Exactly a year ago, an unexpected blow befell the household of a City Harvest Church member even as it celebrated the joyous birth of a baby boy. The testimony of Chandru Vishindas proves that the Word of God is never more precious than when it is all a man has.
Chandru Vishindas, 34, juggles a hectic schedule, managing more than 50 retail outlets islandwide and making overseas business trips to meet with suppliers, shippers and distributors.
He is the retail vice president of Radha Exports, which owns the ABC and VALU$ retail chains selling a wide range of everyday items from foodstuff and toiletries to electrical and household appliances at highly competitive prices. (See box story)
Yet, Chandru is adamant about spending the first moments of each day to God, even if it is just taking 10 or 15 minutes in prayer. It’s not a routine to tick off the to-do list; it’s just that he cannot afford not to—with an overwhelming number of both local and overseas customers, he confesses to facing challenges that are sometimes beyond himself, ranging from bottlenecks in high stakes negotiations to theft and malfunctioning of equipment at the stores.
As he searches for solutions and open doors to his work in his prayers, he says God always makes a way, no matter how complicated or unsalvageable the circumstance may seem. It is this same faithfulness he has experienced of the Lord that keeps hope afloat as he confronts a personal battle at home.
A year ago, tragedy struck when Chandru’s wife, Pooja, slipped into unconsciousness after the birth of their second child, a son named Ryan Chandru. What was supposed to be a celebration turned into anguish as he and his daughter, Rheanna, 6, grappled with seeing their devoted wife and loving mother rendered vegetative.
Chandru had met his wife 19 years ago when he took a liking to Pooja’s friend and was showering attention on her in a bid to attract her friend’s attention. Slowly, he came to the realization that Pooja was really the woman for him—she had won him over with her character and personality.
“Pooja is always very kind and compassionate to those around, always giving and caring for those who are in need. She’s always positive in her thinking and never a single bit doubtful that God is there for her at all times. Being God-fearing in every aspect of her life, she remains a shining example of how to live,” Chandru says, his voice thick with emotion.
In time, a daughter was added to the strikingly good-looking couple. Despite her busy work as a principal at an Indonesian pre-school and a centre manager at a local MonteKids childcare establishment, Pooja and Rheanna were inseparable.
Now Chandru is deeply involved in his two children’s well-being and childhood. “I will not have them shortchanged of a father’s time, love, gifts, attention and physical affection,” he states.
The burden of seeing his wife in such a state is not something any loving husband should have to bear. “The love I have for my wife is overwhelming. But if I am broken or shaken, I cannot effectively run the purposes of God—which is to love Him wholeheartedly and love people fervently,” shares the long-time City Harvester who used to serve as a Children’s Church teacher.
He confesses openly, “Have I felt like giving up? Do I have suicidal thoughts? Yes. I am human. But I am also surrounded by the promises of God—to know that there is hope and there is life.”
The renewal of the mind, attuning it daily to the Word of God, is what holds him together. With the dawning of each new day, he plugs in to the presence of God and draws hope from Biblical promises such as 1 Peter 5:7—“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”
Pooja, who has undergone 10 surgeries to date, is now at home, being taken care of by her mother as well as two domestic helpers around the clock. Chandru is thankful that in His divine providence, God has guided him to be fully prepared financially for the S$800,000 medical bill that was incurred. In fact, it was Pooja who taught her husband the principle of sowing and reaping, entrusting their finances to God as they put the kingdom of God first.
“In every trial and tribulation, God prepares a way for us. Even if we fall, we will fall in His benchmark, not our own,” he says.
Chandru has been told to “get on with life” and give up on hoping for his wife’s recovery, but that is out of the question for him. “No matter what happens, she’s still the queen of my home and my heart. I’ll never leave her. I will always love her, till death do us apart. Without her, I am not the man I am now. She is the source of my strength and the love I have with her drives me to perfection in all that I do, be it in business, personal or even family matters.”
“In His time … He will make all things beautiful.”
Led By Christ To Serve The Marketplace
Chandru Vishindas shares about creating value and what it really means to partner with Jesus in his business.
Any Singaporean who appreciates a good bargain is likely to be familiar with the ABC and VALU$ retail chains. Owned by Radha Exports, both brands sell everyday items at cheaper prices than elsewhere.
Just back from several business trips in the Asian region, Chandru Vishindas shares with City News how the business works. “We keep our purchasing cost low by directly importing the items from source and selling the items directly to the consumers. Hence, we bypass the middleman and pass the savings on to the customer.”
It sounds simple enough, but behind it are years of building supplier relationships, understanding the market, strategic sourcing of products and other demands.
“The more you give, the more you receive. The more value you pass on to the consumer—the more supply you create, the more demand you generate and the more the business grows,” Chandru explains. Ensuring the quality of products, sourced from the US, Europe and Australia, allows consumers to taste and purchase international-branded products at a lower price, which then generates repeat purchases and ultimately builds up a regular clientele.
It is a model that works well. Today, ABC and VALU$ have over 50 retail outlets nationwide. Recently, Radha Exports celebrated its 25th anniversary.
“Whatever we do, we do unto Christ. We do our best. But Jesus Christ is the secret ingredient,” says Chandru. “He will always make a way when there seems to be no way. He will make us the head and not the tail, above and not beneath.” This is the assurance that allows him to stay cool-headed and patient while maintaining a competitive business mindset.
It’s not that God performs magic for us, however, Chandru clarifies. “A lot of groundwork and market research is involved when I make my purchases. God gives us the wisdom and the creativity; we apply ourselves to working hard.”