Meet Binesh

Meet Binesh. The sprightly moustache that lines his upper lip and his very round features make his appearance immediately likeable. The readiness of his hands to help and the smile that never leaves his face makes it extremely difficult to imagine the things of his past, the times when he passed his days with half a bottle of whiskey or brandy, firstly in small, private rooms in bars with his university friends and later on by himself, all alone, drinking the dark seconds away.

Binesh

Excessive drinking was a habit Binesh developed, just like many other teens, at university. He felt free from the ‘jail’ that was his Christian parents’ house in Kerala and from all of the rules that coloured his childhood. The thick alcohol running through his veins and the friends he believed would never desert him made him feel powerful and limitless. After Binesh graduated from university in Hyderbad with a nursing degree, a married friend of his offered to let him stay in his house in Delhi. He moved to Delhi with every idea of a bright future of fun and fortune, but nothing was as it seemed.

At his friend’s house, though there was an extra bedroom, it was filled with furniture, so he was forced to sleep on a quilt on the balcony. Simply touching a chair angered his friend, who often reminded Binesh that the house and furniture did not belong to him. His friend’s anger was incited by any small thing, leading to frequent fights between him and his wife. He showed no gratitude to her for being the only one of the two who worked. The violent and hostile living environment drove Binesh to drink more often, to isolate himself because he didn’t feel motivated to meet new people in Delhi and to despise the thing called work that forced him to get up and leave his damaged corner of the world. He never liked the idea of working and as he begun to lose the little bit of might he thought he had, every other ambition was drained from him.

Soon, yet another downtrodden soul entered his life, Rekha. Rekha was the step-sister of his friend’s wife who was offered the same chance of living in their apartment but treated even more severely than Binesh. The couple took all of her salary for rent, leaving her with nothing but a place to live. She worked hard to pay for a sad and soul-destroying home. She was also the victim of verbal abuse as well as many a threat. As a result of their common struggle, Binesh and Raika grew close, cheering each other up with whatever jokes they could muster after a day’s struggle, protecting each other from the wrath of the unkind people they lived with and being a soft pillow of gentleness where there was only the hard floor of disappointment.

The friendship grew through their hardships, even after they both moved to separate accommodation. Leaving the torrid household behind, they still carried with them the weight of disappointment and Binesh was somehow never able to feel mighty no matter how much he drank. But their bond and love for each other gave them hope and ultimately brought them together in marriage, a marriage which was at first a wet plaster over their wounds because more trouble was yet to come. Binesh still hated working and had little desire to put himself out in this way. So when Raika became pregnant with her first child and stopped working, Binesh started taking loans from friends to finance their living expenses and his drinking habit so that he wouldn’t have to work as many hours. One hundred rupees turned into thousands, on top of which his university loan was accruing interest in the bank. Debt weighed upon him, he continued to pour whiskey and beer down his throat like it was water and anxiety paralysed him with the impending birth of his child. In a desperate effort to turn his wretched life around, he contacted an old friend from Kerala named Jenith.

Jenith is a Christian who often tried to convince Binesh to go back to church but was always shut down. Until that day. With no power left in him, Binesh was forced to turn to the source of power itself, God. Jenith took him to Dwaar in Lado Sarai and that was the beginning of no less than a dramatic 180 degree turnaround. At first it was the drums that drew him in, then the words of the songs that sunk into his tired heart, the words like ‘Yeshu naam, pyaara naam’. The sweet name of Jesus etched itself onto Binesh’s heart and caused him to love learning scripture, to want to give more and take less, to want to surround himself with the people of Dwaar. He started going every day to the Dwaar centre in Lado Sarai to help with whatever he could, in the process making real friends for the first time since he moved to Delhi. Soon after that he moved to Lado Sarai.

‘I was going to Dwaar to find an answer to my terrible life. After coming here I felt freedom because in Dwaar there are no rules, there is only Jesus. Jesus taught me to serve people well. He showed me the reasons why I was drinking and why I should stop. He answered all my questions. I was lost, so lost, but now I am found.’

Who Binesh used to be is now far behind him. We all know him now as the talented tabla player at Dwaar Satsang and the great friend who is always ready to climb a ladder to fix something in our venues or give any amount of time to loving and serving his brothers and sisters with a heart that is broken like his once was.

As told to Bianca Walker

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An exciting carol service

with leaves

‘Every time we say the date we celebrate Christmas.’ These were the words of Tim Brown, one of the Dwaar elders, at our Sunday service on December 14, 2014. It is so very true but so often ignored. The year 2014 marks the length of time since one of the most important events in history, the birth of Christ. Wow! We were all most intrigued by the thought, which took a while to sink in but brought proud smiles to our faces. It was a great reminder to us as the rhythm of our hearts mimicked that of the blue and white flashing lights on the walls of our venue, as the Christmas tree stood in the corner like a beloved new member of our church and as the warm green and red cookies baked by loving ladies were laid out on the table in preparation for the carol service that same evening. We were reminded of the importance and meaning of Christmas.

singers

Again we remembered Tim’s words fondly as we sang traditional Christmas carols in English, raising our chins and rounded our O’s, doing our best to sing like angels to ‘O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant’. Visitors and longstanding members alike joined in a chorus loud enough to wake the sun but gentle enough to put the never-stopping Delhi to a peaceful sleep. Our faith brings us peace and our fellowship with and love of each other brings us such joy. When we sing we sing for God, for each other and for Delhi.

snacksDelhi is one of the most populous and largest cities in the world and the members of Dwaar live in so many different parts of it, but when we come together each person’s journey is worthwhile as each has a gift and a service. We rejoice after a wildly successful carol service. Everything happened so seamlessly because everyone played a vital role, whether it was conducting the choir, playing the piano, printing the lyrics, making the tea, welcoming the visitors, taking pictures or simply being good company. We anticipate truly wonderful lead up to Christmas as we celebrate this Saturday, Sunday and on Christmas Day. All are welcome to join us. Find out more about what’s on.

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Dwaar: An Open Door for Open Hearts

open door

The history of India is replete with invading kings sweeping across this vast and rich land, fighting and conquering as they went. In the end, the victors who stayed back often celebrated their victory and honored their martyrs by building monuments to their conquests. Tall minarets, majestic palaces and tombs, and imposing fortresses are a common sight in and around Delhi, the historic jewel in the crown of India. But one type of monument stands out more than most – the “victory gate”. Magnificent gates of all diverse hues mark old Delhi in particular. And in New Delhi, “India Gate” stands tall, both as a monument to the victorious British Empire in the first World War, but also as a solemn living monument to all fallen Indian soldiers.

As a large metropolis, many come to Delhi out of the ambition of making a personal fortune. As the capital of the largest democracy in the world, the city also attracts those seeking public fame in politics, diplomacy, business and education, often at a national or even international level. A precious few people come to serve the city itself. Unfortunately, even among those who claim to follow Christ, few have had the vision to see Delhi as a city seeking a path, an open door to peace and salvation. Even fewer have sought to truly love and serve this often chaotic, crowded and confusing blend of languages, skin tones and cultures just as it is.

Dwaar (translated as “door” in Hindi) was started with a vision – to reach the capital of India with the unique message of an open door to life in Jesus Christ. Dwaar not just exists “in Delhi”, but also “for the love of Delhi” and “the nations” who call it home.

Ironically, the vision for a new community in the nation’s political capital first emerged in India’s business capital, Mumbai, where Samir Deokuliar was successfully leading his second church. As a “serial church-planter” Samir believed it was time for him to seek new horizons of God’s work in India, and Delhi seemed to be the next frontier. When he started praying and seeking confirmation of this vision, a small but dedicated group of fellow pioneers answered his call from places as diverse as Kochi in Kerala to Woking in the UK. Friends and strangers moved to Delhi from across India and abroad and the first Dwaar community was birthed in the “urban village” community of Lado Sarai.

Three years later, it is now clear to Samir and the Dwaar leadership that Delhi is too vast and too diverse to be served by a single location and a single style of worship. The open door would have to be accessible and look different for the numerous people groups assimilated into this vast city. So with encouragement from some prophetic words and with support from partners like Newfrontiers and Redeemer CTC, Dwaar has recently launched its second location closer to the heart of Delhi’s commercial district

The Center at Lado Sarai has now transformed into a contextualized, Indian style “Satsang” fellowship on Saturdays, while the new “Venue” at Africa Avenue meets on Sunday mornings for a more classical bilingual Fusion style meeting.

Our hope and prayer is that the open door will swing wider and further open to the hundreds of seekers and open hearts in this mega city.

Jonathan Pillai – Leader/ Scientist

 

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Spreading the cheer!

There is much exchange of gifts at Christmas. Shiny wrapped parcels can be seen winking under every tree, tucked under every arm but there are also gifts that don’t have to be bought at the mall or ordered online. One of these free, wonderful and plentiful things is ‘cheer’.  Dwaar found out that there’s no time like Christmas to spread this fuzzy warm cheer. So off we went, to homes, gardens, hospitals, clubs and malls, spreading a generous dose of cheer. It was our way of expressing love to many and bringing the true message of Christmas to people.

You never know where you can spread a dose of cheer and  we looked forward to the familiar spots like a party for the children at Dwaar, a party for the teens, a grand Sunday celebration, youth get togethers plus a celebration with professionals at the Vasant Vihar Club. Each of these ocassions was filled with fun and cheer.

Then we found three whole new ways  to spread cheer, in places we had never pictured ourselves.

The season of good cheer began with an afternoon of carol singing and tea with the ladies from the Delhi Commonwealth Women’s Association. Our hearts gladdened as they joined us in singing the old familiar carols under the shade of the gracious old trees that Delhi is so well know for.

DCWA

Next was a visit to Shanti Avedhna. This is a centre where  terminally ill cancer patients are cared for. Many of these people play out the last days of their life  lonely and struggling with their illness. A team of ten from Dwaar Global got together to visit these patients. The team spoke to them, loved them, sang Christmas songs and gave gifts to them. The sixteen patients were blessed. Many were moved to tears. Surely, the Lord was pleased with this gesture.

Shanti

All he wanted was for the team to pose with him and his colourful blanket gift

And finally-the Dwaar group of singers were out on three evenings singing and interacting with the many kids and shoppers at the DLF Promenade Mall in Vasant Kunj, spreading cheer and explaining the true meaning of Christmas. It was such a joy to hear the mall echo with “O come let us adore him” giving honour where it is due during Christmas.

DLF

The group singing Christmas carols at DLF Promenade Mall

There is much pain in this world. Let us take every opportunity to spread the cheer!

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I will boast in the Lord

IMG-20140103-WA0000 Commuting from our home in Ghaziabad has always been tiring and time consuming. Apart from that, my mother always wanted to serve in in Khushboo (an NGO for the empowerement of women). I too wanted to be closer to our church in Lado Sarai, in South Delhi. With all these factors in mind we were praying for a suitable and affordable home in South Delhi.

One Sunday afternoon, a friend told me about a beautiful flat available near Kailash Colony metro station. He said it was reasonable and we should have a look. We found it to be a lovely place, perfect for all our plans. However to move here we needed to get a tenant for our house in Ghaziabad to help us pay the rent of the new house. I took a step of faith and moved in the new place, trusting that God would find us the tenant at the right time.

However getting a tenant was a challenge and as the days passed I began to get anxious.

I was reminded of a verse in the Bible which says – I will boast in the Lord. I dwelt on it. That evening an Uncle from Nainital sent me a message quoting this verse, and the following Sunday, Samir read out the same words at the Dwaar meeting.

I felt God talking directly to me and I was sure that in the course of time I would boast in what God will do.

My peace returned to me.

On the 27th of December we shifted into our new house with no tenants at our Ghaziabad home yet.

I was praying and praying hard.

Walking out of my building I heard an inner voice prompting me to turn around and ask the person who had just crossed my path, if he was a broker. Very tentatively I asked him and to my amazement he turned out to be just such a person. On the very same day he had one portion of my house rented out and by the next evening he got another family who wanted it. Everything was falling into place. Well almost…..

The broker’s partner wanted to cheat the broker of his brokerage and urged me to double cross the broker  by dealing with the partner directly. I refused even at the cost of  losing a much needed tenant.

I came home and prayed. Half an hour later he called saying he had changed his mind. He would not cheat and that we could go ahead with the deal. What a relief!

On the last day of the year, we signed the rent agreement and left the problem of the rent behind. I thank God for His faithfulness; he truly “honours the righteous”.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
-Proverbs 3:5-6

Today I am boasting in the Lord!

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