January 2023 | The True Vine and The Soon Coming King

Fond Memories from a Granddaughter
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Fond Memories from a Granddaughter

Ms. Annie Jacob

I count it as a privilege and honor to write a few lines about my dear Appachan and Ammachi. The day I was born, Appachan sent a telegram to my Dad in Kerala. According to my Mom, the telegram read, “Happy Birthday! You have a daughter born today as a birthday gift.” Both my Dad and I share the same birth date. That was Appachan’s humorous way of presenting me! 

As their eldest granddaughter, I was showered with much care and affection. Both Appachan and Ammachi were very loving but at the same time they were very strict in discipline. Having lived with them from my childhood, I learnt many valuable lessons from their godly lives and their teachings continue to be a blessing to me. I still cherish the precious moments of my childhood spent with them. 

When I was four years old, my parents were invited to attend conferences in the US. While they were away, I had an attack of whooping cough and it was Ammachi who took special care of me; shed tears and prayed for my speedy recovery.  Ammachi passed away when I was less than seven years old but I still remember with joy how she encouraged me to memorize scriptures from the Bible and sing during our family devotions.

Appachan would ask me to accompany him when he went to preach on the streets. I would assist him by distributing tracts to the people who passed by. Couple of times when I traveled with him on trains, he made me distribute tracts to all the fellow travelers in the compartment and recite verses from the Bible. Family members or church members who traveled with him could not escape sharing the gospel to the people they came across.

There are no words to express Appachan’s burden for perishing souls. Everyday he made sure that he shared the gospel to at least a couple of people before he had his breakfast.  He had a unique gift of sharing the gospel to the rich and poor, educated and illiterate, young and old alike. Appachan had a particularly soft corner for the poor and illiterate. Several times when he returned late at night after prayer meetings, he would bring home one or two people whom he befriended on the road. We would find Appachan sharing his food, clothes and finally the gospel to these very folks whom most people tried to avoid even approaching due to the stench of sweat and alcohol.

Before we left for school in the morning, Appachan would give us tracts for our friends. These tracts were either hand written or rubber stamped with simple language and had attractive drawings. His only aim was to evangelize personally and win souls for Christ.  I still have a couple of his tracts with me which say – 

“Is India FREE? Yes, politically. But NOT SPIRITUALLY. Jesus alone can save you from SIN.”

“Life is short. Death is sure. After that comes judgment. JESUS died and conquered Death and Saves all who Trust in HIM. He is coming soon to Rule the World. Accept, Obey and Live for Him. Then Heaven will be Your Eternal Home.”  

If Appachan noticed a word being mis-spelt or pronounced wrongly, he would make us refer to the dictionary and repeat the word correctly more than once. I had the privilege of typing several of Appachan’s articles for the “Gospel Herald” and writing the mailing labels for the magazines. He would very patiently correct any errors, forgetting even his sleep and timely meals to do the same.

At mealtimes, he was very particular about table manners and would not allow us or any visitors to chew food with their mouth open or spill food from our plates.  Appachan used to make me sweep the compound and verandah and remind me, “Philadelphia Faith Home should be a little piece of Heaven on earth”.  He wanted us to maintain the roads in front and behind the Philadelphia Faith Home tidy, reiterating that the Israelites were commanded by God to keep their surroundings clean. “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” and “Matter in the wrong place is dirt” we would often hear him say and he ensured everything, including the bathrooms was neat and clean.

Living in Kuwait since 1979 with my husband Shaji, we have learned to appreciate Appachan’s valuable instructions, which have blessed our family life. In February 1980, when Shaji spent a few days at Philadelphia he was inspired by Appachan’s concern for the perishing souls.  

On hearing the news of the birth of our first child Joel, Appachan wrote to us on June 27, 1980, 

“My beloved Molly and Shaji, 

Praise the Lord for His goodness and love on giving the gift of a son to you and a great-grandson to me. 

How I wish to hold the beloved baby in my hands and praise God for all His loving kindness towards us. 

We pray that God may give you the wisdom and strength to bring up the child in the fear of God…

May I remind you of our Lord’s saying, Ye are the light of the world – let your light shine…

He (Jesus) did not say, ye must be light – but, ye are the light, let your light shine…

Every day and in every place we are to shine for Him. 

And our Lord is coming soon. Let us hasten His coming...” 

This is how Appachan encouraged his children, grandchildren, believers, co-workers and all to shine for Jesus everyday and at every place.

Appachan had a great sense of good humor. He would narrate incidents in such a humorous way that there would be much laughter in his company. In July 1988, just few weeks before his death, our family visited Appachan, who was very weak and bedridden. At his bedside, we spoke about various topics, especially about his early days in Andhra Pradesh. When we enquired who accompanied him on his first trip to Andhra Pradesh, Appachan pointed to the wall photo of himself and Ammachi and replied with a smile, “The person in the picture!”  

As a family, we are really proud to be called their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We are grateful to God for the strong spiritual foundation we received from Appachan and Ammachi. Both of them set an outstanding Christian example and we have witnessed how God honored their lives because they feared and served Him faithfully. 

Our prayer is that God will use Appachan and Ammachi’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren to proclaim the gospel to perishing souls and fulfill the desire of Appachan’s heart to see “Hindu desham become Christu desham”.  Luke 1:50, ‘And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation’.

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