2021 Alex Steddom Fund Grantee


Introducing Edison DSouza
Mysore, Karnataka, India

2021 Grantee
Alex Steddom International Student Fund

Every Summer, Bethlehem College & Seminary seeks to raise $185,000 every summer to replenish a fund used to support the extraordinary financial needs of four international students in the seminary.

The Admissions Committee of Bethlehem College & Seminary announces the selection of Pastor Edison DSouza of Mysore, Karnataka, India, to be the 2021 recipient of the Alex Steddom International Student Fund Grant of full tuition and financial support. This fund was established to encourage international students to receive theological education at Bethlehem College & Seminary and then return to the nations to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ.

Pastor DSouza is 36 years old and engaged in bi-vocational ministry for four years before serving full-time as pastor of Cross Cultured Church, Mysore. He is a graduate of Visvesvaraya Technological University where he earned a Bachelor of Engineering. He and his wife, Lauren, have been married for 13 years, and are the parents of two daughters, ages 9 and 4.

From Edison DSouza’s Application for Admission (Shared with permission)

I became a Christian in my senior year in high school after which I like many other Indians got an undergraduate degree in Engineering (Biotechnology). During my years in school, I wasn’t part of any church and had only 1 other Christian friend who didn’t go to any church either. My desire at that time was to make enough money to go to Dallas Theological Seminary because I had read Basic Bible Interpretation by Dr. Zuck.

God’s plans for me were different at that time. I got recruited by an IT company and was really confused about that opportunity as a job in IT was a dream job for many of my fellow students. However, I was working my way to study in the U.S., earn enough and eventually go to seminary. I spent the next few months praying and felt that I must join the IT company after reading ‘In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.’ (Proverbs 16:9, NIV).

My job brought me to Mysore where I found a workplace fellowship. I was eager to join with other Christians. It was my first real fellowship with other Christians. However, in a months time, I ended up becoming one of its two leaders. And a few months later we eagerly desired to see it become a church. It was during this time that I met the girl I am now married to. In the following year, we planted the church. We sought help from a church group that was part of the NAR movement (at that time we neither knew it nor understood what it meant). Under them we were trained to be low church and become seeker sensitive. I was eager to listen to men who had more experience than I. A year later I felt sick of nearly not needing my Bible in the “lectures” I delivered except to prooftext. And it hit me really hard when one visitor who wasn’t a Christian who said to me after the service – “how is this message any different from what I do as a soft skill trainer? What’s Christian about this message?”

This incident really got me to put aside the seeker-sensitive approach to some extent. I began to read and study the Bible. At this point, everything began to confuse me. I was beginning to discover the doctrines of grace. I only knew 2 other persons who used to argue with me a few years earlier even speak about similar things. It was a hard time for me. But thanks to technological improvements in those years, I came across Pr. Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill churches who was the first person I heard. And it was in one of those videos that I came across Pr. John Piper. I spent the next many months reading and watching as much as I could. It was crazy! I had to make sense of so much while preaching every week. It was confusing for the congregation. I couldn’t reconcile God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. My wife was hospitalized, and she lay on the bed weeping asking if she could pray to God to heal her since he sovereignly had decreed that she be ill. At that point, I wept and told her that we must pray. I have no idea how it all works together, but it must since Jesus asked us to pray.

Another year later, I started writing to Desiring God, Grace to You, Ligonier, 9 Marks, TGC. I tried to contact anyone and asked that they help mentor me. I knew the chances were slim. But I did not know anyone else here in India who could help me. 9 Marks were the only one who responded and connected me to Harry. He has been a big help. He asked me if I would consider going to seminary—I told him I would love to. But I have no money, and I can’t leave my congregation at this stage when they are confused and without a leader.

Over the years, the church has grown in understanding. There are two brothers who serve alongside me as elders. And I am finally confident in being able to leave the church in their good hands.

Over the last month, brothers like Harry have been encouraging me to seriously consider going to seminary. My wife and I have been praying. I spoke with the elders who also supported the idea. I have been serving this church for nearly twelve years.”

Reference Testimonial by Christian brother, Harry

“I think if he had an opportunity to study at Bethlehem he would be further equipped and he would not only learn and grow but would develop as a leader and trainer of other pastors in India. He is from Karnataka which is a state in South India and it is known as the North India of South India because it is one of the least reached states in Southern India. Brother I believe, His training would be very strategic for the gospel in the long run. I have been encouraging him to think about pursuing theological education.”

From the Admissions Committee File

A pastor in India introduced me to Edison after I taught there last spring, and I was immediately struck with the wonderful opportunity it would be for Bethlehem College & Seminary to help train him and send him back to India. Edison is an experienced pastor who is closely aligned with the vision of Bethlehem, and he has a heart to advance theological training in India. Having Edison in one of our seminary cohorts would not only allow us to train him, but he would also provide added experience and cross-cultural perspectives from which all of our students would benefit. In short, having Edison at Bethlehem College & Seminary would be a strategic way to accomplish our mission of spreading God’s supremacy in all things for the joy of all peoples in India and beyond.
Chris Bruno, Ph.D
Associate Dean & Associate Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology

Learn about our other recipients and help raise the $185,000 needed to support the Alex Steddom International Student Fund here.