1. The childhood of Ramankutty
2. Ramankutty returns to his own home
3. Experiencing the ‘flowing with milk and honey’
4. Apostolic consecration and faith life
5. Ceylon Pentecostal Mission in its beginning years
6. Prayer and praise coupled with faith
7. An evangelist with excellent traits
8. The manner of gaining souls
9. The leading of the Holy Spirit
10. Training the fellow-workers
11. A Macedonian call
12. The truth spreads further
13. The anointed ministry
14. The last days of the saint
15. We will serve the Lord our God
16. The disciple about the master
SAINTS AFTER PASTOR PAUL
Pastor Freddy Paul
Pastor A.C. Thomas
Pastor Jacob Ratnasingham
Pastor V.G. Samuel
Pastor Henry Ernest Paul
When the Church was passing through its ‘dark ages’, God sought for men who could hold out the burning torch of His Kingdom to dispel the darkness. Many upright, zealous men of God came into God’s view for this purpose. God wielded them as mighty weapons for His Kingdom in defence of the faith. Soon ‘Reformation’ set in, in the 16th century. A mighty movement of the Holy Spirit was witnessed in several parts of Europe, in the centuries that followed. Consequently, the gospel truths (mysteries) which were preached during the apostolic times and were lost to many in the dark ages were brought to light once again. Yes, the Lord does seek men who are faithful and of an upright heart before Him to fully reveal the truths of His Kingdom. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him”
(II Chron.16:9). The Lord’s eyes found such an upright man in Pastor Paul, in the 20th century.
While in Sri Lanka, Pastor Paul found Jesus, the true Light, Who illuminated his life. From the time he was saved, his life was wholly committed to the Saviour’s will. Subsequently, he was led to the knowledge of the deeper truths.
His longing to taste the ‘flowing with milk and honey’ experience was satisfied when God filled him with the Holy Spirit. He enjoyed the abundance of the love and joy of the Lord. Being filled with divine power, he danced with exceeding joy. Of all who waited for the Holy Spirit that day, he was the only one who received it. He describes the extraordinary experience he had : ‘I realized my belly being filled and a power taking control of my tongue. When the Spirit of the Lord began to speak through me, I feared that my tongue would be plucked off from my mouth. A week later, I clearly spoke in unknown tongues. The continuing struggle had ceased and I received an inner peace … I received a deliverance from all evil desires. That very day heaven was established in my heart !’
This Pentecostal experience that Pastor Paul had in 1921 is very similar to the one that John Wesley had in the 18th century. Wesley in his words describes it thus : ‘My whole heart was filled with divine power, drawing all the faculties of my soul after Christ, which continued three or four nights and days. It was as a rushing mighty wind coming into the soul, enabling me from that moment to be more than conqueror over those corruptions which before I was always a slave to.’
Thus began a Pentecostal movement in the eastern land of Sri Lanka. Pastor Paul became a yielded instrument in the hands of the Lord. He received divine revelations and doctrines that could prepare the Church to become His Bride. God spoke to him about the sublime life of consecration that His servants should lead. He distinctly revealed to him that faith life was indispensable to them. Pastor Paul surrendered in implicit obedience to the Lord’s command and set out by faith to serve Him. The Lord made it clear to him that it was imperative that His servants hate and forsake their all, in accordance with Luke 14:26,33. Well realizing what the cost of discipleship meant, he yielded to the will of God, in perfect obedience. Based on the revelations he received from God, he founded the Pentecostal Church in Sri Lanka, known as the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission. A unique trait of character observed in him was his constant waiting upon God for guidance to lead the Church.
Since the founding of this Church, this work has had its opening and establishment in many parts of India and in many countries of the world.
In this context, we reckon ourselves privileged to have had access to many facts relating to the life and works of Pastor Paul, and the way in which he was led by God to establish this Church, which we have chosen to compile into a book, forming his biography. We can say that the history of the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission (now known as The Pentecostal Mission in India) has had its beginning in the life of Pastor Paul.
“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken to you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation” (Heb.13:7).
THE CHILDHOOD OF RAMANKUTTY
Ramankutty was asleep. All on a sudden, he woke up realizing that someone had called him. It was an endearing call of love. He looked around. All were fast asleep. No one else was around.
He had heard that voice calling him the previous night also and had told his mother about it that morning. She had instructed him to ask, ‘Who calls me ? What do you want ?’ if he heard the voice again. The little boy remembered this. He therefore eagerly asked in reply: ‘Who is that ? … What do you want ?’
He heard the same voice clearly again : ‘I am Jesus’.
They were mellifluous words mingled with affection which fell on his ears. His heart repeated in a soft voice, ‘Jesus’. That name hitherto unheard of, could not remain in his mind for long. He fell into deep sleep again.
The little boy woke up early the next morning on hearing the blowing of the conch in the temple of Shiva nearby. This was his daily practice. His grandfather was the priest in that temple. The faint memory of the previous night’s incident which almost got submerged in the ringing of the temple bell for worship early in the morning and the chanting of mantras soon fell into oblivion. Ramankutty was soon immersed in his daily chores.
The event described above is one of the childhood incidents in the life of Pastor Paul, the founder of The Pentecostal Mission, (then known as the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission).
Ramankutty was born in the year 1881 in a Hindu family in the village of Engandiyur in the Trichur district of the state of Kerala. The voice which he heard was not accidental. It was the voice of God that creates all things out of nothing ! It was the voice of God Who calls into being things that be not as though they were ! It will never once be heard accidentally. The voice which Moses, the man of God heard from the midst of the burning bush at Horeb and the voice which Saul heard near Damascus and fell being shocked, resounded only according to the eternal purpose of God. Even so, through the subsequent history we shall understand that the voice of God which Ramankutty, the grandson of the Hindu priest heard, was only according to the eternal purpose of God.
It was the aim of Ramankutty’s father to make him a priest in the temple like his grandfather. His mother too was a pious woman. Since she was a Hindu, she brought up her son according to the principles of that religion. Their condition in life permitted them to impart only primary education to their young child. Meanwhile, Ramankutty had come to know from his own mother that it is only from God that one could have true peace. While continuing with his religious and school education, he had also to help his grandfather in the rituals and worship in the temple.
These apart, as an adolescent he had to face the problems of his livelihood. It was customary in those days for many from South India to go to Sri Lanka to earn money. Young Ramankutty too made an attempt to go over. He was only fourteen years old when he undertook his journey to Sri Lanka. In a few days of his reaching there, he got a small job. Dr.Asarappa, one of the wealthy men of the city of Colombo employed Raman.
Dr. Asarappa was a godly man who had been converted to Christianity (Church Mission Society) from Hinduism. He allowed Ramankutty to stay in his house. His wife too loved Ramankutty as one of her four sons. At times they took him along with their children to attend the services in the church. Raman had come to know many things about Christianity in that manner. However, he had no desire to become a Christian. He often said that Christianity was a religion in which one attained heaven by being on one’s knees and that he did not need such a religion. However, Mrs. Asarappa continued to teach Raman the Christian doctrines. Observing the extraordinary attributes of Raman, the doctor hoped that Raman would become a Christian and hence presented him a Bible. But Raman refused to accept it. Besides, he did not hesitate to openly reply, ‘I am a Hindu, I do not need a Bible’. The doctor then said, ‘There is nothing wrong in trying to know about all religions. After you understand what Christianity is, then if you do not like it, you may reject it’. Raman had such zeal for his religion that on one occasion he even went to the extent of daring to answer, ‘If you again compel me to read the Bible, I will burn it up’. Both Dr. Asarappa and his wife being good, continued to deal lovingly with Raman.
In his eighteenth year, Raman had a vision of the Lord Jesus Christ. He clearly saw Christ the Lord in his vision. However, he did not come forward to tell anyone of this vision. Thereafter, gradually, a change began to take place in his heart. Besides, Ramankutty began secretly to meditate on Christ the Lord and even pray to Him. After seeing the vision of the Lord Jesus Christ, the faint memory of the divine experience of having heard the voice of God while young, would now and then return to his mind and then vanish. However, he had kept all these as a heavenly secret. The divine vision of Christ Jesus combined with the remembrance of the divine voice heard years back, brought about a change which made him excel in his works and character. Dr. Asarappa and his wife encouraged Raman in matters pertaining to God. The excellent character of Ramankutty earned him respect from all who came in contact with him.
Ramankutty who had reached Colombo in his fourteenth year, was now aged twenty one. This young man once again had the vision of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus spoke to him. The echo of that divine voice reverberated in the depth of his heart : ‘If you are ashamed of Me … I too will be ashamed of you when I appear as King’. This voice of God which tries the hearts and reins, which pierces even to the dividing asunder of the joints and marrow, brought to light his secret Christian life. It was not possible now for this young man who had been ashamed to confess the Lord, to hide his true state. The voice of God was transforming his heart. Ramankutty had a true repentance. He fully believed in Christ and received salvation. He could not remain silent. He began to proclaim that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world.
Dr. Asarappa and his wife were filled with joy. The eagerness to learn more of Christ increased in Ramankutty’s heart. Therefore, without delay, he was baptized by the parson of the CMS church and was given the Christian name ‘Paul’.
RAMANKUTTY RETURNS TO HIS OWN HOME
It was to earn his livelihood that Ramankutty set out from his home. But now in the place where he went, he chanced to find the true God. His joy knew no bounds in attaining this great a privilege in his life. He delighted in testifying about his Beloved. The parents came to know of their son having become a convert. Immediately his father sent some relatives to bring Ramankutty back to his own country. Paul did not know the mind of the relatives who had come. So he started for his home in Kerala.
The hat that was blown away by the wind :
Paul, who was eager to use every opportunity he could find to glorify the name of God Who had saved him, was witnessing about the Lord Jesus Christ to his fellow-travellers in the train. At that time a strong wind blew suddenly and Paul’s hat was blown off the train. ‘Hey, has your God cheated you? If He was the true God, you would not have lost your hat’, they said and laughed mockingly at him. After having travelled about twenty miles, the train stopped at a station. When Paul stepped out he found his hat on the footboard of the coach, and when he returned with the hat on his head, his fellow-travellers were wonder-struck ! ‘This is the power of Christ the Lord’, said Paul who was then but a babe in faith. He rejoiced in that God’s name was glorified.
Paul in the home of a Christian :
It was evening twilight. Paul alighted from the train and continued his journey on foot. It was a way to which he was unaccustomed. The travelling facilities of today were not available in those days. He journeyed a little distance from the city. Continuing his journey seemed hard to him. He thought it would be good if he could find a place to stay overnight.
Paul made haste towards a house. That was the house of one Kuruvilla, a teacher, who was a godly and devout catechist in the CMS church. Paul informed the householder of his purpose of having come there. But now that the night had fallen, the man of the house could not instantly come forward to accept into his house, a young man with whom he had no prior acquaintance. Paul turned away from there. But the Spirit of the Lord spoke to him in a tender voice saying, ‘This is the house wherein you have to stay tonight’. Therefore, Paul approached that house again. The man of the house could not now but accept him when he came to know that the young man had come to his house only according to the revelation that Jesus Christ had given him. Paul explained to him his experiences in detail. He ate the food he served him. After handing over the money he had with him to the care of the householder, Paul rested on the bed prepared for him.
Except the householder, all else in that home had gone to sleep. He was keenly observing the unacquainted guest who had come to his house at nightfall. He slowly got up and peered into the room where the young man lay. He found that his guest had trimmed the lantern kept by his bedside and was reading his Bible in its light. His fear having left him, the man of the house went to sleep in peace. A little later, when he woke up, he found the young man on his knees in prayer. Every time he looked into the room, this was the scene that met his eyes. He decided that his guest, the young man who was constantly reading the Bible and praying, could not certainly be an ordinary man. After having spent the night in prayer, when Paul departed early the next morning, the householder was sad.
Paul in his own home :
It was after seven years that Paul had returned home. The reception accorded to him was not a happy one. The news that their son had been converted was now confirmed. Paul did not draw back from witnessing to the Lord, and he did not fear the wrath of his family in this regard. He attended the worship service in the church of the Salvation Army nearby.
The hostility of the family increased day after day. The father’s intention was to have his son reverted to idolatry at any cost. He became furious with his son who resisted the rituals of the Hindu religion. But Paul who had wholly believed in Jesus Christ and loved Him, did not in the least yield to their desire. Without getting wearied, the father endeavoured to make his son worship the idols. But Paul waxing bold, openly declared to his father and his relatives that idolatry was wrong, that the dumb idols made with the hands of men are not gods, that these idols cannot save their poverty-stricken family, that Jesus Who was revealed to him was the only true God and Saviour and that he would henceforth serve Him alone. To him, the Word of God was true and clear : “They (the dumb idols) have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not : neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them ; so is everyone that trusteth in them” (Psa.115:5-8). Seeing that his son had become established in the Christian faith and that he hated idolatry, the father decided to expel him from his home and from the Hindu religion. He performed the necessary rites for it. But the matter was not to end here. He conspired with his younger brother to have his son killed.
Delivered from death :
One day Ramankutty’s mother found a huge knife hidden under her husband’s pillow. She had a presentiment that something dreadful was going to happen. The tender-hearted mother feared that her husband would murder their son. When she enquired about it, the father like a fanatic, openly told her the frightening secret of his intention.
The previous night the father had thrice attempted to kill his son. His younger brother too had been an accomplice in this. But all the three times, just when the time neared to commit the crime, the younger child would wake up crying, as if by a nightmare, waking up the mother in the process. This prevented the father from committing the hideous crime.
The thought that their innocent son would be killed at the hands of an enraged father, made the mother lose her courage. Therefore, giving the son a little sum of money, she counselled him to flee for his life. Paul did not wish to flee like a coward. However, he trembled when he thought of the punishment his father would meet with, in the event of his being killed. Generally, the love and mercy of a father makes him forget the faults of his son. But here the fanatic father was bent on killing his innocent son. As regards Paul, the son, his faith in no way seemed a hindrance to the love that he had for his father. When he thought of the punishment his father would have to face if he had him killed, he decided he had better leave the place.
Back to Sri Lanka :
Paul’s relatives tried their best to stop his journey. But the Almighty God delivered him from their craftiness most miraculously. That very night Paul left his home. There were no journeying facilities in those days, as we find today. The postmen of those days travelled by foot in order to deliver letters and made use of torches to light their way by night. Paul followed a postman journeying in this manner and reached the house of Kuruvilla the teacher of Kunnankulam where he had stayed on the earlier occasion. The members of the household who heard of his matters, rendered him all help and co-operation. (A special mention is to be made here that the family was brought to the Pentecostal faith in the later days).
Having returned to Sri Lanka from India, Paul began to bear witness to the Lord even more zealously. How excellent is God’s care in delivering Paul from the cruel wiles of the adversary and the horrifying snares of death, choosing him as He did, like Ezra, Nehemiah and Zerubbabel. They had to build the broken walls of Jerusalem and the temple, and now Paul had to build and raise the holy Church which was almost fallen into the darkness of false doctrines which deviated from the apostolic doctrines. Who can comprehend the breadth, the length, the depth and the height of the love of God even toward the Gentiles ?
Paul approached Dr. Asarappa again. He rendered all the help and co-operation needed to this devout Christian who was rejected even from his own home. ‘What have you decided to do?’ asked Dr. Asarappa. The reply that Paul gave him without the least hesitation, ‘My desire is to become a catechist’, made the doctor glad. Without delay, the bishops of the Anglican church in Colombo sent him to the CMS Bible Seminary in Kottayam for training. There he underwent training for two years. His fellow-students and responsible officials of the Seminary were captivated by his spiritual zeal and extraordinary character and very reverentially addressed him as ‘Paul, the catechist’. After being trained at the Seminary in Kottayam, he was called back to Sri Lanka. Very soon he was ordained an evangelist in the Malayalam Mission at Colombo.
Paul was much grieved on seeing the lethargic state of the church in which he ministered. However, he did the work of the Lord zealously and lived according to the truths he had known.
Those days Dr. Asarappa entrusted the maintenance of his property to Paul. It was the doctor’s intention that the catechist should become rich. Several ways to earn money were kept open before Paul, but, for him it was a delight to spend his earnings in going about to testify of Christ and to serve Him to gain souls. In due time many from Kerala became members of the Anglican church. The members of the assembly had boundless love and respect towards Paul, the catechist.
EXPERIENCING THE ‘FLOWING WITH MILK AND HONEY’
Paul married a girl hailing from a traditional Christian family in Trichur. The members of the family did not initially desire to get the girl married to Paul. It was hard for them who were traditional Christians to get their daughter married to this new Christian who had been converted from Hinduism ! On receiving the revelation: “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common” (Acts 10:15), they later consented to this marriage. That girl proved to be an apt life-partner to Paul, the catechist. She was very ardent in prayer and in other spiritual matters.
Their marriage was solemnized in the house of Kuruvilla, the teacher about whom we mentioned earlier. That house had become as Paul’s own home by then. It was this dear family that had negotiated the proposal and had the wedding solemnized. Even now there are people hailing from that family who still help in the Lord’s ministry.
The wife of the catechist was of great help to him in the gospel ministries and spiritual matters. Five children were born to them — three sons and two daughters — named Helen, Freddy, Dora, Sam and Harry respectively.
Discouragement in the ministry :
Paul observed that almost all the members of his church had no proper understanding of the doctrinal truths. They who were satisfied with the rituals alone, considered it impossible to attain the spiritual blessings, holiness and other divine attributes which could be happily imbibed in Christian living.
Concerning that particular period, he had the following note in his diary :
‘At one time, I laboured without rest day and night to win souls for the Lord Jesus Christ. However, I was unable to bring even a single soul to salvation. All my labour was in vain. Those days I was a minister in the CMS church. I began to lose heart even in my church ministry ’.
Paul was conscious of the shortcomings in his personal life too. The note in his diary tells us that he faced a certain kind of discouragement.
‘I had not known the victorious life promised in Christianity. I was facing defeat in my life. My shortcomings were not outwardly visible. I had been filled with zeal for earthly things. I longed much to become prominent and that my descendants should become great in this world and to this end, I desired to save money as well. Besides these, I greatly desired to seek souls, to captivate strangers and make them disciples. But none of these gave me satisfaction’.
Eventually, Paul decided to give up his work as a catechist. He revealed this decision to Rev. P. I. Jacob, his former fellow-student in the Bible Seminary and later, pastor of the Baptist Mission.
Rays of hope :
Rev. Jacob, on hearing of Paul’s decision said, ‘Paul, the Word of God speaks of an experience of flowing with milk and honey’. These words brought in rays of hope in the heart of Paul, who had by now plunged into depths of despair. Rev. Jacob continued and said that this was the ‘baptism in the Holy Spirit’ and that any child of God who obeys the commandments of the Word of God could tarry and receive it. Paul took interest in knowing more of these things from his spiritual friend.
Some of Rev. P.I.Jacob’s children lived in Madras. It was customary for him to go to Madras to visit his children. Once, while in Madras, Rev. Jacob had an opportunity to get acquainted with two Australian missionaries, Todd and Ebenezer. Having a Pentecostal experience these missionaries conducted prayer meetings in Madras. Rev. Jacob could experience a revival and the presence of God in these meetings. He heard and learnt from them the deeper truths of the gospel.
Rev. Jacob was attracted by the scriptural truths relating to the experience involving a ‘flowing with milk and honey’. This led him to desire to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Subsequently, Paul, too came to know of this through him.
Rev. Jacob discussed these experiences with his spiritual friends at Colombo. Following this, they all desired to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit. What had to be done for this? They decided that they should invite those Australian missionaries to Colombo and conduct tarrying meetings, so that all might receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Consenting to the invitation of Rev. Jacob, the missionaries reached Colombo. All waited with one accord for the Holy Spirit. Even as the one hundred and twenty disciples of the Lord in the first century tarried for the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the upper room at Jerusalem, according to the commandment of the Lord Jesus Christ — “…wait for the promise of the Father (baptism of the Holy Spirit), which … ye have heard of me” (Acts 1:4) — there waited a small group of sixteen of them with one accord and with longing in their souls.
Through the Word of God, the missionaries explained to them the necessity of taking water baptism in obedience to the commandment of God, before receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Peter had commanded the same on the day of Pentecost : “… Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). They also expounded to them the necessity to take immersion baptism in order to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and that infant baptism and baptism by sprinkling were contrary to the Word of God. However, some who had received infant baptism had no inclination to take the right baptism again.
Rev. Abraham, an English preacher argued :`I have been baptized once. I am not prepared to be baptized again’. So Paul, the catechist was perplexed, not knowing what to do. Hence, he prayed as follows : ‘Lord, if You reveal to me that I need to be baptized again, I am prepared to take baptism again. I will not refuse’.
Being led to experience the ‘flowing with milk and honey’ :
Along with those who had no mind to receive immersion baptism, Paul, the catechist also took part in those meetings with the determination that ‘he would take baptism if the Lord so revealed’. The tarrying meetings which turned out to be of great blessing, continued for ten days. They spent their time in fasting and in prayer.
Following is what Paul notes concerning the above :
‘With my mind wholly attentive on God, I waited in His presence. In a few minutes, I felt that my sins were like a huge mountain. I was gripped with the fear of the awful condemnation to hell I would have to face because of my sins. Suddenly, I had the vision of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through His blood which gushed forth, my sins which seemed as a mountain vanished. This caused in me an immeasurable love towards Christ’.
It was only at this prayer meeting that Paul who had been saved, and involved in the work of the Lord for several years, received an experience of deep repentance. Though it seems strange that he who once had received the remission of sins now found his sins appearing as a mountain before him, it reveals a spiritual truth which cannot be denied. Even today, there are many amidst Christians who claim that they have been saved, without having received the assurance of the forgiveness of sins. But this incident points to us the fact that when being led to deeper truths, one would have a deeper conviction of sin. Without this experience, none can accept the deeper spiritual truths. Our Lord revealed the mysteries of the holy Word only to His apostles who had followed Him all along, without departing from Him. Only the apostles had forsaken their all and followed the Son of man Who had nowhere to lay His head and had continued with Him in His temptations. Though multitudes had seen the Lord Jesus and had heard His words and had enjoyed His goodness, it was only a little group that believed the promise of the Lord and waited in the upper room. It was only upon them that the Lord sent the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Such incidents take place even today. When there are crores of people who have a general understanding of Christ, it is only a very few who are led to the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus.
Isaiah, one of the major prophets, had no just cause whereby either he himself or others
could reckon him as defiled or unclean. However, when he beheld the King, the Lord of hosts, we read that he acknowledged his faults himself saying, “…Woe is me! … I am a man of unclean lips … ” (Isa.6:5). There we find a deeper sanctification, followed by a revelation of the Lord.
During night, we can see the huge objects around us in the light of a candle. But this light is not sufficient to detect small and minute objects. Every electric light has a certain measure of illumination. All other lights lose their brightness in the light of the sun. When the light of the Lord shone around Saul once and then disappeared, it proved to be an incident – a light – that turned the very course of his life-history. Saul, the enemy of the gospel was changed as Paul, the apostle.
Here, the Lord had set His eyes on an ordinary man to have a great work accomplished. Paul, who was cleansed by the pure blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and was renewed, had new experiences and divine visions.
Concerning this, he continues and says : ‘Later, I saw yet another vision. Thousands of precious souls were hastening towards hell with the burden of sin on their backs. Seeing this, I began to weep. Then the Lord appeared to me again. I was filled with His love. I felt guilty within me that the days of my youth had been spent in vain and that I had done nothing at all for the Beloved of my soul. I felt a hatred towards myself, on realizing that I had not used my body for the glory of God and for the ministry. I fell on the floor as one dead. At once, the Lord appeared to me again. I received new life. The second time too, I fell on the ground as dead. This happened three or four times. All these times, I beheld the Lord and received new life’.
Even some people of God consider visions, dreams and the voice of God as rare events. True, there were times when these were rare. We read of the times of Eli, the priest. “…And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision” (I Sam.3:1). However, through the prophet Joel, the Lord had given word saying, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh ; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28). These experiences continue even today. In the light of these, what Paul had received was nothing new. People who lack such experiences ask such questions as, ‘Will God speak to men?’
The afore-mentioned tarrying meetings in which Paul had taken part, was a great blessing. A great longing to receive the Holy Spirit, almost like a frenzy took hold of him. Owing to the spiritual thirst, he forgot his food and drink. The days rolled by.
He describes the extraordinary experiences he continued to have:
“After this, I saw myself standing together with the Lord on the top of a very high mountain. The Lord asked, ‘Why do you need the Holy Spirit ?’ I replied, ‘Lord, there are many poor people in Sri Lanka ! I desire to bring them into salvation’. Then the Lord Jesus filled me with the Holy Spirit”.
The Lord leads a man to a heavenly experience through a heavenly vision. In order to show him the Bride, the wife of the Lamb, the Lord took St.John to a great and high mountain in the spirit. Here in the above vision God made Paul understand the need for receiving the Holy Spirit in order to do His ministry — to lead souls to the Lord. How pathetic it is that even today many who have been baptized with the Holy Spirit do not care for the perishing souls, but are themselves enslaved by the fashions of this world and get entangled in the snares of the devil ! May that not befall us !
Those who receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, speak in unknown tongues. The body is shaken by the power of the Holy Spirit. They even dance in the joy of the Holy Spirit. “Therefore, being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear” (Acts 2:33). It is very common to see the signs of the filling of the Holy Spirit in those who have received it ; these signs which are the physical manifestations are likely to instil hatred and fear in those who have not witnessed them before. However, those who have received this experience have no fear, but enjoy only the perfect love of God and the fulness of eternal joy.
To Paul this experience was only the simple beginning of a very great plan. Let us read his own words :
‘I realized my belly being filled and a power taking control of my tongue. When the Spirit of the Lord began to speak through me, I feared that my tongue would be plucked off from my mouth. A week later, I clearly spoke in unknown tongues. The continuing struggle had ceased and I received an inner peace’.
Being filled with divine power, Paul danced with exceeding joy. This became a cause for fear in others who saw it, says a note in his diary. Due to that, many did not join the missionaries in their prayer. Of the sixteen who waited, it was only he who had received this extraordinary experience. This incident took place in the year 1921.
When the overcoming life which he thought impossible to attain became attainable through the anointing of the Holy Spirit, Paul’s joy knew no bounds. A great change took place in him. Nothing of this world could thereafter seem a cause of temptation to him. He received many excellent revelations. The following is what he had written in his latter days about the overcoming life which he obtained, after receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit:
‘Prior to this, I used to chew betel nuts and leaves, smoke and even drink. All these evil habits left me that day. There came an end to my love of money. Never after did the revelry of this world allure me. The evil desire for fame and name also departed from me. Pleasing God became my only desire. There came an end to trusting man. My ‘self’ was destroyed. I began to pay much attention to the welfare of others. My relationship with this perishing world was broken. I began to love another Person more than my wife and children. Christ always had the pre-eminence in my whole mind. After that I did not desire excellent costly apparels. I received a deliverance from all evil desires. Deciding to offer myself a sacrifice for Christ, I was prepared to endure any suffering for Him. That very day heaven was established in my heart ! Due to the personal relationship I had with Christ in this manner, there came a true repentance in many members of the Anglican church who were one with me and had had no inward change, whatsoever. Besides, it is to be specially mentioned here that they received the same gifts of the Holy Spirit which the forefathers in the early Church had received’.
APOSTOLIC CONSECRATION AND FAITH LIFE
Paul had been receiving an income from the Anglican Church as he ministered there. Now, as a result of a deep commitment, the inner thirst in him increased day after day. However, he did not have a clear-cut idea of the nature of ministry he had to carry on soon afterwards — a ministry that would be commensurate with his spiritual longing.
In this matter, Paul sought the counsel of the Lord. When he was in the Spirit, he heard the voice of God. The Lord spoke to Paul about apostles in the first century, who, when they were called for the gospel ministry, forsook all their worldly occupations and followed Him.
The Lord asked him, ‘Did they receive regular wages for their ministry ?’ ‘No, Lord’, was Paul’s reply. The Lord also pointed out the fact that the apostles who did the work of the gospel in the first century, did not save anything for themselves. The Lord also reminded him of the verse, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” (Lk.14:26). The Lord told him about forsaking all that he had. Then He told him, ‘You think it over ; later, I will come and ask you’.
The catechist apprised his wife of all that the Lord had told him. She was a virtuous woman and a godly mother who loved the Lord much. She was prepared to implicitly obey whatever God commanded. She would have known for sure that a life of this kind was not quite easy. With no definite source of income how could the family with the little children be fed ? However, finding God to be all-sufficient, she readily consented to it.
The Lord again appeared to the catechist in a vision and asked him, ‘Are you prepared to do all that I have commanded you?’ ‘Yes, Lord, I am prepared. It is enough if You could only give grace’, said Paul. God said, ‘Press forward by faith. I will meet all your needs. The just shall live by faith’. The echo of that voice of promise resounded in the reins of the heart of that servant of God. Paul understood that if he journeyed through the King’s highway of the will of God, he could have all his needs met by faith.
Leaving CMS :
After having received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Paul had continued as a minister of the CMS church only for about three years. Now, as a result of the Lord having dealt with him, he had to take leave of the CMS church which he had been loving and serving until then. May this be a good lesson to the many Christian believers and ministers of today. When the Lord visits and convicts a person and reveals to him the doctrines pertaining to a higher life, it is not right that he continue in fellowship with those who do not believe that truth. He must live a life wholly separated from such individuals and that church and preserve himself. Only then will God continue to give revelations about a more excellent life. Many true people of God who have the baptism of the Holy Spirit and have an apostolic calling, have forsaken their high calling and have perished by being entangled in the snares of false teachers. Beloved friends, hearken unto the heavenly voice and come out in order that you may not be partakers of the sins of the churches fallen from grace, and that you may not receive of their plagues. “…Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her [the church fallen from grace] sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Rev.18:4).
An event which occurred in those days encouraged Paul in the matter of winning souls. As he was conducting a prayer meeting, one of his hands became paralyzed. That hand became so lifeless and useless that he could not move it. Instead of bringing about a shock, this impediment which struck him suddenly in his body, led him to another spiritual revelation, offering him a new thought. He was now made to understand that lifeless Christian living is as useless as his hand that became lifeless. He also received a revelation that the gospel of life should be proclaimed to those dead in sin. This incident led him to a still deeper commitment. The withered hand gradually received life again. Yea, many amidst the modern Christians are without life. Though they consider themselves alive, they are dead indeed. The living amidst them too have fallen into a spiritual sleep. “Wherefore …. Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Eph.5:14), say the holy Scriptures.
Paul was now gaining in zeal in the gospel ministry. Atlast he decided that he would not do the work of the gospel receiving monthly wages from the church and that henceforth he would do a ministry of faith according to the revelation he had received. He had little doubt that God Who is aware of his needs would enquire after him and care for him.
Paul resigned his ministry in the CMS church. This caused grief to all those who had truly loved him there. But it was not possible for any to make him draw back from the will of God. According to the words of Jesus : “… when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth …” (Jn.16:13), the Holy Spirit led Paul in a progressive path. The verse, “… for the labourer is worthy of his hire…” encouraged him. The promise that “the just shall live by faith” became his motto and investment.
The initial days of his ministry of faith was full of difficulties. Many who had loved him earlier, turned out to be his enemies. His family had to meet with new experiences such as reproach and starvation. But this could not make him disobedient to the heavenly vision he had received. With an unwavering faith and zeal in the spirit, he pressed forward in his life and ministry.
Paul did not let people know of his needs. In the beginning, when he lived spending the money he already had in hand, life did not seem very difficult to him. As time rolled by, the situation changed. All that he had and that which he had saved up were spent. The money he got by selling his children’s jewels were also spent. Though he was much economical in spending, it was difficult to pass the days without starvation. They came to a state where they could not even pay the house rent. Poverty now began to rear its head.
Faith being tried :
No answer came forth even after much prayer. There were only a few coins remaining in the wallet. But many were the needs. There was not enough money for food, clothing and travel. The children were starving. Alas, it was pathetic! The catechist was caught in a trial.
‘Lord, did I not set out trusting You?’, he sighed and groaned in his heart. The answer came suddenly:
‘Spend what you have in hand’.
Dr. Asarappa had deposited a certain amount in the bank, in his daughter Helen’s name. Helen had then completed her fourteenth year. Brother Paul did not draw that amount from the bank intending to have it as a saving for her wedding.
To this man of God who had been anxious about his daughter’s wedding, the Lord said, ‘Helen is Mine; that amount too is Mine’. Without delay, he withdrew even that amount from the bank and spent it for the gospel work. After he came to a state of having nothing, the Lord began to honour his faith.
Faith being strengthened :
Having left the CMS church once and for all, and having given up his work there as a catechist, Brother Paul now started conducting prayer meetings in a small house where he had been staying earlier. Later, he rented a house for seven rupees a month in a place called Borella, in the city of Colombo and held devotional services there every Sunday and conducted other prayer meetings. After this, he rented another place, more spacious than the other, for forty rupees. By then he had imbibed the faith needed to receive the house rent and all other needs from the Lord through prayer. Many brothers and sisters joined as gospel ministers to minister along with Brother Paul’s family, who had set out by faith like Abraham. The group grew into a big family. For this reason, they had to shift to another bigger house for a rent of one hundred and sixty rupees.
Faith life and faith homes :
Today’s life in a faith home was what the Lord had revealed to Brother Paul who was pressing forward in life and ministry, obeying His commandments. Those staying in the faith home are to be full-time servants of God and therefore, their whole life is devoted to the ministry. The meaning and purport of the compound name ‘faith home’ is not what it generally appears to be. It is not simply a place where a group of people pray and receive from God and dwell and minister. Nor is it simply a place where men and women brought up in different traditions and different stations in life dwell together as brothers and sisters without any distinction of caste and colour. There is more to it besides all these.
According to the foremost Scriptural truth — to “…present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” — faith homes are like workshops where people are moulded in their character, and where people are united. Such a perfection can be attained only through the unity of the doctrine (faith). The doctrine of Christ alone forms the basis for this.
Man can combine one object with another and form a new compound. But to unite one man with another is something noble and impossible for man to effect or attain by himself. If two are of one mind in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and are united in one spirit, God can do great works for and through them. Such a unity would bring to nought the plans of the devil. The aim of the devil therefore, is to overthrow all efforts taken to be made one in Christ. The unity that we now talk about is not a man-made unity.
God’s plan concerning us is that we should become His temple and that we should abide in Him and He in us. Although everyone who has received the baptism in the Holy Spirit individually become the temple of God, all should be made one collectively and be compactly built together as the temple of God. This resembles a building work done with lively stones. The temple comes into existence through the lively stones built compactly together. We are those lively stones. It is only when we make the Lord Jesus Christ Who is the Author and Finisher of our faith, our measuring rod, and be sanctified accordingly, and grow to the measure of the stature of His fulness, that we can be made perfect in Christ. To receive this perfection, we must give up our own desires and ambitions.
Those who live in the faith homes are those who have committed themselves first to God and then to the leaders. They are also bound to do any work which is according to the will of God. To minister unto others like a servant is also an important part of the ministry.
The progress of each one’s faith life will depend on the depth of each one’s consecration and commitment. Those who desire to attain the perfection of Zion must forsake all that they have. Only then can they exercise a life of complete trust in the Lord and lean upon Him and have the Lord alone for their hope. Such a life as this leads to rest. Is it not said, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is” (Jer.17:7)? It is only when one presses forward with an aim, firmly holding on to faith in a circumstance of being wholly emptied, that faith is seen in action. There is no intercession or supplication made here. Everything is taken for granted by faith and it is only ‘Amen’. Man and God are made one here. Man becomes the house of God; he becomes a vessel unto honour. Poverty here is changed to be the treasure house of riches. Here, our nothingness becomes the origin of God’s riches. God can fill us only to the extent that we empty ourselves.
We receive treasures of every kind like the divine counsels and revelations of the mysteries of God, according to our state of consecration. How very deeply significant is the commandment that the servants of the Lord must forsake all that they have and serve as poor men. Let us here remember the words the apostle uttered, “… as poor, yet making many rich…” (II Cor.6:10). It is because sacrificial servants of God who have consecrated themselves are here on earth, that those who seek the truth are made rich toward God. These servants receive all their needs from God and make others also rich.
There may be some who view this divine plan with doubt. They try only to find fault, looking for its disadvantages and failures. They do not have a vision of the high and the most holy aspects of such a plan. Since they measure others too with their own standards, they do not have an enlarged and a holy view. The words of Lot who lamented, “… I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me …” are fulfilled in them.
To judge a matter without examination and to describe it mockingly would not be doing justice to it. What could be more excellent than the holy brotherly fellowship formed through divine love? It would not be just to despise the overcoming life that is effected through the infilling of the Holy Spirit. The burden concerning souls, the responsibility of the ministry, a simple life, fasting, prayer and other ministries are means which enable us to attain our goal. Above all, the grace of God encompasses every man and preserves him. Our Lord Jesus did not flee human society to live a victorious life. Our Redeemer did not remain hidden in the caves of the jungle to attain perfection. There is no victory without a trial. The crown is only for victors. The saints who have already triumphantly run in the race tell us that we too should run to obtain victory. Therefore, may we also run and run to victory!
Those who draw back shall certainly stumble and fall. The faith homes are only for saints who have made a covenant with the Lord by sacrifice. Many are not able to understand the meaning of the holy Scriptures which say, “… and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake …” (Matt.19:12). Only those who have received the gift can understand that divine mystery. Only the called, the chosen and the faithful will be gathered at the coming of the Lord. They alone shall receive the prize. God is not one Who changes any of His eternal purposes seeing and fearing the unfaithfulness of man. Nor do the apostles who are the stewards of the mysteries of God, change them.
CEYLON PENTECOSTAL MISSION IN ITS BEGINNING YEARS
In the previous chapter, we observed how Pastor Paul and a few others together with him lived and ministered by faith. In the year 1924, this fellowship was registered in Sri Lanka as the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission. This ministry was begun according to the revelation that God had given Pastor Paul. He was very diligent to do this ministry too according to the will of God, just as Moses obeyed the command of God, “… look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount” (Exo.25:40), when the tabernacle began to be reared. But when he asked the Lord how he could nurture this Church and lead it, God gave him, as a reply, the revelation that it can be preserved only by faith.
Worship service and the manner of attire :
In the earlier days, during services in this Church, the congregation would be seated on chairs, as in the Anglican churches. But Pastor Paul who desired a simple way of worship, conducted services in those days with the congregation seated on the floor. That pattern is continued even today. Moreover, in the earlier days, the servants of God of the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission too followed the European mode of dress adopted by the ministers of the Anglican church. Later, they began wearing saffron robes and the turban. But when Pastor Paul realized that as far as possible, a social life and acquaintance with others was very essential for the ministry, in course of time, adopted the present way of dressing so that our dress might not be a hindrance to a free movement with others. He did not want to introduce special kinds of garments or garments of beauty worn by the priests of other churches. He was particular that the mere ‘form’ of godliness should not by any means find an entrance into the church.
Pastor Paul and those who followed him :
From the very beginning of this ministry, Pastor Paul and his family lived by faith. Later brothers and sisters joined them in large numbers. It was one Adam, a leper, who followed him first. Pastor Paul prayed for Adam to be healed. The Lord granted him perfect healing. Very soon Adam received the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the sign of speaking in tongues. Though uneducated, Brother Adam was rich toward God. He had the gift of healing and was also a prayer warrior.
Brother Varghese who was a father of two children was the next to join Pastor Paul. He permitted Brother Varghese to live with him. Brother Varghese who carefully listened to the doctrine of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, tarried to receive the Holy Spirit and received it soon with the sign of speaking in tongues. Though he was uneducated, Brother Varghese was always filled with the Holy Spirit. It is to be specially mentioned that this prayer warrior who strove in prayer day and night, was a great help to the progress of this ministry.
The third person to join Pastor Paul was a leading merchant in the city of Colombo. This person who had incurred loss in his business, had borrowed money from many and had plunged into debt. Being unable to pay up the debt, he decided to commit suicide. When he was in such a state Pastor Paul met him. That merchant who was desperate and troubled revealed his true state to the servant of God, without hiding it. Pastor Paul prayed fervently for him, saying, ‘Lord, let the old man in him die and help him live as a new man !’ Then Pastor Paul preached to him this truth and said, ‘The old man is dead. Henceforth, live as a new man’. Without delay, he took baptism and his name was changed to Matthew. Through the renewing by the Spirit of God, Brother Matthew truly became a new man. He was very ardent in reading the Word of God. The Lord granted him the eloquence and grace to expound the truths of the holy Scriptures to the people of the congregation.
Obeying the command and casting the net :
Pastor Paul was a minister who cast the net (spread the gospel) obeying the command of the Lord. On account of this, he never once had to labour in vain. The Lord had given him extraordinary grace to meet individual souls and obtain for them a deliverance from God in all their predicaments. Once, according to the command of God, he met a person who was about to fall into the terrible snare of sin. Owing to this meeting, he was not only preserved from falling into that danger, but was also led to repentance and the essential experiences of water baptism and baptism in the Holy Spirit. Later, he became a minister in this Church, and in process of time became one of the leading servants of God and shone as a precious instrument in the hands of God. We have cited here only one example of the many who had been won through the efforts of Pastor Paul — all because he met them at the right time.
Pastor Paul was always of the idea that we should minister not only to those who come seeking and asking for us, but also to those concerning whom we feel that they need our help. He lived an overcoming life and there was always a smile on his face. Such a life of his helped a large number of souls to be led to Christ.
When this Mission grew, and he came to be considered as the most prominent, he was addressed by others as ‘Pastor Paul’.
Faith life and suffering :
The apostles confirmed the souls of the disciples, and exhorted them to continue in the faith, saying that they must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). Pastor Paul had to encounter much suffering in his life in order to be established in faith. Pastor Paul was now living a life of faith by looking only unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, as pattern and goal. He had long before given up the earning he received in the CMS Church and the income he got from the garden of Dr. Asarappa. He had also forsaken all other means whereby he could receive money and had cast aside a comfortable life. In all this, he had the firm assurance that God is more concerned about us than we could be for ourselves. Therefore, Pastor Paul who looked unto God never once had an occasion to be ashamed.
Pastor Paul who followed the footsteps of the apostles of the first century had to similarly face difficulties, wants, griefs, stripes, watchings and starvation several times. Since he had decided that he would not let anyone else know of his need except God, he and his household drank only water without murmuring and kept praising God, when at times, there was no food in his house. On many an occasion, having no food, he would be famished and drinking only water from the taps on the streets, he would journey on his bicycle or go on foot, proclaiming the apostolic truth. Thus, as a result of the immense and untold sufferings he had endured, it was possible for him to lead thousands of people to this faith life.
His life-partner was an apt support to Pastor Paul in his gospel work. In family matters too, she believed the Lord without any murmuring and was of great help to his faith life. On several occasions his children too had swooned and become unconscious due to hunger. Once his younger son Harry was famished and fainted. One of the pastors lifted him and hugged him and asked him, ‘Whom do you wish to become in future?’ The young lad Harry replied, ‘I must become an apostle’. ‘If it be so, this is nothing great; you have to endure more sufferings’. So saying, he let Harry down. The Lord honoured the lad’s desire. In latter days, Harry was exalted to be an apostle, a precious instrument in God’s hands. In this manner, Pastor Paul’s children too were a help to his faith life. It is to be particularly noted that they were neither discouraged, nor were they desirous to turn back, remembering the things they had forsaken. In the earlier days of the inception of this Church, people in general did not have an idea or knowledge about faith life, as they have today. Therefore, many did not come forward to help Pastor Paul in his need.
Once Pastor Paul and his family had to go through extreme starvation for several days at a stretch. They were really grieved at this juncture. God Who had led Elijah to the widow at Zarephath, led Pastor Paul to a poor mother who was a widow. When he reached there, he saw the miserable state of the mother and children who had gone without food for many long days. Now God commanded him saying, ‘Do you see this? They are suffering without food for many days. Give them food to eat’. Pastor Paul believed the God of Elijah. He prayed fervently. The Lord heard the prayer of that righteous man. God duly rewarded him. That household was fed miraculously. And he too was fed along with them.
Once the believers raised a collection among themselves to conduct a convention. The pastor who was there then did not reprove them for this matter. Pastor Paul who came to know of this, reproved the pastor who was in charge of the assembly there. He made him ask pardon in public for his having failed to reprove the members of his assembly for their action which went against the principles of faith life. In like manner, he withstood all things that detracted from faith life.
Faith abounds :
Pastor Paul prayed and got victuals to feed thousands of people who approached him. He once said, ‘Had I placed my trust in England (on foreign aid), I would have suffered much in the matter of feeding this great multitude of people’. There is no need for God to send ravens from Western countries to feed the people of God in India ! Is it not a fact that the faith of the great prophet Elijah did not depend on the king of that day ?
PRAYER AND PRAISE COUPLED WITH FAITH
The glorious expansion of this Church today is a result of prayers and praises coupled with faith. God granted Pastor Paul all that he needed, honouring his prayers and praises offered with faith. It was customary for him to offer grateful praises with the faith that his prayers were answered instantly. He did this in the light of the firm faith he had in the promises mentioned in verses such as, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb.11:1) and “… for he that cometh to God must believe that
he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (vs.6). Pastor Paul trained his fellow-workers too in this faith life. He exhorted them, telling them of the Beloved Lord’s promise, “… What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mk.11:24).
Healing through the word of faith :
Once our present Chief Pastor, Pastor C.K.Lazarus was suffering from severe pain in his stomach. He approached Pastor Paul at that juncture and asked him to pray for his healing. Pastor Paul only replied, ‘You go’, meaning, ‘Go with the faith that you have been healed’. Pastor Lazarus went with faith. He received perfect healing instantly. During the service, when Pastor Paul found Pastor Lazarus perfectly healed, he asked him to stand up and testify about his healing. Pastor Lazarus did so, and until today, for more than fifty five years, he has not been afflicted with that ailment.
The trial that rose against faith life :
When Pastor Paul was doing the gospel work being stedfast in faith life, a missionary named, Miss Livini met him. That lady had come to know that Pastor Paul was living a faith life having given up the ministry in the CMS church. Therefore, she rendered a small financial help to Pastor. Two months later she informed Pastor saying that she was prepared to continue to help him financially, if he joined her in gospel work. However, he did not accept it. He had well realized that it was against the norms of faith life to receive regular financial aid from someone to do the ministry of God. Therefore, he said that he did not need such financial assistance. Pastor Paul who had consecrated to minister without a definite source of income according to the pattern of the early apostles, continued his ministry, being stedfast in his faith in God.
The efficacy of prayer made by many with one accord :
Pastor Paul was a godly man who had well understood the power of prayer offered by many with one accord. He had great faith in the holy Word, “…if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt.18:19). Pastor Paul had often prayed saying, ‘Lord, it is not two but many of us who ask of You with one accord and so You must fulfil this need of ours’. He had indeed received definite answers for such prayers instantly.
Once Pastor Paul asked the Lord for a thousand rupees for the ministry. But he had no means of receiving that amount. Through the firm faith which they had in the promises of the Lord, he and his fellow-workers tarried in prayer with praising. As a result, the faithful God gave it to him without delay. A rich lady was preparing to leave for England. (She was not a Pentecostal believer). One day she took part in a meeting that Pastor Paul conducted at Borella(Colombo). At the end of the meeting, she gave a cheque for thousand rupees to Pastor Paul and requested his prayers for the blessings of her journey to England. Thus he received that amount instantly as a result of earnest and collective prayer.
The effect of prayer and praising by faith :
Pastor Paul prayed for a car, to facilitate transport and conveyance during the ministry. At that time, there was none among the members of the Church who could afford to offer a car. However, they prayed, believing that the Lord was able to give them one. He made them praise God in faith, as if they had already received the car. This he did according to the words of the Lord: “And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (I Jn.5:15). He too was praising God.
One of those days, the wife of one Mr. Beuwel, the Secretary of the YMCA, Colombo, took part in the prayers of the faith home. On hearing the Pastor and his co-workers praise and glorify God during the prayer for the car given them, Mrs. Beuwel greatly rejoiced. Very eagerly she went to the backyard of the Borella faith home to see the car newly gotten for the gospel work. She could find none there. She was disappointed by the answer received, on inquiring about it. She muttered, ‘These mad people, have simply praised God for nothing’. However, the Lord honoured the faith of His children and gave them a car without further delay. Pastor Paul could thus exhort his fellow-workers to stand firm in the faith, and establish them in the faith through his personal experiences. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Eph.3:20,21).
Faith and patience in tribulation :
Some faint in tribulations. Their sad countenance reveals it. Whereas, Pastor Paul patiently endured tribulations. His countenance would not change, neither would he murmur. He considered problems, difficulties and losses he had to face in life as chariot-like agents that could transport him to heaven. He had a clear faith that all things happened only with the knowledge of God. His desire was to wholly fulfil the will of God. He trained his co-workers too on this line. He believed “that if we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (II Tim.3:12).
Praising God in everything :
Even at the time of facing losses, Pastor Paul would be seen with a smile. This was because he believed …that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom.8:28). Even on occasions when he had to incur loss through others, Pastor Paul comforted himself saying that the will of God was fulfilled. At all such times, he remained joyful, singing, ‘Hardship is my delight and loss my gain’. Once in the faith home where he was, all had to go without food for many days, because someone had stolen the little money they had. In a few days’ time the thief was caught. They brought him to Pastor. They had thought that Pastor would either rebuke him or punish him. However, he sent him away without doing anything as they had expected. Later he asked, “Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not? ” (Lam.3:37). So saying, he praised God and mollified them all. One day, when a brother was bringing a cup of coffee for Pastor Paul, someone accidentally knocked against him, spilling the coffee and breaking the cup on the floor. The brother who brought the coffee, angrily used an abusive word against the one who dashed against him. Hearing that Pastor Paul advised him saying, ‘Are we not the children of God ? Not abusive words but only praise should proceed from us’.
On many an occasion, Pastor Paul had been miraculously delivered from accidents. Once they were travelling by car from Colombo to attend a convention in Jaffna. While going through a narrow path on the way, the car fell into a huge ditch. Since it was a terrible accident, those in the car were thrown off and lost their consciousness. In a little while, all regained consciousness and started getting up. Each one thought that he / she was the only one saved. The car was in a badly damaged state. And at that time the sound of no other word except that of praise could be heard from there.
Though the car was badly damaged, there was no injury to those who had travelled in the car nor damage to the musical instruments. Since God had sent His angels and preserved them, they rejoiced exceedingly and glorified God. Even Pastor’s countenance did not seem sad though the car was damaged. All the while, he was just praising God. To remain with gladness of heart even in the midst of difficulties, losses and problems was an excellent nature most evident in him.
Pastor Paul was indeed a saint who like the apostle Paul had a desire to know and experience the resurrection power of Christ and the fellowship of His sufferings and by any means to rise from the dead at the secret coming of Christ. The method he adopted to find deliverance in times of difficulties was to remember the ways by which God had delivered him from difficulties in former days and to praise Him much.
Fearlessness even on the sick bed :
The grace of God was seen to abound in Pastor Paul when he was laid up sick in bed. There was no fear of death or complaining about sickness from him at this time. He would say, ‘Though my outward man perish day by day, the inward man grows in me roaring like a lion’. Even as our beloved Lord has said, “… Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone : but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (Jn.12:24), the aim of his life was that Christ must increase, but he must decrease. During times of sickness, if anyone approached him and asked, ‘Do you have pain?’, he would only answer with a smile saying, ‘Can Paul have pain ?’ Once when he was continually ill for several days and was laid up in bed, he became extremely weak. He had not the least strength to either sit up or stand on his own. Though he was in this state, he did not want anyone to assist him. Once in a situation where he had not so much strength as to stand even by holding on to something, others tried to help him. However, he did not permit them to do it. The chief reason for this was that he had believed that he would receive the ministry of angels in times of difficulty. It is rare to see such people who in this manner have strong faith in divine healing. Even as he believed, the Lord also granted him perfect healing from that terrible sickness.
AN EVANGELIST WITH EXCELLENT TRAITS
The virtues of Pastor Paul were such that they could allure many towards him. He was always seen with a smile and was meek and loving. He did not desire fame or greatness. He lived a blessed life of being hid in Christ. Many desired to make his name renowned when God performed miracles, signs and mighty works through him. He being humble did not give room to it, but hid himself. He was not in favour of his name being published in the newspapers. He did not feel elated when others praised him, neither was he grieved when others spoke contemptuously of him. He only desired that the name of the Lord Jesus be exalted and that the name of God be glorified.
Overcoming evil with good :
Pastor Paul evinced a fatherly love that was in David who said concerning the son who rose against him to destroy him and usurp his position : “Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom”. He also had the divine love of the Lord Jesus Who could call Judas who betrayed Him, “friend”.
There were many enemies against him and the doctrines he preached. Concerning them, he would say, ‘Vengeance is not ours’. When an eminent Christian minister in Kerala challenged him saying, ‘I will see to it that your ministry is utterly destroyed’, the answer this saint gave was, ‘I shall pray for your betterment as best as I can’. He remained silent before certain Pentecostal people who shouted, ‘Let the Sri Lankans go to the other shore of the sea’. If anyone spoke against the leading, his only reply was, ‘I did only that which the Lord had said’.
Once a convention was in progress. A large number of people took part in those meetings. Some who were envious seeing this, came and distributed pamphlets against this Church to all those who attended the meetings. After the meeting came to a close, they were brought to Pastor. Those who brought them thought that Pastor would rebuke them and give an apt reply to all their false publications and would stop them from indulging further in such activities. But what truly happened was that he welcomed them with love and respect, enquired after their welfare and asked those responsible, to share with them the meagre supper they had with them that day. He did not in the least have a thought to wreak vengeance, but finally prayed for them and sent them away.
All those who worked against him were met by God and became members of this Church in the latter days. It is to be specially mentioned that some of them became important ministers of this Church. Pastor Paul never desired to take steps to avenge his enemies. When some who were backsliders and enemies to the gospel spoke against him, he would affectionately call them, entertain them and willingly give them the money he had with him and would lovingly say, ‘Buy something for your children’. Does not the Word of God say, “…avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head” (Rom.12:19,20) !
One night, Pastor Paul and a few other brothers were asleep in a room. They had kept the door open because of the heat. Pastor Paul sensed that someone unfamiliar had entered the room. He looked about with a lamp-light but found no one. Later, when they searched the whole place, they found the robber hiding behind the door. Very meekly Pastor Paul questioned him, ‘Why have you come into this room at night?’ He replied, ‘As I had no clothes to put on, I came to take some’. Pastor handed over a small sum of money to him and said, ‘Why have you come to take old clothes? Buy new clothes for yourself with this money’. He hesitated to take that money. But Pastor Paul forced it on him and sent him away. Though he had taken the money, he began to repent. He began to ponder over the love that Pastor Paul had shown him-how he had given money, without persecuting him, how he had dealt lovingly with him who had come to steal. Understanding that the love that was in him was the love of God, without delay, he received the assurance of salvation, took water baptism and joined this fellowship. Without rendering evil for evil, Pastor Paul could thus do good and gain a soul. ‘Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good’ (Rom.12:21).
Faithfulness in the ministry :
Pastor Paul had the knowledge that he was the servant of the God of heaven and earth. He therefore did the ministry always trying to please God and with fear, godliness and trembling, that the ministry might not be blamed. He reiterated the fact that we should perfect holiness in the fear of God, as holiness in life constituted an important aspect of the ministry. It could be easily said of him that as “Moses was faithful in all the house of God”, he too was faithful in all things.
Once there came a need in his life to make a vow in the matter of punctuality. Though he was diligent in observing the virtue of punctuality, one day he failed to go to the worship service at the appointed time. That day it appeared to him that the Spirit of the Lord was grieved over him. When he examined its cause, the answer he received from God was, ‘I had come here at the time appointed, but you were not seen here’. Feeling guilty, he asked the Lord for His forgiveness. Never again, in all his days thereafter, did he trangress the word of oath he had given God that day, that he would faithfully take part in worship services and prayers at the appointed time.
The manner of taking food :
He made it a point to praise God before he ate the food he received. He would never take his food without praying. The Scriptures teach us, “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving : For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (I Tim.4:4,5). He desired only very simple food. Many have marvelled seeing this. He would mostly fast during the day. And for his dinner he would usually have only some rice porridge. He did not prefer special foods or delicacies, but often said, ‘He who has a longing for food will never reach the other shore’. He was however, very diligent in the matter of serving food to others.
Having no love of money :
There was no love for money nor signs of seeking it in his words or his deeds. He would gratefully remember that it was only God Who had delivered him from the love of money. He praised and glorified God Who set him free from the love of money. “For the love of money is the root of all evil : which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (I Tim. 6:10).
The chief cause for his greatness lay in his humility. Though it was in the will of God to perform miracles, signs and mighty deeds through him, his heart did not become lifted up by the greatness he achieved through them. He did not have the proud thought that all these achievements were by the strength of his arms. At all times he accorded all glory to God saying, ‘The ministry is not mine, it is the Lord’s : What am I!’ He was humble and very diligent in giving all glory to God. Though he earned the respect of the high and the honourable men of society, he remembered that he was simply Ramankutty. Is it not written, “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Lk.14:11) ?
A father to all children :
Pastor Paul was the father of five children. Nevertheless, he loved not only his children but all children alike. The children too loved him. Very affectionately they called him ‘papa’. He had never revealed a special love towards his children.
Once, the son of an evangelist slapped one of Pastor Paul’s children on his cheek. The son who received the blow ran to his father weeping and complained to him. The son thought that since his father was a responsible leader, he would severely punish the little boy who had slapped him. But the father pointed to the son the verse from Matthew 5:39 and reminded him of the commandment of the Lord Jesus which said, “… but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also”. Alongside, he also said, ‘Son, run to him and show him the other cheek’. The son did likewise and won that lad.
One day one of Pastor’s sons asked him for chicken curry. Pastor said to him, ‘You tell your need to your Father in heaven. Then He will fulfil your need’. The son prayed accordingly. In a few hours’ time, a sister who was a believer brought chicken curry and placed it before Pastor Paul. He called his son and said, ‘Your prayer has been answered’ and gave it to him. In like manner, he trained his children and co-workers to believe the Lord for all things, small and great.
Pastor Paul’s children were mischievous when young. He took much effort in disciplining them. Though he rebuked them and chastised them severely, he could not see in them the result expected. However, as he had surrendered his children to the Lord, God exalted them. They all remained faithful in the ministry till the end. His eldest son was exalted to be a Chief Pastor.
Considering the welfare of others :
A brother testifies thus : ‘When I was with Pastor Paul at Borella faith home in the year 1940, I have marvelled, observing certain of his attributes worth mentioning. Once when he saw that my clothes were torn, he gave me his own clothes. Once in the Kandy faith home, noticing that I walked bare-footed during winter, he gave me his new pair of footwear. Very soon he received another pair’.
One day, the Pastor in charge of the work at the Tiruvalla Centre sent him a letter from Kumbanad. The content of the letter was this : ‘Great miracles and signs take place in Kumbanad. Many from the Indian Pentecostal Church are prepared to join us. Therefore, you have to come immediately to Kumbanad and hold a convention there. With that, many would join our Church. If you let us know of the date, that would suffice. We will make all the preparations’. His fellow-workers who perused the letter were very glad. So they told Pastor that he had to fix the date for the convention and intimate it immediately to them. He remained silent for a while and then said as follows : ‘Brother Abraham (IPC Pastor) has some souls there. I will not go there to trouble them. We do not need that work’.
In the early days of the ministry, a brother named Rajayya in Sri Lanka, came to the ministry. He gave a sum of Rs.2,000 to Pastor Paul. Several of them said that a small sum of it must be used for buying utensils and all other articles needed for the faith home. Then Pastor Paul said, ‘This amount would not be sufficient even for dinner tonight’. When fellow-workers asked him why he said so, he wrote on a piece of paper the names of all the faith homes which were going through many wants. ‘All these are our homes. They are without sufficient food and clothing.’ So saying, he sent the amount to all those faith homes through postal Money Order. He sent the whole amount to the other faith homes saying, ‘It does not matter even if we have no dinner tonight; we must help all those in difficulty and sorrow’. This incident is an excellent example to show that he loved all other faith homes as his own, and his fellow-workers as his own brothers and sisters, and helped them in their suffering.
Service expecting no reward :
Pastor Paul was a man of God who did not serve the Lord with a desire to receive any reward or honour from men. He considered it the responsibility of the people of God to help their brethren in times of their sickness and difficulties and declared that such assistance reflected the love of God.
He had also told his co-workers that as they teach other doctrines to people, they must also teach them to do good, and to do deeds of charity, for this is a way for them to become blessed. “But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Heb.13:16).
Prayer warrior :
It was habitual for Pastor Paul who was a prayer warrior to sleep only for a short while during the night. He would wake up before 3 a.m. to tarry in prayer. He would himself lead the ‘praising’ at 4 a.m. As long as he had in him the strength to walk, he took part in common prayers also.
Guileless love :
Those who met Pastor Paul would never have the mind to part from him. His guileless love with everyone as that of a mother loving her children is something that cannot be forgotten. If anyone approached him with the intention of arguing with him and began a conversation, he would say, ‘We will pray for a little while and then we can talk’.
Once a servant of God continued to describe the difficulties and problems in his ministry. He also told Pastor that he desired to join another missionary and minister along with him, as he had promised him a salary. Pastor Paul heard this quietly, gave him the fare for his journey and then sent him away peacefully. But two years later when that missionary went back to his own country, he entrusted that church and the servants of God to Pastor Paul.
THE MANNER OF GAINING SOULS
Pastor Paul gave more importance to life than to the ministry. He would explain to his fellow-workers, ‘If the savour of life proceeds from us, then souls would come to us in multitudes’. He would say that the flowers do not go seeking the honeybees but the bees come in search of flowers with nectar in them. Hence, he did not have the experience of going around much day and night without rest, to win souls. Today many servants of God endeavour to go around much, trying to add souls to their religion. After having brought them into their religion, they neither pray for them, nor do they teach them sound doctrines which would help them be stablished.
Pastor Paul would not allow one to become a member of the Church for the sole purpose of getting married. He welcomed only those who sought the truth, loved God and had holiness as the goal of their life, as members of the Church. He would say that the efforts taken to bring back backsliders whose hearts are so hardened as not to return to the Church again, is like watering a dried and withered tree.
Dispersing abroad and giving to the poor :
According as it is written, “… He hath dispersed abroad ; he hath given to the poor : his righteousness remaineth for ever’ (II Cor.9:9), it is very rare to see people like Pastor Paul who are very liberal in dispersing and giving to the poor with a large heart. To those who followed him, he taught the commandment of the Lord Jesus — “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Lk.6:38).
As poor, yet making many rich :
Many who had no means of survival approached Pastor Paul. As a result of his having prayed for them, God made them rich. Once a relative of Pastor Paul approached him seeking financial help. Though he had money with him then, he did not help him but prayed for him and sent him away. God soon gave that person the money he needed. Besides, he also got a job. He became rich. Another person approached him with the desire that his business should flourish. He prayed for him and from that day forward, he made much profit in his business day after day and became rich. Thus the experience of apostle Paul, of making many rich though they were poor was true of Pastor Paul too.
Helping those who tarry for the Holy Spirit :
He brought about in those who tarried for the Holy Spirit, a conviction of the necessity to receive it. Just as the object of sacrifice laid on the altar is burnt to ashes by the fire upon the altar, our ‘self’ must be wholly burnt to ashes by the Spirit of glory. He taught that as the ash is used as manure for the trees, only those who are completely dead to their ‘self ’ can become profitable to souls.
He was also one who clearly explained to the people of God, the usefulness of the spiritual gifts which are a gift of the Holy Spirit. He also emphasized that the gifts must operate not for self-glory or for the satisfaction of the mind, but for the spiritual edification of the Church and for the glory of God’s name. He possessed the gift of discerning. He was very diligent to teach that all those who have received gifts must be careful to destroy the ‘self’, the glorying and pride in them.
Ministering to others :
A faith home with some facilities had been taken in a certain place which enabled the gospel workers to rest, while on their journey to different places. But the servant of God in-charge of that place wrote a letter to Pastor Paul complaining that he faced problems because many came to stay there and he found it difficult to minister to them. Pastor Paul replied, ‘You have been sent only to minister to them; the money you receive has also been given you by God only to minister to them.’
Pastor Paul who found joy in ministering to others, always stood in the forefront when it came to supporting the poor and the orphans.
[Given below is a translation of the letter which Pastor Paul had written on 2.2.1942, from Colombo, to Pastor A. Jacob who was then the Pastor-in-charge of the work at Nagercoil Centre.
The just shall live by faith.
We are all keeping well here by God’s grace and trusting that the same attends you there, I praise God. Even a straw could become a weapon in the hand of a mighty man. We can find God’s strength in our weakness. He is faithful. He is
all-sufficient. His grace is sufficient for us. How is your health? Do not attempt to do any great work. Tarry in prayer, know the will of God and do it. May the Lord bless you.
Yours in Him,
(Pastor Paul) ]
THE LEADING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The secret of Pastor Paul’s overcoming life, and the progress of his ministry lay in his perfect obedience at all times to the leading of the Spirit. Even as our beloved Lord said, “…when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth…” (Jn.16:13), Pastor Paul always obeyed the Holy Spirit. He did not accept human opinions or doctrines that rose contrary to it. He tarried in the presence of the Lord for the leading of the Spirit. The establishing of the Lord’s ministry has its basis in obedience to the leaders and to the guidance of the Spirit. This is the basic law that has been given to the servants of God of this Church. At times, he would be upright on his knees for a long time to understand the leading of the Spirit. He always preserved the relationship he had with the Lord as that between a disciple and his master.
Prayer according to leading :
Pastor Paul used to make known his needs to the Lord through prayer with praising. His common prayer in the meetings would be one of few words according to the leading of the Spirit. He would always make a supplication in all his prayers that the Lord should teach him His divine guidance.
Ministry according to leading :
Whenever someone called him to pray for the sick, he would invariably ask the Lord saying, “Lord, should I go?” He would go only if he received the leading. Once one of his co-workers called him to pray for a sick person. He had no leading to go. But he set out, owing to the compulsion of that co-worker.
Before setting out from home, he prayed saying, ‘Lord, You have not permitted me to go to pray for that sick man. Yet I am setting out, because this brother compels me. If this is not Your will, bring us back by at least making us fall from the vehicle we are riding’.
It happened even as he had prayed. When they neared the sick man’s house, the motor bike on which they rode, skid and fell. Pastor Paul was knocked down. Getting on to his feet again, he said, ‘Let us now go back’. And they returned. Even if it meant death, his desire was only to do the will of God.
Sermon according to leading :
His sermons were only according to the leading of the Spirit. He was not in the habit of making a note of the points, of studying them and delivering them collectively as a sermon. Long sermons too were rare. He used to deliver the divine message needed for the Church in twenty five to thirty minutes. At times, the sermon would prolong for even an hour. Praying on his knees for hours together was his preparation for the sermon. When he preached the divine counsel brought into his mind through prayer, it created new life and power in those who heard them. The revival induced through them led many to a sacrificial mind and a higher consecration.
Once he was a principal speaker at the convention. His sermon was over in half-an-hour’s time. However, many people came only after the sermon was over. Hence, some of them requested him to continue with his message. Nevertheless, Pastor, who had been accustomed to obeying the leading of God, ended the meeting. Next day, the pandal (shed) overflowed with people before the time appointed.
Pastor Paul did not have the desire to be the chief speaker in all the meetings that he conducted. Only if he had received from God the message required for the people, he would stand up to preach. He did not desire to have the names of the preachers printed and published in the convention wall-posters. Even today the same discipline is being followed in this Church. Once he rebuked the worker-in-charge of an assembly for publishing the convention notice wherein it was stated that Pastor Paul would be the preacher. Pastor Paul asked him, ‘Who told you that I would be preaching in this meeting?’ The following verse is an eye-opener in this regard. “… and we know not with what we must serve the Lord, until we come thither” (Exo.10:26).
Once the deacon of another denomination invited Pastor Paul to preach. Pastor Paul replied, ‘I am not eloquent like you’. But the deacon replied, ‘We know to preach well. But you know the Lord Jesus Christ more intimately than we do’.
In one instance, Pastor Paul had to deliver a message in the convention. Owing to heavy rains, the meeting that day did not take place in the venue appointed. The servants of God and others who had gathered there were very grieved. They began to cry and pray fervently that the rains might be stopped. When he came to know of this, Pastor Paul said that God would not work in a place where there is sin and that it was because of this that, he did not then have a leading to pray for the rains to stop. The defeat that the children of Israel faced in the city of Ai because of Achan is to be remembered at this juncture.
Meetings only according to leading :
Even to decide to hold ordinary meetings, he depended on the leading of God. In a particular place, a certain rich believer was of great help to the Church in financial matters. Once, Pastor Paul decided to hold a convention there, according to the leading of the Lord. But that believer who was rich did not desire it. Owing to this, he did not come forward to render any financial help. He thought that the convention would not be a success for want of sufficient monetary help. But since this convention had been arranged according to leading, it ended in a blessed manner. After the meetings came to a close, a large sum of money was needed to meet the travelling fare of the servants of God who had come there and also for several other purposes. Pastor Paul did not have this large sum with him then.
When the meetings of the convention ended well, the rich believer was pricked in his heart. So he requested Pastor Paul to come to his house and pray. He had planned to give a huge sum of money to Pastor when he came to his house. However, the leading was contrary to this. Pastor Paul did not consent to his invitation. God honoured Pastor. At the specified time, Pastor received the amount needed for the travelling expenses of the servants of God by a telegraphic money-order. This incident provides a good lesson for the people of God.
One could clearly see the leading of the Spirit in the meetings conducted by Pastor Paul. One of the pastors once brought some of his honourable friends to a meeting conducted by Pastor Paul. He had considered that Pastor Paul’s sermon could touch their hearts and that by this they would be led to salvation. But the meeting that day went on in a very different way. Neither a sermon that could impart courage and cheer, nor an admonition that could touch the heart was given that day. From the beginning of that meeting until the end there were prophecies. The pastor who had brought his friends to that meeting did not like it. However, God worked. Before the meeting came to an end, those new honourable souls had been led to salvation.
Transfers of the ministers of the Church only according to leading :
Pastor Paul transferred the servants of God according to what God had shown him. It was a blessing to the obedient who joyfully yielded themselves to it and a loss to the disobedient few.
Once Pastor Paul transferred an experienced servant of God. But he had no mind to obey. Even the believers of that assembly did not desire his going on a transfer from there. Pastor Paul wrote to him again, strictly directing him to go to the place specified. Even that proved to be futile. He then wrote to him again saying, ‘You remain there in obedience to the believers of the assembly. I will send a person to take charge of that assembly’, and he did accordingly.
Once he sent a new servant of God to an assembly. That brother told him his difficulty saying, ‘I do not know to preach’. Pastor advised him saying, ‘Pray for a long time. It would suffice if you then read in the church, the verse that comes into your mind. That itself would become a sermon.’ He went obeying the leading.
That faithful servant prayed for a very long time. The verse that he received that day to preach was ‘Jesus wept’ (Jn.11:35). With all his inefficiency in preaching, that brother continued to read that verse aloud in the church. The Spirit of the Lord worked. Those who heard that verse were broken in their hearts and wept. There was a great revival in that assembly that day.
For those who made an effort to deliver a message to the assembly, simply with enticing words of men, without receiving it from God, Pastor Paul had this to say : ‘A man will not be able to survive if he is given hay for food.’ He insisted that every word of the message delivered should be filled with the Spirit and power and should be able to kindle those who heard them. Rightly does apostle Paul say : “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power”; “For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power” (I Cor.2:5; 4:20). Pastor Paul used to quote the proverb, ‘Even a straw could become a weapon in the hands of a mighty man of valour’. However weak a man might be, if God used him, he would be able to lead many thousands to Christ.
Journey according to leading :
In the year 1942, Pastor Paul fell seriously ill. For a few days, he was completely laid up in bed. Meanwhile, he had a leading in the Spirit to go and pray for a patient in the hospital. It was night then. Nevertheless he started. On his way, he met a believer. That believer told Pastor that if he went at that hour of the night, he would not be allowed into the hospital. But Pastor said, ‘It does not matter; God will see to it; let us go to the sick man’. And they started, Pastor Paul leading the way. When they reached there, they were permitted to go in and they prayed for the sick person and returned.
Every work according to leading :
Once in a certain faith home, the rent had not been paid for several months. The Pastor-in-charge suffered much for want of money to pay the rent. The owner of the house pressed him, insisting that they vacate the house, if they failed to pay the rent. That Pastor sent a message by telegram, requesting Pastor Paul to help him. Pastor Paul prayed for this matter. He did not have a leading to send any cash. So he sent a reply saying, ‘The Lord has given the money’. God worked. That Pastor immediately received the money he needed. He at once informed Pastor Paul about this through a telegram and alongside sent him also a sum of money.
Many came to understand the mysteries of the holy Word of God through the ministry of Pastor Paul who had thus been working through the leading of the Spirit of God and several were led to the path of righteousness. His fellow-workers also were subject to and obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit revealed through him. This was one of the important reasons for the progress of this ministry.
Selecting the new workers, appointing them for specified ministries, giving them a transfer when required, ordaining elders as Pastors and all such works — he did only according to the leading of the Spirit. All these were a cause for the blessings of the churches and individuals alike. There are very few who like Pastor Paul discern the leading of the Holy Spirit and work in obedience to it.
TRAINING THE FELLOW-WORKERS
Earlier, we saw that brothers Adam, Varghese and Matthew were the ones whom Pastor Paul received as fellow-workers when he began the gospel work in the city of Colombo. However, within a short time, Mrs. Alwin and her children i.e. Alwin, Francis and Freeda (who were later known as Pastor Alwin, Sis.Francis and Sis.Freeda) came forward for the gospel work and joined Pastor Paul.
Since the Church grew gradually, certain important people of the assembly opined that an executive committee be formed and that money be saved and a fund be started. However, Pastor Paul who had set out like Abraham, not knowing whither he went (Heb.11:8) taking steps of faith and pressing forward, trusting the Lord alone, did not accept this. Having begun a ministry with the apostolic consecration, he could not accept such opinions as saving money and organizing committees. As a result, even today there is no room for such things to find entrance into the Church.
He admonished the servants of God saying that they should esteem others better than themselves and that they should be perfectly obedient. It was the principle that the servants of God selected for the ministry should be fully consecrated, have no earthly possessions for themselves and that they should sell all that they had and offer it for the gospel work (Lk.14:33; Matt.19:21). He also taught them that they should live by faith, that they should neither let others know of their needs, nor ask and receive from them and that they should ask the Lord alone and receive from Him. Though these laws could not be comprehended by those whose eyes of understanding were not enlightened, it was not difficult for those who had surrendered themselves to follow the Lamb and had set out in that path, to understand them.
Only those who had a determination as mentioned above did Pastor Paul accept as his fellow-workers. The ministers who had been separated for the gospel work sold their property and gave it to Pastor Paul. However huge the sum may have been, Pastor Paul would use it then and there for the gospel work and not accumulate it. He took care to impart the truth that faith was the foundation of the lives of those who had been separated for the ministry. He made efforts to see that this truth was embedded in their hearts. He clearly taught the new workers the apostolic consecration and faith life from the Scriptures.
“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (I Pet.4:10). He taught them saying that they had to minister one to another through the spiritual gifts that they had received and that they should not be ashamed of any kind of ministry.
There are no servants or masters in the faith home. All are servants one to another. He made his fellow-workers understand that cooking, cleaning the house and its surroundings, washing vessels, washing clothes, cleaning the bathrooms and the toilets in the faith home is a necessary part of the ministry just like the ministry of preaching or singing. He preached that those who do not have a desire to humble themselves and minister, cannot put on the character of humility like the Lord.
With regard to those who surrender themselves for the ministry, Pastor Paul would not take into account their high degrees or their eloquence for preaching as qualifications. When God chooses a man who fulfils His commandments, He does not reckon the abundance of his wealth, the greatness of his family or his academic ability as merits which qualify him. Not one of the dear disciples of the Lord Jesus had excellent educational qualifications ! They were fishermen, tax collectors and ordinary folk, not generally held in esteem, but despised by others. Still no power on earth could stop the flow of the good tidings of the gospel which flooded through them. The ‘holiness revolution’ which they wrought through God was enough to turn the world upside down. They conquered the world through divine wisdom and through the power of love. Could there be any scholarly learning greater than the divine wisdom received through the Holy Spirit of God and could there be a civilized life better than the excellency of the divine character formed in a man through the love of God ?
He always exhorted his fellow-workers to remain humble, to destroy their self altogether, to grow in the nature of sacrifice and to love nothing else and no one else in this world more than the Lord. He also taught that servants of God ought to die to sin daily and live unto righteousness, and crucify their opinions and desires, to allow Christ to reign in them. He also insisted that they should surrender themselves to walk according to the counsel of the Holy Spirit. He reflected in his own life the divine character of the Lord Jesus Christ Who was a pattern of all these.
The divine revelations that Pastor Paul received regarding the servants of God of this Church and some of the exhortations that he gave them:
The servants of God should have the fulness of the Holy Spirit and the apostolic consecration. They should keep the mystery of the faith, should not borrow and should hate all things they ought to, for the sake of the Lord. The brothers and sisters who are the servants of God of this Church will have authority in them only according to the measure of their growth in holiness.
The brothers and sisters who are in the faith home are forbidden to marry one another. It is good for those who do not yield to the laws and the revelations of this ministry to leave the ministry. We need not endeavour to keep them in this fellowship. They are like Esau.
The servants of God must always be very diligent about their lives. They should be occupied with the ministry of the Lord, and should neither indulge in strange things even for a minute, nor while away their time in idleness. They should not stay longer than the time needed in any place other than in the faith homes. The goal of their life must be ‘Holiness unto the Lord’. Idle words, mockery, indisciplined acts should all be avoided. Brothers and sisters who are the servants of God must speak to each other only things that are most indispensable, and that, in a few words. They should neither speak against their fellow-brethren, nor give ear to such conversation. They should not believe all that they hear, and judge anyone accordingly, but must retain that matter in their mind and deal gently, till they meet the particular individual. They must deal directly with each other and have all grievances set right. They should not be ashamed of anything save sin. Cutting firewood, making purchases from the shop, drawing water, cooking food and washing clothes are no mean jobs. They are our necessities. We have no business other than gaining souls and preparing them for the coming of the Lord. Therefore, we should be ready to spend and be spent in this ministry. We should be servants not only to those who seek our help, but also to all those who are in need of our help. The ministers of the assembly must be able to give the message needed for the people, receiving it from the Lord.
Besides teaching such things to his fellow-workers, Pastor Paul also took diligent care to see that they lived accordingly and that they observed such discipline in their practical living.
The Word of God alone is the base :
Pastor Paul loved the Holy Bible with godly fervour. He took much effort to observe the laws of the Word of God in the right manner. He gave due honour to the laws of the Scriptures, read and grasped them in his heart and taught others the revelation that he received from them. He relied on the Word of God for a base to establish this ministry. Yes, our law of faith is the Word of God alone. His most delectable portion of the Scriptures was the thirteenth chapter of I Corinthians. He insisted that his fellow-workers read this chapter at least once a day.
Seeing the devil :
One day Pastor Paul prayed to the Lord that He must reveal Satan to him. Then the Lord replied, ‘Son, do not desire to see Satan, for if you see him, you will be terrified’. However, being dissatisfied with that reply, he besought the Lord again. The Lord heard his prayer and said ‘I will show you Satan’, He showed him a form which had its mouth wide open and was bound with a huge chain. The cruel form roared aloud. As soon as he saw Satan, Pastor Paul swooned and fell to the floor. Well realizing that it lay in God’s manifold wisdom not to reveal unsearchable and deep secrets to man, he greatly praised God and glorified Him.
Worship and service through songs :
Like David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, Pastor Paul found great delight in praising God through songs. He was one who understood the need for according an important place to songs in God’s ministry. Songs therefore have been accorded a primary place in our spiritual ministries even today. The translation of a few lines of the song which delighted him the most is given below :
Jesus ! Thy Person is so very fair to my eyes
Change Thou me Thy servant into Thine own image
Can anyone refrain from loving Thee
Having seen Thee the Personification of love?
Fill me to the brim with Thy love
And burn and consume me to ashes with that love.
The King’s highway :
Pastor Paul had a clear assurance concerning fundamental doctrinal truths. He never thought that he had reached his goal. Pastor Paul established his co-workers in the doctrine and encouraged them saying, ‘Many might fall; but, press on boldly in the path of truth’. He had firm faith in the doctrine that he had established. If anyone asked him about this Church and about its doctrines, he would answer aloud saying, ‘We are walking in the King’s highway through which the Lord Jesus Christ and His disciples journeyed’.
He who prays shall reign :
Pastor Paul taught that only he who spends much time in the presence of God in prayer, can remain temperate. He well knew that prayer was indispensable to preserve the Church. He made his fellow-workers understand this secret : ‘He who prays shall reign’. Only those who pray can live an overcoming life. The reward is only for those who overcome. Only those who keep their members under subjection (those who live an overcoming life), will be able to exercise dominion over nations in the Millennial reign. He would often quote the verses : “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Rev.3:21). “And he shall rule them with the rod of iron…” (Rev.2:27). “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city” (Prov.16:32).
No crown without the cross :
Many Christians today desire a life without hardship. Pastor Paul was not of this opinion. If anyone approached him for prayer for deliverance from difficulties, he would pray to the Lord saying, ‘O God, may Thy holy will be fulfilled in him. Whatever be the hardship that he has to face, make him thereby worthy of the crown that You are preparing for him’. He had known that we would lose our reward if we fail to remain content in the path that the Lord is taking us through, though it may be hard.
More labourers in God’s husbandry :
Pastor Paul had given the first training for the ministry to brothers Adam, Varghese and Matthew. Following them were brothers Titus, James, George, Thomas, Kochukunju, Philip, Alexander, Jacob and Samson who surrendered themselves for this honourable ministry and were trained by him. Thereafter, every year, brothers and sisters who were called of God, consecrated, sacrificial and were constrained by the love of God, joined Pastor Paul and ministered along with him. Thus the number of the servants of God kept increasing year after year. As a result, many thousands came into the path of faith like the early apostolic times. Many from among Hindus, Buddhists and Christians of other denominations too believed this truth and joined this Church.
A MACEDONIAN CALL
Jesus said to His apostles, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” This was becoming true even in the life and ministry of Pastor Paul. In the year 1928, a group of people who were under the leadership of Kochukunju sanyasi (sage) in a place called Aaramada, near Trivandrum, went to Sri Lanka. There they took part in certain meetings conducted by Pastor Paul. This group of people being fully satisfied with the evangelical ministries and the manner of life of Pastor Paul, extended to him and his co-workers an invitation to come to Kerala.
Pastor Paul’s first missionary journey in India — Aaramada :
Pastor Paul and his co-workers came to Kerala that very year. They took part in an evangelical meeting held in a place called Aaramada which was situated in the vicinity of Trivandrum. A large number of people including gospel ministers from various parts of India had gathered to listen to the divine messages of God given by Pastor.
Tarrying meetings :
Pastor Paul who had well known the importance of the tarrying meetings had set apart much time for it. Tarrying meetings were held there for a week. Those days the Lord baptized many with the Holy Spirit. Many who had already been baptized with the Holy Spirit also took part in those meetings. Pastor Paul who had received the gift of discerning spirits, exhorted some of them to tarry again and receive the Holy Spirit. He also drove out the evil spirits that were at work in some of them.
On the pulpit :
He delivered short sermons inspired by the Spirit of God. They brought about a spiritual awakening and enthusiasm in the people. The anointed messages which Pastor Paul delivered to the people were the divine counsels that he had received from God. These messages were able right then and there to clarify the doubts and solve the problems of those who gathered for the meetings. Besides, these messages imparted to them a knowledge concerning the goal that they had to reach, and also created a heavenly desire in them. Several people who had been discouraged because of no progress or victory in life were revived through the meetings conducted by Pastor Paul. Many witnessed to this fact.
He revealed the will of God to those who approached him seeking the divine will. Entire sanctification, perfection, consecration and the secret coming of the Lord were the most important truths that he taught the people. The purpose, “…to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Col.1:28) was the goal of his ministry.
Visiting homes and praying for the sick :
Along with conducting tarrying meetings, he visited several homes and prayed for the sick. Bearing about a heavenly disposition and lack of anxiety about the circumstances around him while travelling, were some of the extraordinary virtues that could be observed in him. A great majority of those in the homes he stepped into, have come to the Lord.
He prayed for a mother, who, was paralyzed and unable to walk after her confinement. The Lord granted her perfect healing. On one occasion, he touched and prayed for a leper whose wounds were festering and stinking. That saint who had the compassion of Christ exhibited no contempt or hatred in this regard.
The mighty Pentecostal revival continued to sweep through many parts of Kerala
like Trivandrum, Aruvikkara, Anthiyoorkonam, Erutthavoor, Punnamoodu, Venkadampu, Aanaavoor and certain other places in Kanyakumari district. As a result of this, a large number of people from other Christian denominations and from among the heathen came into the Pentecostal experience. However, as in the apostolic times, those who obeyed the truth had to endure persecution from other Christians and from the heathen. Society despised them. They were not invited for public functions. For the sake of the truth, they even lost the privileges which they rightfully deserved, and had to joyfully endure the spoiling of their goods. Reproach, shame, scourging etc. became their portion. There were hindrances in worshipping together. Since they were counted worthy to endure shame for the name of the Lord like the apostles were, they were neither discouraged nor were they grieved by these reproaches. Instead, they were only filled with joy. The people of God gathered in houses and in other places and prayed with one accord. The Lord performed signs and wonders and granted great boldness to the ones chosen of Him to preach His Word with all confidence. The number of the believers increased.
Convention at Quilon :
The convention at Quilon in the year 1928 was held under the leadership of Pastor Paul. Food was served freely to those who participated in the convention. This was witnessed for the first time in Kerala. It surprised everyone, for until then, there had been no such custom. All had to share the expenses in arranging food. Since it involved much expense, it was a matter of wonder in those days as to how Pastor Paul would go about this. But through the experiences in the following days, everyone understood that greater things than this were possible through faith and even today this practice continues.
The ministry of baptism and the opposing powers :
Through the ministries carried on in those days, a large number of people in many places were revived. Many among them decided to take baptism. When a large number of people decided to obey the Biblical truths, powers working against this also increased. In a certain place, when a group of people decided to obey the counsel of God in water baptism, the relatives of some of them planned to persecute them. Pastor Paul who understood this, did not administer baptism to a particular few that day. Furthermore, he also exhorted his co-workers, saying that they have to walk circumspectly. In this context we remember our Lord’s saying: “… be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matt.10:16).
Mayyanad — Pioneering Ministry :
There was a spiritual revival among the Protestant Christians of Mayyanad, between the years 1925 and 1930. During those days, a sage from Aaramada had come, preaching the gospel and leading many to repentance.
During this time, some of those who had gone as a family from Mayyanad to Sri Lanka seeking employment, were led to repentance as a result of the ministry of the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission and they joined that fellowship. While on vacation, when they returned to Mayyanad, they joined the gospel workers, in preaching the gospel and thus helped them. That was the time when Pastor Paul, the founder of The Pentecostal Mission and those who followed him, used to come to Kerala to do the gospel work in various places. In the year 1928 when they were preaching the gospel at Quilon, the Pentecostal believers who had returned from Sri Lanka invited, Pastor Paul and his co-workers to Mayyanad. Those days the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission was known only as a group of ascetics. Soon they hired a house at Quilon, and having Mayyanad and Ashtamudi, the places around Quilon district as centres, they began their gospel ministry. In the initial days, the gospel workers suffered much and often finding manna only for the day, they enjoyed having it and they lived joyfully for the Lord.
Some of the members of a certain rich family in Mayyanad joined the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission and stepped out for the gospel work forsaking their all. The one prominent among them was Sis. Job (Thangamma). Sis. Job was contemplating opening a clinic at Mayyanad, after completing her M.B.B.S. studies. At that time, her sister was mentally affected. Pastor Paul and those who had come from Sri Lanka with him, prayed for her. She was healed miraculously. Sis. Job understood the deep truths of the gospel and joined the ministry. She went to Sri Lanka and ministered together with Pastor Paul, and with Pastor Alwin. Her knowledge of English was of great help to the gospel ministry in those days.
Mr. P.S. Govindan who was a teacher in the Mayyanad Government Middle School, resided in the house of Sis. Job, together with his family. His wife Devaki was laid up in bed owing to a stroke. Pastor Paul visited them during that time. Devaki had no faith in prayer. But Pastor Paul explained to her that it was his duty to pray for her and he did pray. Within a week, the symptoms of her disease disappeared and she was able to sit up and even gradually walk. Later she received perfect healing. Following this, Sis. Devaki attended the services regularly, shared her experiences with others and also began to pray. Devaki’s uncle, Mr. Govindan was the District Collector those days and held a high position in society. This lended a credence to the person of Sis. Devaki and through her personal testimony, many were led to salvation. She who had been confined to bed for two years owing to the stroke, was now witnessing to God’s miraculous healing !
The cruel attack of the enemies :
While witnessing the mighty work of the Spirit in the meetings held at Mayyanad when Pastor Paul laid his hands on people for prayer, many became his enemies. Some were of the wrong opinion that he practised some charm and was deceiving people. They decided to wipe out this ministry from the land at any cost. And for this they plotted together to first beat up Pastor Paul and the others with him and torture them. They devised a subtle plan to bring him to their place. Just then Pastor Paul and those with him had returned to Quilon after conducting a meeting. Cunningly they sent a lady to him to bring him saying that there was a sick person to be prayed for. That lady was acquainted with those who were there. However, the Lord revealed to Pastor Paul that she was an instrument in the hands of the enemies. Due to this, he refused to accept their call.
However, having heard about the sick person, Pastor Titus and another person being moved with compassion, managed to take Pastor Paul’s permission and followed that woman to the sick person’s house at Mayyanad. Since it began to get dark, they journeyed with the help of a lantern. When they reached a particular spot, some people who were lying in wait welcomed them with heavy blows. The first blow fell on the head of the person who accompanied Pastor Titus. He fled for his life. Later, they surrounded Pastor Titus, tortured and wounded him, showing no mercy. He was whipped with the tail of a particular species of fish and drained of all his strength. They broke the lantern that was in his hand. But he glorified God and endured all these. With his body bleeding, he somehow managed to escape and hide himself from his enemies and returned the way he had come. Having no light, he groped for his way and continued his journey in gross darkness. His body was bruised and wounded in several places. Yet his enemies would not let him go. They followed him and tortured him again. Having beaten him, they left him exhausted by the way, took to their heels and disappeared. Pastor Titus was not even sure of the way to return. He prayed on his knees thus, “Lord, You are the Way, the Truth and the Life. Show me the way to my destination” .All of a sudden, he saw a bright light. He followed that light and reached his place of residence at Quilon. How wonderfully the Lord helps His children !
Pastor Titus was wounded all over his body. They found it hard to remove his clothes which were soaked in blood and were stuck fast to the bleeding wounds. He said that he felt no pain at all when he was beaten up. At this time, a servant of God saw a vision of a crown shining on his head. In a few days’ time, Pastor Titus was miraculously healed. In process of time, many from the families of those who had tortured Pastor Titus, came into this Pentecostal experience and obeyed the truths in the Word of God.
The hands of the one who beat Pastor Titus became immobile and after thirty years, in that same state he passed away.
Pastor Paul went to visit a certain house. Seeing a watch dog at home, he asked, ‘Brother, do we need a dog? Don’t we have angels?’ As soon as this was asked, that dog whined aloud, fled to a place nearby and died there.
A boil in the body of a mother at Mayyanad dried up and was healed when Pastor laid his hands on her and prayed for her. Later she repented, took baptism and became a member of the Pentecostal Church.
When Pastor Paul prayed for a woman who was demon-possessed over there, the devil departed from her. Pastor asked the devil, ‘What is the sign of your leaving her?’ The devil-possessed woman answered him in reply, ‘I will smite both the ears with both my hands.’ The devil did accordingly and left that body.
That was the time when Pastor Paul and his co-workers were conducting gospel meetings in places around Tiruvalla. Once while conducting an open-air meeting in a place called Meipraal near Tiruvalla, some people invited Pastor Paul to a house to pray for a sick person. When Pastor Paul prayed to God about this matter, he received no leading to go there and so he did not go. It was actually a ploy to torture Pastor Paul. But God rescued him from that as well.
Since Pastor Paul perfectly obeyed the divine leading, he was saved from such impending persecutions.
THE TRUTH SPREADS FURTHER
The co-workers of Pastor Paul – Pastor Kochukunju, Pastor Alexander and others were serving the Lord in Kerala. During those days Pastor Cook, a missionary from the West, was residing in a place called Mulakulaa and was conducting Bible Studies in the places around. (India Full Gospel Church of God). Once Pastor Kochukunju and Pastor Alexander went there to meet the missionary. The Bible Study was going on and they attended it. Later, they all had lunch. After lunch Pastor Kochukunju and Pastor Alexander washed the plates along with the others. The missionary observed this and the enthusiasm they evinced even in a simple ministry, impressed him. He shook hands with them joyfully, saying that humbling oneself to serve is the sign of a true gospel minister. Besides, he also decided to meet Pastor Paul in person and speak to him. Thus they got acquainted with each other.
Pastor Cook who was drawn by the excellent virtues of humility and love evinced by Pastor Paul, took him as the preacher to several gospel meetings he held in India. As a result, Pastor Paul took part in many meetings and delivered God’s message to the people. In his messages, he narrated experiences from his own life and expounded the consecration, whereby, like the apostles of old, one forsakes and sells all that he has to do the gospel ministry. He also told them about the ministry of faith. Certain ministers who were encouraged by the excellency of a life of faith, refused the little monetary aid they were receiving from missionary Cook and decided to live a life of faith. Prominent among them were Brother K.E.Abraham and Pastor Oommachen.
On the 13th of January, 1930, in a coconut grove near Muttuman junction, a convention was held under the leadership of Brother K.E.Abraham. Consenting to their special invitation, Pastor Paul attended those meetings. His personal testimony attracted the crowd that came to the meeting. It served to lead many to Christ. Many servants of the Lord who had understood the aspects of faith life clearly gave up the financial aid they were receiving from abroad and decided to do a selfless gospel ministry. Following this, Pastor Paul and his co-workers participated in the meetings held at Ranni too.
Pastor Paul preached at the convention held at Keekolur, Pullicad, from January 23rd to 26th, 1930. During those meetings, many received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and obeyed the Pentecostal truths.
Brother K.E. Abraham, in Kerala was an experienced Pentecostal servant of God. He had been ministering, jointly with the foreign missionaries, but was not ordained a pastor until then. By this time, an independent Pentecostal church by name, ‘South India Pentecostal Church of God’ was formed under the guidance of Brother K.E. Abraham. Then Brother K.E. Abraham and his co-workers decided to call Pastor Paul – he being an apostle and the founder of the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission which had grown independently without counting on foreign aid — to perform the ministry of laying on of hands. This matter was brought to the notice of Pastor Paul. After the meeting in Ranni, Pastor Paul had stopped at Quilon on his way to Sri Lanka. He complied with the invitation given him and returned to Kumbanad. As soon as he reached there, he fasted and prayed to know the leading of God. According to the leading of the Holy Spirit, on March 6, 1930, he laid hands on Brother K.E. Abraham and ordained him pastor. Pastor Paul also prophesied about the divine calling that Pastor Abraham had.
Pastor Paul preached at the general convention at Kumbanad from the 6th to the 9th of January, 1931, held under the care of Pastor K.E. Abraham. The glowing spiritual messages which he continued to give at those meetings served to impart spiritual life to a multitude of people and also to lead them to salvation.
Pastor Paul also delivered messages in the special gospel meetings held at the Aaramada Carmel meeting hall from the 13th to the 17th of April, 1932. He himself conducted the dedication service of the newly constructed church hall. The surroundings of that meeting hall abounded in scenic beauty with many big rocks. During those days when the meetings were going on, some drunkards sat on the rocks and were engaged in a discussion to disrupt the meeting. But a startling change took place in their midst. Having been thoroughly captivated by Pastor Paul’s sermon, they forgot about the plan they had just designed and were forced to admit saying, ‘He is no ordinary man; he is a wonderful man’. Some of them repented that very day. This served to bring about a transformation amidst the drunkards.
Through the gospel meetings held at Aaramada, many were revived. Forty of them were baptized by Pastor Paul at the Karamana river. The wife of Pastor Kochukunju from Chaathanur was one among them.
Brother Kochukunju was an eminent servant of God of the Church of God at Aaramada and was also a missionary of the Pentecostal churches at South Travancore. In one of the important meetings held on Sunday, April 17th, 1932, Pastor Paul ordained him a pastor.
Pastor Paul conducted gospel meetings at Pelumoodu near Kattakada in Trivandrum district. It is noteworthy that even from there, the Lord has raised up souls.
An independent Pentecostal minister named Manuel owned a meeting hall in a place called Punnamoodu, and he had an assembly there. Consenting to Brother Manuel’s invitation, Pastor Paul conducted meetings even there. As a result, many souls were revived. We now have a church there. With Pastor Paul, the following word of God was becoming true : “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses” (Josh.1:3).
This mission was strengthened even as many men and women joined the ministerial household of Pastor Paul who submitted to this faith life and ministry, and followed the footsteps of the Beloved, overcoming several difficulties.
Prior to the year 1933, certain of the servants of God came first from Nagercoil and then from Kottarakara to Venkadampu and conducted prayer meetings in certain houses and highlighted the gospel truths.
Prayer meetings were first conducted on the terrace of a rented two-storeyed building that was situated opposite the City Press, in a place called Palayam at Trivandrum. However, they could not continue the ministry there for long. They then rented the house of a Hindu in a place called Thamalam and continued their ministry there.
During those days, preparations were made to conduct a convention at Thamalam under the leadership of Pastor Paul and announcements too were made for this. Coconut leaves, bamboo poles etc. were brought to erect the shed (pandal). But the non-Christians residing in that area opposed them saying that the convention should not be held there. They did not permit the shed to be erected. That being the rainy season, the erection of the shed became a necessity. As an alternative, the worker-in-charge requested the members of the LMS Church for their community hall. This was joyfully given by that church and the convention held there proved to be a blessing. But even there the enemies pelted stones which fell on some. Nevertheless, God preserved His people miraculously from every danger. The enemies strove in vain to remove the poles of the shed erected to serve food to the people who had gathered there. But they could cause no great evil. It is also to be noted that a few were baptized in water at the close of the convention. Very soon they vacated the house they had rented at Thamalam and in its place rented the top floor of a building near Killipalam. They stayed there and ministered for some time.
However, they could not continue their ministry there for long. In a few days, the faith home was shifted to Andiyirakkam near Karamana. Pastor Paul held a Communion Service there. People of God were filled with joy, having placed a firm faith in the verse he preached that day, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Lk.12:32). Mockery, reproach, lack of food etc. were the daily experiences of the people of God in those days. The ministry did not continue for long even there. Just according to the words of our Lord, “But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another” (Matt.10:23), the faith home there was shifted to Tholukal near Neyyatinkara and the gospel work continued there peacefully. The ministry of this Church was not founded in Trivandrum for eleven years.
In 1939, they again rented a house at Parampukonam, Trivandrum and continued their ministry. In the years 1941 and 1942, Pastor Paul conducted conventions at Trivandrum. Once they decided to hold a convention but the circumstances were not favourable. As Pastor Paul and his co-workers arrived there, a miracle took place. A sister who was sick was brought there for prayer. Pastor Paul prayed for her and God healed her miraculously. On being healed, she removed her golden chain and presented it as a gift to Pastor. The sale of that chain brought in money which was sufficient for the expenses of the convention. Yes! A wonderful God indeed ! The way He leads His beloved ones is truly marvellous !
Once Pastor Paul and his fellow-workers came to Venkadampu and conducted a convention there. As a few from other Christian groups accepted the truth, the old believers had to face severe opposition. The close relatives of those who had newly come into the faith, intimidated them. Yet, they endured it all and remained firm in this fellowship. In those days, believers from Chani, Manivila, Venkanji, Neyyatinkara and other places partook of the services held at Venkadampu.
In the early days, servants of God in these places experienced much affliction and difficulty. There were occasions when they had to go without food for days on end. In one such situation, a certain person obeying an urge he had in his dream, brought a cluster of tender coconuts to the faith home. This served as their food for two to three days. Most of the days their food was only palm juice. Many were the times when they satiated their hunger by eating boiled leaves. The servants of God and believers had to put up with much persecution from other Christians in the land. The cruelty of these sufferings did not discourage them, but only served to help them remain stedfast in the truth that they had known.
Once a gospel meeting was held at Venkadampu. People in that place did not like it and they began to fling stones. But the people of God escaped without much harm. Embracing her six month old baby, a mother testified that the Lord protected her from the stones.
At another time, in a place called Kuttamuthu, a person hit a servant of God, a sister, on her head with the pot used for collecting palm juice and wounded her. However, by God’s grace the meeting was blessed. Yet again, in a place called Punnamootukada at Venkanji the enemies killed a snake and wound it like a muffler around the neck of a believer in order to disturb the open-air meeting that was going on. Nevertheless, by God’s grace, even there the work of the Lord prevailed over the enemies.
Once Pastor Paul was travelling via Trichur. In those days, like the other workers, he too was clad in saffron robes. One day, going down on his knees before a Syrian Christian church, he began to pray with his hands lifted up. As he prayed thus for a little while, many people gathered around him. He preached the gospel to them and prayed for the sick and they were wonderfully healed.
In the year 1934, hearing that Pastor Paul and his company had come to the house of one
Mr. Periyappa at Kayamkulam, Puthupalli, Brother K.C.Varughese went there and invited him to conduct a convention at Pallipad. But because Pastor Paul found it indispensable to attend a convention at Mayyanad in Quilon, he gave word that he would come at another convenient time. He then left with the others from Kayamkulam for Quilon.
While journeying from Kayamkulam to Quilon by boat, they reached a harbour named Aayiranthengu where the boat got damaged and the journey had to be halted. All the efforts taken by the crew to get the boat restarted was in vain. At this juncture, when Pastor Paul stood there and prayed, the Spirit of the Lord commanded him saying, ‘Go to Pallipad’. Pastor Paul who obeyed the voice of God, gave up his journey to Mayyanad, and set out for Pallipad. They all journeyed on foot via Kayamkulam and came to Salai to the east of Aloor cottage. Being exhausted, they rested on the sand. Pastor Paul and the brothers and sisters sang, played the violin, the tambourine and other musical instruments. Brother Kochukunju (father of late Mother A.K.Pennamma) on seeing this, sent his son, A.K.Philippose and invited them home and entertained them lovingly. Those days, the members of this Aloor household belonged to the Brethren Mission church.
The household of Aloor where Pastor Paul had now stepped in for the first time, accepted the truth. Some from the family were separated for the glorious ministry of the Lord. Later, they erected a shed in a grove in Kumpampuzha to conduct the convention at Pallipad. Pastor Paul conducted the first convention there. Many accepted the Lord Jesus as their personal Saviour in that convention and many were miraculously healed.
A demon-possessed man hard to be controlled, was brought to those meetings. Having the words of the Lord Jesus — “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also: and greater works than these shall he do…” (Jn.14:12) — as example, Pastor bound the devil in that man and commanded him to go to the bottomless pit. While in prayer, Pastor Paul had a vision. He saw the earth opening its mouth, the angels casting the devil therein and shutting it. And the demon-possessed man was instantly delivered.
During the convention days at Pallipad, an incident occured attesting to the humility and sacrificial nature of Pastor Paul. One day when Pastor was lying on a mat spread on a cot, a brother came and took a mat, which was rolled and kept under the cot. Seeing this a young brother angrily told him, “Don’t take that mat. It is mine and I have kept it there”. Hearing this Pastor Paul told that brother to take the mat and offered his own mat to the young man. The Lord has given that house where Pastor Paul rested and its surroundings to this Church.
In the year 1939, when a convention was being conducted at Kaarthikapalli, one Kunjariyachan of the Paandiyalaikal cottage was suffering from palsy. He was brought there, carried on a cot. At the end of the meeting, Pastor Paul prayed for him and he returned home on foot, having been miraculously healed.
A brother named Kochukunju had received only the experience of salvation and was a deacon in the Marthoma church. He was laid up in bed, with an attack of small pox. As he underwent excruciating pain, on the fourteenth day, he asked his younger brother, Matthew of Pandhalam (an IPC Pastor) to meet Pastor Paul at Quilon and request his prayers for his healing. Pastor Paul prayed immediately and sent him away saying, ‘The verdict has been given. Hereafter I will pray only for your comfort’.
Even while Pastor Paul was praying, Brother Kochukunju sat up on his bed and asked for some porridge. It seemed as if he was partially delivered. However, as God had revealed to Pastor Paul, he died on the fifteenth day. A little before his death, he called his four sons and spoke his last words to them saying, “For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” (Lk.23:31). And he exhorted them to come into the Pentecostal fellowship. God graciously hearkened to the prayer of Brother Kochukunju and as a result, the children of his third generation too are in the Pentecostal experience today.
One of the former Chief Pastors of this Mission, Pastor V.G. Samuel was a good believer in the assembly at Pallipad and had the gift of prophecy. In a convention conducted by Pastor Paul in the year 1939, he was separated for the Lord’s ministry. In the initial days of his ministry, Pastor Paul laid his hands on him and prayed for him. Consequently, spiritual gifts began to shine in Pastor Samuel’s ministry.
When one of the former Associate Chief Pastors, Pastor Philip Chandapillai was an eight year old boy, Pastor Paul conducted meetings at Pallipad. In one of the meetings little Philip testified and his testimony greatly pleased Pastor Paul. At the close of the meeting he called Philip and said, ‘God needs you. Would you like to come along with me to do the Lord’s service?’ Philip agreed and though his father resisted this in the beginning, he later consented and Pastor Paul took the young lad along with him to Sri Lanka.
In the year 1931, Pastor Paul and others with him (Pastor Titus, Sis. Chinnamma and Sis. Hitch Cock) reached Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia with the gospel truth. The Lord performed many signs and wonders and mighty deeds through them and fulfilled His gospel ministry. The following is the testimony of Mr. Dato, the Principal of Carmel School in the year 1936 : “I suffered from a serious disease in those days and was in bed for two months. Then I came to know that Pastor Paul had come to the faith home at Ipoh. I reached there at midnight. I was sleeping on the ground floor of that storeyed building. And then I dreamt that a lion stood by me. With this, I was perfectly healed. I mentioned this to Pastor Paul. He comforted me saying, ‘Only the Bridegroom must grant healing to the Bride’ and sent me away”.
THE ANOINTED MINISTRY
The year 1933 proved to be a critical period for the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission. Did we not read earlier that Pastor Paul and his co-workers preached the gospel first in India in the year 1928 ? Since then the ministers of the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission began to minister in several parts of India. In the pioneering days, places like Quilon, Mayyanad, Chathanur, Trivandrum and Venkadampu were considered to be strategic points for the ministry. In Kerala they ministered only in co-operation with other Pentecostal ministers during those days.
Eminent people from other Pentecostal churches of Kerala participated and preached at several important conventions that were held in Sri Lanka. Similarly, Pastor Paul and his co-workers were invited for their meetings conducted in Kerala. However, when the truth that ministers should be Spirit-baptized was revealed, there arose a difference of opinion, and consequently ministers from other churches separated from us.
When the doctrinal truth that the Lord truly accepts the ministry of those who are Spirit-baptized was brought to the fore, many prominent ministers of the Pentecostal church in Kerala accepted it. The importance of this doctrine is that only those who have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the sign of speaking in tongues, have the right to do the New Testament ministry. Through this, all those who had been baptized by those who had not received the Holy Spirit, were re-baptized in water by those who were Spirit-baptized. Pastor K. M. Zechariah and Pastor K. C. Cherian were prominent among those ministers who were re-baptized in obedience to this truth.
The first faith home in India :
The ministry of the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission was started in India in the year 1928. However, the home which Pastor Paul dedicated at Tuticorin in the year 1933 is generally considered to be the first faith home in India. Sis. Chelladurai and Sis. Hitchcock were the two sisters who began the ministry at Tuticorin. Though the faith home was dedicated in the year 1933, it is to be mentioned in particular that prior to this, the evidence of the emergence of the faith and ministry of this Church was much noticeable in several parts of Kerala.
Pioneering ministry at Quilon district :
In the year 1929, a house was rented in the city of Quilon and a convention was held there. The doctrines of this Church, the exemplary life and the victorious living of the servants of God allured many to the Lord and they joined this Church. In the very same year seventeen of them obeyed the Lord in water baptism. Another house was rented at Quilon for a faith home in the year 1930. In 1931, a faith home was rented at a place called Kottachara for the work of the Lord in places like Kattanam and Baranicavu. The faith home at Kottarakara was taken in 1934. During those days the servants of God had to face opposition and undergo starvation. It is to be specially mentioned here that in the pioneering days, a few like Pastor Kochukunju, Pastor M. Daniel and Mother Rahelamma endured much suffering and hardship. Because of this, the way was paved for the expansion of the work in Kottarakara and its surroundings. God raised up many families from places like Vaappaala and Punalur. A faith home was rented at Adoor in 1937 and the ministry began over there. It was during those days that the ministry was started in places like Pooyapalle and Kottara. While there came a wide opening of the doors for the ministry in various parts of Kerala, there was also an increased assault of the enemies which had to be endured.
Tribulations and mockery :
Any man who preaches the gospel truth has to essentially endure persecutions and mockery at all times. This was true in Pastor Paul’s life also. Since he had the understanding that he had been called to endure all these for the sake of the Lord’s name, such instances gladdened him.
Once Pastor Paul and his co-workers were conducting a convention at Colombo. Enemies of the gospel created a commotion in that meeting, and endeavoured to persecute Pastor Paul and those with him. However, the Lord openly punished the leader of the gang instantly. An ox butted him and he died on the spot, because of which the fear of God was instilled in the hearts of the people. Circumstances which arose to stop the preaching of the gospel only enhanced its proclamation all the more.
God cannot be mocked :
Once Pastor Paul conducted a revival meeting at Sri Lanka. It continued for thirty days. The Spirit of God began to work mightily in the midst of His people. The people who were deeply immersed in the power of God began to leap and dance. But a launderer residing nearby, ventured to mock at the people of God. He too began to shake his body mockingly and noisily ridiculed the works of the Holy Spirit. God chastised him too in such a way as to instil fear into anyone who dared to mock at God. Even as he was mocking, he suddenly fell down and died. Those who witnessed this, were gripped with fear. This incident convicted others to fear God and glorify Him.
Miracles and divine healing :
Some presume that the age of miracles is over and that they could only have occured in days of yore and are not meant for this age. If that be so, how could the work of building up the true Church of God continue ? St. Paul says that miracles and wonders are signs tending to salvation : “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” (Heb.2:3,4). During His days of ministry on earth, Jesus Christ gave importance to miracles, signs and divine healing.
God has helped even this Church to progress through signs and wonders. The truth, “For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power” (I Cor.4:20) was practically revealed in Pastor Paul’s life. His sermons were not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but were in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.
The daughter of a Buddhist died in Sri Lanka. They were making preparations for performing the last rites. Then the Lord told Pastor Paul, ‘Go and pray; do the very works that I did’. In submission to God’s word, Pastor Paul went there, preached the gospel and prayed for that child. That child was restored to life. This incident was published in the newspaper too. Pastor Paul also made a mention of this in a convention held at Mavelikkara in the year 1933.
Once a group of people strove to disrupt an open-air meeting conducted by Pastor Paul and his co-workers. The servants of God were troubled and did not know what to do but Pastor Paul prayed, rebuking the devil in the name of the Lord Jesus. At that time, a horse grazing nearby fell down. This distracted the adversaries who stopped assaulting the people of God and ran to the place where the horse fell. Thus the Lord delivered His people from danger.
Pastor Paul had prayed for a downpour at times when there was no rain and it did rain in answer to prayer. Similarly, hindrances brought about by rain during conventions, had been removed through prayer. His prayers were instantly answered. What is its secret? His sacrificial nature, humility, meekness, consecration and faith were virtues which enabled him to pray with power.
Pastor Paul who had a firm faith in the truth of divine healing, prayed for many who were sick and in answer to his prayer, the Lord healed many of several kinds of sicknesses.
The God of Ramankutty had come :
Once a person belonging to Pastor Paul’s family was attacked by the devil. Since the relatives were Hindus, they sought for deliverance in several ways. But all their efforts had no effect. Eventually, a magician said, ‘A person in your family has become a Christian. Only if he prays, this sick man will be delivered from his binding’. His relatives who heard this, sent people to Sri Lanka to fetch Pastor Paul. Pastor Paul sent a message saying that since he could spare no time to come to his native place, he would pray to God Whom he served and that He would help them. He prayed and God answered the prayer of that righteous man. At that very moment, a miracle took place in his home. The demons in that sick man cried aloud saying ‘Ramankutty’s God has come. Ramankutty’s God has come’ and departed from him.
Handkerchiefs and aprons :
Once while Pastor Paul was having a bath, some people came seeking him, requesting him to come immediately to pray for a sick person. Since he could not go at once he handed over one of his garments to them which when they placed on the sick person he was instantly healed.
In another instance, Pastor Paul was called to pray for an insane person. However, he could not go and so he prayed and sent a towel which he had with him. When they cast it over the patient, he received miraculous healing. Having been delivered from his insanity and now perfectly sound, he was brought to Pastor Paul. Do we not see that, “… God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul : So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them” (Acts 19:11,12) ? God who had thus been with St. Paul and had worked in the first century, was also with Pastor Paul in the twentieth century and wrought His works through Him.
Magnifying God greatly :
The following incident is a clear evidence to the fact that the measure of our faith and divine experiences are largely dependent on the extent to which we glorify God. A person suffering with a carbuncle approached Pastor Paul. He prayed for that sick man and said, ‘You have been healed. Return, glorifying God greatly’. He obeyed the word of that saint but when he went home and removed his shirt, it was brought to his notice by others that the carbuncle still remained. Since it was on his back, he was unable to see it and as he had absolutely no pain, he could not feel its continuance there. Nevertheless, as Pastor Paul had said, he did not give up glorifying God. Sorrowfully he asked, “Lord, did not that saint pray for me and say, ‘It has been healed. Glorify God and return’?” That very moment, that affected part of the body became as normal as the rest. He received perfect healing. Do we not read about Abraham, “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief ; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God…” ? (Rom.4:20).
THE LAST DAYS OF THE SAINT
Pastor Paul’s health was badly affected by constant travelling and hard labour. Though his health deteriorated as days passed by, he zealously continued with the work of the Lord. Even when he became extremely weak and was unable to stand up and preach, he never ceased from labouring for the Lord. He preached, being seated on a chair. Even in such a state, he obeyed the specific leading of the Lord, went to certain assemblies and also conducted tarrying meetings there.
His last message :
The last assembly that Pastor Paul visited was the one at Madras. A meeting was arranged there. Since he could not walk up to the venue of the meeting, they carried him in a chair. Seated on the chair, he delivered the message to the people. That indeed was his last sermon, a message that really glowed. Before concluding his message, he said thus to the people of God who had gathered there :
‘I do not live by my strength or by my prayers. I live by the prayers of each one of you. God is exalted above all. Surrender yourselves wholly to God. If we give just quarter, or half or three quarters of our burdens to the Lord, we may have to bear the rest of them. If we hand over all our burdens to the Lord, He will bear them all. He who is consecrated has faith. And he who has faith has rest. They shall obtain rest just like a child that reposes in the bosom of its mother. Since some forsake the joy of the Lord Jesus Christ, they are enslaved by evil desires. The Lord Jesus is coming soon. Be of one mind. Continue instant in prayer and praising. The Lord has been good and all-sufficient to me for the past twenty one years. May the holy name of the Lord be glorified.’
His last stage :
After conducting the meeting at Madras, Pastor Paul’s condition worsened and he immediately returned to Sri Lanka. Nevermore could he journey anywhere else for the sake of the gospel work. A large number of people came to meet him daily as he was in bed. His face did not indicate the physical pain he was enduring. Nothing could provoke that saint who was free of enmity and hatred and was resting in the Lord Jesus. The incident cited below is just one of many such instances to prove this.
One day he was in much pain. A backslider who greatly hated him came to meet him. He lashed out against Pastor Paul using many abusive words. He did not even hesitate to tell him that he was now being punished for the mistake he had committed. With no feelings of compassion or respect, he continued to abuse Pastor Paul. A few brothers who had been taking care of Pastor were beside him and could not tolerate this. However, none of them dared to speak anything. Finally he started to leave. Pastor Paul smiled sweetly at him. His feeble hands groped under his pillow for something. He gave a few rupee notes to that man, blessed him and sent him away.
Later, when the brothers saw him at the time of laying Pastor Paul’s body to rest, they found that he was sobbing bitterly, unable to bear his grief.
His last words :
Pastor Paul’s weakness increased day after day. He exhorted his co-workers on the leading of the ministry that had to be continued. He blessed them all. His last moments drew near. Many of God’s people came to see him. Eyes welling with tears, enquiries filled with grief, songs of hope sung soft and low — all filled the whole atmosphere with solemnity. Prayer prevailed on all lips. A supernatural heavenly silence pervaded the place.
Before his death, he said thus to his co-workers :
‘In the pioneering years of my ministry, I worked independently and not through God. Later, God and I worked together. At the end, God worked through me and I was at rest … My ministry is now over ; all of you remain united; do the will of God always.’ These were the last words of Pastor Paul. He finished his race triumphantly.
‘I have fought a good fight’ :
It is hard to find a person like Pastor Paul — full of love, consecrated, a man of prayer, a hero of faith and one who gave alms liberally.
In his 65th year, on July 4, 1945, the veil finally fell over that majestic life. Pastor Paul departed from this earth and went to be with the Lord. He was a noble soul who had a life filled with miracles and selfless acts of love. He had extraordinary achievements and accomplished a great ministry. As first among the end-time apostles, he has entered within the veil into Zion.
His Christian life is a great example of how one who has completely surrendered his ‘self’ to God can become a yielded instrument in His hands.
He hailed from an ordinary family and possessed no high degree, linguistic skill or eloquence for preaching. Yet, he was a hero of faith who yielded to the total control of the
Holy Spirit, joyfully obeying the heavenly vision and ceaselessly labouring for our Lord with zeal. It is a great history and a reflection of God’s grace and power, that Ramankutty who was born and brought up as only the son of a Hindu farmer, became ‘Paul’, the Christian saint, who began as a catechist and later with the infilling of the Spirit, became the founder of the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission, now known as ‘The Pentecostal Mission’.
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day : and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (II Tim.4:7,8). This portion of the Scripture was fulfilled in our beloved Pastor’s life.
WE WILL SERVE THE LORD OUR GOD
Pastor Paul had surrendered his children Helen, Freddy, Dora, Sam and Harry into God’s hands. Have we not seen the result of this surrender on the part of the father ! All his children grew up to be not just eminent people but powerful weapons in the hands of God as arrows are in the hand of a mighty man. His two daughters and three sons ended their race as servants of God in this Mission. The children began their training in faith life when the father consecrated the family for the apostolic ministry. His youngest daughter Dora, entered glory in her twenty-sixth year during Pastor Paul’s time. Pastor A.C. Thomas has referred to her last moments in his testimony about Pastor Paul (Ch.16). His eldest son, Pastor Thyagadas Freddy Paul became the Chief Pastor of this Mission and then entered glory. A brief sketch of his life-story is given in Chapter 17.
The life-partner of Pastor Paul :
One of the secrets of victory and progress in Pastor Paul’s life was that his wife had always submitted herself to the will of God. She was an apt help for him in the gospel work. When occasions arose in her daily life for her to yield herself to changes that tended to sufferings according to divine revelation, the zeal that she evinced through her implicit obedience had surprised Pastor Paul on many an occasion. When Pastor Paul informed his wife, the words of the Lord that he had to forsake his all and set out for the Lord’s work, she replied saying, ‘You need not worry about me. You may proceed as the Lord has shown you. The children and I will follow you’. He was used to hearing such words of co-operation, comfort and obedience from his wife. They were a source of zest and fervour for Pastor Paul’s ministry.
As a saint who greatly loved God above all, she was ready to obey whatever God commanded. She entered eternal glory when Pastor Paul’s gospel ministry was gaining widespread acclamation.
Pastor Samuel Paul :
Pastor Samuel Paul was President of the work of the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission at Sri Lanka. He was the last of Pastor Paul’s children to enter glory.
Samuel was born on July 13th in the year 1919, as the second son of Pastor Paul. As a child he provoked his father very much with his disobedience and was even beaten for it. One day the Lord told Pastor Paul, ‘You need not beat him. Give him to Me’. Pastor Paul never beat his son after that.
While a student in the Faith School, he was nicknamed, ‘the boy with blue trousers’. He was always dressed in a pair of blue trousers, not because he was fond of it but because he had no other pair. Even when he was very young, he learnt to live a life of consecration. The consecration and faith he developed at such a young age turned out to be precious assets for the long road of service ahead. His eagerness to win souls was manifest in him even at a very young age. When he worked in obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit, a great ministry was wrought through him.
Enduring hunger, weakness and tears, he continued to zealously serve the Lord in many places. Faith homes and assemblies have now been established in all those places. In many parts of North India our ministry was established through Pastor Sam Paul. With his feet “shod with the preparation of the gospel”, he would go to the uttermost ends of the land that he could reach. During nights he would sleep in railway stations, on sheets of newspaper. He would return looking dishevelled and in dirty clothes, like a poor man. While involved in the work of proclaimimg the deep doctrinal truths received from the Lord, he had to endure innumerable hardships and mental sufferings. But he received from the Lord the grace and inner strength needed to face them courageously. He had travelled many miles on foot, braving loneliness and difficulties.
Pastor Sam Paul maintained a very strict discipline in his life and expected the same in the lives of his co-workers. Some characterize him as a very strict person. He was a fearless preacher who did not care for people’s opinions. He never longed for name or fame. He did not worry about oppositions or cross-questions. “If God be for us who can be against us?” (Rom.8:31) was the confidence of St. Paul and Pastor Sam Paul took the same stand. He did not refrain from stablishing the truths nor did he dilute them in order to please men. His aim was to lead everyone into a life of holiness. Giving no preference to anyone, he zealously preached the Word of God, just as it is. He gave prime importance to holiness and consecration. Since he was zealous in the matter of consecration, even before he went to any place, the people there would be heard saying that a very strict pastor was to come there. Nevertheless, he never misused his authority as a pastor, but only reproved others out of love. He was generally misunderstood in his ministry and opposed on many occasions. But the very same people who opposed him grew to love him and cherish him much after they understood him.
Pastor Sam conducted gospel meetings in most of the states in India, and in America, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. He was one who led the way and pioneered the gospel work in all the places where he went. For eight years, he served as the President of the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission in his homeland, Sri Lanka. He also served in North India for many years. Believers over there loved him much. He not only loved that ministry greatly but also often expressed his desire to accomplish his ministry and to finish his race there.
He was a prayer warrior. During all the days of his ministry he himself conducted the praising session regularly every morning. During these sessions he would give his fellow-workers the advice and counsel needed for their life that day.
He was ready to do any work however mean, for the sake of Christ. By fulfilling the will of God, living a sacrificial life and hating comforts, he had set a good example for his fellow-workers. He had the ability to converse fluently with people in many languages and get acquainted with them.
He deeply loved the people of God who were holy and consecrated. He often remarked that the greatness of the church was not in the size of the congregation, but in the measure of its holiness. He was meek before those who opposed him. He was a saint who acted like a lion or a lamb according as the situation demanded. The difficulties, afflictions and reproaches that he endured and the labour he put in are beyond description.
Pastor Sam Paul had firm faith in the truth of divine healing. Many times he was miraculously healed of serious illnesses. He did all things well and gave all the glory to God and remained hidden in Him.
Pastor Sam Paul entered glory on 8th April, in the year 1987, at the age of 68. He has gone to be with the Lord Whom he loved and served, after completing a long and glorious service of 52 years. Let us press forward, following the example of Pastor Samuel Paul who followed the Lord wholly and was seen as a burning and shining light in the spiritual realm.
Pastor Harry, the younger son entering within the veil :
Harry Paul was Pastor Paul’s younger son. He was a saint, who, even while young, shone in the Lord’s ministry. Qualities of an outstanding apostle were well manifest in him. He had served in countries like India, England, and Malaysia and conducted gospel meetings in those places. While ministering in Sri Lanka, shouldering the responsibility of the work there, he entered glory on the 30th of December, 1973.
Helen, the eldest daughter entering glory :
Sister Helen was the eldest daughter of Pastor Paul. From the age of eleven till she was sixty seven, she did this honourable ministry quietly, with meekness. She had a great burden for the perishing souls. The longing of her heart was to prepare souls for the coming of the Lord. Going on foot or by conveyance, she not only met souls and gave them the message of perfect salvation, but also ministered through correspondence to the gospel ministers
and believers in distant lands and was enthusiastic in giving them the needed counsel and encouraging them. This sister taught many to enter the eternal kingdom through the narrow way, overcoming several trials and difficulties. On January 20,1980, Sis. Helen went on a transfer to Jaffna. Thereafter, she took ill. However, she never murmured or complained. In a vision, she saw saints who had passed away. So she understood that her end was near. She surrendered herself wholly to the will of God. She became weak physically. The people of God were praying and praising, standing around her. Sis. Helen entered glory on the 1st of March, 1980.
THE DISCIPLE ABOUT THE MASTER
A brief testimony about Pastor Paul given by Pastor A.C. Thomas in the year 1975.
On one occasion, during the days before the inception of this Church, the Lord said to Pastor Paul, ‘My Church is My Body. The members of My Body should be wholly sound. But now they are lifeless.’
Immediately Pastor Paul asked the Lord, ‘What am I to do in such a situation, O Lord?’ To this the Lord replied, ‘You have to give up all that you have, empty yourself and come to Me’. This came as a bewildering surprise to Pastor Paul. Until then he had heard nothing about gospel ministers who had no means for a livelihood. He had desired to become rich. His only thought was to somehow earn money. It was not possible for such a man to forsake his all.
‘O Lord ! how can I live without anything? If people come to me, how can I provide them a livelihood? Is there a law that I should nourish and cherish those who come to me? I have never heard of that’. Pastor Paul thus questioned the Lord on all the doubts that he had.
Beloved, the Church is a group that comprises the believers and the servants of God. Believers must be nourished and cherished by the servants of God. The servants of God are not the ones to be cherished by the believers. The servants of God must have more than the believers. Only then can they provide for others. Pastor Paul received this wisdom from the Lord. Only a very few ask, ‘Lord, how shall I nourish those who come to me?’ The Lord consoled Pastor Paul with words of comfort. The Lord said, ‘I have a bountiful supply and I’m looking for a person who can dispense that to others’. Pastor Paul replied, ‘Lord, if it be so, let it be as You say. According to Your commandment, I forsake all that I have’. So saying, he consecrated all that he had.
After this conversation, Pastor Paul said to his wife, ‘I have resigned my job and I have consecrated all of you. What is your decision?’ His wife replied, ‘You need not be anxious about us. Press on as the Lord has shown you. The children and I will follow you. You need not worry about us’.
Such is the sign of an obedient and faithful wife. “…. her price is far above rubies” (Prov. 31:10). The obedience of Pastor Paul’s wife reminds us of Sarah who followed Abraham calling him ‘lord’.
In this manner, Pastor Paul and his family began a faith life. They rented a house for seven rupees and began doing the work of the Lord on their own. There was none else to join them. He was a prayer warrior, spending all his time in prayer. Every evening he went for street-preaching with someone accompanying him.
One day Pastor Paul came across a missionary lady from Sweden. She requested Pastor Paul to interpret her sermon in Sinhalese. When Pastor Paul finished interpreting at the first time of the street-preaching, he was offered hundred rupees by her. Hundred rupees amounted to quite a large sum in those days. That was the time when his wife and children were starving at home. It was at a time when they could not even afford seven rupees for the house rent, that he received this amount. Under such circumstances, would anyone refrain from receiving the amount offered to him by someone? However, at the start, without any consideration, he received the amount and went away. Later, he was greatly perturbed about it in his mind : ‘Is this indeed God-given money? Is this actually a faith life? Lord, are You raising up this lady and helping me through her? If this has not come from You, I do not need either this missionary lady or her money’. Thus he spoke to the Lord. The following day too he went for street-preaching. Again that day the missionary lady preached. In her sermon she said that there is no place called eternal hell. Pastor Paul was astonished at this doctrine. He thereby understood that this lady was not raised by God to help him. In those days that lady said to Pastor Paul, ‘Every month I receive a sum of thousand rupees from Sweden. I will return to Sweden, making arrangements for that amount to reach you.’ The words that Pastor Paul said in reply are worthy of consideration. ‘I neither need you nor your money. Even if my family and I were to die of starvation, I do not need this money’, he declared boldly. It is to be noted that this took place in the year 1928 and this was at a time when they were able to purchase 1 kilogram rice for 4 paise. Pastor Paul had decided to starve rather than acquiesce in a preaching of the false doctrine. This is indeed a lesson to hypocritical and covetous men who for monetary gain these days, pervert the doctrines and change their way of life.
Only a man with inward courage could have answered as Pastor Paul did. Can ordinary people speak thus? How many of us can speak in this manner? Pastor Paul had refused a monthly income of thousand rupees.
Beloved children of God ! Had Pastor Paul accepted that sum from that missionary lady on that day, this Pentecostal Church would not have come into existence and these higher doctrines or this holy life would not have been revealed to us today. It was only because the Lord raised him up that day that we are able to enjoy the excellency of this apostolic ministry today.
Pastor Paul did not fear starvation. He courageously dedicated himself and his children to the will of God with an unflinching determination that he would not depart from this faith, even if his children were to die of starvation. His eldest son (Freddy) was only eighteen years old then, and he was studying in the Royal College. The famous Dr. Asarappa was his god-father. When Dr. Asarappa heard that Pastor Paul had stopped his children’s education and that as an insane person he was going to live something called faith life, he concluded that Paul had gone off his mind. Dr. Asarappa called him and authoritatively said to him, ‘Your son Freddy is my son. I am his god-father. Hand him over to me. I will send him to England along with my children and educate him there.’ In those days it was no easy matter to send someone to England for education.
His reply to Dr. Asarappa was, ‘I am going to die for my Lord. I must see my wife and children die before that. Therefore, I will not send my son to England. He neither needs British education nor any other. It is enough if he dies for the Lord Jesus’. This was the beginning of Pastor Paul’s faith life. And none of his children died during those days. About forty years later, his eldest son, Freddy Paul became the Chief Pastor of this Mission and visited the Western countries including England several times to conduct gospel meetings.
Dora, the younger of Pastor Paul’s two daughters, died at the tender age of twenty six. Her father was lying ill while she was dying. He was informed of the last moments of Dora. Then I (Pastor A.C. Thomas) was beside Pastor Paul, ministering to him. He desired to see his daughter, but being unable to walk even to the next room, he was taken there. But when he approached her, her eyes were closed. She was breathing her last. But still she sensed her father’s presence near her.
‘Papa, papa, do you see Jesus? Can you hear the angels sing, Papa?’ the daughter asked. ‘No daughter, I cannot hear it’, the father replied. She said again, ‘I am going, Papa. Jesus is calling me. Do not pray and stop me from going’. Can a father’s heart remain unmoved on hearing these words which can really break one’s heart ! However, the response of the father was ‘Goodbye child, goodbye, I’m going to sleep.’ Saying so, he went to rest in the next room. Dora soon after went to be with the Lord Jesus.
Pastor Paul lived as a saintly warrior who could challenge even death. He believed that his God was all-sufficient to him.
I came into this fellowship only after Pastor Paul started this ministry in this manner. One thing was very amazing to me during those days. It was that Pastor Paul used to praise God during prayer time, saying that God had given them India and ten thousand servants of God from there.
Today when I see you all having gathered here, I remember those days. In those days Pastor Paul had seen you with eyes of faith. He captured India and thousands of servants of God also by faith. This ministry was begun even without a single coin in hand, but now we are spending thousands in God’s cause. He taught us faith. In all this, he never once said, ‘Look to me’. He would always extol the greatness of the Lord and say, ‘Look to the Lord Jesus’. He would also add, ‘How faithful a God we have ! Whatever be the difficulties we face, we need not fear them for any reason’. If we live according to the laws of God, we need not fear anything. We truly live according to the laws of God. We have the great confidence that we are the true Israelites. Once we were in Egypt; He delivered us from there and now we are God’s own people. God has brought us to the land of ‘Canaan’. What does the word ‘Canaan’ mean? It means ‘rest’, or ‘comfort’, or ‘the land of inheritance according to promise’. With hope let us await the land of rest, the heavenly Canaan to come, and be prepared for it. “… for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7).
SAINTS AFTER PASTOR PAUL
The good things we find in the lives of the saints who have gone before us are for us to emulate. The lives of the saints of our times are also a source of inspiration besides the ones we find in the Bible, though they are next only to them. Beside others, there are sources of saints of this Mission who have lived and gone and whose lives would be much worth our consideration and review. And it would not be without benefit if we consider a few of them, mainly the Chief Pastors who have succeeded Pastor Paul.
‘ The heroes of faith before us pass on
Their battles are fought and their victory is won
They lived for their Master and showed us the way
Though dead, they still speak to the saints of today.’
PASTOR FREDDY PAUL
Pastor Thyagadas Frederick Paul was a shining star in the spiritual realm. He was the son of Pastor Paul. He was the Chief Pastor of this Mission from 1962 to July, 1973.
He was born on February 1st, in the year 1915. He was the second in a family of five children and oldest among the sons. He was highly efficient and an eminent student of the Royal College at Sri Lanka. However, since his father received the heavenly calling from God for the glorious ministry, Thyagadas had to discontinue his college studies early. When the father began the faith life, the son too hated the comforts of this world and followed him. Even as Isaac had wholly obeyed Abraham, right from his young age, Freddy obeyed his father in all aspects.
In his ninth year, Freddy was baptized with the Holy Spirit. He himself testified saying that the anointing of the Holy Spirit was the cause for a complete turn-over in his life. Right from his young age he was a prayer warrior. ‘More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of’ were the golden words that he adhered to in his life. As the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission grew, the Lord raised up a large number of brothers and sisters as fellow-workers of Pastor Paul. The extraordinary attribute of this little boy amidst them was his love for them, without expecting it to be reciprocated. Owing to that, he was able to live a life harbouring no bitterness against anyone till the end. In the initial stages of their faith life, when the parents endured several difficulties, Freddy had placed his joy and trust in the Lord. His experiences were like what the apostle Paul speaks of —weariness, painfulness, watchings often, hunger, thirst and fastings often (II Cor.11:27). Amidst all such sufferings, Freddy used to sing this verse with a smile on his face.
‘Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were an offering far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.’
Difficulties and predicaments created strength and courage in him. Just as Moses chose to esteem the reproaches of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, Freddy forsook a life of pleasure and comfort in this world, and surrendered his life to the apostolic ministry.
Right from his fourteenth year, he began to take part in the ministry with enthusiasm. He was ordained an elder in 1942 and pastor in 1945. He went to eastern countries like Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia and Japan and to the Western lands as France, England, Belgium, Italy and also to several parts of America and Africa with the gospel truths and won many thousands to the Lord.
He was a loving spiritual father. Anyone could approach him with any kind of problem at anytime. He used to have a diary with him. He would note down the names of those who requested prayer in that diary. Even during times of physical weakness, one could see him in his bed, praying zealously for the progress of the people and with a burden for souls. He always had a burden concerning the churches. At times, unsolvable problems of the Church had confronted him. The remedy that he had discovered for this was to keep talking to God for hours on end. As a result, he would be found smiling, with all his burdens removed. Therefore all loved him greatly. Many were those who had forgotten their problems, seeing the pleasant smile on his face.
Amidst storms :
The year 1962 was a critical period for the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission. In the midst of opposition, storms and winds, he was found with humility and great calmness. He was prepared to meet any kind of danger. Many marvelled, witnessing his manner and sweet nature by which he obtained a great victory when a strong wind of trials blew fiercely in those days. During this period of conflict he revealed many extraordinary virtues. That same year he was ordained to be the Chief Pastor of this Mission with an unanimous approval. Having accepted this esteemed post, he had to shoulder heavy burdens on several occasions. For a space of eleven years, he faithfully shouldered them and finished his race triumphantly.
The last stage of his ministry :
Though Pastor Freddy’s physical weakness increased, his excellent virtues were not affected. He had taken ill several times due to long journeys and tremendous work. While involved in the gospel work in America in the year 1969, he was laid up with pneumonia. Those who were ministering to him thought that he would die. Therefore they brought him to Sri Lanka. Soon his condition changed. Then in March 1973 he attended the convention held at Madras. Though he was extremely weak, he preached for a little while at the devotional service on Sunday morning and this encouraged the people. That was his last convention sermon. He presided over the General Body Meeting held the following day, selected the servants of God, and returned to Sri Lanka thereafter.
He was taken to Kandy for rest. Towards the close of May, 1973, he was brought to Mattakuliya from there. Though he seemed to gradually recover, two weeks prior to his death, his physical condition became very critical. He lost his appetite frequently. When asked why he was not eating anything, he replied, ‘Man does not live by bread alone.’ He was on the verge of death. This was intimated to the Deputy Chief Pastor, Pastor A.C.Thomas who was conducting the convention at Malaysia. He immediately returned to Sri Lanka. Both of them spent much time in prayer. Pastor Freddy spoke many things to Pastor Thomas. After this, Pastor Freddy was found very cheerful. In the presence of prominent servants of God in Sri Lanka, he ordained Pastor A.C. Thomas the Chief Pastor of this Mission on the 24th of the same month. For a few days after this, he was very weak physically. Yet on the eve of his death, he spoke lovingly to all those who came to see him, exhorted them and prayed for them.
Entering glory :
He was asleep when the regular evening prayer was going on that day. Many were coming to see him. He became a little restless at about 9.30 p.m.. While all around him were singing and glorifying God, he too joined them in singing and praising. He slept again and woke up the next morning at 3.30 a.m., on the 30th of July, 1973. Realizing that those around him were singing and praising God, he said, ‘Sweet hymns, Hallelujah’. Then it seemed as if he fixed his gaze steadily on someone standing before him. When others were praising God, he looked around as if he was following the one who had stood before him. He stretched out his hands as if to shake hands with that invisible guest. He then let his hand down, departed from the body and went to be with the Lord.
‘Thyagadas’, (in Indian vernaculars means ‘a sacrificial servant’) a faithful and an excellent servant of Jesus Christ lived up to his name and entered glory.
PASTOR A.C. THOMAS
Pastor A.C. Thomas who was a faithful disciple of Pastor Paul was the Chief Pastor of the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission from 1973 to 1976.
Pastor A.C.Thomas hails from Seluvallur (Kollakadavu) which is situated near Maavelikara, in central Travancore. The family of Kaliyakal, residing there, was a wealthy Christian one. Thomas Kunjomaachen was born on June 2, 1907 as the son of Chacko and Mariamma. When about two and a half years old, he took seriously ill and was at the point of death. His grief-stricken mother made supplication to the Lord, vowing that she would consecrate him to the Lord if he was restored alive to her. Hearing her prayer, the Lord healed the child. The mother would often keep reminding Thomas of his being consecrated to the Lord even as a child. Nevertheless, in his childhood, he did not seem much inclined to serve the Lord. After a simple education he went to Sri Lanka in search of a job and secured one.
Thomas was twenty three when the Lord met him. Prior to this, he heard the voice of the Lord rebuking him for a certain fault of his. This led him to repent and created faith in him. With repentance, he asked forgiveness of the Lord. He realized that the Lord had forgiven him all his sins and that he had thereby become a child of God.
The year 1935 was a prosperous one for A.C. Thomas. One day, seeking a quiet and peaceful place to pray, he went to a nearby church. The sexton granted him permission to pray there. When he stepped out that night, after praying, he saw a stranger with a Bible in his hand, standing before him. His dress and the appearance was that of a servant of God. ‘Who are you?’ asked Thomas in surprise. ‘I am a child of God’, was the simple reply. On further enquiry, he understood that the stranger had left home a week earlier and that he was now returning home. He invited Thomas to accompany him. On the way, he spoke of the glorious salvation one may receive from Christ. It was around 9 p.m. when they reached his dark little hut. Both the stranger and his wife were children of God. Thomas offered them a little monetary assistance when he understood how poor they were, although spiritually very rich. After sharing with them a meal prepared in a short while, Thomas left their home at around midnight. His conversation with this servant of God had given him deep spiritual insight. It was midnight and he was prayerfully returning through an unfamiliar route. But the Lord miraculously led him to the very church to which he had resorted for prayer earlier.
High calling :
Thomas then understood that the Lord Himself was leading him. He did not sleep that night. He silently meditated on the words of that servant of God. At around 2 a.m., the Lord spoke to him saying, ‘Read the 8th chapter of the book of the prophet Isaiah.’ The message of God to Pastor A.C. Thomas was, “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion” (Isa.8:18). ‘You will be a sign and a wonder’, said the Lord to him. On hearing this, he was drawn to the Lord. ‘Thomas have you ever said that you will never get married ?’ the Lord continued. ‘Yes, Lord’, replied Thomas. ‘Why ?’ asked the Lord. ‘I am needed to unite my family’, replied Thomas. ‘Is it not necessary for the whole world which is a family to be united? You should become a partner in fulfilling My work. Who will take care of My children doing My ministry who have been entrusted to Me by their parents? I desire that you take up this responsibility too’. The Lord posed many such questions. As Thomas made no reply, the Lord Himself furnished the answers too. Thomas too, on his part, asked many questions,
to which the Lord gave suitable answers. To Thomas, this was a very important meeting with the Lord.
The Lord commanded Thomas to forsake everything and become His worker, as mentioned in Luke 14:26-33. The Lord ordered that he should have nothing in this world to call his own and that he should become nothing. When Thomas asked, ‘How can one live like this?’ the Lord asked in return, ‘Did I not create this world out of nothing? I can create a new man in you only if you come to the state of nothingness’, said the Lord. Young Thomas was overjoyed on hearing this and he decided to leave all and follow the Lord. He wanted to resign his job. ‘Do you not see a large number of men, women and children around you? They shall all be your brothers, sisters and mothers. I desire to give them all to you. How can I give them into your hands if you do not consecrate your father, mother, brother and sister? Have I not promised to give you the whole world?’ asked the Lord.
Thomas had no doubt about the matter of consecrating his parents, kith and kin. But when the Lord told him to consecrate his Bible too, he doubted as to whether it was really the Lord Who was asking him to do this. The Lord explained that he had to consecrate everything bought with his own money. The Lord promised not only to give him a new Bible, but also to provide all his needs. When he obeyed this, his consecration was perfect and he felt light and free, as if he were flying in the air.
This dialogue between the Lord and Thomas continued from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m.. He stepped out of the church, and lifting up his hands to heaven he said, ‘Lord, I have none but You in this world.’ To this the Lord replied, ‘If you are Mine, you have everything. I have called you to walk with Me. Just I and you, you and I. All will forsake you. But I will not forsake you. Will you forsake Me?’ asked the Lord. ‘No, Lord, by Thy grace, I certainly will not’, replied Thomas. Needless to say, he was indeed a faithful servant to the Lord till death.
Guided to holy fellowship :
Having made all the consecrations as declared by the Lord, Thomas now wondered where and how he was to serve the Lord. The next day he was miraculously led to the faith home of the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission. He spent a whole night at the faith home. While there, he saw two sick persons, one suffering from malaria and the other from diarrhoea. He volunteered to minister to them. That night the Lord revealed to him the glorious ministry that he was to do in the days to come. The next day, he participated in the Convention held at Colombo. There he received water baptism. But before one could become a servant of God in the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission, three indispensable conditions had to be fulfilled in his life : (1) He had to receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit with the sign of speaking in other tongues (2) He should have a good report in the church (3) He should have consecrated his all for the sake of the Lord. The third condition he had already fulfilled. But he had not yet received the fulness of the Holy Spirit that is accompanied by the sign of speaking in tongues. Besides, since he was new to the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission, the condition that he had to have a good report in the Church was also not fulfilled. This constrained him to pray that the Lord might speak to the prominent leaders of the Mission. Early next morning, he was preparing to leave, when Pastor Paul, the founder and Chief Pastor of the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission stopped him saying, ‘You are a chosen vessel. The Lord has called you for His great ministry. Receive the Holy Spirit and love the Lord.’ He was thus accepted as a servant of God. Leaving Thomas in the custody of a brother by name Kavalakadan Matthew, Pastor Paul said, ‘Brother, this is a new soul. He has to be taken care of.’ Elder Kavalakadan spoke to Thomas about the ministry of the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission, its great responsibilities and the greatness of this ministry. Moreover, he said, ‘Do not consider everyone to be a saint. Decide to live as a saint in their midst. When we become saints, they too will become saints. Do not keep company with those who hold on to racial, linguistic and other distinctions. This will lead to factions. Everyone should be considered as a brother or sister. No one should be treated differently on the basis of any distinction.’
Receiving the anointing of the Holy Spirit and early ministry :
Soon afterwards Thomas received the anointing of the Holy Spirit with the sign of speaking in tongues. He lived a blameless and victorious life. True to His promise, the Lord gave him numerous brothers and sisters. He was also given the responsibility of teaching thirty children at the Mattakuliya Faith School. He was ready to do any hard physical work and whole-heartedly did any kind of menial work too. The exhortations that the leaders had given him qualified him to take up responsible duties.
At a time when there was a set back in the ministry in South India (1943), Pastor A.C. Thomas was sent to Kerala. Accepting the responsibility of the ministry at the Tiruvalla Centre, he began ministering with enthusiasm. At the outset, the congregation doubted whether he would be able to understand the state of the church and manage its affairs, for he was only a youth and an inexperienced one at that. But very soon their doubts vanished, for the grace of the Lord was manifested through his ministry. Those were days of want and difficulty. But he carried out his responsibilities most meticulously. The ministry grew and spread. As mentioned by apostle Paul in II Corinthians 12:12, ‘the signs of an apostle’ were seen in him.
The progress of the ministry :
This ministry that depended on the grace of God extended to the regions of Kottarakara and Trivandrum. Thereafter, Thomas was sent to Madras. There he had to face many oppositions from other Christians. Since the Lord was with him, there too, the ministry was established. Another place where his ministry was fruitful was Bombay. Owing to his relentless labour, the Lord gave him many precious souls there.
Ministry in foreign countries :
The Lord Himself was moulding Thomas for greater responsibilities and leadership in the ministry. At the age of fifty he was given charge over the ministry in France. For a while he was in great difficulty, having no place to stay, not knowing the language and facing adverse climatic conditions. But the Lord created favourable circumstances that helped construct the faith home at Paris. From there he travelled to other parts of France, and ministered there. Later, he went to America where he served the Lord for a short period. Then he returned to India to take up the responsibility of the general ministry there. Special mention should be made of the fact that wherever he went, the Lord raised up fellow-workers and fulfilled all his spiritual and material needs.
Excellent traits of character :
Prayer with a deep consecration, and a life without guile are some of the special traits worth- mentioning in his life. His unwavering faith enabled him to fearlessly confront all the problems of life. He has often testified that the secret of his victorious life lay in the policy : ‘Thomas has to die in order that Christ may live’. When a fierce storm blew against the Church in the year 1962, he stood along with Pastor Freddy Paul in the fore-front of the host, armed with the weapons of the kingdom of God, and resisted the evil forces and thus preserved the Church. During the twenty-six years of his ministry at Madras, he joined Pastor C. John in leading the church in an effective manner. He paid special attention not only to the spiritual progress of the gospel workers, but also to their accomodation, food requirements and other facilities. On the 24th of May 1973, a little before his death, Pastor Freddy ordained him the Chief Pastor.
Encouraging the youth :
Thomas often remarked that the youth were the back-bone of the Church and that their problems therefore required special attention. On his last visit to Singapore, the youths there requested that a meeting be held to give them a chance to get their doubts cleared. He realized that meeting their needs was a work that ought to be given first preference. It was needful for him to discuss with them the problems faced by the youth who are saved and live a life of separation from the world. Looking upon him as a father and not as a pastor, they opened their hearts to him. They were able to speak out their problems openly and explicitly. Pastor Thomas supplied clear-cut answers to their questions. He also conducted youth meetings and youth camps in many places all over the world. He encouraged the youth to shoulder heavy responsibilities in the Church. Wherever he went, he moved closely with the youth.
Literature ministry :
Pastor Thomas had the desire to publish literature on the apostolic doctrines that we preach. The Exposition of the Book of Revelation is one of his famous books today. It was his great desire that the people of God understand all the important gospel truths. He admonished those involved in the Christian literature ministry to take heed to denounce through their publications, the erroneous doctrines and wrong practices that were creeping into the Church.
The last lap of his race :
Though physically weak during his last days, he did not deem it a hindrance to his serving his Beloved. He constantly had the burden to perfectly fulfil the ministry entrusted to him. He understood that he had reached the last lap of his life’s journey. His important goal was the holiness and perfection of his fellow-workers. In the workers’ meetings he last conducted, he firmly taught that a victorious life was indispensable in preparing for Zion and New Jerusalem. All his thoughts and words during his last days were only of Zion. Two weeks before his departure to be with the Lord, at a monthly meeting held at Kottarakara, he preached on the verse, Isaiah 52:1: “Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city.” On Monday, June 21st in the year 1976, at 12:27 noon, he entered glory at the Tiruvalla faith home.
The departure of Pastor A.C. Thomas was a heart-breaking incident in that it was a great loss to the whole Pentecostal establishment and could not be compensated by man. This great saint who began his ministry as a humble servant of God became a vessel chosen of God unto honour like Moses, Joshua, David and apostle Paul. There had never been any distinction of any kind of nationality, caste or language in his heart. His works that were pure and void of enmity, exalted him to the highest post in this Mission. He associated himself with the believers with a love that was more than the love of a father.
He had to face many obstacles and oppositions. At all such times, one could only see a smile of love on his face. He revealed nothing, but words of comfort to those who approached him with diverse needs. “Thou hast well done that thou art come” reads Acts 10:33. Accordingly, all those who came to him enjoyed his loving hospitality and his good nature that was so refreshing. This sacrificial man who was determined to establish the essence of the apostolic truths, laboured hard for more than forty years in the ministry of God. In all the foreign countries visited by this valiant man, people accepted the truth. Though his hard, long and relentless labour affected his health, following his Beloved with perfect love till the end, he led the Church like a warrior. The final words of his successor Pastor Jacob Ratnasingham at the funeral service held at the Headquarters of the Pentecostal Mission at Adyar (Madras), seem appropriate here : ‘There is no need to describe pure gold’. Following the footsteps of this saint, walking in his ways, is itself a sacred memory of him.
“Be ye followers of me as I also am of Christ” (I Cor.11:1).
PASTOR JACOB RATNASINGHAM
Pastor Jacob Rathnasingham who was a ‘father of many nations’ was the Chief Pastor of our Mission from 1976 to January, 1990.
Pastor Jacob was truly a ‘father of many nations’. Right from birth, the hand of the Lord was upon him. While a babe he suffered from a disease of the intestines. His father was away at work when he received the news that little Jacob had died. It took twenty minutes for him to cycle back home. Taking the child in his arms, he prayed, ‘Lord, if You will restore my child back to life, I will give him for Your ministry.’ The moment he offered this prayer, the child came back to life. But little Jacob opened only one of his eyes. He had lost sight in the other eye. All his life this was a reminder of his life being a gift from God and of his being a chosen vessel to do the ministry of the Lord.
When Jacob was eight years old, doctors advised his parents that his healthy eye needed to be operated upon, failing which he would lose his eyesight altogether by the time he became sixteen. Being strong in faith, little Jacob trusted in the Lord for healing. So he replied, “God shall see to it”. The Lord Who is faithful honoured his faith. Till the end of his life, he had good sight in his remaining one eye. As he had godly parents, he was brought up in the fear of God. The Sunday School ministry of our Mission was started in his house. Pastor Paul’s children and the family members of Pastor Jacob were among the first few students.
Jacob’s father was a very consecrated believer. As a result, Jacob learnt to live a faith life even in his childhood. His father was a tireless evangelist. Although he cared for his family with a great sense of responsibility, his greatest burden was for perishing souls. He used to cover many miles a day on foot, witnessing to the Lord and distributing the Scriptures and gospel literature.
At one time, when he had walked thirty miles doing gospel work, he took seriously ill. His sickness kept increasing day after day. To his son John who came to see him he said, “Son, I am leaving nothing for you all but God will abundantly bless all of you.” So saying, he departed from this world. Truly the Lord has most wonderfully undertaken for all of them.
Concerning Pastor Jacob’s academic career, Dr. A.M. Moothathambi of Colombo bears this witness : “Jacob and I were not only close relatives but also very close friends. Both of us studied at Wesley College at Colombo. He was quiet and soft-spoken and very humble. Even from the beginning he was god-fearing and very obedient to his parents. Godliness and simplicity in dress, conduct and speech were virtues exemplified in his life. It was clear that he had nothing to do with the fashions of the world that entice others. He spent most of his leisure quietly and peacefully at home. If not at his studies, he can be seen reading the Bible.”
Even while a student, Pastor Jacob had a deep conviction concerning the imminent return of the Lord and he desired to surrender himself for the ministry. But Pastor Paul advised him to complete his studies first. Before he could do so, his father too retired from work. One of Pastor Jacob’s brothers was earning a small sum. He therefore wanted Jacob to earn and assist the family for a short period before surrendering himself for the ministry. But Jacob suddenly fell ill with a severe case of scabies all over his body. Pastor G. Thomas spent a whole night in his house, praying for his recovery. All the members of his family agreed upon sending him for the ministry immediately if the Lord healed him. At four, early next morning, the members of his family saw him completely healed. All opposition to his joining the ministry was also removed.
Pastor Jacob joined the ministry in 1936 at the age of 21. The Mission was going through diverse trials in those days. After working for a few years in the Faith School at Navina and thereafter in various parts of Sri Lanka, he was sent to India. After serving at Madras for a short period, he served at Kottarakara and in many parts of Tamil Nadu as Centre Pastor. Later from 1957 to 1962 he served in Malaysia and Singapore as Superintendent Pastor. In spite of the many difficulties faced in Malaysia, he won many Chinese souls to the Lord.
When the church was facing a great trial, Pastor A.C. Thomas had to return to India and Pastor Jacob was sent to America in his stead. The work had just then begun at New York and there were only a few believers. As the faith home there was a spacious one, they did not have enough money to get the whole building heated during winter. There was also shortage of food. Pastor Jacob and those with him went through much suffering. Even when his health was affected, he never became discouraged. In the face of all this, he continued his ministry. Pastor Jacob was a source of inspiration to all.
Later, when the work at France was shaken, in the year 1963, Pastor Jacob took charge of the work there. He rebuilt the shattered faith of the believers and won their confidence. Pastor Jacob was not disheartened though there were a few enemies as in the days of Nehemiah who scoffed saying, “What do these feeble Jews?” Calm but firm, Pastor Jacob laboured in the Lord’s vineyard and eventually won the love and affection of all. In later days, the people came to look upon him as a father.
Pastor Jacob continued as Pastor-in-charge of the ministry in France till 1974 when he was called back to Madras, and given the post of Deputy Chief Pastor. Following the home-call of Pastor A.C. Thomas in 1976, Pastor Jacob succeeded him as the Chief Pastor and travelled to various parts of the world, holding conventions, separating new workers and supervising the administration of the church. Though the church faced trials, from time to time Pastor Jacob proved to be a pillar of strength and a source of comfort, faith and courage to all.
Pastor Jacob was very humble and he could be easily approached with any problem. He was one who could kindle a revival and give guidance and counselling to everyone. His words were few but weighty and beneficial. He had the patience to pay keen attention to what others said. He was tender-hearted, kind and compassionate and was actively involved in the spiritual progress of children and youth. In his continued journeys, it was customary for him to visit again and enquire after the well-being of those whom he had met earlier in several parts of the world and encourage them. This he also did frequently over the telephone. Truly, the Lord had made him a ‘father of many nations’.
He was very meticulous and orderly in doing all things, even if they were matters small and minute. He would very diligently observe things which others generally overlooked. His sermons and his teachings were always centred on practical aspects of Christian living. When teaching the servants of God he laid emphasis on the fact that one’s life is of greater importance than one’s ministry. His messages were mostly prophetic in nature and could bring about God’s presence and conviction in the hearts of the people.
His God-given wisdom and far-sightedness made him seek the will of God in all matters. He never came to hasty conclusions nor did he allow himself to be swayed by the opinions or constraint from others. He was upright and sincere. When once he had understood the will of God in any particular matter, whatever the cost, he would never compromise. This was particularly perceived in the trials that arose in those days in the matter of changing the name of our Mission.
His health steadily declined in 1989 and he was unable to preach much. Yet he participated in conventions and workers’ meetings. He also travelled to Malaysia, Singapore and many parts of India. On returning to Sri Lanka from India in October, he became extremely weak. On the 4th of January, 1990, the Lord called him to Himself in his 74th year. His last words were his words of counsel to the Deputy Chief Pastor, Pastor V.G. Samuel.
Many who had loved him from different countries attended his funeral service conducted in Sri Lanka. The sweet fragrance of his life will waft over us always. He being ‘dead yet speaketh’. His life was truly an epistle written by the Spirit and read of many all over the world. To God be all glory and praise for another stone laid in Zion.
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (II Chron.16:9).
PASTOR V.G. SAMUEL
Pastor V.G.Samuel who lived a righteous and holy life, served as the Chief Pastor of our Mission from January 4, 1990 to August 19, 1991.
‘The memory of the just is blessed’ (Prov.10:7). This is the reward given by the Word of God to a just man who surrendered himself to the purpose of God and lived with a guiltless and upright heart. The grace of God exalted him who continued faithfully in the revelations and truths given to him. He was able to boldly assert with St. Paul, “His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain” (ICor.15:10). He laboured more than all others. Yet it was not him but the grace of God that was with him. Though he is now dead, he still speaks of the mighty deeds manifested in his life by this grace.
Pastor V.G.Samuel hails from Chennithala near Maavelikara in Kerala. Born to his parents as the fourth son, he was brought up in a godly manner in the Marthoma faith. Besides, he was very zealous in spiritual matters. It was at this time that he accepted the Lord Jesus as his personal Saviour. After this he received water baptism having learnt about the truths of baptism by immersion and the anointing of the Holy Spirit from the early Pentecostal Missionaries like Pastor K.E. Abraham. When the Marthoma Bishop came to know of all this, he questioned Pastor Samuel who replied that he had acted only according to what was written in the Scriptures.
Pastor Samuel and a few others lived together forming a separate fellowship. In this period, he and those with him waited for the anointing of the Holy Spirit and received it with the sign of speaking in tongues and the gift of prophecy. He faced many kinds of oppositions and persecutions at the hands of his relatives and the men of his place. He was invited to join the church where he had been baptized. But he prayed over this matter. Then the Lord said, “I will show you the fellowship you have to join”. In May 1937, the work of The Pentecostal Mission was started at Pallipad and Pastor Samuel began to attend their services. In 1939, Pastor Paul, Pastor Alwin, Sis. Francis and Sis. Job conducted a convention at Pallipad. When Pastor Samuel participated in that convention, the Lord said to him, “This is the group I spoke to you of. These are those who live by faith, who live sacrificially and who obey Me”. He surrendered for the gospel ministry and was selected for it during this convention. He began his ministry first at Maavelikara. During those days he had to endure much starvation and sickness. When it came to rebuking those who committed wrong, he did not spare even those who loved him dearly. When the faith home at Puthankaavu in Chenganur became the centre faith home, Pastor Samuel was transferred there.
At one time he had to starve continuously for thirty days. Though many who were standing in the forefront backslid at that time, he stood firmly for the truth and encouraged many. He was at the point of death when suffering from cholera at Puthankaavu and when ill with typhoid at Tiruvalla. But on both occasions, the Lord delivered him miraculously.
Apart from his experiencing the wonderful healing power of God, many others too received miraculous healing through his prayer. Right from the start of his ministry he was a prophet. God had given him not only the gift of prophecy but also the gift of discernment. Those who had committed even small faults feared to attend services that were conducted by him. Many who received divine counsel through his prophetical ministry have consecrated and surrendered themselves to serve the Lord. He lived a humble life and was a prayer warrior. Since he lived in close fellowship with the Lord through prayer, he was not troubled or dismayed by anything. Since he was a holy and righteous man, he was always as bold as a lion. He was a good preacher. He was also like a judge, able to quickly arrive at a solution to any problem. Nevertheless like a father, he comforted, encouraged and loved the believers and his fellow-workers. He was always joyful in the Lord.
Through this gift of prophecy which he had received freely, he strengthened and consoled many. As the early days of the ministry were fraught with diverse difficulties and afflictions many became weary and disheartened. But Pastor Samuel’s prophecies and words of counsel and exhortation encouraged such people and enabled them to stand as victors. He came to be fondly known as prophet Samuel. Pastor Samuel’s prophecies brought fear and conviction of sin and changed the hearts of many. He was an excellent apostle who lived up to his prophecies.
Living a humble and lowly life he was filled with the wisdom of God. Though he was not highly educated, God had filled him with His own wisdom. Hence he possessed the ability to solve not only spiritual problems but also earthly ones. Whatever the crisis, through prayer he was able to emerge victorious. This proved that he was always with the Lord and that the Lord was always with him. As he always leaned upon the Lord for His guidance, everyone obeyed his leadership. As a leader, he was fully aware of the burdens and difficulties faced by those under his leadership. When people came to him for prayer, even before they could tell him their problems, Pastor Samuel would tell them what they needed, through the revelation given by the Spirit. He desired the joy of others and was very concerned about meeting their needs.He won many through love. Secret love and open rebuke were seen in him (Prov.27:5).
Many were attracted by his sacrificial and consecrated life. He was zealous in holiness and he taught and practised the consecration after the order of Melchisedec. Many servants of God acknowledged that they have learnt a life of faith and a life of consecration from him. He was a father who could train others according to the abilities and grace they possessed. His desire was that gospel workers should have the mind of a father and should live like fathers. His humility, meekness, and the special anointing that was upon him and the perfect grace seen in him led him naturally to the responsible office of the Chief Pastor. It was the fulfilment of the prophecy spoken concerning him in the year 1940. It was that the Lord had given into his hands this great ministry and that he was going to take him in His hands and use him as a mighty weapon. But after this prophecy was spoken, Pastor Samuel took ill with cholera and died. Servants of God prayed that his life span be extended by fifteen years. The Lord heard their prayer and added to his life not fifteen years but fifty.
He did not live according to his own desires. His life was one that displayed the qualities needed for one to stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion, as mentioned in Revelation 14:1-5. He often remarked that the end of one’s life should be better than the beginning. His life, shone with all the five offices of an apostle prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher.
His last words were that we should fight and overcome and prevail, that we should make known to heaven all our affairs and that we should always rejoice in the Lord. It is clear from the life of Pastor Samuel that the Lord desires to train His servants in His ways and in His divine traits.
Jesus testified of Himself saying, “I have finished the work that thou gavest me to do.”. Similarly our beloved Pastor went to rest with the Lord on August 19, 1991 after fifty three years of service, having finished the work given him. As a chosen vessel of God, he fought a good fight and finished his course. He kept his consecration and the faith once delivered to the saints, until the end. He received a perfect testimony in his ministry, following the footsteps of St. Paul, living for others and doing the gospel ministry being an example to the flock. The Lord finished the good work started in him and took him to Himself as a precious fruit, as a glorious stone in Zion. May the Lord grant us the grace to emulate the life and faith of the saints who have joyfully entered within the veil, that in eternity we may behold the Father’s face and serve Him.
PASTOR HENRY ERNEST PAUL
Pastor Henry Ernest Paul was the Chief Pastor of our Mission from August 19, 1991 to October 14, 1994.
Pastor Henry Ernest Paul, born on June 11, 1927, in Thimbirigasyaya in Sri Lanka, was brought up by godly Christian parents. He was the youngest in the family of four brothers and a sister. As a result of the visit of Pastor Paul, the founder of our Mission, his mother was first saved. This was one among the five believers’ families of our Pentecostal Church in Sri Lanka in the days of its inception. When he was ten years old it was customary for little Ernest’s mother to take him along to the Borella faith home to attend the services. When his mother called him to go along with her to the services, he would hide himself somewhere in the house. But in 1937, when his mother slept in the Lord, young Ernest who until then had no interest in the services, began to show an interest in things pertaining to the Lord. This became a turning point for good in his life, whereby he was able to live a higher life and fulfil a glorious ministry in the days to come. To be made a precious stone, his life was captivated by the Lord, while still young. According to the heavenly purpose which He had planned in His mind, the Lord began His work in that life that had been unconditionally surrendered to Him.
When he was sixteen years old, young Ernest obeyed the truth of water baptism and received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Since then, as the love of Christ constrained him, he took active part in the Sunday School ministry, evangelical work and other spiritual meetings. The longing to lead a higher, holy life welled up in his heart. Simultaneously, he attended to his ailing father. His father also took baptism and later, in the year 1947 he slept in the Lord.
Young Ernest who lost his parents while very young, preserved his youth from being defiled by the world, as he had yielded himself into the protecting hands of the Lord. As a little boy, it was a habit with him to be on his knees, praying for long hours. Having successfully completed his studies in St. Peter’s College in Colombo, he was employed in a Government factory as an apprentice foreman. Realizing that this job would be a hindrance to his spiritual growth, he gave up the job and secured a job in the Bank of Ceylon. However, his heart was always set on the Lord’s business. He realized that like the Lord Jesus Christ, he too had to be after his Father’s business. The yearning to serve the Lord was burning in his heart. At the appointed time of the Lord, yielding to His high call, in 1948 he dedicated himself to serve the Lord full-time. He was then twenty years old. According to the good pleasure of His will, God continued His work of shaping and moulding him secretly, but victoriously.
In accordance with the verse, “…who hath despised the day of small things ? for they shall … see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven ; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth” (Zech.4:10), God’s eyes were fixed on Brother Ernest who began his ministry in a small way. He lived in this world almost as a stranger and a sojourner, hating himself and choosing the path of humility. Those who saw Brother Ernest in the early days of his ministry, going about any menial job willingly and in all lowliness, owing to the humility and obedience found in him, and forsaking all that was gain to him as loss for Christ, would not have known that in later days, God would do a beautiful and a glorious ministry through him. Being stedfast in His purpose concerning him, the Lord was mindful and diligent in preparing him for a higher ministry.
Young Ernest who had been ministering joyfully at the training centre in Sri Lanka, was sent to pioneer the work in Nuwara Eliya. Without a proper place to stay and without food, he walked miles to visit souls and led them to the Lord. Residing with a believer, he toiled without ceasing for the Lord. Owing to the love he had for the Lord, the suffering he endured seemed not hard to him. From there he was sent to other parts of Sri Lanka to minister. God was with him wherever he went and blessed his ministry.
He had read the Bible a number of times and had searched deep into its mysteries. He was skilled in playing the violin. Involving himself greatly in the ministry among children and youth, he conducted special meetings for them and helped them shine for the Lord. He was of immense help to the saints because he could interpret and drive. He who had great pleasure in winning souls for the Lord ministered effectively by means of the talents given him. Although he did many ministries in the forefront, he would volunteer to do any humble, menial job in the faith home, without becoming wearied. He was always prepared to meet the needs of anyone who came to him seeking help, whether spiritual or physical. Many could have claim over him as their father because he loved everyone alike, irrespective of their being rich or poor, literate or illiterate.
Brother Ernest who had offered himself to follow the Lamb wherever He went, was sent
by the saints in 1959 to Western countries like France and England, to minister there. At that time, the ministry had just begun in these parts and it was a period of crisis. He ministered there as a good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep, and became a recipient of the love and respect of the children of God there. Without any difference whatsoever, and counting himself as one of them, he learnt their language and endured patiently the afflictions that came upon him in those strange lands. The ministry there flourished once again. In 1967, according to the will of God, he returned to Sri Lanka.
Right from his young days, Brother Ernest had a loving, kind and humble disposition. As
days went by, these virtues grew in him and he became a silent, but living epistle read and known of all men. Being ready to lose anything for the benefit of his neighbour, he reflected Christ to the world.
In 1971, he was ordained Pastor. Though he had many a burden and responsibility to shoulder, without any change whatsoever in the divine characterstics that had been formed in him, he remained calm, gentle and extremely humble. Despite the various kinds of ministries which kept him busy, his kindness and mindfulness for the poor believers did not diminish. Because of his responsibilities, he had to encounter reproach, shame, misunderstandings and threats by strangers. However, in all this, he was not disheartened, but followed the Lord Whom he loved and served, uprightly. He did not seek a way of escape in the midst of tense situations, but stood his ground boldly and triumphed over them. He always obeyed the leaders and thereby refreshed the bowels of the saints. Thus it was the will of God to lift him who was so humble.
In 1987, he was appointed President of our Mission in Sri Lanka. In his days, many new faith homes were opened in Sri Lanka. As souls thronged the services, worship halls had to be extended. The ministry grew rapidly. Pastor Ernest who laboured ceaselessly in the garden of the Lord, took severely ill during those days and was miraculously healed through the quickening power of God. People could see him singing and praising God even in his sick bed. Once he was bitten by a snake, but the Lord wonderfully preserved him.
Pastor Ernest who continued to serve God with the same cheerfulness and love that he had at the beginning, was exalted by God as Deputy Chief Pastor of our Mission in 1989. The more he was exalted, the more he humbled himself. He hid himself in the garment of humility.
In 1991, he took the responsibility of the church as Chief Pastor. In this capacity, he had to journey to various parts of the world in the cause of the ministry. Since he had gone through much privation and hardship in the ministry in his young days, he had become weak. However, the immeasurable grace of God sustained him at this juncture. When at this time, the church had to go through many a distressing situation, he carried on with the help of the Lord with confidence and preserved the Church. Divine wisdom and counsel were revealed in him. In September 1994, he presided over the Pastors’ meetings at Madras. The following Sunday morning at Adyar faith home, Madras, he shared the message of the Lord and also his testimony of how the Lord had preserved him and led him until then. That day he returned to Sri Lanka with the realization that his ministry was soon going to be over.
Having thus far victoriously accomplished his ministry, he took ill in October, 1994. The words he uttered were pertaining to his end. With his mind alert till the end, he nominated and blessed those who had to continue the ministry after him. On the 14th morning at 10.30 a.m., he entered glory, to be forever with his beloved Lord Whom he had loved and served for so long. With the saints all around him, these were his final words: ‘My battle is over : take charge of the ministry and continue to do it’.
The Lord Who had captivated his young heart, triumphed in His work of shaping him as a precious stone. May we also follow in the footsteps of such saints !