My mother's elder sister's husband Mr. P. M. Abraham (Punnamoottil House, Kuzhikkala, Kozhenchery,) passed away to his eternal home a few hours ago (India Time: April 23, Sunday night).
Born in 1919, he was one of the pioneer Pentecostal believers in the Kuzhikkala area.
One thing that he always mentioned to me was that he was at my grandparent's house at Kalleth village, Ezhamkulam, the night in which I was born in 1949. On the night of my birth, my father was at his house at Edamon (Punalur). So, P. M. Abraham uncle heard my first cries before my father got a chance to see me.
In 1949, Abraham uncle was teaching in the Government LP School at Kunnida (near Ezhamkulam) about two kilometers from my grandparents' house.
When I was writing my novel 'PALAM THETTIYA THEEVANDI' (1983), he provided me with several valuable information regarding the origin and the development of the Pentecostal movement in Kumbanad-Kozhenchery area.
Abraham Uncle became a Pentecostal in 1927. His marriage to my mother's elder sister in 1944 was conducted by the founder of India Pentecostal Church Pastor K. E. Abraham.
Abraham uncle served as a teacher in the Hebron English Medium School founded by Pastor K. E. Abraham which was closed after a few years. Later, Abraham received a teaching position in a government school.
When Pastor K. E. Abraham organized the Pentecostal Young People's Association (PYPA), Pastor A. J. John Aiyrookuzhiyil,
Mr. P. M. Abraham, and Pastor T. S. Abraham were elected as the President, Vice President, and Secretary respectively.
For several years, P. M. Abraham served as the All- Kerala Sunday-School inspector of the Indian Pentecostal Church, visiting scores of churches to make sure that the young people are given a quality education in the Holy Bible.
P. M. Abraham's younger sister was married to Varghesekutty, son of world famous evangelist Sadhu Kochukunju Upadesi.
Abraham uncle's elder sister was married to Pastor K. C. Cherian, one of the most dynamic revivalists of the last century.
When I was in the Middle School (1959-61), Abraham uncle used to visit my house every month to collect the income from his coconut plantation situated near my house at Ezhamkulam. He always came there in the evenings and stayed with us for one or two nights to take care of his coconut farm.
One night, he taught me a song written by Rev. Poykayil Appachan (Poykayil Yohanan who later became a demi-god, Kumara Guru). The title of the song is "PARANE NINNE KANMAN / ENIKKADHIKAM KOTHIYUNDE." The song impressed me so much that it is still one of my most favorite songs that I sing very often when I drive to work and back.
Unfortunately, I noticed that this song was recently republished in CD form in Kerala giving credit to evangelist Sadhu Kochukunju Upadesi as the author of the song. Last week I received confirmation that indeed Poykayil Yohanan wrote that unique song. I also noticed that a few words in the song were altered in one of the recently produced song books.
The vocalist of the newly reproduced song is the famous singer Mr. Kester.
The new version of the song is inferior in its literary quality and in its thematic impact. Of course, Mr. Kester was not responsible for changing the words.
However, in a few places, the tune was also slightly altered which only diffused the beautiful melody associated with this wonderful old song.
I suggest that altering the original words and tune of a song must be made a federal crime punishable by imprisonment and financial compensation to the nearest relative of the original author of the lyric.
In 2014, Pastor Samkutty Chacko published my full- length article in his HALLELUJAH BIWEEKLY in which I mentioned several contributions of Mr. P. M. Abraham towards the early Pentecostal movement.
Through the pages of "Hallelujah Biweekly," I complained that Pastor K. E. Abraham in his voluminous autobiography (A HUMBLE SERVANT OF GOD) neglected even to mention P. M Abraham's name and contributions to the Indian Pentecostal Church, in spite of the fact that he served IPC as the first Vice-President of PYPA, English Medium School teacher, and as the first All-Kerala Sunday-School Inspector.
I assumed reasonably that this negligence in K.E. Abraham's autobiography was due to the fact that P. M. Abraham resigned his membership in the IPC in 1951 and joined The Sharon Fellowship Church of God which probably displeased many IPC leaders.
Abraham uncle still kept a cordial relationship with the K. E. Abraham's family. In June 1978, he took me to Pastor K. E. Abraham's bungalow at Kumbanad and introduced me to Mrs. K. E. Abraham, the lady behind the most successful ministry of K.E. Abraham.
A couple of years ago, P. M. Abraham's daughter Leelamma Varghese (Vazhakkala, Kochi) published a biography of her dear father which sheds light on the early Pentecostal movement in the Kuzhikkalla-Kozhenchery-Kumbanad-Mezhuveli area.
In 1974, P. M. Abraham visited me in Louisiana (Lafayette) and stayed with me in my dormitory room for a week. I had only one bed in my room on which he slept. I slept on a blanket on the floor for the whole week, but we talked for hours and hours in the night, mainly on the early Pentecostal movement in Kerala. He also visited many Pentecostal Churches in Louisiana where he preached sermons punctuated with many stories related to his life in Kerala. He spoke in Malayalam which I translated.
I was a part-time teacher at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, 1974-78. I invited Abraham uncle to teach one of my classes. He taught on some easy techniques to solve English grammatical problems. At the end of the class, my students said loudly:" We do not want Mr. Samkutty as our teacher anymore. We would rather have P.M. Abraham teach us. "
I still remember one illustration he gave when he preached in my local home church. His analogy was that in Kerala when cars move forward, a few dry leaves follow the car for a few feet, but then they settle down motionless or get scattered. They have lost their driving force to move forward. He exhorted the local church in Louisiana that Christians must have enough strength from Jesus Christ to finish our pilgrimage energetically up to the very end without stopping and settling down.
Of course, until P. M. Abraham died on Sunday at the age of 98, he was driven forward up to the very end of his life by the power of Jesus Christ, which helped him to finish his pilgrimage on earth faithfully without wavering.
E. C. Samkutty, April 23, 2017 (Louisiana, USA).