utmost for His highest
Growing up in India,
Sheba Kulothungan-George had a strong sense of God’s hand
on her life. Obedience to God’s calling led her from India
to the United States, where she teaches English and communications
classes at Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie,
Texas. Her academic specialization in early American literature
and commitment to teaching are part of her mission to pass a Christian
heritage on to the next generation.
grew up in an affluent Christian family in southern India in Coimbatore,
Tamil Nadu. Her parents were strict disciplinarians. The family
had prayer at 4:30 each morning as well as in the evenings.
In addition to weekend
services, the family attended midweek services and crusades during
which Kulothungan-George and her brother would sing. “I
grew up in that environment only to think that I was the best
kid in the world,” she says. “I walked around with
my nose up in the air.”
When she was 11, Kulothungan-George’s
older sister, Rachel Mangayarkarasi, confronted her by pointing
out that growing up in a Christian home did not make her a Christian.
To appease her sister, Kulothungan-George knelt to pray. At that
point, she made a salvation decision.
says she was naturally drawn into the field of literature, also
her sister’s academic specialty. “When I was 12 years
old, I started reading Shakespeare’s plays and doing my
own interpretation of characters,” she says. In 1984 she
was awarded a master of arts in English literature from the University
of Madras and in 1985 she earned a master of philosophy in the
Not only did Kulothungan-George
excel at academics, but also in athletics. As a national high
jump champion of India, she was training for the 1984 Olympics
when she found out that she and her husband, Lazarus, were expecting
their first son, Moses, now 18.
began teaching at Anna Adarsh College at the University of Madras;
she and her husband became involved in ministry on campus and
in the city. However, the couple began to sense that the Lord
was calling them to the U.S.
“We thought that
it was a mistake to go to the U.S.,” Kulothungan-George
says. “We told ourselves that the U.S. was a Christian nation
and did not need us. But God began pulling at our hearts.”
The family moved to
the U.S. in 1990. Kulothungan-George and her husband became involved
in campus ministry while she earned a master of science in journalism
and a doctor of education in college teaching of English at Texas
A&M. The family has grown to four with the arrival of Stephen,
age 6. Dr. K, as she is known to her students, began teaching
at Southwestern eight years ago.
“God put a great
desire in my heart to minister in this nation, and also to work
among young people,” she explains. “I felt the Spirit
of God saying it was God’s will for me to teach at Southwestern,
and not to go back to India. SAGU is my assignment at this time.
I teach and contribute to the growth of my students. In turn,
I am taught by inquiring minds and I grow as well.”
teaches classes in English composition and literature, but is
particularly passionate about her specialty, early American literature.
“It is often seen as outdated, and there is an effort in
American schools to tarnish the image of early America because
of its message of Christianity,” she says. “But early
American literature defines American life and culture. The roots
of America are Christian in nature, so early American literature
defines American life and culture, past, present and future.
“If you don’t
understand where you came from — who you were — then
you won’t understand where you’re going,” she
says. “My primary goal in teaching this subject is to produce
scholars and writers who will graft this legacy into our future.”
To this end, Kulothungan-George
started the ROLL club, which stands for Reclaim Our Lost Legacy,
in 2002. The purpose of the club is to create an environment for
debates, seminars and research about the early literature and
life of Americans and to explore what early American literature
can contribute to today’s culture. She is currently working
on a book about the work of Edward Taylor, an early American frontier
pastor, entitled The Soul in the Making: Edward Taylor’s
Preoccupation with the Word.
teaching philosophy is student-oriented. “SAGU is a place
where young people grow in ‘wisdom and stature, favor with
God and men’ — just like Jesus did,” she says.
“It takes whole people to take the whole gospel to the whole
learned early on, her students leave SAGU knowing what could be
her life’s motto: “We understand that the Highest
deserves our utmost.”
By Katy Attanasi