From Sikhism to Christianity
From birth, Kalbi Massey attended the Sikh temple in West Malaysia almost every week for 21 years to follow the rituals of the family religion. Then an encounter with the Saviour of the World during a hospital stay changed her life and she was later healed from tuberculosis and infertility.
Her Christian conversion in the UK should have brought family dishonour and persecution but it has since heralded a revival in her native Asia, where siblings and cousins share her faith. Now Kalbi, the daughter of a late Sikh priest, dreams of returning to her homeland as an evangelist to share God‘s love.
“Our past can hold us back so we need to let go and God will use us,” said Kalbi. “As we move forward with trust, He will take us to a higher level.”
She grew up in a poor family in a rural rubber tree estate. “There were hand-me down clothes and not much food in the house,” she said. Her hopes of becoming a teacher to help provide for her family were dashed three times. Despite having the academic criteria, Kalbi was unable to pursue the necessary extra sporting programme four miles away. “I cried - there was a great feeling of hopelessness. My mother told me not to worry, like my two sisters I could have an arranged marriage.”
Determined to break away from the traditional culture - and eventually with her mother's consent - she began psychiatric nurse training in England, arriving on a dark October afternoon in 1980.
She adapted to the cold, the culture and spoke good English but eight weeks later, and 6500 miles from her home, she was a hospital patient with acute stomach pain undergoing an appendix operation. Her sister - who had also converted to Christianity and lived in England - prayed at her bedside and read the first bible words she ever heard. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life(John 3: 16).
“My life was changed in an instant 28 years ago. I accepted Jesus without any idea of what I was taking on. I was exuberant and I could not wait to tell someone. I hugged the first person I saw who was a member of the Salvation Army and a complete stranger,” said Kalbi who joined a church and later led the Christian nurses' fellowship meetings at the hospital where she worked.
“I had gone to the Sikh temple every Sunday in my best clothes, taken off my shoes and bowed down at the altar but I never felt God's touch. Now I prayed and engaged with God.” said Kalbi who was instantly freed from the Sikh rules and rituals and rules that also demanded good works.
“Two years later she caught tuberculosis while nursing a patient. Breathing was difficult. She grew listless, lost weight and she was put into isolation. Fear mounted, knowing that if she lived in West Malaysia the contagious illness would have claimed her life. Wearing masks and gowns, close family and church members gathered at her bedside to pray.
“My breakthrough came in a vision. I sat on a huge rock as waves engulfed me but I felt secure and peaceful, knowing that Jesus was my rock and fortress and he would not let me go.”
Kalbi's rapid recovery amazed doctors and years later a chest x ray revealed there was no lung scar tissue.
After she married there were further challenges. She battled against infertility when two IVF attempts - with the help of relatives' money - were used to break the family stigma of being barren. The first attempt failed and a negative pregnancy test was confirmed after the second.
“My world fell apart and my heart broke. I would carry a heavy burden in front of the patients I nursed and return home and cry,” said Kalbi.
Within five days of that result, Kalbi took another test which proved positive.
“Every night, after my son was born I would kneel at his bed and praise God for giving me such a beautiful gift.”
Seven years later, without medical intervention, and after Kalbi lost hope of another child, she gave birth to a daughter who is now nine.
Today Kalbi has a gospel rescue message for all after joining an evangelistic Ministry in Essex a year ago.
To book Kalbi Massey to speak at your conference, church or ministry, email firstname.lastname@example.org