Since the beginning of March, Pappachi (my appachen or grandfather) has been battling with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. The past month he’s been getting weaker and weaker, and earlier this week he slipped into a coma, and these past few days have been so difficult. Tuesday night specifically was definitely one of the most challenging nights of my life. I got to sit with him, pray, read Scripture, and talk to him. Since he was in a coma he couldn’t respond or see me, and much of his body had already began shutting down, but he could hear and understand me. I stood beside him, holding and massaging his arm and began telling him how he had impacted my life. I told him how much he had taught me, but the two greatest lessons was to love God above all else and to serve Him with my life.
I told Pappachi thank you for teaching me about Scripture, answering all my concerning questions I had about the Bible and faith, as well as touching my life. Out of the many lessons that he taught me, both through word and his daily life, there’s a few I want to remind both myself and you about, and hope we practice these in our day to day life-
When I was young, I would always go over to my grandparents house for babysitting. I lived with them until I was close to three years old and even after we moved out, I was always over at their house when my parents would both be at work. Since I spent most of my childhood with them, not only did I get to have sweet conversations with them, but I also learned what their daily routine consisted of spending time rooted in Scripture. If you look in his Bible, there’s writings, underlining, notes, and asterisks from cover to cover.
Pappachi taught me the importance of not just knowing the stories and facts in Scripture, but taught me to dig deeper and desire to know the meaning and purpose of the Word. He taught me what a life rooted in Scripture looked like. It reminds me of Colossians 2, when we’re reminded to “let [our] roots grow down into him, and let [our] lives be built on him” because this is how Pappachi lived out his life. He not only was constantly rooted in the Word, but everything else in his life stemmed from this root. He taught me that I couldn’t always just be talking about God, but I also had to listen to him, especially through Scripture because it is the living Word of God.
Be Kingdom workers.
For several years, Pappachi served as an evangelist in India and also as a priest, both in India and in the United States. Everyone that knows Pappa hears the authority in his voice. Pappachi has this kind of boldness and courage in the way he speaks and sings that you know is not coming from within him, but rather from Someone Greater. People used to come to the churches or places he was at just to hear him speak and to hear him sing, which a lot of times he would switch back and forth between.
Some of the gifts he possesses include the gift of healing and speaking, but these gifts weren’t what blew my mind. Pappa was always wanting to serve others with those gifts and advance the Kingdom. In 1 Peter 4, we’re reminded that our gifts are used to bring glory to the Lord and that’s exactly what my Pappachi strives to do. He taught me how it doesn’t matter whether you’re a priest, nurse, or teacher by profession. What matters is that we are adopted children of the one true God, which makes us Kingdom workers by our lifestyle.
Going back to the conversation I had with Pappachi on Tuesday night, that was when I said my official “see you later,” not “goodbye.” I ensured him that I would see him again because of the Hope of the cross and the empty tomb that he had taught me about since the day I entered this world. I promised him I’d carry on the work he started here, that I’d live my life sharing the Good News like he had as an evangelist, priest, and friend. I reminded him the day that the Lord calls him Home would be the day he’s been dreaming about since the moment he accepted Jesus into his heart.
…and that day was today, this morning at 4am. Even thought it breaks my heart that he’s no longer here, I’m filled with so much joy and excitement that he is reunited with his Creator, Father, and Savior! I’m so glad he is no longer suffering or in pain. I’m even a little jealous that he gets to be hanging out with Jesus right now while I’m still stuck in this world, but my purpose here is not done. Pappachi not only ran the race and fought the good fight, but he also sprinted during the race and conquered during the fight. He never let the devil take him down easy and he fought for his life every time he could. Ever since I can remember, Pappa has always been ready for this day. He really took 1 Corinthians 15 to heart and knew exactly what verses 52 through 57 meant when it said “death is swallowed up in victory.” He knew where he was going after his time was done in this world.
Also, as many of you know, for a majority of my summer I was in south Asia on missions for close to six weeks. Before I left, a request I had made to the Lord was to either call Pappachi back Home either before I left or after I returned home because I really wanted to be here to spend time with him. It was weird that even during my time in India, there wasn’t ever a moment that I worried about my Appachen’s health, I just trusted in the Lord’s will, knowing that He has everything in His hands, which was one of the greatest worries I had going into my summer. God really was gracious to me and allowed me to be with Pappachi for over a month after I had returned from my summer before he was called back Home. In my life, this is just another example of how God’s timing is perfect and beautiful and in this case, it was in my benefit, but know that sometimes it’s not like this, but we have to simply trust in Him and His timing.
Pappachi, until I’m called back Home or the Lord returns, know that I love you and that you’ve been one of the greatest grandparents a grandchild could ever ask for. Thanks for sharing your four greatest passions with me, even if I may not have caught onto them all- ministry, fast food, music, and sports. Thanks for giving me the biggest sweet tooth in the world, for loving french fries more than me, and always initiating Jesus centered conversations. Thank you for teaching me that working in ministry doesn’t make your life boring and for showing me the power in music. Until we’re reunited, don’t have too much fun without me. See you later, Pappachi.