Monday, July 21, 2014

Matthew K. Thomas

"My desire is to be an exhibition of His power, an extension of His life, and an expression of His love," says Dr. Matthew K. Thomas. Presently, the President of Central India Theological Seminary, the Chairman of the Fellowship of Pentecostal Churches in India, and Secretary of Pentecostal World Fellowship, he looks back at his younger days and remembers the toils through which his family had been. "We sat on the ground in school and wrote with barru," he says to the younger generation.

"My dad didn't have a few paise to buy me a ticket to Hoshangabad, so we bi-cycled to the place.... We patched our torn trousers and wore it to school....."

His father, the late Dr. Kurien Thomas, had this humble confession about the birth of Matthew:

On the 2nd of November, 1948, our second son was born. He was delivered in the house attended by a village midwife. One of the believers, a sister, was also present. She told me that according to the custom of the place, as soon as the child was born, the midwife should be given a gift of some kind. I did not have even one penny to my name; what could I give her? I went outside and began pacing up and down in the courtyard. I prayed earnestly: "Lord, please let me not be ashamed before this Hindu woman. Give me something I can give to her." I was still praying when the postman came with a money order for ten rupees. As I received the money the baby was born. At once I put a few rupees into the midwife's hand. I can't help thinking that God had a quartz timepiece long before man had one, because He is always on time.
They called him Mone at home, and very few would ever have voted that Mone would come into ministry. After a not-so-happy experience with the College at Hoshangabad that demanded a compromise of faith, which Mone couldn't, God opened a wide door to the West when all other doors had shut down. In 1974, he married Aleyamma, who was working as a nurse in the US. For 21 years, he worked hard becoming very successful in business. However, God's calling weighed heavy on his heart and he left the world of business for the call of the Cross in 1992. The years following were years of testing as Aleyamma worked over time to support family and ministry and Matthew immersed into arduous toiling in the land of his birth. For the next many years he continued to provide leadership for both Seminary and Church. All the while, Aleyamma toiled day and night to support the work back home.

"I don't call this a sacrifice," says Matthew, "for nothing we do can compare to the great sacrifice that Christ gave for us; it's grace, just grace upon grace."

His heart saw the sorrow of burying both his father and his mother by the turn of the millennium; but, very soon, Aleyamma joined him in the work in India. Together, they now lead a number of ministry extensions including a children's home and projects to provide drinking water in the town of Itarsi. A few more projects are on way. Matthew and Aleyamma have their hearts' joy in their children Mercy, Michael, and Melissa; but more in their grandchildren Joshua and Moriah, the kids of Mercy and Bijoy.

"The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty." ~ Matthew Thomas

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