Biju Thampy

Founder, Vision Rescue

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Step into a world of faith, courage, and compassion with this inspiring video of Biju Thampy as he takes you on his journey of starting an NGO, Vision Rescue, for street kids. His mission began when he was moved by compassion after seeing young street children near a busy traffic signal. With unwavering determination, he embarked on a mission to help those in need, regardless of the obstacles he faced. In this video, he shares his story and encourages everyone to live a life of purpose. He passionately urges us to remove the fear of death and to embrace the joy of living a life with a higher calling. Through his story, you will see the power of faith and the difference one person can make in the lives of others. You won't want to miss this inspiring tale of hope and determination. Witness the transformation of a pastor’s kid who grew up to find his purpose and dedicated his life to serving those in need!

Biju Thampy is the Founder of Vision Rescue. In the last 18 years, Vision Rescue’s teams across Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai have provided education to over 12,170 children, enrolled over 5000 in formal schooling, and served over 4 million nutritious meals to children living in poverty. He is also the Senior Pastor of The Gateway Church.

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A Call to Serve: How Biju Thampy Started an NGO for Street Kids

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A Call to Serve: How Biju Thampy Started an NGO for Street Kids
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I was born into a pastor’s family. ‘PKs’ – we are a special breed. Nobody else will understand us. So, even before I was born, my parents were in the ministry. I was born and grew up in a small country town in Kerala called Changanassery. So, even when I was a child growing up, my parents’ home was like a hospital because people whom the doctors would give up on, would come and live in my parents’ home until they got healed. There were mental patients and demon-possessed people which made every day exciting. There was not a dull moment growing up in my parents’ home. You come back from school and you see all kinds of people. I remember one day I came back home, and there was a girl, I don’t know if it was demon possession or a mental problem, but she was acting really weird. We were all scared. She was in a room, and my sister Binny came back from school. I said, “I got something exciting for you, bring her, put her in the room, and lock her from outside.” These were the kind of pranks that we used to play growing into that home. But one thing that I never doubted the existence of God or that Jesus was God or there was power in the name of Jesus because I saw with my own eyes the sick being healed, or demons leaving people at the mention of the name of Jesus. Paralyzed people walking, incredible transformation in the lives of people, people who were criminals, drug addicts, alcoholics, had their lives completely transformed. So, I grew up in that home, but there was a problem also. I grew up as the eldest son of a pastor, so from the time I was very little, as long as I could imagine, I heard my mom saying, “Even when you were in the womb as a firstborn, we dedicated you to the ministry.” Every time I heard that, it would freak me out because I could not even pray properly during my family prayer. 

I never doubted the existence of God or that Jesus was God or there was power in the name of Jesus because I saw with my own eyes the sick being healed, or demons leaving people at the mention of the name of Jesus.

Every time, the family prayer would start with my younger brother, my other sister, and then my sister Binny and me. Every day, when my sister who is younger than me would pray, I knew that it would be my turn next and my heart would start racing. I had terrible stage fright, I had no idea how I was going to do ministry, and my parents’ ministry was growing. Churches were being planted, and then people’s expectations grew higher. As a pastor’s eldest son, growing up in Kerala, you have to have your hair cut properly, you could only wear white or light blue shirts, and black was a no-no. So, I’m just always wearing black, making up for all those lost years.  I really genuinely thought that these were all God’s expectations on me. So, I grew up thinking and feeling like a total failure. I felt I could never please God. And what happened? I started acting. Pastor’s kids are the best actors, like we know how to act. You would agree with me. Because you have to act, you know. When you come to church, when you come home, pastors are surrounded by pastors and believers. You know how to say, “Praise the Lord, brother!”, you know the Pentecostal charismatic smile, the laughter. You know how to do all that. And when you come to church, you know the worship posture with the holy hands up. And people will look at their pastor, Thampy’s son, “Look at him, they’ve really raised him well.” And deep inside, you know what’s going on. The most stressful day was Sunday, when we have Holy Communion. Before the Holy Communion, there’s a one-hour message on judgement. If you touch it without being worthy, you’re going to drop dead right now. So, God’s judgement is coming. And some pastors, when they led Holy Communion, they would say, “If you are feeling unworthy, go and sit in the back. But if you’re feeling worthy, come and sit at the front.” So, you’re confused because if you go and sit in the back, judgement will come right after church. But if you sit in the front and take Holy Communion, judgement will come from heaven. It’s like you’re caught between two judgements. 

With no confession, with no repentance, with no long prayer, nothing, I just felt totally loved. I felt like a cloud of love just embraced me, broke down.

I grew up fooling people, I grew up acting, but deep inside, there was terrible tension. But from a very young age, some things really made me angry, even what I saw within the church. I saw racial discrimination inside the Church, especially when it came to getting married. You know, you have to get married to the same caste that you came from, inside church and outside church, wherever. It was generally there all around. I was angry at the way poor people were treated. You know, people being treated without dignity never, never sat right with me, and people would tell me that’s normal. So I grew up with all these frustrations, and then at school, I began to mess up. By the time I was in eighth standard, I began to get memos every week, once in a month at least, “Bring your father, bring your mother.” My parents, my mother, my dad were mostly preaching and travelling, and my mom would come there, and you know, just seeing her stand there with her head hanging in shame would really upset me, and I would make resolutions every birthday and every January 1st. Like most pastors’ kids I would say, “ This year, it’s going to be right”, but it didn’t even last for three or four days. So, I grew up a total failure. And by the time I was in 10th standard, my double life began to come out. People began to know, people began to find out.

The problem is, the criminals, the bad guys, are out there actively doing bad, and all the good people are being nice and going to church.

And by the time I was in pre-degree in SB College, I was involved in a political party. And plus two, I was 17 years old, and did not have enough attendance to write the exam. So everything was going to be exposed, and it was a small town, everybody knew my dad. So, I could not handle the shame that was going to come upon my parents. So, I decided to end my life, all of 17 years old. My parents were out of town that day. I chose that day, and I was on the way to the railway station. A friend saw me; he had no idea where I was going. He saw me after a long time, took me out, and we did something very unholy, went and had a few drinks, came back, fell asleep. Next day morning, I woke up. My plan failed, but my problems still existed. I had no idea what to do. So, I went into my parents’ guest room, picked up a guitar that was there and began to sing that old hymn, “Open my eyes, Lord, I Want to See Jesus.” The presence of God filled that room. The only way I could explain the presence of God was love. The thing is, it was totally contrary to how I felt God saw me. I thought when God looked at me when I would come to pray, God looked at me, he would want to just turn his face away because He would be thinking, “Here comes the hypocrite.” I could fool everybody else, but I couldn’t fool God. Again, eyes blazing with fire. That was a picture that I had. I always believed that God could never like me, God could never love me because I always failed and fell short of His expectation of me. But on that day, with no confession, with no repentance, with no long prayer, nothing, I just felt totally loved. I felt like a cloud of love just embraced me, broke down.

The only way I could explain the presence of God was love. The thing is, it was totally contrary to how I felt God saw me. - Biju Thampy Click To Tweet

God and I had this little conversation. I said, “God, if this is how you really see me, this is how you feel about me, my life is yours, whether I write my exam or not.” I was 17, almost 18. That was transformation, that was a very important milestone, that was my God encounter.

I went back to the college and I found out that the list of 125 people who were banned from writing exams was all removed. Another big miracle. My journey started from there. But I never thought I would come into the ministry. I wanted to get into business, make money, and support the ministry. That was my plan and I did my B.Com. After that, long story short, I was in Pune spending some time with my uncle and auntie. I attended a youth conference by YWAM. That day, God called me to serve him. I went to Bible College and came back in 1996. I was in Mumbai, sitting in a rickshaw when the traffic signal turned red and a whole bunch of children came running to my rickshaw asking for food or money. Talking about purpose, that was a defining moment in my life where I connected with the purpose of my life. One little girl, around six years old, got my attention. I had no idea what to do; I couldn’t speak Hindi. Only God and I knew how I passed all my Hindi exams. So, all the cash I had in my front pocket, I took it and gave it to this child. The signal turned green, and the rickshaw got moving. Out of curiosity, I just looked back, and I saw an older girl coming and snatching all this money from her and pushing the child back. I felt angry, frustrated, helpless, and didn’t know what to do. I went back to my hotel room and had this conversation with God. I just came back from Bible college, but Bible college did not prepare me for this. I said, “God, if you are good, if you are love, and if you are Almighty, why do you allow this to happen?” No answer. Few minutes later, I hear a question deep down inside of me: “Why do you allow this to happen?”

I grew up a total failure. And by the time I was in 10th standard, my double life began to come out. People began to know, people began to find out.

I began to think about it. It made total sense. God doesn’t have to send an angel from Heaven to feed a hungry child. When we talk about evil, suffering, pain, exploitation, slavery, we normally blame the criminals, corrupt politicians, bad policies by the government. We blame the police department, CWC, and rightly so. They are all responsible, but I believe they are all half responsible. Half the responsibility comes on good people who are silent.

When you read the newspaper or watch the news, and hear about all the exploitation, slavery, crime, suffering of children, it looks like the world is filled with bad guys, or the world is filled with criminals. No way! There are way more good people than the criminals, but the problem is, the criminals, the bad guys, are out there actively doing bad, and all the good people are being nice and going to church. God began to challenge me: “Why do you let this happen?” I put it under the carpet, got married, had two children, and we were actively involved in ministry.

Half the responsibility comes on good people who are silent.- Biju Thampy Click To Tweet

Again, in 2003, I heard about, through a friend of a family, a child on the streets in Mumbai. He saw it and a picture in the newspaper, and a stray dog was lying next to this child, and this little boy was drinking milk from the dog, and the caption said, “This dog is his mother.” By the time, I was a dad of two children. Everything changes when you’re a dad, right? I felt God asked me the same question: “If that was your son, and if you had the resources to stop that from happening, would you do something?” I said, “Lord, I would do everything possible to stop my kids from getting anywhere close to anything like that.” I felt the Lord saying, “They are my children, and I do have the resource. You are my resource.”

When you begin to live for what you are willing to die for, you can live with excellence.

That was the end of 2003. My wife and I said, “Cool.” We moved to Mumbai. We went to Mumbai, spent 10 days there, and in 2004, we started by feeding six children outside a railway station called Mahim which slowly grew to 10 children, then 30 children and 50 children. I don’t have any background in social work. Everything that we learned, we learned from the streets, from the slums. We started like that. Today, by God’s grace, we have a team of over 130 people, and on a regular basis, our direct beneficiaries are over 22,000 people, including children. To God be the glory, but I believe we are only scratching the surface. I want to come back and talk about three main ingredients or the main components of LEAD Talks: Purpose. I really believe that every single one of us is born with a purpose. We all celebrate our birthdays once in a year, but once you connect with the purpose of your existence, once you find out why you were born, every day is a celebration because you wake up with excitement. Because you know why you are alive, you know why you are alive on this planet. That sense of awareness of why you exist is the biggest motivation to be alive and awake.

Once you connect with the purpose of your existence, once you find out why you were born, every day is a celebration because you wake up with excitement.- Biju Thampy Click To Tweet

Integrity, I believe, is oneness. It’s an integration between who you are, how you think, what you mean, what you say, and what you do. When all these five factors are integrated together, that oneness is integrity. When you attach the rest of your life to your purpose and begin to live out that one thing, integrity is there. That’s where you find integrity; you find that oneness. I don’t know how to explain it really better, you know, because there is no contradiction there. And for that to happen, you cannot do it with your own strength. You need the Holy Spirit. My favourite line in the Bible is John 15:5, where Jesus said, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” That’s my favourite line of the Bible. That brings me to a place of day-to-day, moment-by-moment dependency on the Holy Spirit to have a life of integrity, to have all these five factors integrated together. You cannot do it with your own strength. You really need the Holy Spirit. That is why you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you. With the Holy Spirit living inside of you, it is possible, and excellence is a byproduct. Because when you think about what you want to live for, the question is, what do you want to die for?

Only when the fear of death is removed, you get the courage to live.

When you begin to live for what you are willing to die for, you can live with excellence, right? Because then you’re not looking at the watch, you’re not working for anybody. You are not serving your boss, you are not serving as a ministry leader, you are not even serving the people. You are serving God because you are living for the purpose for which you were born. You know you are living for something that you are willing to die for. I really believe that is the way that God wants each of us to live. Only when the fear of death is removed, you get the courage to live. And I believe the one factor that will help you to live without fear of death is when you know every moment, every day, that you are living for the purpose for which God created you and sent you into this planet. I don’t know what you’re going to go through right now, but I want to encourage you. God has created you with the purpose. You’re uniquely created, and I believe through the Holy Spirit living inside of you, you have the ability to find out, connect with the purpose of your life, and to live out the purpose for which God created you. And I believe that is when life is filled with meaning, filled with purpose, and you can live that one integrated life.

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