Sumithiran (Sumi) Ragulan was four years old when his family moved to Auburn and decided it was time he went to school. He came from a Pentecostal Christian background and was one of around 80 non-Adventist students who would be attending Sydney Adventist School Auburn (SASA). Even though Sumi’s family were not Adventist, his mother chose to send him there because she thought the school would help discipline her son and build his character.
Sumi still remembers his first encounter with Adventism. On his first day of school, the principal Danyel Efstratiou addressed the students and talked about the seventh-day Sabbath. It might seem like a deep topic for a child to learn about on his first day but Sumi took it in his stride.
“I’m not sure about the other students but I believed it,” he says.
Two years later Sumi was experiencing health issues, particularly with his tonsils. He had a painful sore throat and was having difficulty speaking. An operation to remove his tonsils was scheduled. His friends at school began praying for him.
A week before his operation, Sumi had a final check-up with his doctor. On the way to the appointment the pain in his throat began to ease. He told his mother but she didn’t believe him and kept driving.
“When we reached the hospital and went into the doctor’s room, he said he couldn’t see any tonsils but ordered an X-ray in case,” Sumi says. The X-ray confirmed the doctor’s extraordinary findings, indicating that the tonsils that were scheduled to be removed were no longer there.
“After the appointment we went back to the car and my parents told me I had just witnessed a miracle.”
Since that day Sumi has observed many other events he describes as miracles, but one in particular stands out.
For as long as Sumi can remember, his father has had poor vision. His eyes were damaged in a car accident that occurred just two months after Sumi was born. So together with his classmates and teachers Sumi started praying for his father.
A year after Sumi’s healing, his father woke up one morning and realised that he could suddenly see his son from head to toe, which he had previously been unable to do. He was taken to the hospital to have his eyes checked.
“The doctors told me that they couldn’t believe it themselves because they could still see a lot of damage but his vision had increased by a miraculous 50 per cent,” Sumi says. “I believe this was thanks to my friends and teachers who had prayed for my father. From that day on, my parents and I decided to be Seventh-day Adventists.”
And when the school did a special program at Auburn church, Sumi and his family began attending Sabbath services.
Following a Week of Spiritual Emphasis at SASA with school chaplain Pastor Brian Leuluai, Sumi asked if he could have Bible studies. After studying with Pastor Brian, he made the decision to be baptised.
“His mum, aunt, uncle and grandma were present at the baptism, along with staff from the school. I went to the baptism too,” Mrs Efstratiou says.
“I taught Sumi in kindergarten and first grade. I have seen him blossom into a confident, kind and hard-working young man. And now he has chosen to surrender his life to God. I am very proud of him.”