For this skeptic, seeing was believing

A vision of Christ led Srikanth Srinivasan to faith and then to ORU.

Elizabeth McCullough, Managing Editor

Srikanth Srinivasan was in his room in Bangalore, India, when he looked up and saw a vision of Jesus on the cross.

“I hated Christ,” said Srikanth. “I mocked Christians, insulted Christians and persecuted Christians.”

A few months before that encounter in 2013, a woman had moved into an apartment in his family home. Srikanth regularly chatted with her over a cup of chai about her faith in Jesus.

“I was very arrogant, very disrespectful,” said Srikanth. “I insulted her. But she never gave up on loving. I could see a genuine love in her.”

Srikanth told the woman he was too busy to speak to her again until he finished planning an upcoming festival in his community in September 2013.

“She replied that, ‘Son, my God will touch you before Sept. 9,’” Srikanth remembered.

He entered his room on Sept. 8 to take a nap when he began hearing a voice.

“I kept constantly hearing three words echoing in my head like crazy,” said Srikanth. “It was like a song echoing repeatedly in my head. ‘Jesus loves you. Jesus loves you. Jesus loves you.’”

He tried to push the thoughts out of his mind, but the voice got louder and louder.

“All the sudden, I see a vision of Jesus on the cross right there in my room,” said Srikanth. “The same scene I had mocked.”

Srikanth fell to his knees and wept. A deep love for Jesus swept over him.

“I said, ‘God, if you’re real, I’m going to follow you for the rest of my life.’”

He was working as an engineer in India when he felt God directing him in 2021 to go to ORU. Srikanth knew little about the university, but a friend was attending ORU online and Srikanth was determined to follow God’s instruction.

“I couldn’t expect any financial help from my family,” said Srikanth. “I didn’t know how, but God said I’m going to go.”

That day, Srikanth received mail for the first time from ORU. He also got an email from the graduate admissions office at ORU that night.

“I was opening up my emails, and Srikanth’s email address and name just popped out,” said Addy Ladoja, a former representative for the Graduate Theology and Ministry Department. “I prayed, and really felt that I should email him personally and tell him that it’s never too late to do the things the Lord has called us to do.”

The ORU residential graduate programs consist of 31% international students.

“We try to really advocate for each applicant.” said Shalana Duncan, representative for the Graduate College of Education, College of Science and Engineering.

The graduate admissions team at ORU gathers weekly to pray for the current and future graduate students.

“We see everyone as an individual with a unique, called God on their life,” said Duncan. “We regularly pray, ‘Lord, everyone that you have in mind to be here this semester, remove all barriers for them.’”

Srikanth was able to attend ORU for the fall 2021 semester with his tuition completely covered by donors and scholarships.

Srikanth began the Global Student’s Movement, consisting of around 120 student leaders across the world who lead Bible studies and promote revivals in their cities.

He will graduate with a master’s of divinity in spring 2024.

“Once upon a time, I said ‘It’s a fake story,’” said Srikanth. “But today, I take the story to the ends of the earth. From persecutor to proclaimer, all it took was one encounter. One encounter can change your life, and one fully surrendered life can change the world.”