A Tribute to Bishop Satish Raiborde

What can one man do? To put it personally, how often have we wondered, “What can I do as just one person?”

The first time I was truly staggered by how much one single person can accomplish in his lifetime was when I was at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina. Walking through the 40,000 square foot complex that traced the life and work of Billy Graham left me breathless, mouthing to myself, “How can one man do so much in one lifetime?” There’s one more life that I know of that makes me think likewise – Bishop Satish Raiborde.

On Monday, 5 October 2020, around 11am, Bishop Satish was called home to glory. Bishop’s son, Pastor Nicky Raiborde, is a regular in our church. In fact, to be more poignant, Pastor Nicky has not missed a single church camp we’ve had in the last 15 years. As we were made aware of Bishop’s passing, we also came to know the deep sense of loss and grief Pastor Nicky and his family are going through right now.

While many of us are familiar with Pastor Nicky, most of us are not acquainted with his father. Let me try to give an introduction.

• Bishop came to the Lord 53 years ago and immediately starting serving.
• He was faithfully married to Pastor Malee for 44 years.
• He once told me God gave him an insatiable appetite for His Word and he’d wake up each morning hungry for God’s Word.
• He has read the Bible cover-to-cover over 260 times in 7 languages.
• He has read the New Testament 422 time at last count.
• His little mantra says, “No Bible, no breakfast”.
• In 53 years as a Christian, he has never once missed his Bible reading and prayer time with God.
• Each day, he follows a Bible reading plan and reads 7 chapters twice, making it 14 chapters a day.
• He prays for over 100 people by name each day, and daily he receives over 1,600 texts from people around the world whom he holds accountable to read their Bibles daily. They text him just one word – ‘Done’.
• He has personally placed over 1,700 people into ministry as pastors and evangelists, and has ordained countless Christian ministers.

I’ve heard him share accounts of how he’d drive his car over rivers that have broken their banks. Of how eggs pelting him would miraculously change direction and hit the ceiling as they approached him. His account of the time he was arrested in the USSR was hilarious, and yet a harrowing one. He has risked his life many times for the Gospel, and to the very end, remained faithful to God’s calling on his life.

In the last few days of his mortal life, it was as though he knew the time for him to go home to the Lord had arrived. He firmly reminded Pastor Nicky that the most beautiful church building isn’t built with bricks, mortar or rich materials but with burnt stones – broken people, humble people, lives rescued by the Lord, lives that are messed up. Till the end, Bishop kept his focus on people.

In the same measure, he kept his vow to the Lord that his life would be spent for the preaching of the Gospel. Just days before his passing, Bishop met a preacher on his way back to India. The preacher wanted Bishop to pray for him and, after praying for this man, Bishop gave all the gold in his possession to this preacher. He instructed that the gold be sold and proceeds given to various ministries in India for the preaching of the Gospel. When questioned by his wife and family, Bishop calmly reminded Malee of the vows they had made during their wedding – that they’d give everything they had in their lives together for the preaching of the Gospel. In doing this, he ‘emptied his pockets’ before returning to the Lord.

What can one person do in one lifetime? May we take this opportunity to ponder our own lives.

Pastor Lim Lip Yong

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