On August 25, 1947 Satish Raiborde was born in answer to the prayers of his parents, Jyotikiran and Madhuri Raiborde, in the city of Akola, Maharashtra, India.
Satish’s father, Jyotikiran, came from a Hindu low caste family. He had never seen a white man in his life. When Jyotikiran first saw a white-skinned American missionary, he thought he saw a ghost! He never knew such people existed. He was frightened, he began to scream and run. The American missionary chased after Jyoti, they ended up jumping in a river where the missionary shared about Lord Jesus ‘s love. Jyotikiran gave his heart to Christ in that river named Purna. The missionary sent Jyoti and his other young relatives to Sant Barbara Christian Orphanage and Boarding School. After completing his education, Jyoti became a teacher then the Head Master and Principal of the same School. He also got elected Chairman of Christian and Missionary Alliance of that region and the editor of the first Marathi language Christian Teaching Magazine.
Satish’s mother, Madhuri, was born in an upper class Hindu priestly family. Her family owned many temples and often performed various Hindu rituals, feasts and religious ceremonies. An American Missionary met 7-year-old Madhuri on the streets of Nagpur. The Missionary offered her “free gift of forgiveness” as he explained the love of Lord Jesus and salvation through the cross. She began to weep and received Christ as her Savior. When her family heard that she had accepted Christ, her family beat her and threatened to kill her if she did not recant her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That night she managed to run away with her mother to the missionary’s home. The missionary sent her to a Christian Orphanage far away in the city of Khamgaon. Meanwhile, her sister and brother received the Lord and even they were cast out from the joint family living. Madhuri’s mother became a nurse among the tribal people from primarily agricultural villages. She became prayer warrior and voracious ardent reader of the Bible in Marathi language. The villagers would bring their hens, cows, buffalo's, and bulls to her for prayer. If hens were sitting on 20 eggs, because of her prayers, all 20 eggs would get hatched; 20 chicks would live- contrary to the curses that caused other villagers to lose their chicks. Because of her prayers buffalos and cows would get pregnant, which caused her reputation to spread to several villages. People with smallpox were heaWater given in the name of the Lord Jesus would heal fever, and demons that would manifest in people causing them to scream -were cast out.
Jyotikiran and Madhuri’s marriage was officiated by the missionaries. Jyotikiran and Madhuri desired to have children, but their first two children died at birth. At that time all the denominational churches had come together for a convention. Vishwas Satralkar, a well-known prophet, who carried the presence of God, had been invited to speak at the conference. He could speak 14 languages including Greek and Hebrew, which was unusual for those times. During one of the meetings he prophesied over Jyotikiran and Madhuri and told them that they would have a baby boy within a year. He also told them that this boy would go around the world preaching and teaching people the Word of God. Exactly within that time frame on August 25th, a baby boy was born and the parents named him Satish;- which means God is Truth and Truth is God. The very first Sunday after his birth, his parents took him to church and dedicated him to the Lord. From that time until his teenage years he was committed to the local church.
When Satish was about four years old, he attended a meeting with his parents, where a Methodist Missionary by the name of Dr. Seaman was speaking. At the end of the meeting Dr. Seaman gave an altar call for salvation and Satish responded. Dr. Seaman led him in the salvation prayer and wrote Satish’s name in his daily prayer diary. (Dr. Seaman told Satish’s parents when he revisited the town that he had prayed for Satish every day for the past 17 years. In June of 1973, Satish had the privilege and honor of preaching at Dr. Seaman’s Church in Versailles, KY, USA).
From the moment of his salvation, Satish was taught to read the Bible daily and memorize scriptures. By the time he was13, he had read the whole Bible seven times, and had been awarded about forty certificates from various Bible correspondence schools. He was committed and actively involved in his church, which included home fellowship, weekly services, Sunday school, Easter and Christmas dramas, serving and helping in distribution of tracts. Every Sunday he walked 5 miles to church (sometimes twice) with his family.
After High School, Satish moved from his small town to a big metropolitan city called Bangalore, where he stayed with his uncle who was in the Indian Air Force. During those years away from home, Satish stopped going to church regularly, neglected his fellowship with Christians, and strayed away from Godly activities. His relationships changed, his focus changed, his environment changed, and his commitments changed. But because of habit, even while drunk, he did not stop reading his Bible.
During his years at college and flight school, he partnered with various businesses (tourism, hunting, horse racing, gambling, and party hosting, etc). That lifestyle took him through the highs and lows of life and eventually he came to a point where he lost everything. Gradually all his friends left him, and like the prodigal son he felt alone in life. He spent days without food and shelter; and often he went for several days without food. He lived miserably. He was stealing food and was involved in gang activity. The night of June 8, 1967, was unbearable. He had been hungry for eight days in a row and had absolutely nothing to eat, not even a grain of rice. The pangs of hunger were very strong and he had no strength, or energy, left in his body. He went to his neighbor, an Air Force sergeant, and asked him for paper. The man gave him a notebook. Satish used the notebook to write an 17 page suicide note stating that he did not hold anyone responsible for his death.
On the morning of June 9, 1967, he was thoroughly tired of getting tired, sick of getting sick, and fed up of getting fed up. He felt like nobody cared or loved him. Physically he looked like a scarecrow and a dried up prune. His ambitions seemed a million miles away. He thought the easiest way out of his situation was to throw himself in front of a train, as he could not find any solution for his problems, and he felt hopeless. He put his suicide note in the left pocket of his trousers, along with his small book filled with autographs. He walked to the railway track just before 8:00am, fully determined to die under the Bangalore-Hyderabad express trains that ran that route. The railroad tracks were about 50 yards from his one-room apartment, and the trains ran in both directions every 10 minutes. When he reached the tracks he waited for the train at 8:00am, 8:10am, 8:20am, 8:30am up until 9:00am, but there was not a train to be seen in any direction. This was very unusual, as the trains on that route were known to run on time, whereas on the other routes the trains usually ran late.
While waiting for a train to arrive, he pulled out his autograph book to read what people had written to him. On the very first page someone had written Matthew 6:33. He read it, but he did not like what it said, because he felt God had abandoned him and had forgotten him, so this verse irritated him. On another page someone else had written Proverbs 34:8-9, “young lions so lack and suffer hunger,” this verse also irritated him. He had been on the track for about an hour and the sun was getting hotter. Not knowing the difference between irritation and conviction, the two scripture verses kept coming to his mind as he anxiously waited for the train. Satish did not know that his parents, family, and the local church were praying and interceding for him back in Akola. Out of desperation he shouted and cried saying, “Lord I know I am a sinner. I really do not want to end my life this way. If you can do anything for me, do it NOW! Have mercy on me I have come to the end of my rope.” He said this many times and he began to weep
Suddenly a very bright light shone right on the tracks where Satish stood and he saw the Lord Jesus standing before him (this was not a vision). The Lord Jesus spoke to him in English calling him by his name, saying, “Satish, you don’t have to die. I died for your sins and I am alive. If you would only ask me now I will give you the free gift of forgiveness of sins. I will also give you new life and a new beginning.” At that moment Satish recalled his grandma’s prayer as she laid hands on him and said, "I know this child will go around the world preaching Christ.” As he was weeping he asked, “Lord why should You love me? How do You know my name?” The Lord Jesus replied, “The Governor and the President do not know your name, but even before the foundation of the world I have known you by name. Even though you were in sin, I still loved you and protected you.” He spoke a few more minutes then vanished from his sight. Satish thought he had died. He took a stone near the tracks and scratched his hand. When he saw blood he realized he was still alive. Satish had six more encounters with the Lord until about 2:00 p.m. During those encounters he received forgiveness of his sins, deliverance, and freedom from known habits and bondages. He began to feel alive as joy sprung up inside of him and hope was birthed. His life was filled with song, faith, and vision for the future.
He walked back to his one-room apartment that same afternoon (he had not paid his rent for months, so he would normally only go there after midnight because he wanted to avoid the landlord) He went into his apartment, closed the door, and started shouting, “Thank you Lord! It is good to have you in my heart, but my stomach is still empty.” He continued saying, “Thank you Lord! Lord, I desire to eat. I do not want to steal food anymore. Send me money from heaven.” He heard God say to him, “There is no money in heaven.” He asked, “What about food?” He heard God say, “Thank me in advance for food.” He replied, “Lord, You give me food and then I will thank you.” God said, “That is the world’s way, My ways are different. In My Kingdom you thank Me before something is received.” He began to say out loud, ‘THANK YOU LORD JESUS, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.” Suddenly there was a knock on the door. He thought it was the Landlord coming to ask for the rent. To his surprise, when he opened the door, it was the mailman. The mailman handed him a money order for Rupees 40/-.
It had been a long time since he had had any money. He took the Money Order from the mailman, knelt down, and cried out loud, saying, “Lord as you are faithful, help me to be faithful to you. Lord use me, don’t let me use you. I am not praying that You would use me like Moses, but just make me the rod that Moses used. I am not asking You to make me like Joshua, but just make me like a spear in his hand. I am not praying that You would use me like Samson, but make me like the jawbone of a donkey that Samson used, or like the pitcher that Gideon took and broke and won the victory. I am not praying that you would make me like king David, but just make me the pebble, or a stone, that David used on Goliath, or just let me be a donkey that carries Your presence.” As he repeated this prayer, his heart was overwhelmed and he recalled the words that Christ had spoken to him in those six encounters on the track. He immediately ran to the local church and gave his tithe. Also, that same day he told others about Jesus, and over 12 people gave their lives to Jesus. June 9, 1967, was a defining moment in Satish’s life and also the day God gave him a promise for his life. A promise from the written pages of the Bible into Satish’s heart, a promise from Daniel 11:32, “People that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits.”