Mrs. Starla Luke

And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.” Having said this, He breathed His last. Luke 23:46

My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude to the Lord for the rich and fruitful life led by my beloved father, Pastor T. S. Abraham.

It is a humbling privilege to have been born the daughter of Pastor T. S. Abraham. And having been with Daddy for the past 17 and a half years (and my mother for 16), my dear husband and I took it as a God-given honor and divine appointment to serve and care for him, on behalf of all my siblings.

All of these years, we have enjoyed joyful and loving times together. We have been through some of the most challenging times — both in the ministry and otherwise. But Daddy’s cheerful, calm and composed disposition has lifted my spirits always. His resilient spirit taught us to bounce back and bound forward!

Still waters run deep, and that exactly is Daddy! He did not say much. He believed in ‘’being” and ‘’doing,’’ rather than simply speaking. A man of few words, but the depth of his commitment to the Lord, His Word and His work was beyond measure.

Daddy maintained straightforward and sincere relationships for a lifetime. Excitement, popularity, external prosperity did not sway him nor was he cowed down by destructive criticism. He did not allow anger or bitterness to govern his thinking. Daddy always conducted himself with utmost self-dignity and honor. He never pushed his way through with people. He was quick to forgive.

A disciplined, punctual person with simple habits, Daddy smiled a lot, loved a lot and lived a life of honor and integrity. Daddy did not think of himself more highly than he was, neither did he think of himself any less than he was. He taught us to move on, no matter what. He never sought recognition, his own comfort or any special privileges. He had no difficulty adjusting within the most basic circumstances.

As a minister and messenger of the Gospel, he was always very dignified in the use of vocabulary (language), both on and off the pulpit.

Daddy was a practical person. A stickler for cleanliness. He had a great sense of humor and wit — something that stayed with him until the very last moments of his life. We shared many light moments together every day. As he aged and slowed down, he did not hesitate to receive all the affection, hugs and love lavished upon him by children and grandchildren. Daddy loved and relished chocolates and enjoyed sharing them.

I have seen him holding various responsibilities in the IPC. Never has he used his office to push people for personal gain.

As custodian of the Hebron campus for over six decades, all repairs, maintenance, painting, etc., were undertaken by him very unobtrusively — usually before the Kumbanad Convention — all using his personal resources.

Daddy set the LORD JESUS first in his life. His personal quiet time with the Lord and His Word gave him sustenance, wisdom and strength for each day. He gave of himself and all he possessed for His Kingdom work. He never gathered up for his earthly life.

Nothing brought him greater joy than to see his children engaged in missions. If there was one thing he took pride in, it was the fact that his children and grandchildren love the Lord and continue to serve Him. Every time I went for ministry or undertook travel, he prayed, blessed and sent me with much joy. He was happy to see us involved in the Bible College and was content to see us engaged in its day to day functioning. We were blessed to learn from Daddy and receive counsel at each instance.

In the past year, despite his frailty and occasional memory loss, Daddy was very joyful and constantly sang songs of joy lying on his bed. Very many times it almost seemed that he was lying still in God’s arms, like a little child.

On 30th Jan 2017, a few minutes before he fell ill – the Lord allowed us to witness another unique ministry by Daddy – a ministry of reconciliation. A brother who had hurt Daddy by his words thirty years ago was convicted by the Holy Spirit to render an apology, for the sake of his own healing and restoration. This dear brother traveled three hours, came to Hebron with his dear wife, daughter and nephew to seek forgiveness. Although Daddy did not remember the incident – he understood the pain of the brother. Daddy smiled at the brother and prayed for him a very meaningful prayer for cleansing, healing and restoration. All of us in the room were moved to tears – the reconciliation that happened was significant. It was a very powerful lesson for me to seek forgiveness where and when due – both from God and man.

For a while, my prayer for my beloved parents was that the transition from their earthly home into their heavenly one would befit that of a righteous person. God, in His faithfulness caused us to witness the same, reminding us of the words of D. L. Moody, “Earth is receding; heaven is approaching. This is my coronation day. I have been looking forward to it for years.”

Preceding his home-call, Daddy spent 30 precious hours at home with us. Even though he was in a state of coma – he was coming to consciousness on and off. We spoke to Daddy words of hope, assurances of our love and above all of the abundant love of Jesus. We could see Daddy responding in acknowledgement. He did not abandon his confidence. He knew he had done the will of God and that he would receive what was promised.

Daddy was 92 plus years. It was 7:05 am at the Hebron Bungalow in Kumbanad on Monday, the 05th February 2018, that we bid farewell to Daddy. All of us children and grandchildren were around his bed. Some of us were physically present, the others via Facetime – but all of us in one spirit and one mind were singing songs of hope when my brother, Pastor Dr. T. Valson Abraham prayerfully concluded committing Daddy into the hands of our Lord Jesus. Two minutes later as we were watching, Daddy took a deep breath, opened his eyes – looked heavenward and shut his eyes tight – on his own. That was it!

Our prayer is that we, his children, will carry forward the mission and legacy – in faithfulness, humility and consistency.