Contributions Of 90 Years For The Pentecostal Movement -Shirley Chacko Arlington

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Contributions  Of 90 Years For The Pentecostal Movement -Shirley Chacko Arlington

A man and his young son were climbing a mountain. They came to a place where the climbing was difficult and even dangerous. The father stopped to consider which way he should go. He heard the boy behind him say, “Choose the good path, Dad – I am coming right behind you!” 


Born and raised in the history of the Pentecostal movement, from his mother’s womb attended the first convention in January 1924, had the privilege of seeing the formation of IPC, endured the early years of suffering and starvation, currently one of the pioneers who is still alive today for which I am truly grateful is my father – Pastor T.S Abraham and my mother Mrs. Mary Abraham. Twenty five years ago in 1991 September was the last time that I was with my parents for their birthdays. Although I have seen them at different times over the years, I am extremely thankful that I could be with them to celebrate their 90th milestone of their God given lives. They have labored in HIS vineyard for sixty five years so far and I would like to share a few thoughts about them. 


Daddy was born on September 13, 1925 as the oldest son of late Pastor and Mrs. K.E. Abraham – founder of the Indian Pentecostal Church of God who has left a legacy behind for us to follow. Daddy was raised in a ‘faith home’ where his parents established and modeled a life of faith, did not depend on anyone for their needs but totally relied on God. My mother, Mary Abraham was also raised in a ‘faith home’ oldest daughter of Pastor and Mrs. P.T. Chacko, one of the pioneers of IPC in the state of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Her parents also modeled a life of faith and daily family prayer was an important part of her life. 


Growing up as a pastor’s daughter and granddaughter, my three older siblings and I definitely did not have to go through any starvation like my parents and grandparents did. We reap the fruit of the labor and the hardship that our parents and grandparents suffered for the sake of the gospel of the Indian Pentecostal Church. I have heard and read that my father, Pastor T.S. Abraham at the age of five went hungry many days, cried and prayed out loud and due to lack of strength fell asleep. There were several instances when my dad and his younger brother fainted in school due to starvation and had to be brought home on many occasions. 


Dad is one of the founders of the Pentecostal Young People’s Association (PYPA) which was formed on August 30th 1947. His co laborers in this ministry have all gone to be with the Lord. Dad completed his high school and earned his B.A. Degree in 1949. Dad and Mom got married on April 27th, 1950. Mummy had also finished her college education and was a teacher in Andhra Pradesh. Daddy had his theological education in the USA during 1952 -1955, where he earned his B.D and Master of Religious Education Degrees. Although daddy had a chance to live and settle down in the USA, because he had a burden for India and the ministry in India, he returned and began teaching in the Bible School in 1956 founded by his father Pastor K.E. Abraham. He was appointed as Principal of Hebron Bible College in 1970, which was renamed as India Bible College in 1994. Daddy continues to be the President of India Bible College and Seminary till today. Thousands of students have graduated from this Bible College and have planted churches all over the globe, affiliated with the Indian Pentecostal Church of God and the root cause of the growth of IPC. 


From 1973 to 1990, he served as the Kerala State Secretary; from 1990 to 2000 as the General Secretary and from 2001 to 2006 as the General President of IPC. Daddy was the first person from the Pentecostal circle to serve as the President of the Kerala Auxiliary Bible Society of India from 2006 to 2009. God also used Daddy to start the IPC Family Conference in North America in 1999. Since 2006, daddy is the Senior General Minister of the India Pentecostal Church of God. Daddy’s exemplary leadership at home and in the church is known to be of a loving, giving and forgiving nature. His fun-loving nature combined with his gentleness and determination  are some of Daddy’s winning traits. I am reminded of many circumstances beyond control when he stood by me and stood against insurmountable odds; he was always calm, serene, confident, consistent and transparent in his life. 
"A man of integrity who walks securely and a man of knowledge who keeps wisdom in view" – Daddy stands firm in his convictions, moral values and sound in doctrine. He chooses his words diligently and expresses them carefully and to the point. He is very courteous and considerate of others. Proverbs 17:27 says, “He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.” This is truly evident in Daddy’s life. I have never heard Daddy talk about someone unless he has a good word to say about them. Even in provocative situations, he is always overcoming evil with good. He is recognized for his administrative, organizational and teaching capabilities. 
The Pentecostal Community all over the globe are been blessed by Daddy’s writings. Some of the books are –A Jew and Palestine, General Survey of the New Testament, Geography of the Bible Lands, Pentecostal Movement, General Bible Knowledge, A Guide to the Pentecostal Ministers, IPC 75 Years of Grace (Platinum Jubilee Issue), and the most recent one –A Brief History of the India Pentecostal Church of God. 
Mummy was a very hard-working and disciplined lady. After busy days of teaching, she took care of Appachen’s needs, raised four children, was an accurate translator and involved in the ministry of the church. She was an excellent teacher and received the President of India’s award for “Best Teacher”. She was a leader, teacher, principal and Inspectress of 106 schools in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad for thirty three and half years. She took voluntary retirement in 1980 and moved to Kumbanad to be with Dad in full time ministry. I was thirteen years old at this time and was left with my maternal grandfather, Pastor P.T.Chacko, and was given various responsibilities of taking care of the home and care for my grandfather. Along with her secular job, Mom was involved in the ministry along with Dad, and they divided their time, resources and energy between Secunderabad and Kumbanad. Very often, personal comfort and family life was sacrificed for the extension of the Kingdom of God. A woman of principle, Mummy stands firm and courageous for her faith and is often encouraging others in various aspects of ministry. The description of a virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 can be applied to Mummy’s life. 


Abraham Lincoln said - "No man is poor who has a Godly mother……. I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” During times of trials and setbacks in my life, dad and mom’s prayers, advice and encouragement have sustained me and brought me thus far. Tears of joy have filled me when I have seen pictures of them reading my articles published in Sworgeeyadwani. After I got a written consent from dad earlier this year, it was indeed a privilege for me and my husband Vijai to republish the fourth edition of Pastor K.E. Abraham’s autobiography in June 2015 (50th year since the first edition was published) and in the 90th milestone of dad and mom’s lives.

 
Today all four children and families are serving the Lord. Dr.T. Valson Abraham along with his wife Laly serves as the Director of India Bible College and Seminary, President of IPC Punjab State and has been in the leadership of IPC for several years. Annie Jacob and Jacob Thomas are involved in various capacities of ministry in Kuwait and in Orissa. Starla Luke serves as Vice President of the Bible Society of India and is the administrator of India Bible College and Seminary. Her husband (Retired) Major Luke is the development director of IBC and in full time ministry. Truly thankful that Starla and Major Luke are living with dad and mom and have been taking care of them since 1998. 


Joel 1:3 says" Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation." It is indeed a blessing for both daddy and mummy to see their fourth generation. They have taught us that life is too valuable to be wasted for meaningless things, to value our time, to value our purpose in life – “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God”. Together through many struggles and joys of life, daddy and mummy have kept the focus of a three-fold cord that has never been broken! Their exemplary lives, integrity, Christian values and ethics have been a blessing to us and to others around the globe.


Daddy and Mummy, we love you so much. I am so blessed, honored and proud to be your daughter. May your far-reaching influence carry on indefinitely and affect many generations. God has “blessed you indeed, enlarged your territory, His hand has been with you and kept you from all evil” (1 Chronicles 4:9-10). May “The Lord bless you and keep you and cause HIS face to shine upon you” in the days ahead. As a family, Vijai, Joshua and I humbly pray that that we will carry on the legacy you have taught us.( Courtesy:Face book  Post .19 September 2015)

 


Shirley Chacko Arlington —

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Shirley Chacko Arlington

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