MINISTRY AT NAGERCOIL
In July 1957 they went to conventions at far-off places near Kerala border. Parassalai and Palliadi were two places where they had major engagements. At every meeting the power of God was manifest in such abundance that many went home physically and spiritually healed.
At Palliady, people were gathered for a meeting and there were devil possessed ones among them. When Bro. Lawrie was getting into a taxi at Nagercoil to proceed to Palliady (nearly 20 miles or 30 Kilometres away) for the meeting, the devil possessed ones there were shouting, “Lawrie is getting into the car. He is coming to cast us out of here”. When this news spread, it brought more people to the meeting.
As the Lawries shifted their area of work to Kanyakumari District, they decided to stay at Nagercoil. They were looking for a house big enough to conduct prayer meetings and also low in rent. They found a house no one liked to live in as it had the reputation of being a haunted house. After prayer the house became habitable with no ill effects at all.
The day before the Lawries moved into their new home, their third son Devadayavu fell from the running car as they were driving to attend a meeting. He was picked up unconscious and had head injuries and his head felt soft like pulp. Bro. Lawrie cried to God for the healing of his son. By faith they continued to the meeting realizing that some evil power was trying to hinder them. Before the meeting was over, Devadayavu was up and around with no sign of injury.
For nearly a year and a half, the husband-and-wife team worked in Kerala and Kanyakumari District. There were ministering in the plantations of Munnar, Ponmudi and Anamallais and many other places too. Preaching, praying and witnessing was their everyday life. They did get opposition in places where their presence clashed with the vested interests of the Poojaris (Hindu Temple priests) and those who made their livelihood by witchcraft.
Testimony of Chellam Asan the magician. This is his testimony:
“I am a native of Semponvilai. I indulged in witchcraft and native treatment (medicine) and knew all kinds of self-defense arts. After severe fasting I got the control of goddess “Pathira Kali” and was able to produce currency, flowers, scent, etc., miraculously. I challenged servants of God if they could do so. I did witchcraft in many Hindu and Christian homes.”
“When Bro. Lawrie came for meetings here, I questioned him from the Bible, and when he asked me what I should be prayed for, I asked him to pray so that Jesus will be with me always, just to fool him. That night at 12 the local Pastor, Bro. Lawrie, his brother Jesiah and I went to pray for a dying child.”
“At that time goddess “Pathira Kali” in me attacked Bro. Lawrie several times, when we came to a cross road junction. I also in the power of the devil went to assault him. Bro. Lawrie cast the devil out in the Name of Jesus and by the power of the Blood of Jesus I fell on the road and saw the Cross of Jesus on the south-west sky. Jesus saved me and now I am his child”.
Mention must be made of the battle between the Holy Spirit and the evil spirit. When this powerful evil spirit sent by the magician came to attack Bro. Lawrie during this encounter, The Spirit of God lifted him and also the two brothers with him about six feet off the ground causing the evil spirit to pass under them. This happened three times until the enraged spirit turned and attacked Mr. Asan the magician. Bro. Lawrie cast out the evil spirit and the magician was saved and received the Peace of God in his life.
Bro. Lawrie could preach in hundreds of Churches in every nook and corner of Kanyakumari District. The miraculous healings that took place were too many to mention here. Deva-Evu was showing keen interest in the ministry such as distribution of tract, singing in the meetings and etc. that he could accompany Bro. Lawrie to most of those conventions. Many testimonies of healings and miracles were published in the monthly reporter of Christian Youth Movement led by Mr. V. Satyanesan who was also the Headmaster of Scott Christian High School.
There were meetings conducted for the people to receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit too. In 1958, at the age of Ten (10) Deva-Evu Lawrie received the anointing of the Holy Spirit in an all night prayer meeting when Bro. Lawrie laid his hands upon him. Many others too were filled with the Holy Spirit.
During these days, Bro. Lawrie undertook a 40 days total fast. He was taking only plain water and nothing else. The fast was undertaken to drive a devil out of one Hindu woman, Balammal. By the twenty eighth day, the devil left her. But Bro. Lawrie continued the fast for the rest of the period. He was very weak after this ordeal.
A few days after the fast, a group of Gospel workers along with Bro. Lawrie, his wife and their eldest son Deva-Evu were out on the seashore of Cape Comorin for a night-prayer. While they were praying one member of the group pounced on the weakened Bro. Lawrie and tried to strangle him. It was another attempt of the Devil to do away with him when he was physically weak. Fortunately Sister Lawrie could get the assistance of other members in time and save her husband’s life.
In 1958, the leaflet “Healing Leaves” was published by the Lawries. The origin of this too has a story to tell. The son of one Muthamma was suffering from urinary disorder. When he was fully relieved of the pains and discomfort by prayer, the grateful mother gave a gold chain she was wearing as her gift to Bro. Lawrie.
It was the policy of the Lawries not to use for personal family needs, any gifts received from grateful people after they were healed from their ailments. They used such offerings for charity and other needs of the ministry. Therefore they sold the chain and out of the proceeds brought out this pamphlet which had been beneficial to many all over the world.
Then came the invitation for Bro. Lawrie to attend the International Conference on Divine Healing at Glasgow, Scotland.
FACE TO FACE WITH JESUS
That night, at the Hospital, the Lord was dealing with Paulaseer in a different manner. He was laying on the bed and at midnight, he felt himself leaving his body and standing near the bed. He saw the Lord Jesus Christ standing next to him. He could see his lifeless form on the bed.
Jesus reminded Paulaseer of the promise he had made about five years ago that he would serve Him full-time in India and asked him to abide by it. Paulaseer was reluctant to leave his job since he was wondering how he would feed his wife and children and see to their expenses. But Jesus assured him that his needs would be met and told him never to ask any man for his needs.
Then right in front of him Paulaseer saw a vision of a Railway train with many Carriages filled with dead bodies, maimed, sick and etc. The train was driven by a gruesome person towards a great pit of fire. Jesus put His arm around Paulaseer and commissioned him saying, "Son, I am sending you to them. Whether they listen to you or not, you go and preach to them. On the last day, I will judge them by your words. I have blessed your right hand like the rod of Moses and will take you all over the world." Jesus also told him that his wife would come to him the next day a changed woman and cooperate with him. Thereafter, Paulaseer was back in his body and found himself totally healed.
The next day, Sister Lawrie came to the hospital a Spirit-filled woman full of happiness and joy and ready to follow Jesus full-time. Both of them decided to leave their jobs as soon as Paulaseer was discharged from the hospital. Even after being discharged from the hospital, Paulaseer was hesitating to resign as their parents, friends and relatives raised objections in fear for their future.
Then the Lord spoke to him and said, “If you do not come out now with honour, you will be forced to come out later on with dishonour”. He also showed him from the Scripture (Ecclesiastes 5: 4-6) that a promise is a promise and should be kept. Quite convinced, he resigned his job on October 15, 1953.
Paulaseer was leaving his job and going into the unknown without any financial support for him or his family. After signing his resignation, God spoke to him and said, “This day I have become your Father and you are my son” (II Corinthians 6: 14-18). Although at that time, he did not realize the tremendous importance of this statement, he was highly elated spiritually. He had a great peace in his soul from that time on and was ready to start this new venture with courage and great faith in God.
The news that the Lawries had resigned their jobs and renounced everything for the sake of God was received with resentment and harsh criticism from their parents, relatives and friends. When all their money was given to the poor, they became complete outcasts and the parents of Paulaseer sent them out of the house rather rudely. Sis. Lawrie went over to her parents’ house alone to judge their reaction. She came back with the same sad story.
So they were compelled to take a very humble single-room apartment in Nazareth with a rental of about a dollar (Rupees Eight) a month. As the family came to occupy this house and opened the door, they could see Jesus standing there with open arms welcoming them. They could feel His presence always with them. The Prayer House at Nazareth was known as “Elim”.
For about two years after they resigned their jobs at Vellore Medical College Hospital they waited on the Lord in prayer, meditation and searching the Scriptures. Brother Lawrie had destroyed all the certificates and testimonials he had in order to fight the temptation of being driven back to seek a job when and if things went bad. It was a desperate time.
Bro. Lawrie was thirsting for God's Power so much that he never spared an opportunity to meet the great men who were used mightily of God. When in 1954, Bro. William Marrion Branham came to Mumbai (Bombay), India, Bro. Lawrie went there to attend the meetings which took place from September 19 to 24, 1954.
In one of the photographs taken in the meetings, Bro. Lawrie is seen seated on the stage in the clergy section to the right of Bro. Branham when he was preaching. When Bro. Branham returned to USA, he was preaching in Jeffersonville on October 3, 1954 reporting the India Trip. The title he had chosen was “Word Became Flesh”.
WORD BECAME FLESH (INDIA TRIP) JEFF IN 54-1003M
When Dr. Billy Graham came to Palayamkottai, the Lawries could meet him too and they had a personal talk with him. Bro. Lawrie used to show respect to all the servants of God irrespective of their economical status. His home was always open to God’s people.
Called by God For His Ministry
In the 1940s the Indian National Congress Movement for gaining Independence from the British gathered momentum. Patriotic as he was, Paulaseer had great admiration for Indian leaders and avidly read their books. He became an active follower of Mahatma Gandhi. In August 1942 when the National leaders launched the ‘Quit India’ Movement against the British Rule, he organized and led a big student strike in his college.
He could not tolerate the sight of a foreigner in those days. If he came across any white man, he would tell him rudely “Get out of India, you white face”. One day he went to the then Bishop of Tirunelveli an Englishman, and was so rude to him that tears welled up in the eyes of the Bishop. He also stole the Bishop’s communion bread knife to spite him, and after insulting him went to enthuse the strikers he was leading.
The police had orders to shoot the leaders of the strike, and Paulaseer was prepared to die for his country and for Mahatma Gandhi who initiated the Sathyagraha movement. The police officer in charge to carry out this order had been a football friend of Paulaseer and he intervened with the Principal of the college. He was able to change the order and instead an arrest warrant was issued.
He was about to be clamped in jail when his mother wept and pleaded, “Why are you living such a wicked life? You know that as the eldest son in the family you have been dedicated to the Lord’s work”. It was her tears that made him go away to Colombo, Sri Lanka in October 1942. The police attempted to apprehend him, but he managed to escape as he had two names - Paulaseer and Lawrie.
He got a job in one of the tea estates as a stenographer soon after he landed in Sri Lanka. He started reading political books and despised the duplicity of most of the political leaders. Their language was earthly, devoid of any deep spiritual sense. He lost the enamour he had for Mahatma Gandhi too since he was attracted to the socialist way of thinking.
He would have been drawn into the vortex of Communism had he not kept the spark of God alive in his heart. The communist way of thinking attracted him because he felt that in it lay the fundamentals to salvage the lot of the down-trodden people of India. The only drawback was that, the communists did not believe in the existence of God.
And if he went over to their side he would have to throw out God. So he requested his comrades to give him a month’s time to enable him take his final decision. During this time he started reading religious books in general. He did not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ to be the Saviour and Healer of the world’s ills.
A clerk of the same tea estate, E.W. Arulanandham was instrumental in the conversion of Paulaseer to Christ. He came to him one evening and asked him, “Friend Paulaseer, are you saved?” In his usual menacing voice, Paulaseer told him to get out and threatened to kick him out, if he didn't. However that young man was persistent in coming for two consecutive days and always asked “Are you saved?” that Paulaseer began to like him.
He even thought that such a man would be a good volunteer for Communism if only he could be roped in. However, Arulanandham succeeded in persuading Paulaseer to attend a night-long prayer meeting. Making up his mind to attend it just for the fun of it, Paulaseer stole plenty of oranges on the way to the meeting from the Superintendent’s garden. He took the oranges to the meeting and started distributing them there.
The preacher who conducted the meeting interrupted his message and said that the power of God was not manifest and there must be sin in the group. He said he could see ball like things - may be fruits. He asked whether they could be oranges. When Paulaseer was convinced that he had been spotted, he confessed to it. Though he was shaken and was awake all through that night Paulaseer was very happy over this incident. He had seen a demonstration of the Power of God.
Soon after this he started reading books on Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swami Vivekananda, Buddha, and Scriptures of other religions such as Bhagavad-Gita, Quran and books of any religion he laid hands on. He stopped eating meat and practiced “Yoga”. Finally he came to the Bible, after reading the book, “The Fool Hath Said” by Beverly Nichols. This book made him get interested in reading the Bible. When he started reading the Bible prayerfully, the Lord opened his eyes and he realized that God forgave sins only through Jesus Christ and that no other person in the world can do that, and that He alone was sinless.
Paulaseer went to meditate under a Tea-bush and called on God to show Himself to him and speak to him. Suddenly the Light of God touched him and he could see all the sins he had committed from his childhood like a movie film. He confessed all his sins and promised to make restitution as far as possible.
Immediately he saw the Vision of Jesus Christ on the cross. This was on June 2, 1943. As Jesus spoke to him the Peace of God came into his heart. He experienced the great feeling that his sins were forgiven. He also found that the nasal trouble that had plagued him for long had been healed. He later returned the communion knife to the Bishop who was praying for it for nearly one year.
He resigned his job in the estates because with this enlightenment in his heart he could not continue where there were dishonest dealings, and went to Colombo city. His father was much annoyed over his resignation. That day, the Japanese bombed Sri Lanka and they both ducked under a table until the raid was over.
Paulaseer cried to his Heavenly Father, and that night he heard a voice speaking to him, “Go to Harrisons & Crossfield Ltd., and I have a job for you”. He was taken on the job immediately on presenting himself to that firm. By virtue of his athletic and sport prowess, he became the secretary for 35 European mercantile firms and shot into fame. Football (soccer) now became his god to him and he was spending much energy and time into the game.
One day a man and his wife asked shelter for the night. Paulaseer offered them his room and slept on the floor in the front room. His father slept in the adjacent room. In the middle of the night his father felt as if a rat nibbled his hand and felt blood oozing out. He switched on the light but as the light in his room did not come on. He then switched on the light in the room where Paulaseer was sleeping and saw a cobra near his son’s head.
It was about to move when his father managed to kill it. When his father looked at his hand where he thought he had been bitten by the rat there was no bite mark or any blood on his hand. The rat bite was a mystery which could not be explained unless it is one of those ways of God to protect Paulaseer.
Paulaseer’s marriage problem was now causing concern to his father. To his father’s chagrin he was rejecting so many proposals. Paulaseer in the mean time was telling the Lord that unless He showed him his life partner, he was not willing to marry any girl. The Lord God kindly revealed to him his future wife in a series of four dreams.
Even though a saved child now, he still had his old hot temper. One day a man insulted his father. Paulaseer assaulted him the next day and fractured that man’s collar bone. He was taken into custody by the Sri Lankan Police on a charge of attempting murder and could have been fettered and locked up. He then prayed, what he called one of his best prayers. The Lord sent a man to intervene and he was released from custody.
The case was contested in courts for nine months. When on October 6, 1946 he decided to obey the Lord in every way according to what is taught in the Bible, he had a new blessing. The Lord showed him a vision wherein he saw a powerful light around him and that he was guarded by the Lord. He assured him that his case in court would be dropped that week. The judge dismissed the case that week all of a sudden.
In 1946 he went to India on a short holiday. While going with his mother to the home of his friend Raja Simeon, he saw everything according to the dreams he had had about his wife-to-be. The Church, the road, the house and its inmates and every detail flashed back in great vividness. Thus assured that the girl in that house was the one chosen by the Lord, he consented to marry, and they were engaged. His mother was there at hand, but his father was in Sri Lanka. So the marriage had to be postponed for six months, and it came off on May 26, 1947.
He lost his desire for football after he fractured his right leg in a match and was in bed for nearly 40 days, when the Lord was very near. His first son Deva-Evu was born in the Tamil month of Chitrai (May). According to astrological calculations, it was predicted that the father would die before the child could walk. Paulaseer’s mother was greatly worried about this. But the Astrological predictions had no effect at all.
PROMISE TO DO THE LORD'S WORK
At nine months of age, Deva-Evu, the eldest son was taken ill of diphtheria. He was so seriously ill that Bro. Paulaseer Lawrie and his wife prayed earnestly day and night. The boy was operated upon and a tracheotomy performed on him. There were nine other children operated on for Diphtheria at the same time. They were dying one after the other. The doctors told Paulaseer Lawrie that his child too would not survive. Therefore Paulaseer and his wife went to the Anglican Church - St. Michael & All Angels - at Colombo in the morning and cried and prayed to the Lord.
They promised before the Lord that if He would heal their son, they would resign their jobs in Sri Lanka and go back to India and do the Lord’s work full-time. The next day, to the amazement of the doctors, Deva-Evu was healed. Faithful to the promise Paulaseer resigned his lucrative job and left Sri Lanka where he had so much distinction and popularity. His resignation was again against the wishes of his father.
On their way back to India in 1949, while the train was passing through the Anuradhapura Jungles in Sri Lanka, a young girl possessed of a demon lunged on their sleeping child with intent to kill him. Most of the passengers were fast asleep. Paulaseer who was awake, grabbed her in time and wrestled with her. She seemed to have enormous strength.
Something prompted him to say “In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to come out”. Immediately the girl collapsed down and fainted. When she came to her senses later she was not aware of what had happened when she was under the influence of the demon. This incident prompted Paulaseer Lawrie to study about these demons and evil spirits of which many do not believe they even exist.
While in India he went job hunting. He preferred a job which permitted him to work for the Lord during the leisure hours. After working for a month in Madras in a firm, he was discharged suddenly by the Marwari manager. When he reached home he found a letter on his table offering him a job in the Yercaud Estate, South India. At Yercaud he organized a Sunday School, and participated in the believers’ meetings.
After some time he received a letter (in reply to his application) from the famous American Christian Medical College Hospital, Vellore. As the salary offered was small, he decided not to accept that job. Suddenly their son fell sick which turned serious. Sister Lawrie opined that it must be God's punishment and that it was not good for them to expect a big salary but go to any place the Lord would lead them. After prayers Paulaseer agreed to go to Vellore. To their great happiness their son was healed. Trusting now fully that this was God's will, they left for Vellore.
The hand of God lifted Paulaseer up to the post of the Secretary to the General Superintendent even though he went in as an ordinary clerk. During these days they were called out for a convention at Thanjavur. On their way, at Thiruvannamalai, they met a person who was known as a prophetess. She told them to go back to Vellore as God was against their taking part in the Thanjavur convention. But it turned out to be false.
When they turned back to Vellore, their son Dayavu suddenly complained of pain in the stomach. For three hours he suffered a lot, that they came to the conclusion that God really did not want them to turn back. When they retrieved their steps to Thanjavur, the child became all right.
BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
Since the Lawries did not get themselves bound by any single denomination, they mingled with Christian groups of all types. During these days, they were moving with Pentecostals too. Wherever they were called upon, they gave their testimonies. In many of these meetings, they saw others seemingly having an anointing of the Spirit, speaking in tongues and dancing, but they themselves did not have such an experience. At Vellore he was very busy with the gospel work also and yearned to have more power from God.
One evening while some believers were praying, a brother called Gnanapragasam suddenly prophesied “Paul, Paul, where are you. I need you”. They all enquired who this Paul was, as they knew him only as Lawrie. When he told them that he was known also as Paul, Mr. Gnanapragasam prophesied that he had the call of God and would have to work for the Lord fully. After these prophetic words, Paulaseer scrutinized his activities in the hospital and his gospel work, hoping that that was his call, but was so disappointed that he was really sick of his job. Yet he did his job conscientiously as a paid worker should.
After this, Mr. Gnanapragasam continued to pray often with Paulaseer. On one of these occasions on March 30, 1952, at about one o’clock in the night, Paulaseer was filled with joy unspeakable as spoken in Acts 2:4. He was baptized with such a powerful anointing of the Holy Spirit that he was rolling and singing and praising God for five hours, speaking in unknown tongues. He told his wife the ecstasies of his new experience and she also started eagerly seeking the Lord to be thus filled.
The Lawries took a leave from their work in Vellore to visit his family at Nazareth. There during the prayer gathering, the anointing of the Spirit came on him and he was able to reveal the sins of the family. Even the murder that had been committed by the gardener many years back while he was living in Burma was revealed. That night the Lord baptized his mother, sisters, brothers and the servant girl with the Holy Spirit when he laid his hands on them. Since Paulaseer’s father was still working in Sri Lanka they all moved in with the Lawries at Vellore guided by the Lord.
The Lord was healing people so miraculously that his faith increased. The Lord spoke to him that He would take him from village to village, town to town, city to city, and all over the world to preach the gospel, and that He had blessed his right hand as He did Moses’ rod and that he would give power to Paulaseer to heal the sick, cast out devils and perform miracles and administer the Holy Spirit. Sister Lawrie was eagerly praying for a closer walk with God.
Paulaseer as the secretary to the General Superintendent of the Vellore Hospital and Sister Lawrie as the chief dietician there supervising the feeding of about 500 patients were prospering in life. But they had already promised to serve God full-time when their son Deva-Evu was dying and it took a strong hand of God to make them fulfill that promise.
The Lord spoke to Paulaseer directly and said, “My Son, leave everything , sell your property and all and give it to the poor and follow me.” Then he told his wife of what the Lord had told him and discussed with her regarding leaving everything and following God full-time. This brought differences of opinion arguments and fights between the husband and wife. They continued in their jobs for about four years.
It was then that Paulaseer was taken seriously ill of diphtheria and was placed in the isolation ward of the Vellore Hospital since it was a contagious disease. Deva-Evu Lawrie who was 5years old then remembers his mother taking him to the hospital and showing his father through the window since they were not allowed to go in. As the disease became worse, the doctors told Sister Lawrie that her husband would not survive the night.
She wept bitterly and went home throwing all her jewels away including her Thali chain which was a token of the wedding in India. She cried and prayed to God, “Lord, you are making me a widow - a young widow” and surrendered her life completely into the hands of God. The Lord touched her and she was filled with the Holy Spirit speaking in tongues which was an experience she had never had before. The Lord also spoke to her commanding her to obey her husband and prepare to leave the job.
WAITING ON THE LORD
With no funds, the Lawries came under a very great trial and there was no money for food. After a near starvation for about 14 days, one night at about 11.00 pm, Sister Lawrie asked Bro. Lawrie whether Jesus Christ had really called him for the ministry. When he replied in the affirmative she retorted, “Then why are we suffering without food like this?” Then suddenly they heard a deep male voice singing in English closeby:
“Jesus NEVER FAILS, Jesus NEVER FAILS,
Heaven AND EARTH SHALl PASS AWAY,
Jesus NEVER FAILS”.
To their surprise it was their youngest son Devadayavu, aged only three years and few months, who was rendering the song in deep bass. They woke up their son and asked, “Could you sing that English song once again?” The sleepy boy replied, “I don't know any English song”. “But you sang just now”, his mother persisted. “I don't know”, the boy replied. His mother was still not letting him off and asked: “But who sang that song?” The boy peevishly said, “Please Mommy. Let me sleep. I don't know who sang”.
Fully convinced that Jesus never would fail, Sis. Lawrie went off to the market the next day to buy provisions for the family. Surprised, Bro. Lawrie questioned her where she was going. “Going to buy things” replied his wife with a twinkle in her eyes. “Where is the money?” he asked. To this she replied “Jesus Never Fails” and off she went to the market.
Just then a lady came panting to her, thrust some money into her hands and said, “I heard a voice sister, to give this money to you”. Sister Lawrie bought whatever that amount could buy. When she came home and narrated the incident and that she had spent all the money, Bro. Lawrie was slightly annoyed at his wife’s thriftlessness and asked her, “Can't you keep something for tomorrow?” “Jesus Never Fails”, she replied laughingly.
In Nazareth, the believers numbering to about a hundred were mostly women though there were only some men who showed interest in his native village. Many of them received the Holy Spirit anointing. They used to speak in tongues and prophecy. None could get into the congregation with secret sins. Some one would bring out the matter like in the days of the Apostles.
Those days, Brother Lawrie used to baptize people secretly because he was fearful of those Church Christians. The wives would come for water baptism secretly and then they would talk to their husbands and bring them too to be baptized secretly. Little by little more souls started coming for prayer meetings. Day by day he gained more and more experiences in the ministry.
Before Bro. Lawrie struck out in a ministry, he always wanted to have God’s definite leading and guidance. He was mostly staying at home waiting for God’s guidance, praying, meditating and reading the Scriptures. After sometime, people began to criticize Bro. Lawrie’s inactivity saying they had left their jobs to serve God full-time and they were just sitting and doing nothing.
This brought new stress as he had to overcome this criticism but still wait for God’s move. The power of God was amply manifest in healing the sick; but Bro. Lawrie still insisted that he would not launch on any ministry until God would guide him to do so. He had surrendered his life into His hands.
One day the Voice of God spoke to him audibly and said,” My Son, Read my Word - The Bible - for Power”. Hearing this, Bro. Lawrie started reading the Bible through and through. After reading and studying the Bible intensively many times for months, he felt confident that the Lord was with him. When he used to walk on the road, even the devils in the possessed ones would be afraid and scream out.
The Lord started working miracles in the ministry of Bro. Lawrie. A husband of a woman in Nazareth came and asked Bro. Lawrie to pray for her. The woman had already been pronounced dead and was being prepared for burial. It was the custom there to have a prayer when someone died. So the husband wanted Bro. Lawrie to come and say a prayer.
Bro. Lawrie thought, “She is already dead; why go and pray now?” But the husband was insistent and so he agreed to go. Not relishing being around a dead body, he entered and just lightly touched the woman, saying a few words, then hurried to leave. As he was going away they ran to catch him and explained that after his prayer the woman revived and opened her eyes and she was just fine and living. She lived for many years after being raised.
This brought quite a stir in the area and the popularity of Bro. Lawrie increased. Many were brought to Bro. Lawrie for prayer. Money for the family started coming in and their needs were slowly being met. Even though everything was much better, still many times it was difficult to stretch the funds for more than one meal a day. Sister Lawrie, with her training as a dietician was clever to find simple meals that would satisfy the hungry stomachs even in small quantities.
The training in those early days helped Bro. Lawrie in the ministry when some years later he traveled throughout the world. When he would not have enough money for food, he said he could eat some peanuts, drink some water and it would fill the stomach. In fact he received the nickname ‘Banana Preacher’ because he would eat a banana, drink water and be able to continue for hours on end.
After this long period of waiting and studying the Bible, God spoke to Bro. Lawrie that he would have a few visitors. He even described the persons who would call on him and the exact moment they would turn up. When these people came the next day precisely as indicated by God, Bro. Lawrie rejoiced that his ministry had started. One of them invited Bro. Lawrie to give a message in his Church which he accepted gladly. There were about 25 people gathered to hear him and most of them dozed off during the sermon.
For a while this sorry state of affairs continued until a woman whom the doctors had given up with no hope of living beyond a week, was miraculously healed by Bro.Lawrie’s prayers. Also an insane young woman was made whole. From that time onwards, larger and larger crowds attended his meetings where many miracles were performed. Through Bro. Lawrie, the Lord was healing the people miraculously. Bro. Lawrie’s faith too was greatly increased.
MINISTRY IN SRILANKA
After preaching in various towns in South India, Bro. Lawrie crossed over to Sri Lanka on two missionary journeys. The first tour lasted from October 25, 1955 to December 20, 1955. The second longer tour was from April 8, 1956 until June 17, 1956. About 4,000 miles were covered in these campaigns and many miracles and healings took place. The team was eagerly accepted by the large crowds. Just as God had told him that he would make his right hand like Moses’ rod, he by touching people with his hand, brought many miraculous healings and deliverance from evil spirits.
Among those who took part in the tour were Bro. & Sis. Lawrie, sons Deva-Evu, Devadayavu, Bro .R. Jesiah, Bro. C.D. Thomas and a few sisters from Nazereth and etc. Bro. Jesiah is the youngest brother of Bro. Lawrie and has been a good Gospel Singer. His solos were inspiring and helped the people to feel the anointing of the Lord during altar calls.
A quote from Mr. A. P. Guruswamy, President of the Evangelical Fellowship of Sri Lanka on the Lawrie campaign:
“When Bro. Lawrie preached on his first visit in Colombo, I sat in a crowded Church and listened as he preached under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. There was a large response to the altar call that night; and later at the Divine healing service which followed I felt the power of God at work while he laid hands on and prayed for the sick. The Lord led me to believe that this is exactly the sort of ministry where signs and miracles follow the preaching of God's Word that will bring our simple Tamil brethren - Christian & Non-Christian - to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I therefore offered Bro. Lawrie facilities to preach the gospel in some parts of Ceylon and invited him to return with a team. In the meantime Christian people both in India and Ceylon prayed for the team that was coming while the members of the team themselves spent much time in prayer and fasting. Just at this time one of the members of our Fellowship who knows nothing of my plans sent us a donation of Rs.500, ear-marked for expenses for an evangelistic campaign.
The Lawries and the other members of their team arrived at Talaimannar on 4th April 1956 and were met by one of our fully equipped Gospel vans which they used throughout their campaign in Ceylon. They covered nearly 4,000 miles. They began their meetings at the Murungan Methodist Church. They preached in Church of Ceylon (Anglican). Methodist Church of South India and Pentecostal Churches. Only in some of the Churches they were permitted to pray for the sick. Bro. Lawrie was specially used of God for casting out evil spirits from devil-possessed folk. Some healings were spectacular.
Bro. Lawrie is a humble man of God with a simple message which readily appeals to the unsophisticated Tamil folk. His emphasis was placed rightly on Salvation; praying for the sick was incidental. The members of the team sang well. Bro. Lawrie’s sermons were simple, forthright, and convincing. His telling illustrations, drawn from everyday life, helped to build up the faith of the crowds who came to hear him. His expositions were Bible-based and scripturally correct.
After a campaign lasting 2½ months, “The commandoes” left Ceylon on 17th June. Many thousands of people who have never hitherto heard the Gospel heard the story of Jesus and of His love, for the first time from the members of this team. Many were saved. The E.F.C. has received many letters of appreciation of the good results achieved: and we thank God for the fruitful ministry of this team. They are cordially welcome back whenever they feel led of God to come to our shores.”
It was during this trip in 1956 that the eldest son Deva-Evu Lawrie found out the Lord Jesus Christ at the age of 8 in one of the meetings conducted at Navalapitiya. He gave his heart to God and committed his life unto Him. The next day at the baptismal service conducted near a small river he too was baptized. He was very active in distributing tracts and singing in the meetings. This made Bro. Lawrie very happy.