Andrew Thinagaran was raised in a Hindu family and later became a Christian, exploring several denominations before joining the Lutheran church eight years ago. He currently serves as an associate pastor, while working towards ordination. Andrew shares his scholarship story … ‘This year I was offered an LCA International Mission scholarship to study at Australian […]
Andrew Thinagaran was raised in a Hindu family and later became a Christian, exploring several denominations before joining the Lutheran church eight years ago. He currently serves as an associate pastor, while working towards ordination. Andrew shares his scholarship story …
‘This year I was offered an LCA International Mission scholarship to study at Australian Lutheran College (ALC). I was also writing an ordination thesis and my Bishop Rev Terry Kee felt that the training at ALC would benefit me to understand the Lutheran distinctive, as well as give me space away from ministry to write my thesis.
‘Under Dr Stephen Pietsch, I studied “Lutheran Confessions”. This class covered the history and content of the Book of Concord. Though I had been a Lutheran pastor for eight years, I had never even read it. I finished studying “The Augsburg Confession”, seven of the articles of “The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord” and a number of articles in the “Apology of the Confession”. Personal study aided with Dr Pietsch’s expertise really helped me to appreciate the work of the confessors. I will continue this practice of studying through the Book of Concord, for I realise there is much wisdom that will bless my ministry to others.
‘Though my time at ALC has been short, I have learnt more in this time about Lutheranism, than I have over the years. Having knowledgeable and passionate lecturers to guide and shape me has been a real blessing.’
The following snippets from Andrew’s life story show how God shaped his love for Jesus.
‘A Roman Catholic “uncle” gave us Christmas money each year. He brought us to watch The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur movies starring Charlton Heston. Although impressive, I didn’t know that they were Christian movies.
‘When I was 16, a guy gave me a pamphlet with a simple message about Jesus Christ. I remember praying the suggested prayer. The funny thing was there wasn’t a statue or any idols to face while praying. So I faced a wall and prayed.
‘I was troubled enough to ask everyone at work for their meaning in life. One guy said he would explain the answer if I met him weekly. I agreed. He used a book from The Navigator’s discipleship series to guide me.
‘A Muslim colleague wanted to introduce Islam to me. He discouraged me from attending church and pointed out “errors” in the Bible … That made me search for answers. I asked the Christians in church and I studied the Bible. All the questions posed to me, I answered over a couple of years. This grew my faith in Christ and the Bible. To this day, I tell people that the one who made me a strong Christian was a Muslim.’
Andrew Thinagaran is from Jurong Christian Church in Singapore (a congregation of the Lutheran Church in Singapore). He is an Indian by birth and is married to a Chinese wife, Grace Poh. They have three children, Tiffany (17), Triyan (16) and Tricia (10). Born a Hindu, Andrew converted to the Christian faith as an adult. His conversion testimony can be found at http://jcc.lutheran.org.sg/ps-andrew-testimony/.
This story was also published in the August 2018 edition of Border Crossings, the magazine of LCA International Mission.
If you would like to know more about opportunities to personally support a scholarship recipient in your congregation during their stay in Australia, or ways in which you can financially and prayerfully support LCA International Mission’s scholarship program, you are invited to phone Nevin on (08) 8267 7300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more stories about LCA International Mission scholarships at http://www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/scholarships/