worked with him in church administration decided to travel abroad, and while away, she learned about the Sabbath truth. She was so impressed that she shared it with Pastor Soman, who immediately rejected it, telling her the Sabbath was for the Jews. But the woman kept calling him, telling him the seventh-day Sabbath was correct. When she finally returned to India, she shared with Pastor Soman a paper tract on the Sabbath.
Pastor Soman studied the topic from every possible angle for five months. He wanted this new truth to be wrong, but at the conclusion, he realized the seventh-day Sabbath was biblically correct.
He shared his findings with his wife first. She became enraged against this new truth. His daughters had the same reaction when they found out, and refused to believe, though they could not prove him wrong. They felt their whole life and standing in the community was being threatened. But Pastor Soman was not discouraged. He began sharing what he’d discovered with his church every week. The people didn’t want to accept the Sabbath and leave their Sunday worship, so Pastor Soman told them: “For three months I’ll share with you everything I’ve learned about the Sabbath, and then you decide. But if no one accepts the truth, I will stand alone.”
He then contacted the Seventh-day Adventist Church headquarters in his area and expressed his desire to be rebaptized now that he had learned and understood the Sabbath truth.
At the beginning of this year, on January 25, 2023, Pastor Soman was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. There were 300 people from the community who attended the service, and for 30 minutes, he shared his testimony with everyone.
Pastor Soman’s decision has shaken the entire Pentecostal community. At a major meeting of their General Conference in Kerala, where thousands came together, a main topic of conversation was why Pastor Soman had become a Seventh-day Adventist. Pastor Soman’s testimony regarding the Sabbath truth was recorded on YouTube, and it generated 30,000 views in a short time, going viral in the Pentecostal community. When the vice president of his former church organization called him to ask why he was doing this, he replied, “I have come to know the Sabbath truth and no one has ever shared this with me before, not even you. Now I have understood this is the truth and I will follow it.”
Pastor Soman now desires to start a church right in the place where he lives. Kerala is where Thomas the disciple traveled and ministered as a missionary, and where he lost his life, impaled by a spear as he knelt in prayer. There is no Adventist church in the area, and Pastor Soman wants to plant a church near the people he loves. He has lost all family support and all support from his denomination, but the local Adventist field is providing him with a monthly stipend. Pastor Soman recently attended a leadership training event hosted by the Southern Asia Division.
We at Adventist World Radio have a plan to support Pastor Soman’s ministry by providing technical support that will allow him to preach about his newfound faith to a wider audience through radio and YouTube.
Please keep Pastor Soman in your prayers, and pray for his family, that they may also be won to the truth! Stories like his are being repeated with ever-increasing frequency. And we know that as we near the time of the end, “the question of Sabbath and Sunday observance will be agitated everywhere.” (EGW, _Review & Herald_, April 15, 1890) God is calling people to take a stand for truth, and His Spirit is at work in places never entered or reached before.
Duane McKey is the president of Adventist World Radio.
World Church Prayer Requests
October 20 - 26, 2023
- Pray for Israel and the Middle East. Pray for those caught in the crossfires of conflict, that God will protect them, provide for them, and give them hope in the midst of the chaos.
- Pray for practical ways for all of us to reach out and support our brothers and sisters who are suffering.
- Pray for Eastern Europe and the continued conflicts. Pray for God’s work to continue to go forward.
- Pray that God would awaken His church from its Laodecian condition and spiritual slumber. Pray that we all would be in earnest to prepare for Jesus soon coming, and desire to help others prepare as well.
- Pray for “Almost Home,” a major evangelistic outreach in West Central Africa Division scheduled to be held from October 20th to November 4th. Hope Channel Senior Evangelist, Pastor Chris Holland, will present the powerful Word of God. The meetings will be held in Port Harcourt, Nigeria and will be downlinked to close to 10,000 locations across the Division and broadcast on several online platforms. We are praying for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.