RailHope Open heaven above Saudi Arabia
Our stories of hope
Open heaven above Saudi Arabia
David Rao, a devout Hindu and well-educated man from India, was sent by an oil company to the Saudi desert. His christian wife, Indira, prayed earnestly for years, for her husband`s salvation. On home leave as David unpacked his bag, he made a discovery that changed his life forever.
My name is Venkateswara Rao Balla a very typical Indian name and difficult to pronounce. My name stands for one of the richest Hindu, God’s name in India.
His temple is situated over seven hills. People go there and pay money, take kilos of gold, silver and diamonds, etc. People stand in the line for at least 8 to 10 hours to have glimpses of his statue. I myself went twice to that temple and shaved my hair twice. One of my friends name is Adi raju veera venkat kumara satya prabhakar rao. Can any one of you pronounce the name? It’s very difficult.
Million of Gods
Most of you know that India is the second largest country in the world next to China. Most of them about 95% are Hindus (Idol worshippers). I used to worship trees, Money, sun, moon, stars, cows, snakes, hills and many, many stones and mountains, water, fire and what not. What a blind faith. In India they worship three millions of Gods.
I was a Hindu and very strict one too. I used to get up at 5am, take cold bath, and with wet towel wrapped around my waist I used to worship various Gods and sing songs and hymns. In India they have so many Gods, so many holy places, and holy rivers. As a Hindu believer, I visited most of the so called places all over India. There is a river in India called river Ganges, one of the biggest; it is believed that, whoever takes a dip in that river; their sins will be washed away. I travelled to thousands of miles and took a bath in that river. Then later on I realised that it cannot be as such, because they dispose of burnt bodies there in that river, people wash their clothes corpses of animals are floating and dirty water is flowing in to that. So how is that holy?
In India we have arranged marriages, which mean my parents will go and see the girl, their status etc. Then they will come to our house, if they are satisfied then they will agree for the marriage. My parents selected this girl for me. My father-in-law was a police officer. During engagement time they approached me for Christian marriage. I flatly refused and I said I do not want to marry this girl. Then they requested me to marry according to Hindu rights. After three years of my marriage I retired from the Indian Navy and got a beautiful job in Saudi Arabia as a secretary for one of the biggest oil company in the world.
In the Saudi desert
I used to work 20 weeks work and 4 weeks paid holiday, free food free accommodation and free air ticket. I really enjoyed my job. We used to drill oil wells. Wherever you drill only oil will come. Saudi Arabia is an historical place. Since we got marriage, my wife used to pray for my salvation secretly. She prayed for long nine years. I celebrated my birthday in India and went back to Saudi Arabia. It was the second of September 1989. A life-changing day in my life, the Lord has shown mercy on me. Reaching Saudi, I started to unpack my bag when I found a small book and a cassette. It was a small bible. I got very angry and tossed it in to the corner of mx room. I started abusing my wife for placing the bible in my bag I was upset. That night when I went to bed in my sleep I heard someone talking to me. “Son, pick up the bible and read it, I will bless you.” I woke up and went back to sleep. Second time again same voice, “Son, pick up the bible and read it. I will bless you.” I said who are you? Why should I read the bible? Are you Jesus Christ? If you are Jesus, talk to me again. I slept again 3rd time I could hear the same voice. This time I got up, I was shivering; sweating and I had goose bumps. I was scared. I had no other excuse except getting up and reading the bible I didn’t know what to read. I saw this book for first time in my life. Then I put the cassette in my tape recorder and started playing the song. It was a beautiful and wonderful song, which I sang in so many places to glorify the Lord. The meaning of the sun has set and it is getting dark now come into my house Lord not visit, not to go away but to stay in May house forever.
God is speaking today
Our Lord is a prayer answering God. He spoke to Samuel, Moses, Paul and many others. He spoke to me too. Next day I went to work my boss was American, Jesse Archer. He used to read the bible and pray every day. I told him what had happened with me last night. He got up he hugged me and cried. With tears in his eyes he kneeled on his knees and prayed for me. He told me, “Brother the Lord is going to bless you.” “The Lord has chosen you and will do great things in your life,” and told me to say this small prayer along with him “Lord Jesus thank you for talking to me, and choosing me, I will accept you as my saviour from today, and you be with me and lead me and guide me, I ask this in the most precious name of Jesus Christ. This was the first prayer I said in my life. I called home to my wife and told her what has happened. I went home and got baptized along with my wife from that day I started my new life, I surrendered everything to my Lord. Since then I have experienced peace, goodness and his faithfulness in my Lord. Glory to God! There is a proverb after every successful man’s life there is a woman behind. Or the bible says: “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown“ (Proverbs 12:4a). My wife Indira prayed for my salvation and got me out of clutches of spiritual darkness. I have been to many places in the world such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Australia and now here in New Zealand. The Lord said, “Go ye and spread the gospel”. We all should carry the cross and spread the good news. What is this god news? Jesus is good news that he is the way the truth and the life!
David Rao Balla
• Born in India (1948) living in Auckland, New Zealand.
• Served in the Indian Navy over 15 years
• Worked as a Secretary for the biggest oil company in Saudi Arabia for 13 years
• Different Academic educations: Bachelor of Arts (Sociology, Laws, and General Nursing and Dental Hygienist)
• Bachelor of Bible studies
• Diploma as in Business Administration (New Zealand)
• Married with Indira since 1981, they have three children (1982, 1984 and 1991)
• Gifted and talented Cine and Television Singer (Subhavaarta) TV Channel
• He used to work as a Train Manager five years in New Zealand
• Now he have promoted as Customer Service Officer and presently working as Customer Services Officer (C.S.O) in Auckland (New Zealand Railways)