Pastor P. T. Chacko, or Appachen as I fondly called him, was a blessed man of God, whose sole purpose in life was to take the gospel to the unreached and to save as many people as possible from eternal death.
His fervour for the gospel was so intense that sacrificing personal comfort was never a problem. Sometimes he would sacrifice even meal times to share the gospel with someone about our Lord Jesus Christ.
He would not just preach the gospel but he also trained people to become missionaries for the Lord. Whenever he got the chance, he would hold open air meetings. Even while returning from weekly cottage meetings, he would share the gospel to strangers passing by and at times, he would be threatened and attacked for sharing the gospel. He was prepared to face persecution and difficult times so that God’s kingdom would be established in Secunderabad and through the state of Andhra Pradesh.
An incident in his life illustrates his perseverance for the gospel. One day, while sharing the gospel, he was attacked by some people, but instead of running away or retaliating, he just stood there and continued to receive blows from the attackers. A railway employee who saw this rushed to our home and told us to bring Appachen back home. We rushed to the spot and escorted Appachen back home. But this never deterred Appachen. He would leave home early in the morning and return only at 2 pm. He would go to different villages to share the gospel during this time. He made a big wooden cross and hung it on his neck – this raised the curiosity of the slum dwellers and they asked questions. Appachen used this as an opportunity talk about the love of Christ.
Once when Appachen visited Bangalore to attend a conference in UTC, he attended a Sunday Service with our family. After the service, he, along with Pastor Rajan John, some of the sisters from church and me, held an open air meeting. We reached home only at 4:00 pm and only then we had lunch. At times, he would bring home people with whom he had shared the gospel. He would extend gracious hospitality to them and ensured that they ate and spent the night at our home. I remember him having two blankets that he kept at the foot of his bed for his leg pain. He would share those blankets with his guests to make sure they were comfortable. He never cared for his own comfort but was willing to go to any extent to make others comfortable. Because of excessive walking, Appachen had severe leg pain and swelling. Many times I would massage his legs and wash them with warm water and this would give him some relief. A majority of the church members were from Hindu background. One was a Muslim lady who accepted the Lord and the Christian faith. She stood for Christ till the end of her life and she had many revelations and visions.
When the present church building was under construction, there was shortage of water in that area, so Appachen along with his son Jeffreys, daughter Susy and I would walk one kilometre to draw water for the construction and we would fill the water tank.
By God’s grace, Appachen’s third daughter Aliamma, and Jeffreys got jobs. Their financial support, along with the salary of Mrs. Mary Abraham (Mummy, as I fondly called her), were all used towards the expenses of the Philadelphia church hall and parsonage.
One Saturday, the contractor Mathaichen was waiting for Mummy to come back from school so that he could get some money for construction purposes.Mummy returned late from school that day, but as soon as she came, she gave her salary to Mrs. Chacko (or Ammachi, as I fondly called her). Ammachi called all the childrento her side, prayed for the salary received, set apart the tithe amount for a pastor called Yesudas who was working in Gaudi village in Andhra Pradesh. The entire remaining amount she gave it to the Contractor. This incident taught me that it was important to always give first for the Lord’s work. All glory to the Lord.
Only few rooms, the verandah and the dining room of the Faith Home were partially built. Only cement work was done on inside walls, and the exterior was left unfinished for lack of funds. Anyhow we shifted from the rented house to this new and partially built Faith Home. The floor of the meeting hall was cemented, and so hay was spread on it, and mats spread on top for us to sit on and worship. By God’s grace, we were able to complete the construction after a year. Praise God. Today that building is the IPC Philadelphia Church and parsonage in Secunderabad.
During one Sunday church service, Appachen mentioned that a van was needed for outreach ministry. After a few months, a foreign missionary saw the highway sign of the church and came inside the parsonage. He interacted with Appachen for some time. As the missionary got up to leave, he promised Appachen that he will provide the funds to purchase the van. But Appachen graciously declined the offer, saying that it was the responsibility of the church members to buy it. Appachen dedicated his life for the Gospel and Ministry and nothing else in this world attracted him, not even money.
As Appachen grew older, he was unable to do anything on his own and was bedridden. When I came to know about his condition, I visited him. When he saw me, he told me not to leave him. I took care of Appachen for the next three weeks. I had to return to Bangalore and ten days later, I heard the news of Appachen’s passing away. I was able to attend Appachen’s funeral. I praise God for Appachen’s life.
Ammachi was a great supporter of Appachen’s ministry. In the morning, she would go the railway quarters and teach the Word of God to the residents there. She would invite them to the Sunday Service. She would also go to hospitals to distribute tracts. After Ammachi became ill and bedridden, one day, she called me to her side and told me not to worry about anything and that God was going to bless me and make me an instrument of blessing to others. She blessed and comforted me with these words. Next day, Ammachi went to be with the Lord.
Mummy (Mrs.Mary Abraham) was also a great help in the ministry. After returning from teaching in school, she, along with other church members would hold cottage meetings, visit homes, and help the needy. In the early mornings, she would pray earnestly for the church members, naming specific persons and their needs. She would pray with burden for new souls. This played an important part in my prayer life also as Mummy had set a good example. During school holidays, she would join with other believers and pray for Andhra Pradesh. Pastor T.S. Abraham (whom I fondly called Daddy) was always supportive of Mummy in ministry and prayer. Today when I see Daddy and Mummy, I recollect with a grateful heart how God used them to toil for the Lord. I praise God for giving them long lives and good health. I pray that God will continue to grant them good health and strength in the years to come. I praise God for enabling me to write a few things about Appachen and to be a part of this godly family. I consider it a great privilege. Ammachi influenced me to learn the Word of God and the importance of maintaining a good prayer life.
In one annual convention in Secunderabad, a servant of God who preached the Word of God very powerfully and gave an altar call for those people who wanted to accept the Lord Jesus, I responded. I cannot forget that day because that was when I trusted the Lord and was also baptized. I was 13 years old then. All glory and honour to the Lord.
One day, when Appachen was leaving for Itarsi to teach Bible classes, he called his youngest daughter Susy, oldest grandchild Valson Abraham and I together and exhorted that all three of us should be filled with the Holy Spirit and also to support him in prayer. Mummy also joined us to support in prayer. On hearing that we were praying for the filling of the Holy Spirit, one school headmistress and two teachers, as well as Pastor Yesudas from Kasargod, also joined us in prayer. Two days before the schools reopened, all three of us were filled with the Holy Spirit and we spoke in tongues. We worshipped the Lord for hours.
After N.K. Daniel and I got married, we settled in Bangalore, and God strengthened us to do his work there for these past 44 years. God has blessed us with three daughters, two of them settled in Atlanta, USA. Our youngest daughter and family are with me in Bangalore. They too are involved in the Lord’s ministry along with secular work.
My husband went to be with the Lord on July 22, 2002. The Lord used him in several ways and I praise Him for leading my family thus far.“The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and they are safe,” says Proverbs 18:10. All Glory and honour to the Lord.