By Janet Seever,
As Pastor Jacob George prays, scripture rolls off his tongue. The prayer is gentle, comforting, healing, immersed in the Word of God.
Jacob is Centre Street Church’s Community Pastor for South Calgary and the Downtown Core, and leads the Prayer Ministry at our Central Campus.
“For us, prayer is at the core,” he says. “Everything we do is bathed in prayer. I come from a family of prayer warriors. That’s a legacy I inherited, and it has continued in our lives.”
His wife Anita encourages him in his work. “She’s a mighty prayer warrior too,” he says. “She supports me in prayer. And that’s the strength that keeps me going. The Lord’s hand has been upon on our family.” Although his training is in the IT field, it is clear that God, in His mysterious ways, has led him to the position he now holds at CSC.
Born in Tanzania, Jacob grew up in Bangalore, India. After he finished his degree, he got his first job in the IT field in Kuwait and lived there from 1979 and 1986, during which time he got married to his high school sweetheart, Anita. Most marriages among Indians are arranged, but in his case, he and Anita met in a church choir and courted for 10 years before getting married in1984.
Anita traces her ancestry back to the people converted in India by the Apostle Thomas in AD 52. She, too, has a rich Christian heritage.
God has blessed us with 2 amazing sons - Reuben and Joshua. God has also blessed us with 2 beautiful godly daughters in law, Brooke and Danae. Josh and Danae have two adorable children Roman and Olivia.
Working in Dubai
The Lord moved them from Kuwait to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 1986 where Jacob worked in the IT Department of the National Bank. Anita, with a background in education, taught grades 2-3 in a private British O-Level school.
Both of their sons were born in a small mission hospital where the doctor would read the Bible and pray every morning with the Sheikhs’ wives and other Arab patients.
In 2000, the family felt the call of God to move on from Dubai (so many signs pointed to that very clearly) and they had three options that opened up: Canada, New Zealand, or Australia. Some of their friends who had already moved to Canada and encouraged them to go there.
After praying much about where they should go, they decided to apply for immigration to Canada. Although Jacob came up two points short on the point system for landed immigrant status, their Canadian immigration lawyer urged them to try anyway. And they did, in the faith that the Lord would open the door for them if it was His will and plan for them. An officer at the Canadian consulate in Los Angeles who interviewed them later agreed that Jacob was put in the wrong category and gave him 10 more points!
“When we came out, we just broke down and thanked God for His goodness,” Jacob says. “We knew that He had opened the door for us.”
In 2003, they landed in Vancouver. They already had relatives there—Anita’s aunt and Jacob’s sister and her family. Then they visited friends in Calgary in September and the day they arrived, it snowed! During their time in Calgary they also visited Centre Street Church. During that service, Pastor Henry shared the vision of the new church with the congregation.
So which would it be? Vancouver or Calgary? After much prayer they asked friends to start looking for a house for them in Calgary.
Journey to Canada
“The first week of January 2006,” Jacob says, “we left friends and relatives in Dubai and moved out in faith, not knowing what was next.”
Just before leaving Dubai on January 3, a reading in a devotional book greatly encouraged them. Anita pulls out her worn devotional book, No Better Place Than in the Center of His Presence, to show me. Along with her Bible, this book is a source of encouragement and comfort.
The words for that day are indeed encouraging: “My child, as I led Abraham and I led Moses, my children of Israel, so I lead you. For I go before you in My name and conquer all your foes.. . . do not be discouraged, for I go before you and I will fight for you. You are not alone.” Genesis 12:1-9, Exodus 33:13-14. But the best part, Anita says, is this: “Can you not see My hand in your life? Can you not see that I have brought you this far? Yes, the door is open before you. The land is waiting for you to possess. And dear one, I am with you and will go before you. I will guide you and show you where to go, and tell you what to do, so listen to Me.”
“That was our promise,” says Jacob. “‘Sit back and watch Me do great and marvellous things before your very own eyes was His word to us before we left. The cry of my heart at that point was, ‘Lord, I’ve been in the secular field now for 26 years, I want to serve you in a church setting.’”
“And I actually laughed,” Anita says, “just like Sarah laughed at Abraham. ‘Nobody even knows you here. They don’t know you from Adam.’” She chuckles as she remembers.
Jacob had led a home church In Dubai. He also was a student of the Word and dug deeply into scripture. Step by step the Lord was teaching him.
They arrived in Calgary on January 6, 2006. By then university admissions were closed, so their oldest son got a job and their youngest son was admitted to Grade 8 in Tom Baines Junior High.
Anita got a temporary job at Symcore between February and May. In November she went to a job fair and found a position in a bank. She had no banking experience, but after her interview, they offered her a job and training.
“That was only God, because in my wildest dreams,” she says, “I would never have thought I would work in a bank. That’s how God is so good and faithful to provide.”
In the third week of January they bought a house. Prices were spiking and Jacob did not have a job yet. They moved into the house several months later in May.
But finding a job was not easy. Every day Jacob went to the job agency and sent off his resumé everywhere, but no one replied. Although it was a discouraging time they held onto the Lord’s promises.
When they came to Centre Street Church for the Sunday service the second week of March 2006, they discovered that jobs in the church were posted in the back of the bulletin, including one in the IT department. He applied and got the job the second week of April as the Head of IT at CSC! Then in November, he was asked to start the deliverance ministry.
“I told them with regards to starting the deliverance ministry, that I needed to go on a week’s fast and prayer,” he says. “Deliverance ministry is not something you take lightly, so I got a few ministers from India to fast and pray with me.” He also asked a core team in Calgary to pray with him.
“Praise God, it is only God’s hand that has led this ministry thus far. It’s just amazing to see God’s faithfulness and His hand on this ministry and to see hundreds and hundreds of our congregants walking in victory.”
In November, 2007 the Director of Missions at CSC said to Jacob, “We know you are from India. Would you be the point person for missions to India?”
Jacob responded, “Gladly.” He knew that CSC could have a huge impact on partner churches, especially in India where only three per cent of the population are Christians.
In 2008, Pastor Warren Wiebe and Jacob led their first team to North India where Pastor Ashwin was the associate pastor, and a partnership between the two churches was started.
Then later in 2008, when his mother passed away, Jacob returned to India. While he was there, he looked for another church in South India that CSC could partner with. He met a dynamic pastor who was doing ministry in the slums, working with human trafficking and with church plants in villages. This contact developed into a partnership between Centre Street Church and the First Assembly of God Church in Bangalore.
“Before we left Dubai,” Jacob says, “I had asked the Lord to put me in a church setting. As the head of the IT Dept. at CSC, I thought it was all He wanted me to do, little realizing that He is such a big God. I put God in a box but He has such great plans for us.”
In 2007, he was offered a full time position as the Community Pastor for South Calgary and the Downtown Core—the largest area CSC ministers to.
When he started, he got on his knees and prayed, “Lord, I do not know how to do this unless Your hand is upon me.”
“God moved. He heard me when I called to Him.” Jacob says. “Oh, I worked hard, but that’s secondary.“
When he began to work as Community Pastor, there were 18 small groups in the South and today that number has increased to 36. His son Reuben works for Alberta Energy Regulator, and is also the Worship co-ordinator at our Bearspaw Campus. Joshua is the Youth Pastor also at our Bearspaw Campus.
“In 2008, after my mother passed away, I applied to bring my dad here as a permanent resident and he is now living with us. He too is a great prayer warrior and it is a joy and blessing to have him with us.
We attend a large Bible study group comprising of family and friends. We are blessed to have the love and support of this family of believers. At the end of every CSC mission trip I lead to India, I invite some young adults to come and be part of the Jacob family. They come over practically every Sunday evening for supper, to enjoy Anita’s cooking and we love on them, mentor and disciple them. We are blessed to have them in our lives.”
The Jacob family is reminded that God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22).
“In everything, we want to be thankful to God and His faithfulness. To God be the glory, great things He has done,” says Jacob. “It’s been a wonderful journey with the Lord, especially at Centre Street church.”