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Shakuntala and Joy

Gospel Goosebumps

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, January 27.

By Andrew McChesney


he advertising executive felt goosebumps on her arms as strains of beautiful choir music wafted into her office.

It was not the first time that she had heard the music while at work behind her desk at the advertising agency that she ran in Bengaluru, India.

It also was not the first time that she had felt goosebumps on her arms because of
the music.

But this time, she could not sit still.

Shakuntala went to the window of her second-story office to see what was going on. She could see people coming in and out of a building across the street. She wondered what was going on in the building.

She looked down at her arms and wondered why she was getting goosebumps. A strong desire filled her to walk over to the building and see with her own eyes what was happening.

Slowly, very slowly, she made her way out of her office building and across the street. She felt a little uneasy entering the building because she didn’t know anyone there.

Slowly, very slowly, she walked in the front entrance.

“Can I come in and listen to what you are doing?” she asked someone standing near the entrance.

“Come in, and sit down,” the man said, kindly.

Shakuntala sat down and began listening.

The choir was no longer singing to the music of an organ. Instead, a man was singing acapella.

When he finished, Shakuntala boldly walked over to him.

“Where is the organ?” she asked. “Where are the songs that give me goosebumps?”

The man was surprised.

Shakuntala explained that she had been listening to the music from her office every Saturday for the past few weeks. She only heard the music on Saturdays.

Shakuntala returned to the church to listen to the music the next two Saturdays. As the choir sang, she looked in a songbook that she found on one of the seats. She learned the names of the two songs that had been giving her the biggest goosebumps. They were the hymns “The Old Rugged Cross” and “Be Still My Soul.”

On the third Saturday, she not only listened to the music but also stayed for the sermon about Jesus.

Back at home, she thought, “I like what I heard about Jesus in that church. Since I liked it, why do I have pictures of other gods in my house?”

She took down all the pictures and gave them away.

She kept going to church on Sabbath, and she kept feeling goosebumps while listening to the music.

After a while, the pastor invited her to bring her family.

“Don’t worry,” she said. “They will come.”

And they came. Her son, Joy, came first, and then her grandchildren also became interested. Even her housekeeper started attending.

After Bible studies, the family gave their lives to Jesus.

Shakuntala became an active church member, and one of her grandsons now serves as the church’s youth pastor.

Today, Shakuntala is 84 years old and has retired from working in advertising.

But she remains grateful for the music that she first heard in 2005.

It led her to Jesus.

“I still get goosebumps when I hear the choir sing,” she said.

Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help construct a new Central English Church for Shakuntala’s congregation in Bengaluru, India. Thank you for your generous offering on March 30 that will bring beautiful gospel music — and perhaps even goosebumps — to many more people in Bengaluru.