When Malaysian-born missionary Sekaran Vellasamy was posted to Uganda in 1987, he gladly accepted the assignment with an open heart.
Much as the country was struggling to recover from the economic and social destruction caused by the genocidal regime of President Idi Amin, Sekaran Vellasamy looked beyond these hardships to later work with the most vulnerable part of the population.
“I came to Uganda as a missionary with The Assemblies of God USA (a Pentecostal Christian denomination in the United States founded in 1914). I was Pastoring, and after about 5 years went into NGO work with Children and community services,” he said when hosted by Watoto Church on Friday.
Sekaran took pride in helping children under a US$1.2 million project of the International Child Care Fund (ICCF).
As Programme Director for ICCF for seven years from 1991, he established a Children Centre that was later voted Uganda’s best children home, had 10,000 children immunised, built mobile clinics and organised training and seminars for rural help workers and midwives.
“This then led me into looking at income generating projects for the Children who are getting older. We did a lot of projects, and because of that work within the Ministry, I ended up doing my own business,” the father of two (2), and grandfather of four (4) told Watoto Church.
“In 1996-1997, I was the only distributor of Ugachick Chicken that time, but I was still busy working at the orphanage in Rakai – then we moved into Kampala. Five years down the road, I started Malaysia Furnishing Centre,” he said.
In February 2001, Sekaran, Indian by origin, set up the Malaysian Business Centre (U) Ltd (MBC) aimed at promoting direct trade and investment activities between Malaysia and Uganda.
He formed the business on a Born-Again Christian foundation. In it, the orphaned children he looked after got employment here.
You came as a missionary and wanted to take the gospel all across Kampala, Sekaran was questioned at Watoto Church, what was Uganda like when you first arrived?
“Very interesting. You thing you are friendly now, those people were very friendly. Prior to my posting in Kampala, I was in London for 9 months. You don’t know what it is like preaching the gospel till you come to Uganda. In London, people hate you, call you name. But when I came to Uganda, and people knew I was a missionary, I was warmly welcomed. This forced me to stay here,” he said.
“I love this country, and I love the people, I am where I am because a foundation laid by the grace of God – I have made my name, fame, riches, not only for me, but my children and children’s children because of this land. My challenge to you is, how can I, a total stranger, make it in this society and environment, with the same God that you have and I have, and you have not. This is what I want us to address,” he told congregants at Watoto Church.
At his Company offices, members of staff converge early in the morning at a particular spot in the show-room. They start by reading a Bible verse that will inspire them that day. Different verses are chosen on different days by a member of staff conversant with the scripture.
“Sometimes a pastor is invited to share the Good News with the small congregation, a member of staff recently narrated to media.
“The word of God is shared and then prayer on everything related to office work and all the challenges is brought forth in prayer. The morning grace lasts 30-40 minutes everyday,” she added.
Sekaran Vellasamy told listeners at Watoto Church his success is built on ethics. He added that true prosperity comes from consulting with the Holy Spirit “who is always with you.”
Don’t just make Him a resident, Sekaran said.
He urged Christians to focus on one thing at a time and learn from their mistakes. Sekaran also challenged the audience to do research about what they want to venture into and learn as much as possible before they start.
“You need not to be greedy and chose to do everything, you need to chose that one thing that you are passionate with and do it. Dig deep into your heart and find out what you have got. Consult God, family members and friends for guidance. Many people have failed in what you want to do – Learn from their mistakes,” he said.
Knowing your weakness and strength, Sekaran said, is key to establishing a prosperous business.