Our Dearest Pappa - Unforgettable Memories
Dr. Saju Joseph
India Bible College (IBC) is our family. A family that comprised of Papa and Mummy and all our brothers and sisters. More than a year ago, Mummy, and now our Papa, has left us. They have reached the heavenly home before us.
Pastor T. S. Abraham was the Principal, and then the President, and later the President Emeritus of IBC. He was also the General Secretary and President of IPC. But to all of us, he was undoubtedly our Papa.
Papa continued to wholeheartedly teach at the college, up until the time he became weak in his body. The students would never forget the deep conviction in the Word of God revealed in his classes. We have been amazed at his humility. When the college was previously located only at the Hebronpuram campus, Papa used to walk all the way till the college office to get things done, even when he could have only called a staff member to meet him in the bungalow.
Even while he was the most important leader in IPC and the president of IBC as well, Papa has shown simplicity and sincerity in love while dealing with the teachers and students of the college.
Today's leaders do not all associate much with their juniors or subordinate staff. However, Papa cultivated deep, healthy and long-term relationships with people from all walks of life.
Junior teachers have been pleasantly surprised when Papa used to address them as "Sir", with all respect and recognition.
We have cherished good memories of dear Papa's classes, chapel sermons, or speeches given on special occasions. His words were concise yet sweet, and he spoke gently yet with conviction. He avoided all kinds of loose talk and chatter.
Papa has not shied away from taking strict disciplinary measures against teachers, staff or students, even while he showered them with love and care. And he always strived to be a source of comfort and strength to the teachers, during their times of difficulties and challenges.
Papa entrusted sensitive assignments and important responsibilities to those he trusted and to those who worked alongside him.
The Hebron bungalow is home to the IBC family members. Until a week before his death, Papa regularly lunched and dined together with the senior and junior teachers of IBC at the bungalow. We really miss Papa's presence which had energized and rejuvenated us.
While Papa was serving as the General President of India Pentecostal Church of God, he took the initiative to introduce an amendment to the constitution of IPC stipulating to set the age limit to 80 years for all office bearers in the General Executive Council. This bold move revealed his attitude towards positions of authority even while he was nearly that age. He never sought fame or power, rather, he exhibited humility in all he said and did.
Today, India Bible College and Seminary stands tall among Pentecostal and other seminaries throughout our country. This had been made possible due to the sagacious foresight of dear Papa. Now we operate in two campuses - IGO and Hebronpuram, and offer courses like M.Th., B.D., M. Div., B.Th. Dip.Th., and C.Th., that are affiliated to Senate of Serampore College and accredited by the Asia Theological Association.
Papa had the opportunity to work along with his father, who served as the founding architect of IPC and the founder of Hebron Bible College. Hebron Bible College and India Bible College and Seminary has trained many thousands of men and women for the mission work. Dr. T. Valson Abraham continues to provide powerful leadership to the college. We pray that God may continue to strengthen him, and our vice-presidents, Major V.I. Luke and Starla Luke, other family members, and the Board members.
As Papa has left his earthly abode, may God continue to comfort the bereaved souls.