The Relevance of Pastor K.J. Samuel in This Generation
Chapter - 1 Birth and Childhood
1912 July 27: it was a day of rejoicing for Kavil Yohannachan and Sosamma in the village of Vettiyar (Mavelikara). On that day a third flower blossomed on their family tree. The earlier two were girls and they earnestly hoped and prayed for a son in the family. They fondly called the new arrival "Kochunnoonny".
The village of Vettiyar is situated on the banks of the river, Achenkovil which flows down majestically from the mountain ranges known as 'Western Ghats' of India which form the border of Kerala in the east. Kavil Yohannachan was a well known personality of Vettiyar. People would hesitate talking in front of him. He was a staunch member of the Marthoma Church and would strongly defend his faith in all circumstances. But Yohannachan's pride and defence were shaken by the strong wind of the Holy Spirit which swept across the land in those days.
A mighty spiritual revival swept through Kerala in 1873, 1895 and 1908. After the revival of 1908, an American missionary Mr George Berg came to Kerala with the message of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. He had the experience of baptism of the Holy Spirit on March 2, 1907 while he was Pastor of a Protestant church in Chicago. After reaching Kerala as a carrier of the fire of the Holy Spirit, he conducted many revival meetings in different places. Kavil Yohannachan was baptized in the Holy Spirit in a meeting held at Punthala. He, then, took water baptism underthe hands of Panthalam Mathaichan, a co-worker of Mr Berg.
Mr Berg returned to America at the beginning of the world war in 1914 and the Pentecostal movement in Kerala came to a virtual stand still.
Kavil Yohannachan desired to go all over the world to preach the gospel. But the problem of language stood in his way. In his far sighted ness, he decided in his mind that if he had a son he would teach him English and make him a missionary. Hence Yohannachan was overjoyed at the birth of Kochunnoonny.
Yohannachan and other brothers in Vettiyar who had experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit continued as members of churches like Marthoma, Salvation Army, etc. But after Pastor K.E. Abraham was filled with the Holy Spirit in 1923, Yohannachan and friends came out of their churches and joined together with him for fellowship and outreach work.
Kochunnoonny joined the Marthoma English Middle School in Venmony after his primary education. Later he passed the Matriculation examination from B.H. English High School in Mavelikara. During those days, many saints of God used to stay in his house in Vettiyar and conduct revival meetings in the area. In one such meeting, Pastor Alwin (founder of Ceylon Pentecostal Mission) was preaching and Kochunnoonny was translating the message from Enqlish to Malayalam. Pastor Alwin mentioned something unscriptural during his sermon and Kochunnoonny who was quite strong in his understanding of the Scriptures, did not bother to translate his words.
Even as a student, Kochunnoonny used to analyze the Scriptures and was quite clear in his understanding and faith. He overcame all his doubts and committed his life to the Lord on September 11, 1922 at the age of 10. Ever since then, he stood steadfastly for the Lord.
Kochunnoonny was present at a meeting conducted by Pastor K.E. Abraham in March 1923 in Kaippallil House on the river side in Panthalam. He had gone to the meeting along with his father carrying his father's Bible wrapped in a white handkerchief. He asked Pastor Abraham to baptize him as he had clearly understood from the scriptures that those who were saved must take baptism in water. Pastor Abraham showed his reluctance to baptize Kochunnoonny as he was only ten years old. Yohannachan also agreed with Pastor Abraham. Kochunnoonny would not take 'No' for an answer. He asked Pastor Abraham questions like: how much time had to elapse after a person was saved and what scriptural basis could be given for delaying baptism. Appreciating the strong scriptural stand taken by Kochunnoonny, they decided to give him water baptism. Thus on Sunday, September 23, 1923, Kochunnoonny was baptized in the pond outside their house in Vettiyar along with his elder sister Rahelamma. This was the first baptism conducted by Pastor K.E. Abraham after his Pentecostal experience.
Through the Holy Spirit, Pastor K.E. Abraham could foresee in Kochunnoonnya missionary who would shine for the Lord both in India and abroad. Hence he gave to Kochunnoonny a new name, Samuel, the name of the great prophet of Israel. From that time on, Kochunnoonny, the eldest son of Kavil Yohannachan came to be known as K.J. Samuel (Kavil John Samuel). Samuel experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit on April 23, 1925.
Ninachan and family in Mangalam, Chengannur, were staunch Marthomites. Ninachan's wife belonged to the Kanichukattu family in Kallooppara.
Pentecostal revival sweeping the areas around Kumbanad under the leadership of Pastor K.E. Abraham in 1930 was the talk of the day. Many left their traditional churches and joined the Pentecostal movement. News of revival reached the ears of Ninachan, too. He had three daughters. The eldest daughter, Sosamma, was married into the Aryappallil family in Kumbanad. The second daughter, Mariamma, was considered the 'son' in the family.
Ninachan and Mariamma reached Kumbanad to attend the revival meetings there. Ninachan carried his Bible secretly wrapped up in a cloth.
The overpowering work of the Holy Spirit could be easily seen in the meetings in Kumbanad. Many people submitted themselves before the Word of God. Ninachan and daughter could not resist the message of salvation. They accepted the Lord as their Saviour on August 16, 1930 and decided to take baptism in water on the same day. They got a change of clothes from Sosamma's house in Kumbanad and returned home only after baptism. Nearly 50 souls took water baptism on that day.
As Pastor K.E. Abraham found the young man, Samuel, a fervent worker for the Lord, it was but natural that he took the initiative in finding a helpmeet for Samuel. Pastor Abraham's search ended in Mariamma. The marriage between K.J. Samuel of Vettiyar and Mariamma of Mangalam took place in 1931. It was the union of two persons who could be counted upon to withstand difficulties in life and stand steadfastly for the Lord in the face of persecutions and scoffings from others - a union truly brought about by God.
The hand of God was visible even on the day of marriage. When rice was being cooked outside the house for the marriage feast, signs of rain showed up. Rains would certainly disturb the arrangements for the feast. It was a test of faith for the believers. They gathered around the hearth and prayed for deliverance. God did answer their prayers. The rain which threatened to be heavy ended up as a mild shower in the nearby places. Believers praised the Lord and others were astonished.
Yohannachan kept reminding Mariamma that her husband should not be compelled to go for a secular job as he was educated in English specifically for preaching the gospel in different parts of the world.
The passing away of Kavil Yohannachan was quite unexpected. Yohannachan who left his Marthoma traditions for the truths of the gospel was the pride of Vettiyar - the first fruit from that place for the Lord. His death left a yawning gap in the family - all the burdens fell unexpectedly upon the young shoulders of 20-year-old Samuel.
There were hardly any graduates among the Pentecostals of Travancore in those days. Even matriculates were very rare to be found. K.J. Samuel was one of those. It was rather easy to find a good job in the government or private companies for a graduate or a matriculate. Lucrative jobs were also available in foreign countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Africa. Because of the responsibilities that suddenly fell on him, Samuel reached Bombay to find a suitable job.
Samuel had no acquaintances in Bombay. He knew that a few believers met at a place called Parel for worship in Philadelphia Hall. This ministry was started by the Swedish missionary, Pastor Swan who went away to North India leaving the work in Parel under the care of Pastor E.L. Lewis who himself was a product of Pastor Swan's ministry.
Samuel reached Philadelphia hall for the Sunday worship meeting. Only Hindi and Marathi speaking people were present. God spoke to Samuel through a sister during the worship service. She did not know English, but she spoke in fluent English and it was a direct message meant for Samuel:
Philadelphia Hall in Parel Pastor & Mrs. Lewis with some members of the church
"Why have you come in search of a job? I have called you for my work. Put your trust in me. I will sustain your family". Samuel accepted the message as specifically meant for him. His desire for a secular job evaporated in the flame of God's voice. He humbled himself in the presence of God and committed his life for full time service of the gospel. The very next day, he left for home. Samuel never had any doubt about his call any time since then.
Samuel put total trust in the promise of God that He would take care of his family. Like Moses who voluntarily refused the treasures of Egypt, Samuel decided to suffer with God's people and be a full time servant of the Lord.
Thus the desire of Kavil Yohannachan was fulfilled. God who honours the good desires of His saints knew the desire of Yohannachan also. For Samuel, the sale ambition in life was to carry out the ministry that the Lord entrusted him without being disobedient to his heavenly vision. Samuel reached home and took up a rented house in Kumbanad to be fully engaged in the Lord's work. His stay in Kumbanad began with his wife and his eldest son, Babukutty (Johnson K. Samuel).
In the beginning of 20th century, full gospel truths were proclaimed in Kerala, the southern most part of India. A great deal of work was done in this regard by American missionaries like George Berg and Cook. Many local preachers also went around the land preaching the Pentecostal message. Tight fences of traditional churches burnt up in the fire of the Holy Spirit and many souls experienced freedom of the Spirit. With the power of Holy Spirit, Pentecostal movement spread far and wide.
Ordination Certificate of Pastor K.J. Samuel
But there was very little missionary activity in the northern parts of India. A few preachers saw the ripening fields of north India through the eyes of faith and went forth into unreached areas. One of the first missionaries who went to north India was Pastor M.K. Chacko who started his ministry centering around Delhi in 1940.
The need for spreading the gospel in North India made Samuel restless. With the encouragement received from Pastor M.K. Chacko, Samuel decided to leave Kerala for Lahore, Punjab in 1941 along with his wife, Mariamma and second son, Thankachan (Jeffreys). Pastor K.E. Abraham gave him ordination and sent him off to Punjab. The eldest son was left behind in Kerala along with his grandmother.
From Kumbanad to Lahore
Pastor Samuel took in his stride the difficult and unfamiliar surroundings of Punjab in which he found himself. As he had reached Punjab with a definite vision, the difficulties and problems were just stepping stones to greater blessings.
Pastor Kurian Thomas who reached North India in 1942 with a similar vision, stayed with Pastor Samuel in Lahore and worked together in various places in , Punjab.
The work in Lahore began in a rented two-room house at Dharampura on the side of the road to Sadar. The family stayed in one room and the other room was set apart for worship meetings. The veranda along side one room served as kitchen. Pastor Kurian Thomas stayed in the room used for Sunday worship.
Lahore was known in those days as 'Second Paris' and was a sprawling metropolis. For the convenience of those staying in distant places, meetings were held in different parts of the city. Special meetings were regularly arranged in Forman Christian College in Shaikikhada. Another worship meeting used to be held in a village called Faithpura, 10 kilometers away from Lahore.
In addition to places around Lahore, work was initiated in nearby cities of Ferozpur and Bhatinda. Meetings were held in far away places like Peshawar and Multan also.
Although Pastor K.J. Samuel was a member of the Indian Pentecostal Church of God, he firmly believed in the autonomy of local churches and hence named the Lahore assembly as 'Lahore Pentecostal Church'.
Pastor K.J. Samuel did not receive any salary from IPC nor did he have any income from any foreign sources. He looked after his family from the meager income received from members of the church. He used a ladies' bicycle for moving around in Lahore and his co-worker Pastor Kurian Thomas used another old bicycle donated by a brother. They used to conduct meetings and visited homes in different places traveling several miles every day on these bicycles.
Pastor Samuel had a special gift to learn languages. He mastered Urdu in a very short time. He could read, write and preach in Urdu. He could do the same in English and Malayalam, too.
The rent for the house in Lahore was Rs. 50/- Although the house was rented at a time when there was not a Single member in the church, the room was filled by members in a short time. Without any rest, he used to visit homes and hospitals and tried his utmost to win souls for Christ. The Lord honoured the desire of His servant and many souls were added to Lord's kingdom.
Professors and other employees of Forman Christian (F. C.) College were members of his church.
After attending the worship services for several weeks, Prof. Sinclair of F.C. College remarked one day: "I have been waiting for the Pastor to make some appeal for financial assistance. But I did not hear any such request till now. I wonder how the needs of the family are met". Pastor Samuel explained to him about the life of faith. Soon the professor turned an active member of the church.
Pastor Samuel firmly believed in the scripture verse which said: "cursed is the person who does not do Lord's work diligently". Hence he put his whole heart into the Lord's work according to the counsel of God and in total faith.
Pastor Samuel would not ask for any financial help from anyone. He would be content with whatever he had and adjust his expenses according to the limited income from the church. Letters were written on post cards to reduce mailing expenses. It was not in his scheme of things to finish all the money in a few days and starve the remaining days. Purchase of food materials was also done with this in mind. Hence total starvation was avoided but there were many days in which the family would go through with near empty stomachs.
Pastor Samuel was not in the habit of describing the Lord's work as a work of starvation and poverty. He would explain in a simple analogy: "It is dishonouring God if you pray to Him just for a 'single lungi' as if He cannot give you a 'double dhoti"'.
The north Indian ministry turned Pastor Samuel into a hero of faith. The practice of presenting his needs solely to God and receiving answers from God became firmly ingrained in him.
Both his daughters, Lily and Rose, were born in Lahore. Elder daughter Lily was born in the winter month of November. The family did not possess any warm clothes for the new born baby. They did not tell this need to any one before the birth of the child. One day a nurse sister of the church enquired of Mariamma about the impending birth of the child and brought all the warm clothes needed for the yet-to-be-born child. Soon Lily was born. They thanked God whose love and care began even before birth.
Pastor Samuel had exercised his faith in unusual ways. He had stood in queue for train tickets without having the money to buy the tickets. But God had honoured his faith by providing the necessary money before reaching the counter. "Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame" - the words of the Psalmist had become real many times in the life Pastor Samuel. He remained faithful to God who provided for his needs miraculously. He remained in constant fellowship with the Lord. He kept his faith and presented many souls to the Lord through his hard work.
Pastor Samuel and family stayed on in Lahore undergoing many hardships. Mariamma had fallen sick many times because of the extreme climatic conditions of north India. But he continued the Lord's work while at
the same time looking after his wife. During the stay in Lahore, he published his personal testimony as a booklet in English entitled, "From the pit to the pulpit".
A Swedish missionary sister, Miss Caryl Camath from Kanpur came to stay with Pastor Samuel and family in 1943. She along with Mariamma helped in working among women.
Pastor Kurian Thomas returned to Kerala in 1944 and later went to Itarsi and began his ministry in that area.
Pastor Samuel extended his ministry to places like Lucknow, Simla, Ludhiana, Jullundar, Amritsar and Bhatinda. He used to take Bible classes regularly in an ashram built by Sadhu Sunder Singh in Bhatinda. This ashram was in the middle of a forest. The old house keeper of the ashram used to show the path through which Sadhu Sunder Singh went up to the top of the mountain for the last time.
August 15, 1947: The day on which India attained freedom from the British Empire. The British were compelled to leave India on the face of the non-violent movement of Mahatma Gandhi and other Indian leaders. Pakistan, too, got freedom on the same day. Mohammed Ali Jinnah was the Pakistani leader. India and Pakistan became separate nations. The state of Punjab was also divided in the process purely on the basis of religion where the same language and the same culture flourished for ages. People who lived as friends and as members of the same family became, all of a sudden, enemies. Neighbours killed each other. Hindus living in Pakistani areas ran for their lives crossing over to India. Similarly the exodus happened in the reverse direction too. There were killings on the way. Blood flowed on the streets of Punjab. Friends turned into enemies - religious fanaticism changed men into beasts. Fear lurked everywhere. The day which ought to have been inscribed in golden letters turned out to be the blackest day for many people.
While all this turmoil was going on at midnight, Pastor Samuel and family were peacefully sleeping in their home in Lahore which became a part of Pakistan. Next morning they found the houses of all their Hindu neighbours locked. All the people had run away. There were dead bodies in the street outside. Blood could be seen everywhere.
Crowds of hooligans came to their house on several occasions. But when they found that they were Christians from south India, they quietly left without doing any harm. For many days the Samuel family were the only people in the neighbourhood. They escaped death as the crowd showed some respect for a Christian Pastor.
In this turmoil, many people managed to escape death displaying the sign of the cross on their clothes and in front of their houses. On one occasion, the looters asked a Muslim fellow who claimed he was a Christian to recite the Lord's prayer. When he could not do that he was beaten up and left unconscious on the road. Later, he was rescued by Red Cross workers. It was reported that he became a Christian later on.
As these calamities were going on, communication with Kerala was broken. Folks at home were totally in the dark about the whereabouts of Pastor Samuel and family. A rumour spread that the family was massacred by a looting crowd. Believers fasted and prayed for their safety. God kept them safely in a miraculous way under His wings.
It was two months later that a letter from Pastor Samuel reached 'Seeyon Kahalam' office in Kumbanad. The letter dated October 22, 1947 was published in the magazine (reproduced below):
"Our citizenship is in heaven" (Phil. 3:20)
"As-Salam-O-Alaikum" - Peace be to you
The general principle that life is a mixture of happiness and sorrow has come true in the attainment of independence by India from British occupation. Partition of India, especially the division of Punjab, has created enmity in the hearts of people who have been living happily for ages in brotherly love.
Geographically, Climatically, linguistically and in social behaviour, India is naturally divided into many regions. But the division of Punjab is an unnatural one. It does not need a great prophetical vision for a person who has seen Punjab even once that division of Punjab would result in such disastrous consequences as of cutting a living body through the middle. I wonder whether the leaders have given a thought to this before deciding on the partition of Punjab.
As soon as freedom was proclaimed for India and Pakistan, the Sikhs and Hindus living peacefully in Pakistani areas and the Muslims living in the northern parts of India were gripped with great fear for their lives. It is impossible to describe the state of their minds. Angry crowds began to kill and destroy each other. Buildings were set on fire, bombs were thrown, many were murdered with deadly weapons like knifes, lathis, swords and guns. In the midst of such a frenzy, it is difficult to describe the reaction of people directly affected by it. Many people locked up their houses and ran away to the other side of the border, hoping to return when conditions would stabilize.
Both the governments are daily declaring protection to their minorities. But the crowds with inflamed passions move about freely to wreak
vengeance. Recently Mr Gandhi, the messenger of peace, visited one of the refugee camps in Delhi. When he exhorted the suffering people in the camp to remain peaceful, he was pointedly reminded by them: "Your wife has not been killed, you have not lost your children, your sisters have not been raped, your property has not been looted". The frame of mind of people in the refugee camp is understandable.
Governments are trying their best to ferry the refugees across the border with the help of trucks, buses and trains. In addition, there are many who try to walk across. In the midst of all these, mass murders are also carried out by stopping the trains and buses on the way. Women and children are mercilessly hacked to pieces even as they fall at the feet of murderers imploring them to spare their lives. How many such innocent men, women and children have been done to death by unscrupulous murderers!
Even those who escape death from the murderers are not safe when they reach their own country. They fall victim to diseases like cholera. Those who escape from cholera are destroyed by flood waters. Those who escape from the floods die of starvation. Those who escape from all the above calamities are doubtful to survive the oncoming winter! Many people are falling dead by the wayside and the dead bodies are eaten by vultures and dogs. Caught in the opposing tides of Hindus and Muslims, even some Christians have lost their lives.
Governor General Qaid-e-Azam Muhammed Ali Jinnah has proudly given the name 'Pakistan'meaning 'Holy Land' to this country where the blood of such a large number of innocent men, women and children have been shed!
I think it is appropriate to add a few words about us here for the comfort of those who have been concerned about us and remembering us in their prayers.
Troubles started in Lahore on the third of March. A feeling of tension prevailed even before that day. Bombs were thrown in localities near to our home and many people were killed. Houses of many Hindus were burnt down. We are staying in a house owned by a Sikh. All the houses around us were looted in broad day light and many were stabbed to death. Many of our neighbours have fled the country. For the last many days we are alone in this locality. We are experiencing the promise of the Lord: '~ thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you". Unruly crowds have come to our house also. Christians are escaping death by displaying the sign of the cross on their clothes and in front of their houses. Even some non-Christians have escaped death in this manner.
It has been the practice of converts to Christianity in these places to retain their old names without bothering to change them into Christian names. But these days tryeyare quickly adopting Christian names to escape mob fury.
By the grace of God, we are still in the land of the living because our dear friends are fervently praying for us. We were not able to hold our regular meetings for one week only. Apart from that, all the meetings in the hall and in homes, tract distribution programmes and personal evangelism work have been going on without any break. Even in these days of turmoil when people are gripped by mounting tension, a few souls have been saved and five souls have testified the Lord in water baptism. Three believers have been filled with the Holy Spirit. The Lord is continuing His work through the Holy Spirit.
The words of Napoleon Bonaparte exiled to St. Helena come to my mind: "Alexander, Caesar and myself established large empires. On what base these empires were founded? On the strength of the army. Only Jesus established His kingdom on the foundation of love. Even today, millions are ready to lay down their lives for Him".
Our Lord, the eternal King is coming soon. When He appears, all the earthly kingdoms will disappear and our own "Pakistan" - the Holy Land filled with love, joy and peace will be established. "Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ". Amen.
Those who wish to communicate with us may please note the following address. The small group of believers here send their greetings to all the fellow brethren everywhere.
In the service of the Lord,
Bro. K.J. Samuel
101, B. Mayo Road, Lahore, Pakistan
October 22, 1947
Pastor K.J. Samuel and family were in danger of losing their Indian citizenship as they were trapped in Pakistan at the time of partition of India and Pakistan. They filed a case in a Delhi court stating that they were Indian citizens and should be allowed to stay in India. Pending the decision of the court they moved to a village called Malerkotla in Punjab on the Indian side of the border.
The Samuel family spent many days in fasting and prayer awaiting the court's order. A bishop in Delhi, a close friend of Pastor M.K. Chacko sent a personal appeal to Prime Minister Nehru to allow legal repatriation of Pastor K.J. Samuel and family to India.
One day, a stranger visited their house in Malerkotla. After some initial exchange of words, he, too, knelt down and joined the family for prayer. He claimed to have connections with the authorities in Delhi and promised to help in clearing the court case in favour of Pastor Samuel. The family thought that God had sent an angel to help them in their distress. Prayers continued till midnight. Every one was tired by then and slowly fell into a slumber. When they woke up the stranger was nowhere to be found.
Pastor Samuel's watch and some cash were also missing. On investigation, they came to know that the stranger was a robber of that area and that he had robbed many houses and even killed some people in the process. The Samuel family thanked God for saving their lives from that dangerous person.
The court verdict came in favour of Pastor Samuel. They stayed on in places like Amritsar and Ludhiana on the Indian side of Punjab and continued their north Indian ministry. Many souls came to know Jesus in those places. A prayer group was started in Christian Medical College, Ludhiana. Some doctors in the Medical College Hospital became members of the church.
The family moved to Amritsar in connection with the college education of their eldest son, Babukutty. Pastor Samuel baptized many people in a stream flowing through the famous Jalianwalla Baugh in Amritsar. Babukutty took baptism in the same stream. Pastor Samuel conducted many open air meetings in front of the Golden Temple. A few Sikh families have been led to the Lord by his ministry.
Dr Paul Pillai, the founder of Grace Bible College in Delhi and who is engaged in the Lord's work in Punjab and Delhi areas, has narrated the story of his meeting an old believer recently in Punjab. The old man was dressed like a traditional Sikh (with turban and beard). He told Dr Pillai that
he came to the Lord many years ago through the work of "one Pastor K.J. Samuel, a missionary from Kerala".
In a recent Gideon's International conference in Indiana, U.S.A., a young man from Pakistan was a participant. He testified in the conference that his parents came to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through the work of Pastor K.J. Samuel.
Oh, how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good tidings! There will be innumerable Pakistanis and Punjabis to testify like this! God accomplished His work through His servant miraculously. "Neither he who plants, nor he who waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow".
Pastor Samuel's desire was to evangelize north India where the message of the gospel had not reached and make it a fertile land for the Lord. But the ill health of his wife Mariamma was standing in his way. Mariamma fell sick quite frequently. At such times it became Pastor Samuel's responsibility to look after the sick wife, take care of his school going children and also carry out the Lord's work. Keeping Mariamma's ill health in mind, he could not continue like that for much longer.
It was felt that Mariamma's health would improve in the moderate climate of Kerala. Moreover, fellow brethren tried to persuade Pastor Samuel that he could continue in the ministry in Kerala and also give more attention to the administration of IPC and the Hebron Bible College. He decided to return to Kerala.
Pastor Samuel and family concluded their north Indian ministry and returned to Kumbanad in 1951.
Pastor K.J. Samuel returned to Kumbanad and immersed himself in various ministries. Mariamma had to be hospitalized for a few days. By the grace of God she regained good health which enabled her once again to assist her husband in his work.
Pastor Samuel carried with him several responsibilities. He became the Principal of Hebron Bible School, Editor of Seeyon Kahalam, General Secretary of I.P.C. and President of I.P.C. Sunday Schools Association. He was I.P.C. General Secretary from 1959 to 1970. His vision was that I.P.C. as a corporate body should expand in an organized manner.
Pastor P.L. Paranjyothi (Vice President), Pastor K.E. Abraham (President), Pastor K.J. Samuel (Secretary)
Pastor Samuel could give a very clear answer to any question regarding organizational matters of the church. He used to face any tense situation without losing his balanced demeanor in General Body meetings or any
other business meetings of the church. He had the unique capacity to present his view points effectively and win over his colleagues to his side with well prepared arguments. 'He could calm down any tense situation with his smiling approach. His pronouncement used to be the last word in business meetings.
Pastor Samuel was a skilled administrator. Several problems and questions would naturally arise in meetings of elected representatives. The gathering would be composed of members - some with misunderstandings, some narrow minded, some wishing to show off, some with tendency to oppose everything, some very idealistic and some with personal grudges. It would be necessary that the decisions taken were satisfactory to all groups. Every one would be looking for an answer to their doubts and questions. But at the same time ideals should not be sacrificed. Rules should not be violated. Administrative ability is displayed in such a situation. It is here that leadership qualities come into play. Pastor Samuel would go to a business meeting fully prepared to answer all questions which could arise in the proposal that he was planning to introduce. His answers would pacify every one concerned. He would not belittle any questioner. He would put forward his considered opinion with great respect for all groups in the audience.
Apart from administrative work, he was deeply involved in the spiritual matters of the church. He was keen to start work in new fields. He was very careful in giving utmost assistance and encouragement to his co-workers.
"Golden years of IPC"
(Sitting from left to right): Pastor V.T. Thomas, Pastor K.E. Abraham, Rev. Turner, Pastor T.G. Oommen and Pastor P.J. Thomas (Standing from left to right): Pastor K.J. Samuel, Pastor C.K. Daniel, Pastor P.J. Daniel and Pastor P.M. Philip
Pastor Samuel took charge of the Mavelikara District when the work there was in a very bad shape. In a short span of time, 21 churches were formed at different places in the district.
He was instrumental in starting a new work in a place called Punnakkad near Kozhenchery where Pastor K.E. Abraham and his co-workers were beaten up once. New fields were opened in many such places.
When Pastor Samuel was in charge of Kumbanad District, he started organizing district conventions annually, which later became a regular feature in IPC. Also it was he who started the practice of pastors of local churches contributing their tithe for the work of the district. He stressed on the need for all believers to extend their vision to evangelistic work in places around them rather than limit it to the four walls of their own local church.
He took special care to encourage young evangelists. Pastor Mathew Samuel recalls the occasion when he was appointed Pastor of I PC, Chembur, Bombay. Although at that time he was ministering at the Thalavady local church in Thiruvalla District, Pastor K.J. Samuel organized a farewell meeting for him on behalf of the churches in Kumbanad District to show his happiness at the young man's decision to venture out into North India.
Chapter - 8 Pastor K.J. Samuel and Hebron Bible College
The first Bible School which started functioning in an organized manner in Kerala was Bethel Bible School in Mavelikara (1927). The second one in this category was Seeyon Kunnu Bible School in Mulakuzha (1928). Pastor K. E. Abraham was a teacher in the Seeyonkunnu Bible School from its inception.
When South India Pentecostal Church became independent after splitting with Rev. Cook, Pastor Abraham felt the need for a Bible School to train the workers of the church. Thus a Bible School began functioning in 1930. Later in 1932, Pastor Abraham moved his residence to the house gifted by Pastor K.C. Oommen at Hebron, Kumbanad and the Bible School also moved with him to Hebron. From then on, it came to be known as Hebron Bible School.
Pastor K.J. Samuel began teaching in Hebron Bible School from 1938. He officiated also as its Secretary in that year.
Pastor Samuel was appointed Principal of the School in 1958 by a decision of the I.P.C. General Council. The School functioned under his charge in the most organized manner. He devoted his attention specially to properly train young evangelists both in doctrinal and practical aspects of the ministry.
Pastor Samuel used to teach Dispensational Plan of God and Systematic Theology. He had a natural talent for teaching and he went deep into the dispensational truths that lay scattered in the Word of God and analyzed them for the benefit of his students. Likewise, he picked out revelations of God found spread out in the Scriptures and analyzed them logically and scientifically in his classes on Systematic Theology.
As a teacher Pastor K.J. Samuel was a perfect example in front of his students in matters of dress and behaviour. 'K.J. sir' was loved by the students who was accessible to them for the solution of all their problems and doubts. Pastor Samuel kept a personal rapport with each student.
Punctuality, knowledge of the subject, presentation of the subject in the stipulated time and clarification of doubts were the special attributes of Pastor Samuel. As Principal, he maintained strict discipline in the school.
It was his desire that the seed of the Word of God should be firmly planted in the hearts of the students. He worked hard for the improvement of standard of the Bible School. He dealt firmly with those who flouted rules.
'K.J. Sir' entrusted his students with the mission of declaring the plan of God without concealing any truth to the church and trained them to be diligent and faithful to their mission. Many of his students have testified that 'K.J. Sir' was a Bible Scholar endowed with knowledge, humility and faithfulness.
Although decades have passed, there are scores of students who remember everything that 'K.J. Sir' had taught them. They are, even today, ready to praise his qualities, his love and his personality. He was an excellent teacher who left an indelible impression on the hearts of his students.
'Train the child in the way that he should go; he will not depart from it till his old age": Pastor K.J. Samuel regarded the verse as his motto in life. He clearly knew that children of today will become active members of the church in future only if they are properly groomed in the correct path today. Towards this end, he made a curriculum for Sunday School teaching and later formed the I.P.C. Sunday Schools Association.
Pastor Samuel prepared a syllabus and the corresponding teacher's guide for each class of the Sunday School. For many years the teacher's guides written by Pastor Samuel were accepted as text books in Pentecostal churches for their Sunday Schools.
Pastor Samuel was keen to see that Sunday School teachers are dedicated people and properly trained for their job. Towards this end, he used to organize district level training sessions for teachers. Competent teachers would take model classes and discuss essential details in those sessions for the benefit of participating teachers.
While speaking at Sunday School anniversary gatherings, he would devote half the time to children and the rest of the time to parents. He would tell the children how they could witness the Lord in their schools and colleges. He would then exhort the parents of their role in bringing up their children in the path shown by the Word of God. He asked the parents to spend as much time and effort for training their children in the Word of God as they would spend for their secular education. He would compare untrained children to a twisted snake gourd which grew into that shape because it was not given proper care and guidance.
He advised parents to be examples for the children in their homes. Their life style should fit in with their professed faith and doctrines. If parents are not good examples for the children, the children are likely to go astray. Parents must provide love, care and acceptance to their children and mould them into individuals good for the country, home and church. Responsibility for this lies mainly with the parents and to a less extent with the Sunday School teachers.
Pastor K.J. Samuel established the institution of Sunday Schools in I.P.C. and nourished it to grow into a healthy organization.
Chapter - 10 Pastor K.J. Samuel and Literature Ministry
The magazine 'Seeyon Kahalam', the official organ of IPC had its beginnings in 1933 with Pastor K.E. Abraham as Editor to proclaim full Gospel truths. Pastor K.J. Samuel worked as Publisher and Editor of the magazine for many years.
There used to be a worship hall at the location of today's Hebron Bungalow. The magazine office was located in a shed on its east side. Pastor Samuel looked after the publication of the magazine from the beginning.
Pastor Samuel was careful in maintaining purity of language and depth of ideas in the material published in the magazine. Hence the publication had made a name for itself in the world of Christian literature. Writings of well known English writers used to be translated into Malayalam and published in 'Seeyon Kahalam' like 'The Shepherd Psalm' by F.B. Meyers. Pastor K.J. Samuel authored a well researched 'Life story of Jesus Christ' which was published later after his death by Pastor Mathew Samuel as a "Conviction Publication".
A monthly magazine 'Prabodhini' was edited and published by Pastor K.J. Samuel from 1954 to 1956. 'Prabodhini' was a medium for articles and news items of contemporary relevance. It used to take up cudgels against books or articles published elsewhere against the truths of the Word of God.
A book entitled 'Evolution' was published by Dr Bhaskaran Nair, a professor of Zoology in University College, Trivandrum. His theme was to prove that plants and animals came into being through evolution. A series of articles were written by Bro. T.T. Samuel and published in 'Prabodhini', disproving the ideas mentioned in the book. The articles were written at the instance of Pastor K.J. Samuel.
In addition to articles on Biblical Theology, Pastor Samuel was adept in writing travelogues. As he had widely traveled as a missionary, he would send home picturesque descriptions of the geographical details, people, political and economic conditions, culture, etc. of the countries that he was visiting.
Pastor Samuel was a writer of repute among the old generation of leaders of Pentecostal movement. The articles and editorials written by him for 'Seeyon Kahalam', 'Prabodhini' and other magazines and papers were appreciated by many readers. An editorial written by him for 'Seeyon Kahalam' of March 1952 is reproduced below as an example:
"As thy servant was busy here and there!" (1 Kings 20:39,40)
"Laziness is devil's workshop" goes an English saying. But being busy in many things is also the devil's workshop.
Ahab, the king of Israel freed Ben-hadad, the king of Aram and sent him away. Ben-hadad had fought with Israel that year and the previous year. He was a vagabond and a drunkard. The land was filled with the army that he assembled together against the people of God. But God defeated Benhadad's army. Ben-hadad was captured alive. But the clever Ben-hadad tricked the foolish Ahab into an agreement and got himself freed from him. Soon afterwards God sent a prophet to Ahab and made him realize his foolishness. The prophet disguised himself, met Ahab on the way and told him: ''Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man unto me, and said, Keep this man. -And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone"
Here the prophet is presenting the picture of a person who was grossly irresponsible by being unfaithful in the duty assigned to him. He was entrusted to do a job; but he was busy here and there and failed in his duty. He failed not because he was sleeping or drinking and inattentive. Let us not forget the fact that he failed because he was busy.
It is commendable to be busy in many things. "Laziness is the workshop of the devil", goes an English saying. On the other hand, keeping one busy in many things is also devil's doing. Then we can be compared to a squirrel in a cage. There is constant movement without any rest, but there is no progress. If we are busy in unimportant matters, then important matters get neglected. We are entrusted with many divinely ordained duties. If we are busy here and there, our core duties will not receive proper attention.
A child is entrusted with his parents by the Lord to be brought up for Him. While the parents are busy finding food, clothing, home, education and such other good things for the child, his soul is lost. They fail to give him the bread of life and fail to find time for family prayers. They realize when it becomes too late: "When they were busy here and there, the child was hurtling rapidly towards hell". Just as they were interested in the social and professional advancement of the child, they should have been concerned about his soul also. Then many more names would have been written in heaven - heart breaks and bitter tears would have been much less on the earth.
When people of God are engaged in inconsequential matters here and there, golden opportunities for winning souls for the Lord are lost. When the fields are ripe for harvest, we keep telling ourselves that harvest is coming only after four months. We are not willing to make use of the
opportunities available to us. We do not bother to number our days and give an attentive ear to the wisdom of God. We are truly our "brother's keeper". Surely we are enjoined to care for other people too - not to be just busy in our own affairs. When we are busy here and there, souls are marching to etemity without Christ.
Listen to what the Apostles said: it is not desirable for us to neglect the Word of God in order to serve tables. Our Pastors forget that they are called, primarily, to minister the Word of God. Instead, they remain busy here and there in such things like attending love feasts, partying, pronouncing 'benediction' at some functions, laying foundation stones in some other places, solemnizing marriages, officiating at funeral services, etc. It is not difficult to continue like boys sitting in the market place and playing flute for others to dance.
The present day church is engaged in many good programmes and neglect many essential matters. It may happen that "good has become the enemy of the best". By keeping many pieces of iron in the furnace simultaneously, even one piece is not heated properly. Action is more important than dedication.
The church at Sardis was known to be alive, but Christ calls her dead. The church may have had the reputation of doing many things. The church at Ephesus was also in a similar situation. She had many good qualities like hard work, perseverance and steadfastness but lost the most important one - first love. Committees, reports, conventions - they are important in their own way. But it is a grave mistake to be fully engaged in these alone and to forget essential matters like deep Christian experiences, growth in the grace of God and salvation of perishing souls.
We are busy always. But in what subjects? In acquiring landed properties, in politics, in pursuit of pleasure, in problems of livelihood? The dangerous situation in the lives of many people is not that they are drunkards or they rob banks or they speak filthy language. The problem is that as in the days of Noah, they are busy here and there eating and drinking, buying and selling, sowing and building. People who could not take part in the great marriage feast were those who were busy with their farms and oxen and wives. Their occupations were not bad in themselves. But those good things prevented them from accepting the divine invitation. Many go to hell not because they are great evil men, but because they are busy with many things and have no time to think of salvation. "Evil men and all the people who forget God will turn to hell". They do not rebel against God, they do not speak blasphemy and they do not speak ill of God. They simply forget God as they are busy in other things and fail in their duties.
A vast majority of people in the world are in this category. While postponing today's work to tomorrow, the harvest season will pass and even the summer season will come to an end. And you will not be saved. Devil turns many to become atheists, evil men and pleasure seekers. He also tempts many honest and hard working people to be engaged in a variety of occupations. They, in turn, end up in hell along with the worst kind of evil men.
Let us be mindful of not losing the essential things while being 'busy here and there'
In Travancore, English School education was restricted to financially sound families. It was beyond the dream of ordinary people to pay the fees in an English school for their children. More so for evangelists who left their homes and property for Lord's work to think of sending their children to English schools. Against this background Bro. Samuel could persuade Pastor K.E. Abraham to start a 'Free English School' in August 1939 in Kumbanad. Several parents who could not afford to pay school fees sent their children to the Free School. The first headmaster of the school was P.J. Chandy Master from Kozhikode who left his job as High School teacher for the Lord's work. Pastor K.C. Oommen was the Manager of the school.
Bros. K.J. Samuel, P.J. Daniel, Kurian Thomas, C.V. Samuel (Vettiyar) and T.M. Abraham (Ranni) were teachers in the school. After a few months, Chandy Master returned to Kozhikode and Bro. K.J. Samuel took over as head master. The work of the school went ahead smoothly. But Bro. Samuel knew that his call was for full time evangelistic ministry. Hence he later left Kumbanad for Bangalore and then to north India.
Kavil Yohannachan had prayed: Lord, make my son a missionary who will travel all over the world to preach the gospel. The Lord was mindful of the deep heart-felt desire of Yohannachan and caused it to happen. Yohannachan had given English education to Kochunnoonny precisely for the same purpose. Kochunnoonny, now K.J. Samuel, became a preacher in different parts of the world.
Pastor K.J. Samuel's first trip abroad was to attend the World Pentecostal Conference in Stockholm, Sweden in 1955. On his way to Stockholm, he reached London on May 30, 1955. Rev. Bills, a Swedish missionary working in India, received him in London and accompanied him to Sweden. When they reached Sweden on June 9, Rev. Swan took charge of him and later traveled with him to different places to address gospel meetings.
There were nearly thirty thousand participants from 34 countries at the World Pentecostal Conference. Bros. Harry Liddle (Dehra Dun), P.M. Samuel (Bezwada), John Vasu (Madras), P.J. Daniel (Mavelikara) and K.J. Samuel (Kumbanad) represented India at the conference.
Pastor K.J. Samuel speaking at the World Pentecostal Conference in Stockholm, Sweden (Translation by Rev. Daniel Halberg)
Pastor K.J. Samuel was the only Indian who was listed as one of the speakers at the conference. His presentation, entitled "Three crosses of Calvary" captivated the audience at the conference.
Pastor K.J. Samuel visited Egypt, France, England, Sweden, Finland, U.S.A., Japan and Ceylon during this trip before he returned to India. His travelogues vividly describing the countries of visit were frequently published in the newspaper "Malayala Manorama". The same paper used to publish his travel plans to different countries.
During Pastor Samuel's tour of U.S.A. in 1955, he did not have any Malayalee acquaintances there. He used to stay in the homes of American believers. He ministered the Word of God in cities like New York, Oklahoma, Dallas, California, Chicago and Washington. Other believers would invite Pastor Samuel to their homes and churches when they hear about him from their friends. He traveled in this manner in U.S.A. for about fourteen months.
Even before Pastor Samuel reached a new city, news about him would be published with photograph in local papers and magazines. News reporters would interview him and publish details about his programmes in the city and also about his ministry.
Pastor Samuel ministered the Word and took classes in Long Island Bible Institute. The Principal of the Institute, later, wrote as follows in the magazine, "Herald of Faith":
'To the brethren in Christ Jesus who may be concerned: We are happy to have the privilege of introducing Brother K.J. Samuel of Travancore, India. He comes to us following an extended visit to Sweden, Finland and other European countries where he ministered in the Philadelphia Church of Stockholm and other Pentecostal churches.
Brother Samuel has already visited several churches in the New York area. We have found his ministry to be grounded deep in the truths of God's Word. We believe him to be a consecrated man of God to whom has been given insights into the Scriptures which deepened and enriched our lives as he ministered to us. His enlightening first-hand reports of the welfare of the churches in his land and also in Europe widened our vision of the Body of Christ. We thank the Lord for sending him to us.
From New York, Rev. Samuel plans to travel to Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and California en route to India. He may be contacted through his New York address: 600 west, 113 Street, New York 25, New York.
We shall not forget the gracious words of this humble servant of the Lord. May the Lord use him mightily in our land to bring glory to the name of . Jesus Christ.
Your brother in Christ, Joseph C. Crandall
When Pastor Samuel was in the Assemblies of God church in Fairfax, Oklahoma, he visited the home of an American Indian family and took food with them. The head of the family was over 80 years of age and could not speak English well. His long hair was parted into two and pleated behind. He wore ornaments in his ears. He was very happy to have a visitor in his home from India. At his request, Pastor Samuel sang a song in Malayalam. He rendered a song in his language, too. Needless to say, one's song was not understood by the other!
During the fourteen months in U.S.A., Pastor Samuel visited many churches in different states in that country and got to know many servants of God. He ministered the Word of God in various schools, colleges and Bible institutes. Although he did not have any prior acquaintances in U.S.A., God opened many doors for him miraculously. He got an opportunity to speak even in a church called 'First Christian Church' which is an orthodox church like the High Church of England or the Jacobite church of Kerala. It happened as follows:
Pastor Samuel was staying in Y.M.C.A. at a place called Albuquerque. On a Saturday morning while he was taking breakfast in a nearby hotel, he noticed a drunken young man shouting at the top of his voice. After a while the young man came near Pastor Samuel and started talking in Spanish. "I cannot understand Spanish", Pastor Samuel told him. The young man said:
"I thought you are an Indian". "Yes, I am an Indian, but not an American Indian. I am a missionary from India", Pastor Samuel replied.
When the young man realized that he is speaking to an Indian missionary, he started talking in a polite tone. He said: "I am Christian, though I am a sinner". Pastor Samuel advised him: "In India many Hindus and people from other religions receive Christ and are saved. You are born in a Christian family in a Christian country. Why should you remain a sinner? Repent of your sins and pray to the Lord. He will save you from your sins".
The Spirit of God started working in the heart of the young man. He went and talked to the hotel manager and introduced Pastor Samuel to him. Then he called up the Pastor of his church and told him about the visitor from India. Later the Pastor visited him in YM.C.A. and invited him to his church to speak in the Sunday worship. Thus a door was miraculously opened to speak about Lord Jesus Christ in the 'First Christian Church'.
Although Pastor Samuel got many opportunities to speak in schools and colleges, such institutions do not have the practice of giving any gift to the speaker. But when he ministers in churches, they would give a missionary offering. Bigger the congregation, bigger the gift.
Pastor Samuel took care to spend all the money that he received from his trips abroad for the general requirements of IPC. He distributed monetary help depending on the need in a particular situation without considering which district or individual was receiving the money. Financial assistance received from Pastor Samuel by individuals and churches in various districts helped in the establishment and progress of the Lord's work in that area and the Lord's name was glorified. He stated publicly once: "I can say with a clear conscience that I have utilized the money that I received for the furtherance of the Lord's work. I have dedicated my life, the funds that I may receive now or in future and any influence that I may possess, solely for serving the Lord"
Pastor Samuel was given an affectionate reception when he returned home after two years abroad. A thanksgiving service was held in I.P.C. Elim Hall, Kumbanad on May 11, 1957 under the chairmanship of Pastor T.G. Oommen. A brief summary of Pastor Samuel's speech at the meeting is given below:
"From Attalia, they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been committed to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. And they stayed there a long time with the disciples" (Acts 14:26-29).
I consider this a precious moment when I am back safely from a world wide tour lasting two years and privileged to praise the Lord in the midst of the people of God who love me and had been praying for my journey. I do not think that I could embark on this journey because of my own abilities. God has only fulfilled the desire of my late father. My father took me in his arms when I was a child and dedicated me for the Lord's ministry with tears in his eyes. He used to remind me time and again that I was sent to an English school to learn English to enable me to preach the gospel in different perts of the world. In addition, many children of God had spoken directly to me as messages from the Holy Spirit through tongues and interpretation that I will have the opportunity to witness the Lord in many parts of the world. But I did not visualize how such an event could come to pass. I did not imagine that I would ever become an evangelist, or become a witness for the Lord in different parts of India or cross the seas to preach the good news of salvation in other countries. On the other hand, I had gone to Bombay to find a job as soon as I finished my education. But God did not permit that to happen and led me into His ministry. He granted me His grace during the last 25 years to preach the gospel in different parts of India and now in foreign lands, too. May His great name be glorified.
During my tour, I visited Egypt, France, England, Sweden, Finland, America, Japan and Ceylon. But most of my time was spent in Finland, Sweden and America.
I began my journey in a ship called S.S. Chusan with about 500 copassengers. 40 of them were missionaries - 4 of them Pentecostals. Worship services were regularly held on Sundays. We used to have meetings on other days also. Many co-passengers accepted the Lord as their Saviour.
We had many blessed meetings in Finland. Finland is a free nation with a lot of forest land adjoining Russia. The country is very active spiritually. In spite of its not being very rich, it has sponsored many missionaries to other countries. I was there in Finland during very cold (- 4(fJ C) winter months of November and December. Snow was falling continuously. Sports like horse racing, skating, etc. used to be held on top of lakes and rivers. In such weather conditions, I thought that people would not turn up for any meetings. But the reverse turned out to be true. During the two months of my stay in Finland, I spoke in 70 meetings in 55 different places. It was a thrilling sight to see people arriving through the snow by cars, buses and even skates. I spoke in one such meeting on Christmas day in 1955.
The primary purpose of my trip to Sweden was to attend the World Pentecostal Conference from June 13 to 20, 1955. the conference was held in a large stadium surrounded by pine trees in the middle of one of the greatest cities of the world, Stockholm. More than 30,000 participants from 34 countries around the world had gathered in Stockholm for the conference and it resembled the gathering of saints from all parts of the world at the second coming of our Lord.
We were five members from India at the conference. We participated in all the seminars which took place every day. I was given the privilege of speaking on the topic, 'The three crosses of Calvary" in the gospel meeting held on the last night of the conference. The Lord richly blessed the message. It was announced later that a participant made a donation to the conference in memory of the message of the cross.
After the conference I traveled to different places in Sweden along with Bro. Daniel, Bro. Swan and his son preaching in meetings. I spent seven months in Sweden with Bro. Swan who was a missionary for a long time in our country and who is a well wisher of I.P. C.
Sweden is an economically prosperous country. The Swedish king Gustav is a good Christian. After the Lutheran church, Pentecostal church is the most populous. Pentecostal churches can be found in all cities and vii/ages of Sweden. Most churches have membership of 1000, 2000,3000, etc.
Swedish Pentecostals are not divided into different groups as is found in other countries. When Pentecostal revival swept across Sweden, leaders like Bro. Levi Petros showed a great deal of far sightedness. They did not build churches around individuals and make them their personal kingdoms. Churches formed in each place were encouraged to progress as a unit on the basis of the Word of God. Hence there is strong Pentecostal movement in every city and village in Sweden. Bro. Levi Petros is not the head of the Swedish churches, neither is Stockholm the headquarters. It is truly amazing to see the love, unity and fellowship that exist among the churches and ministers of the various churches in Sweden without a General Councilor Presbytery or headquarters or President.
The relationship that developed in 1936 between Swedish churches and Indian Pentecostal church of God was indeed very desirable and beneficial. Had it continued, I.P.C. would have become a great force in all parts of India. But Satan did not aI/ow that to happen. Swedish churches had become friends of I.P.C. against the advice given to them by people from other countries. But our later dealings had the effect of alienating us from them. Hence we lost our standing amongst the Swedish brothers.
When we were in Sweden, the brothers there set aside aI/ differences with I.P. C. and received us most cordially. They opened all their churches for us and helped us financially.
I traveled to America from Sweden. America is a country which has made tremendous progress in all spheres. There are Radio stations in all cities and God granted me grace to broadcast gospel messages from many of them.
The people of God in America received me very cordially. I did not expect such cordiality and love from American brethren for a visitor from India. They set apart a great deal of their time for me in their busy schedule. They looked after me well and drove long distances in their cars to take me to various places and back.
Our Lord's coming is at hand, much closer than we think. One of these days, "the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first". And His children who are still alive will be transformed instantly and meet our King in the air. When all His people of the five continents, in America, England, Europe, Russia, China, Africa, Pakistan, India and other countries who are eagerly waiting for His appearance gather together in His presence, it will, indeed, be a large multitude. You and me will also be there. Blessed are those who have this great hope.
Beloved, we are aliens and strangers in this world and we do not have a permanent city here. We are also "looking forward to the city with foundations" as did our fore fathers like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Peter, John and Paul. Our Lord will return soon and we will flyaway.
Pastor K.J. Samuel's first missionary journey, thus, lasted for two years. He was used by God to convey the message of salvation to thousands, turn many to the Lord and establish many others in their faith.
Pastor Samuel made a short trip for five months to America in 1958. His third American tour was in 1963. Those were the days when Rev. Oral Roberts was known all over the world as a revival preacher. Pastor Samuel was invited to attend an International Seminar on Religion and Education organized by the Oral Roberts University. He received an enthusiastic reception at the conference. He was the lone Indian representative among the 212 delegates from different countries. He stated later that his meeting with Rev. Oral Roberts was unforgettable.
Rev. Oral Roberts shaking hands with Pastor Samuel
Detailed reports about Pastor Samuel's visit and his messages at the conference were published in "Abundant Life", the official magazine of 'Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association'. Its cover picture showed Rev. Roberts shaking hands with Pastor Samuel. Similar reports were also published in a local newspaper called "Tulsa Tribune".
Pastor Samuel's last American tour was in 1967. He preached in many large gatherings during the journey. According to a report in the newspaper "Oakridge Telegraph", he was the Guest Speaker on a Sunday in the 'Open Bible Standard Church'.
Pastor K.J. Samuel returned to India in March 1968. There was no other Indian missionary like him who received such great recognition in American churches. His visits enhanced the standing of Pentecostals of India, particularly of Kerala, among churches in other countries.
God, thus, fulfilled the noble ambition that Kavil Yohannachan had for his son.
Family - it is an institution established by God, Himself. It was a mystery hidden in the heart of God. He established the family even at the beginning of man's creation to be a place where divine qualities like love, mercy and care are continuously in action. Family can create heaven on earth - and also hell!
Pastor K.J. Samuel was a person who fully recognized the importance of the family. Pastor Samuel's family was a source of comfort, blessing and heavenly experiences. If members of a family cannot love, care and accept each other, it is bound to break up. The family, then, becomes a place of conflict and mutual suspicion with no possibility of a peaceful atmosphere within. With no escape in sight, the family members may continue their existence with grieving hearts and tearful eyes. If the children of these families go astray in such a situation, one need not be surprised.
Pastor K.J. Samuel and family
The Samuel family was an exemplary family. Pastor Samuel would take care of his responsibilities as the head of the family. All the members considered themselves to be parts of the same body. The Lord had the pride of place in the scheme of things. Faith in God was the guiding principle in all matters.
Pastor K.J. Samuel was busily engaged in the Lord's work which was his prime concern. But he made it a point to spend as much time as possible in the house and look after the individual needs of each member of the family.
During the north Indian ministry, Mariamma was sick very often. Pastor Samuel used to look after his sick wife, make the children ready and send them to school. Children were brought up in the discipline of the Word of God. When they were sick, he would sit near the bed and pray and make them realize that healing came from God.
Pastor Samuel was careful in attending to small details, such as bandaging wounds, removing loose teeth at the proper time, clipping nails, etc. He would not forget to buy sweets or articles required for school for the children when he returned after a few days of absence from home.
With no distinction as son or daughter, Pastor Samuel loved them all and gave them good education. His sons and daughters were all sent to Union Christian college, Alwaye which was the best institution in those days for higher education. All of them graduated from that college. His immense confidence in God could be seen from the fact that his children were sent to college without any visible source of income to pay tuition fees or hostel expenses.
Mariamma was truly a help-meet for her husband. As they were passing through financial difficulties, they learned to be content with what they had and live cheerfully. Their children were also trained to acquire the same attitude which helped them immensely in their life.
One day Pastor Samuel called both daughters, Lilykutty and Rosamma, and read to them a verse from the Bible (Song of Songs 2: 1) which has two names pertaining to Jesus Christ: Lily of the Valley and Rose of Sharon. He explained that he gave them their names based on this verse and his desire is that they ought to spread the sweet smell ot-Jesus Christ among others like these flowers.
He attached greater value to spiritual matters than to material advancements. His eldest son, Babukutty, was appointed in the Physics Department in U.C. College, Alwaye immediately after he passed the B.Sc. Degree examination. In a nearby campus called the 'Settlement School', orphan children were lodged and given academic and vocational training. The children were also given Bible teaching on Sundays. The Settlement School authorities requested Babukutty to teach in their Sunday School. On hearing this news, Pastor Samuel wrote to Babukutty as follows: "We are happy about your appointment in the Physics Department of U.C. College. But we are much more happy that you got the job of a Sunday School teacher also". Such exhortations and appreciatory remarks influenced his children to develop a feeling of love for the Word of God and for the Lord's work.
When children approached the father with a request, the immediate answer would be: "You go and pray for it". Their request will be met as an answer to their prayer. Pastor Samuel's intention was to instill in the minds of his children the great principle that all that we possessed were blessings from God. Both the parents used to tell their four children that their sale desire was to see them serving the Lord faithfully.
Pastor Samuel would always remember the dates of birth of his children and greet them specially on that day. This would be done even if he was away from home. He insisted that children also should remember each other's dates of birth and greet each other. The greeting cards would usually be hand painted with some pictures and Bible verses.
Pastor K.E. Abraham conducts marriage of Babukutty & Jessy
Pastor V.A Thomas conducts marriage of Thankachan & Kunjumol
Pastor K.E. Abraham conducts marriage of Lilykutty & Kunjumon
Pastor K.E. Abraham conducts marriage of Rosamma & Joy
Pastor Samuel showed great respect for other people and taught his children to do likewise. Never did he allow his children to call elder people by their names.
For the young people in the church and for Bible School students, Pastor Samuel and Mariamma were 'K.J. Appachan' and 'K.J. Ammachi'. After they started staying in Peace Cottage in Kumbanad, they were known as Appachan and Ammachi of Peace Cottage. They would, in turn, call youngsters, "son" and "daughter". They received sincere love from others just as they showed their love towards them. They instilled this nature in their children, too.
Pastor Samuel was very careful about dressing and the money spent on dress materials. Two sets of clothes were the norm for children which they were expected to wash regularly and use for a year. More clothes were allowed when they had to stay in hostels.
The Samuel family did not have a luxurious life. But there was always order and discipline at home. Children were taught to set the dining table, welcome and entertain visitors and such other simple etiquettes.
Pastor Samuel and wife Mariamma used to welcome saints of God to their home whole heartedly. 'K.J. Ammachi' would be always ready to give some food to servants of God whenever they visited Peace Cottage. Rarely would be a day when there were no visitors in Peace Cottage. Ammachi would be keeping aside some food materials for visitors even if her children did not have enough to eat.
Peace Cottage, Kumbanad (inset: Pastor Samuel & Mariamma)
As befitting the wife of a Pastor who held important administrative responsibilities, Ammachi fulfilled her role with great ability. Peace Cottage was a home of comfort and rest for the large number of servants of God who traveled to Kumbanad for various purposes. It was a sight to see the crowd inside Peace Cottage during the convention season. Ammachi who would extend her hospitality to all without any reservations was, indeed, an example to all.
Ammachi of Peace Cottage
It was Pastor Samuel's hobby to keep and nurture plants in the garden in front of the house. He took great efforts and time to keep the house neat and tidy and arrange furniture appropriately.
Pastor Samuel experienced the protection of God several times in his life. He escaped death in many accidents. Mariamma was once admitted for treatment in Naqercoil Mission Hospital. In those days, he was translating a book for the Assemblies of God Bible School at Punalur. After his work in Punalur, he used to visit Nagercoil to enquire about Mariamma. One day as he was traveling to Kumbanad from Nagercoil, his bus fell into a river at a place called Koodal. He could not recall anything that happened immediately after that. All that he could remember was that he was standing in water outside the bus. He did not know how he came out of the bus or who helped him in the process. He appeared like a spectator among the crowd which gathered to see the accident. A few passengers died in the accident. Later he caught another bus and went home. With the introductory words: "Appachan would not have reached here alive if God had not sent his protection on time", he described the accident to his children who were waiting for his arrival as usual.
Pastor Samuel had to shoulder the immense responsibility of the whole family after the untimely death of his father. He took care of all the physical, mental and spiritual needs of each member of the family. God granted him grace to tide over all difficulties with wisdom and courage. Even while passing through financial straits, he did not neglect his responsibilities towards his mother and sisters. He lived up to the standard set in the Scriptures: "If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?" and set an example to others with regard to caring for the family and administering the church.
Chapter - 14 The Personality of Pastor K.J. Samuel
Many fine qualities could be seen in the personality of Pastor K.J. Samuel.
His actions and his life style were well worth emulating. Any person who got acquainted with him would love to keep that relationship for ever. Pastor Samuel showed great affection for others and rejoiced sincerely when they advanced in life. Hence he was admired by all.
He had an unusual ability to speak and write in clear unambiguous language. His speeches in youth meetings and children's gatherings were very attractive and worthy of attention. He had a special role in public meetings as he could handle English also well. He would not try to whip up any superficial revival during his sermons. His attempt was to delve deep into the truths of the Word of God and make them sink into people's hearts. He used simple and interesting ways of presentation.
Pastor Samuel took great care to encourage others. He used to remind people that if they wish to move forward even a little bit, then they should set a lofty goal in front of them. He would say: "Shoot the arrow aiming at the stars, it may reach at least the top of the nearby tree". He would exhort the youngsters not to waste opportunities. Most great men were not born great, but they achieved their greatness by sheer hard work and trust in God.
His views and ways of thinking were sometimes different from the ordinary Pentecostals. He would not give undue emphasis on matters which are not clearly set down in the Bible. His hair combed neatly, his full sleeved shirt (sometimes slightly coloured) and his well-polished shoes were not quite the acceptable dress of a Pentecostal Pastor in the eyes of some people.
In spite of his busy work schedule, he would take time to respond to all letters. His handwriting was as clean and unambiguous as the contents of the letter. A letter written by him when he was the editor of "Prabodhini" is reproduced (in the Malayalm biography) as an example.
He used to dress immaculately. Neat and decent dress was not a hindrance to godliness, he felt. Fear of God dwelt within. He wore a light blue full shirt even at the time of his ordination. He wanted to dispel the notion that Pastors should wear white clothes as a sign of holiness.
Pastor Samuel had visualized a joint effort at evangelization by all Pentecostal ministers and believers belonging to different churches. He organized many discussion meetings and joint conventions to move towards this goal. But he could not carry on this work for sufficiently long time to bring it to fruition.
Pastor Samuel was a man of few words. He would never speak out of turn and unnecessarily neither would he utter cheap or meaningless words. He would keep his status as the Secretary of a large organization, the principal of a Bible School and the editor of a magazine. He would take care to see.that others are not belittled or hurt by his words. He would give due respect to the views of those who held differing opinions and hence he was held in high esteem even by his opponents.
Pastor Samuel always made his opposition clear against any wrong being perpetrated. He would not compromise with anything evil, be it a doctrinal or a practical matter in question. He endeavoured to be faithful in all aspects of the Lord's work. He would strongly denounce anyone who was slack in personal life, no matter whether he was a powerful person or not and would have no hesitation in isolating him. He would not forge an alliance with anyone against his conscience.
Pastor Samuel had taken a very strong stand on principles when there were some divisions in IPC, but later worked earnestly for a reconciliation realizing that divisions in the church will seriously affect its growth. He worked in close co-operation with all the leaders till the end.
He strongly disliked flattery and greed. As he had tremendous experiences of a Christian service based solely on faith, he was uncompromising on people making Lord's work as a means of amassing wealth. He never hankered after recognition or power. But God honoured him with recognition in many fields because of his selfless work for the extension of the Lord's kingdom.
Pastor Samuel loved books and was an avid reader of good Christian literature. He built up a good library in his home. He translated and published many English writings of reputed foreign authors for the benefit of Malayalam readers.
Pastor Samuel did not agree with the notion of many Pentecostal believers that as they were a people separated from this world, they should not bother about the affairs of the country in which they lived. He believed that as citizens of this country, believers also are entitled to all privileges and protection as anyone else.
A bill was introduced in Parliament in 1962 to amend the rules concerning Christian marriages and divorces. There were some clauses in the bill which did not agree with the principles of the Bible and also which went against the equality guaranteed to all by the Indian constitution. Relevant points affected by the bill are given below:
1 . Some marriage relationships, not accepted in the Bible were allowed in the amendment. Fourteen of the banned relationships found in Lev. 18:6-17 were allowed by the bill.
2. Provisions were made to make divorces easier.
3. Remarriages were permitted after divorce.
4. Only four churches, viz. Catholic church, Church of India, Church of Burma and Church of Ceylon, were approved as the recognized churches in India. Each state government was required to form a five member committee to decide on the recognition to be given to other churches in the state.
The bill was opposed strongly by the Indian Pentecostal Church of God. A parliamentary committee was appointed by Government of India to hear objections to the bill from various churches. Pastors P.T. Chacko and K.J. Samuel were deputed by IPC to present arguments on behalf of the church before the parliamentary committee. (See letter from the Lok Sabha Secretariat)
Letter from Lok Sabha Secretariat
The IPC representatives presented a memorandum and argued their case before the parliamentary committee in New Delhi on April 30, 1963. They argued that (1) the marriage relationships banned by the Bible should not be allowed, (2) divorce and remarriage should be considered adultery on the basis of Biblical principles and (3) such laxities would lower the moral standard of the society. They also brought to the attention of the government that giving recognition to some churches while withholding recognition to some others are discriminatory in nature. Government of India finally bowed down in front of the strong protests from many churches and withdrew the bill of amendment.
Pastor Samuel was in the fore front to fight for truth and justice. He set a firm base for a constitutional structure for IPC. He was a person who had several good qualities and who solidly stood for principles.
Pastor K.J. Samuel - son of Kavil Yohannachan and Sosamma, born on July 27, 1912 and endearingly called Kochunnoonny - accepted the Lord as Saviour on September 11, 1923, took water baptism on September 29, 1924, baptized in the Holy Spirit on April 23, 1925 and dedicated himself for full time gospel work in 1932. He traveled the length and breadth of India and Pakistan (before partition) with the torch of the gospel. God used him mightily to bring many souls to the feet of Christ. He remained steadfast in his faith in the face of many trials and tribulations and established many others in Christian faith. He fulfilled the ministry entrusted to him faithfully and could boldly declare along with Apostle Paul: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith". As a soldier in Christian warfare, he was not prepared to compromise on any matter of faith. Neither the hardships of life nor the extreme weather conditions of north India could deter him from his mission for the Master.
Even after he returned to Kerala, he was busy in the ministry. God continued to use him to prepare many for the harvest in India and abroad and train young people to carry on the good work. When he became quite weak in his body, a willing spirit used to strengthen him.
Times and seasons elapsed. Years passed by. Continuous work without rest began to tell on the health of Pastor K.J. Samuel. Small eruptions began to show up on his skin. He had to curtail his speaking assignments away from home, but he continued his ministry nearer home. He preached for the last time in a public meeting in December 1969 in Venmony. His sermon was based on chapters 8-9 of the Epistle to Hebrews which vividly brought out the superiority of New Testament over the Old Testament and touched the hearts of the audience.
Weakness of his body kept increasing and he soon was bed-ridden. He would spend a long time talking with close friends and praying with them. He would not complain about his sickness. He derived comfort from the realization that soon the troubles of this short span of life would end and a rest was awaiting him in heavenly places. He agreed to go to Bombay with his eldest son, Babukutty, for a few days for rest and also seek medical advice from the doctors of the Department of Atomic Energy. He hoped to return to Kumbanad as soon as possible.
Although he was admitted to the hospital for diagnosis and treatment, the sickness kept increasing. Doctors diagnosed the disease as skin cancer. They were of the opinion that the sickness might have possibly begun with the constant exposure of the skin to sunlight for very long time in north India.
Pastor Samuel did not ever express any disappointment or sorrow for falling sick due to his work for the gospel. As eruptions increased in size and number on his body, many believers started comparing his ailments with the sufferings of Job. But he would tell them that his sufferings were only a small fraction as compared to those of Job and no comparisons should be made. And also his faith was nothing as compared to the heroic faith of Job.
As his sickness intensified, his hope of returning to Kumbanad faded. He often expressed his grief at being separated from amongst the co-workers and other believers dear to him.
God's people in Bombay irrespective of church affiliations visited him in the hospital and prayed for him. His sickness continued to intensify and finally he was unconscious for the last three or four days.
Tuesday, June 30, 1970: Pastor Samuel was unconscious during the whole day. Occasionally he would regain consciousness for very short spells. 11-45 p.m. at night. He knew the time had come for the spirit to leave his body. He communed without words about his condition with his Lord who had preserved him for so long, who comforted him in his sufferings and who sustained him in his ministry. Others could hear only the words which he uttered softly, "MY LORD". He might have said: "My Lord, I commit my spirit into your hands". Pastor Samuel's body lay motionless. People gathered around the bed kept praising God. The beacon of light that burned brightly for God and which spread light to many others in darkness, thus, was extinguished. Curtain fell on a blessed life. A missionary warrior who spread the good news of salvation along the length and breadth of India for 38 years left his earthly body full of sicknesses and sorrows and passed into glory for a well earned rest at the age of 58. The servant of God who led thousands of souls to the Lord took leave from his duties assigned by the Master. The revered teacher who prepared many disciples to carry on the work entered into eternal rest. But his earnest desire to depart from this world from the midst of his co-workers with whom he had laboured in the Lord's vineyard for many years could not be fulfilled.
The next morning on July 1 , 1970 the dead body was kept in Philadelphia Hall in Parel for the funeral service. It was in the same hall that Samuel who reached Bombay in search of a job nearly four decades ago had received the divine call for the Lord's ministry. It was indeed a wonderful coincidence that the funeral service was being held in the same place at which he dedicated his life for the Lord's work. God enabled him to carry out His will meticulously - God is faithful.
Pastor P.M. Philip, Rev. William Pospisil, Pastor E.L. Lewis, Pastor P.K. Chacko, Pastor Samuel Varghese, Pastor P.V. Varkey, Pastor John Varghese, Pastor T.K. Philip, Pastor M.I. Joseph, Pastor Mathai P. Mathai, Pastor K.V. Kurien, Pastor C.C. George, believers, relatives and friends at the funeral service
The funeral service commenced at about 1 p.m. Pastor P.M. Philip who had reached Bombay from Kerala the previous night, presided. Speakers who paid tributes included Pastor William Pospisil, missionary from Church of God, Pastors K.V. Kurian and C.C. George of IPC, Pastor E.L.Lewis of Philadelphia Church, Pastors P.K. Chacko, John Varghese, T.K. Philip, M.I. Joseph, Mathai P. Mathai and P.V. Varkey, Bros. T.M. Abraham, T.J. George and Samuel Varghese. The funeral procession started from Parel for the Sewri Cemetery at 3 p.m. Pastor Samuel's body was interned at 4 p.m. after a burial service led by Pastor P.M. Philip in the presence of a large number of ministers and believers from various churches.
On that beautiful dawn when Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, Pastor K.J. Samuel will also rise along with millions of saints of God. The crown of righteousness meant for the servant of God who fought the good fight and kept the faith would be ready in heaven. On the day when rewards will be distributed, the call of the Master, "you good and faithful servant", will resound loudly and Pastor Samuel will step forward to receive his crown.
Although Pastor Samuel has been removed from the face of this earth, his memories are still vivid in many hearts even today. He kept his unique identity in the society. It will be no exaggeration to say that another personality with such varied qualities has not arisen in the Pentecostal world as of today. His example remains the guiding beacon for many lives. Yes, that beacon has not stopped burning - it is shining brightly even today in the hearts of many.
Chapter - 16 The Relevance of Pastor K.J. Samuel in This Generation
It is now 27 years since Pastor K.J. Samuel has passed away. Many people living in darkness had found light through the life and ministry of Pastor Samuel. He might have been a small spotlight amidst the vast darkness surrounding the great multitudes. But surely, it attracted a large number of people. Decades have elapsed and still that small beacon attracts human minds because during its lifetime, it had shone exclusively and selflessly for the Master.
Those were the days when the people of God stood for certain values. Their minds were filled with the sole desire of living for the Lord and preserving their faith whatever may be the circumstances. It may look unreasonable and fanatic for the people of today.
The situation has vastly changed at the present time. People have acquired high financial and social status unthinkable in those days. Present day believers find ideals and articles of faith outdated. It has become fashionable to live like anyone else in the society. Saints of God like Daniel, Joseph and Paul have become mere characters in Sunday School text books - irrelevant personalities of the Bible. We are living at a time when even our own fore fathers are relegated to the dust bin.
Present day Christians may be able show a lot of material progress. But they are mere destitutes in spiritual matters. We have lost sight of the fact that our spiritual values are nearly extinct.
Many things are happening in our society which are not in line with the Scriptures. The church which is immersed in cheap political maneuvers has no time for spiritual activities. It is a sad commentary to say that our leaders are mostly busy with inauguration of rallies, laying foundation stones for buildings, marriage and funeral services. Many of them consider it a status symbol to visit foreign countries and beg for dollars and dinars for the so-called 'needs of the church'.
Our land has been converted into a fighting arena for many to grab territories for themselves in the name of the gospel and build up personal establishments to preserve their name and fame. So-called 'shepherds' are increasing in number who are prepared to do anything for power and position without any concern for the the 'sheep' under their care. They do not hesitate to throw their own sheep in front of wolves to save their skin.
In such a deplorable situation, a personality like that of Pastor K.J. Samuel becomes relevant. He sacrificed all comforts of life for the service of the Lord. He counted all sufferings lightly considering the rewards that were waiting in eternity. He endured all tribulations in life gladly without murmur.
The present day situation is quite the opposite. The principle adapted by many is to "eat, drink and make merry" as long as they live and cross lands and seas to acquire wealth. In the process, values of life and glory of God's name are brought to nought.
Pastor Samuel expended himself and every thing else for the glory of God without accumulating any wealth for the next generation although he had many opportunities for doinq so. When the next generation of many leaders are going astray in wrong ways, it is commendable that Pastor Samuel was able to train his children to serve God sincerely and steadfastly.
Man always loved power and position, both then and now. The difference is that the number who run after power and fame is much larger, nowadays. Many high positions were conferred on Pastor Samuel. But he never ran after them. The ways and means by which the present generation tries to achieve positions of power are devious and transgress all limits of decency. We have only to look at how canvassing and vote catching are done at the time of elections! The methods used are unthinkable in a spiritual context. It points to the absence of a leadership like that provided by Pastor K.J. Samuel. The reason for this spiritual decadence is that all the activities of the church are humanly engineered and no room is given for the intervention of the Holy Spirit.
The church today needs strong and faithful leaders. Dedicated leaders like Pastor Samuel have to arise in order to reverse the course in which the church is hastening towards spiritual deterioration.
Let us pray for a spiritual revival before the Lord appears. Let us pray that the Lord raise up anointed leaders in the church. Let His name be lifted up and the kingdom of God increase. May God bring up leaders like
Nehemiah to build the broken walls of the church. Let us persevere in prayer for that to happen. May God's name be glorified.
We reproduce below the editorial written by Pastor K.E. Abraham and published in July 1970 issue of 'Seeyon Kahalam'
Pastor K.J. Samuel who died in the Lord
(Pastor K.E. Abraham)
"Do you not realize that a prince and a great man has fallen in Israel this day?" (2 Sam. 3:38)
Wednesday, July 1: The reopening day of Hebron Bible College - all the students had assembled in the college hall and the teachers who met in Hebron Bungalow for prayer were about to leave for the hall. A telegraphic message arrived from Bombay saying that Pastor K.J. Samuel who served the Bible College meritoriously for 12 years as its Principal passed away. We read the telegram with a shock. We went to the college hall and gave the tragic news to the students and prayed for the grieving family. The day was declared a holiday and all were instructed to spend time in prayer for Mrs Samuel and other members of the family. The news item was sent for publication in newspapers and letters were sent to various places informing other servants of God about the sudden passing away of Pastor Samuel. A joint condolence meeting of the local Hebron church and the students of Bible college was held in Hebron Chapel on the same day at 7.00 p.m.
I am acquainted with Pastor Samuel from the time he was a ten year old boy. When I was staying in Panthalam and doing the Lord's work in 1098 M.E. (1923), a special meeting was organized in connection with the baptism of a few believers. Kavil Yohannachan, the father of Bro. Samuel, and a few other brothers had come from Vettiyar to attend that meeting. I met the boy, Bro. Samuel on that day carrying his father's big Bible wrapped in a handkerchief. Soon after that, God led me into the Pentecostal experience in Medam 1098. God had given me His grace to baptize several believers even before my Pentecostal experience. They included such prominent ministers like Pastor K.C. Cherian, Aramada Kochukunju Sanyasi and others. But the first person whom I baptized after I was led through the Pentecostal experience was Bro. K.J. Samuel. I baptized him and his sister Rahelamma in a pond near their house in Chakrapura, Vettiyar on Sunday, September 30, 1923. Bro. Samuel was only ten years old when he was baptized. Both his father and myself were reluctant at first to give him baptism. But we were convinced by his testimony and his knowledge of the Word of God. Till then, the boy was known as Kochunnoonny, even in school. But God gave me a fore sight that the boy is destined to shine as a minister of the Lord not only inside Travancore, but also outside and I gave him the new name of Samuel, after the great prophet of God.
After he passed out from the High School in Mavelikara, he took up Lord's work according to his dedication and his father's desire. God gave him opportunities to be trained in evangelistic work by traveling with me in those days-The Lord had given the dear brother talents to write as well as preach. It was when Pastor K.C. Cherian and myself were on our first missionary tour abroad that Seeyon Kahalam, till then an occasional publication, began to be published as a monthly magazine. At that time, Pastor Samuel did commendable work first as the Office Secretary and then as Associate Editor of the magazine. He was a teacher and then Head Master of the Free English School which we conducted in Kumbanad from 1938 for children who could not afford to pay fees in a regular English school. In those days when there were no bus services available, he used to walk every week from Vettiyar to Kumbanad and back. As the school was run as a charitable institution, teachers could not be paid any adequate compensation. The teachers offered their services sacrificially for the Lord. Pastor Samuel worked as a teacher in Hebron Bible School also at the same time.
Bro. Samuel, later, left for North India with his family as a missionary on the encouragement received from Pastor M.K. Chacko who was working for the Lord in Delhi. He carried out a very blessed and fruitful ministry in Lahore and other places in Punjab. The family worked in those areas undergoing great sufferings and privations. They were in Punjab until the time of partition of India and Pakistan. Although they planned to continue their work in North India, they were compelled to return to Kerala because Mrs Samuel had fallen sick due to the hunger and other problems that they had to undergo and the extremely hot climate of North India. After reaching Kerala, Bro. Samuel continued his work as teacher in Hebron Bible School and Editor of Seeyon Kahalam. He was appointed Principal of Hebron Bible School in 1958 and held the office with great distinction for the last 12 years.
The servant of the Lord has toured western countries like Europe and America several times. His first missionary tour abroad was to Sweden to participate in the World Pentecostal Conference in 1955 along with some other servants of God from India. He delivered a substantive and informative sermon at that large, international gathering in clear and lucid language. The speech was very well appreciated and it raised the stock of Indians in the eyes of all. This was the starting point of his later trips abroad. He received great admiration in all places that he visited and his ministry was highly successful.
The sudden departure of our dear brother is an irreparable loss to Christian community of Kerala in general and to IPC in particular. He loved IPC as his own life and worked for the organization whole heartedly. There are other servants of God among us who can preach and teach the Word of God like him or even better. But without any exaggeration, it can be stated that there is no one like him left with us who can administer the organization. in the light of the truths of the Word of God so ably and well.
For the last few years, some eruptions kept appearing on the skin of Bro. Samuel. By December last year, they developed into boils and he was bed ridden. He was taken along with Mrs Samuel to Bombay by his son Shri Johnson Samuel. Doctors in Bombay confirmed that the disease was skin cancer. He was called to the presence of the Lord whom he served so well and so fervently. We feel so sorrowful that he was not in the midst of his brethren here at home. As for me, I am extremely grief stricken because I have lost a brother who was my co-worker and my right hand. But we take comfort in the hope that we will see our dear brother when the Lord comes in the clouds. Let us remember Mrs Samuel and children in our prayers. We know our dear brother will receive his reward from the Lord along with other servants of God.
'Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever" (Dan. 12:3).