Brother Jacob Marineni is a remarkable man. I wish you knew him. If you followed him around for several weeks, as I have, you would know he is a man who loves.
You would see him wash feet, embrace lepers, and shed tears over the persecuted. You would see him give food (lots of food) to hungry people (lots of them).
You would see pastors and missionaries form lines to share their burdens with him, each knowing that he will do everything in his power to help them. You would see him open every nook and cranny of every building he owns to offer shelter to orphans. You would see these children flock to him (all 2,700 of these children call him Father).
You would hear Brother Jacob tell his story. He was born in India to a Hindu family in 1971. At the age of seven he became very sick. His parents traveled with him to seek medical treatment. The doctors did everything they could for him and then sent him home to die.
On the journey home the family stopped in a village and heard that an American evangelist was in the area. Jacob’s mother took him to a prayer meeting where the evangelist prayed for him. That night Jesus appeared to Brother Jacob and said to him, “You will not die, but live.” Jesus also showed him his new name, Jacob, in the book of life.
Jacob recovered from his illness that very night. As a result of this miracle he and his family found life in Jesus.
Jacob went on to attend two Bible colleges in India, Manna Bible College and Emmanuel Theological Seminary. In 1991 Jacob set out as a missionary to the unreached tribal regions of Andhra Pradesh. He walked hundreds of miles taking the good news of Jesus Christ from village to village and started his first church under a mango tree with 3 people.
On June 18, 1992 Jacob married his wife Elizabeth. He and his wife have three children, Vijay Daniel, Victoriya, and Samuel Joseph.
On December 26, 1994 Brother Jacob founded Gospel for Tribals Social Services Society. This ministry has trained 728 pastors and missionaries who have formed over 850 churches and impacted over 6,000 villages.
In a recent email, Brother Jacob commented on a ministry survey trip he was planning to the slums of Mumbai.
Some of my friends may question me? ‘Jacob, are you crazy! You have many responsibilities with 2300 [now 2,700] orphan children, 641 missionaries and so many other responsibilities.’ But my humble answer is that I have only one life here on this earth. If my Lord calls me home today, no more mission; but still the Lord will do His work. But I feel strongly that I am responsible for the opportunities, time, effort and abilities He has freely given to us to make an impact for His Glory alone!
2000 years ago, Our Master Jesus was crying and saying that the harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are very few. LK 10:2. Our top priority in our daily lives and in our churches should be the cry of Jesus for lost souls and missions. Where are the missions today? How many Christians have forgotten world missions and missionaries? It’s my prayer and cry that the Holy Spirit of God will raise a mighty Army of people who are sold out for the eternal cause.
These words from Bishop Jacob challenge me. Have I neglected my calling as a follower of Christ to care for the physically and spiritually broken? Yes, I have.
Brother Jacob has been faithful to respond to the needs around him. Now, having been challenged by his life, I think it’s appropriate for me to move to meet his need.