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, lived a fruitful, productive life and passed away on February 5/2018 was my father – Pastor T.S Abraham.
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 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 was one of the founders of the Pentecostal Young People’s Association (PYPA) which was formed on August 30th 1947. Dad completed his high school and earned his B.A. Degree in 1949. Dad and Mom got married on April 27th, 1950. 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 was the President Emeritus of India Bible College and Seminary. 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 was the Senior General Minister of the India Pentecostal Church of God. Daddy’s exemplary leadership at home and in the church was known to be of a loving, giving and forgiving nature. His fun-loving nature combined with his gentleness and determination were 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.
The Pentecostal Community all over the globe have 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.
“A man of integrity who walks securely and a man of knowledge who keeps wisdom in view” – Daddy stood firm in his convictions, moral values and sound in doctrine. He always chose his words diligently and expressed them carefully and to the point. He was 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 had a good word to say about them. Even in provocative situations, he always overcame evil with good. He was recognized for his administrative, organizational and teaching capabilities.
John Maxwell once said,”Leadership is influence. Nothing more. Nothing less” .Great leaders lead from the heart. Daddy was an exemplary leader who influenced inspired and motivated people. Daddy’s influence came from caring for others and he built good relationships. It was through these relationships that Daddy influenced thousands of people around the globe. His leadership and influence began and ended with his heart. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life”. For Daddy, guarding his heart was the foundation of his life. Everything else flowed out of it. Daddy’s heart connected with God and other people, with a deep passion to serve God and others.
I arrived in Kerala on January 1/2018 and spent quality, fun filled time with Daddy for 8 days before I left for my medical treatment. When dad prayed for me, I said I would return to Kumbanad on January 31st and be with him for another 8 days before I return to Seattle. Dad looked at me and responded with a smile, “I am not sure if I will be here when you return “. These words are echoing in my mind since dad passed away. Thankful that dad did not endure much physical pain and that he is rejoicing with our Heavenly Father. Daddy has gone “onward to the prize before us! When we all get to heaven, it will be a day of rejoicing and we when we all see Jesus, we will sing and shout the victory!”
I am so blessed, honored and proud to be his youngest daughter. I am grateful for the legacy that Dad has left behind. My prayer is that his far-reaching influence will carry on indefinitely and affect many generations.