Born and raised in Chennai, India where Christians make up less than eight percent of the population, John was blessed to grow up in a Christian home.
Shortly after entering into a personal relationship Christ at age 12, John began singing in a church choir in his native country. Now 40 and with a family of his own, John has always had a passion for worship.
In fact, it was that passion that led John and his wife, Vidhya, to Central Church about eight years ago. After a job opportunity led John to the United States in 2000, he spent close to a decade in Alabama where he sang in a church choir. Before leaving Alabama and relocating to Charlotte for another job opportunity, John asked his pastor in Birmingham to recommend a good church in the Charlotte area. Familiar with Central and knowing John’s heart for worship, the pastor recommended he visit Central. John took the advice, and the rest is history.
John has sung tenor in Central’s Sanctuary Choir for several years, and finds great fulfillment in pursuing what he believes is a calling on his life.
“My main testimony is worship,” John says. “I’ve always sung in choirs. God has blessed me and He’s also helped me touch other people through worship.”
Also part of John’s testimony is how the Lord has sustained he and Vidhya through difficult and even tragic circumstances. Never was that truer than back in 2013 when one of John’s two sisters was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She passed away later that same year.
“It was a hard time for us and the entire family, because it’s a journey,” John says. “One day the report is positive, and the next day the report is not so nice. It’s a journey. I learned a lot through the journey. What I learned is very often we try to control situations, but it’s never actually in our hands, even though we have a lot of medical advances. Each day was like a roller coaster. It was then that I really started to understand I am not totally in control of my life.”
Sadly, two months after losing John’s sister, John and Vidhya received word that Vidhya’s father had passed away in an automobile accident back in India.
“It was a really tough time for our family,” John says. “In situations like this, you start to ask: ‘Have we done something wrong? Is this happening because of past sins?’ Around that time, Pastor Livingston was talking a lot about how God forgives our sins and we just need to come as we are and ask for forgiveness, and our sins are forgiven. That was an encouraging word to hear during that time. It definitely took some time to move through it, but slowly we were able to come out of it.”
Even in the midst of the tragedy that claimed the life of Vidhya’s father, the family witnessed the faithfulness of God in the details – such as when it came to arranging plans to travel back to India for the funeral. For the entire family to make the trip, John had little time to secure an emergency passport for their daughter.
“How we made it back to India was a miracle in how we got all the immigration issues settled out and were able to go and come back,” John says. “It just showed that God was in control, because it was very important for my wife to be at the funeral service and be with her mom and the family.”
Now, looking back on life growing up in India and the tragedies of a few years ago, John is more convinced than ever that God is in control. And, his No. 1 outlet for expressing his love for Christ is in song.
“It is kind of like my stress-reliever – singing out unto the Lord,” John says. “I just kind of empty my heart out to the Lord.”