A Baptism at Eighty

My  great grand father (Vallyappachen) continued with the traditional Mar Thoma Church till he was eighty years old.  He was baptized into fellowship of believers at the age of eighty.  The context of his baptism was the following.  In those days our house was open to any one who carried a Bible.  Denomination was no barrier.  Once a young Pentecostal pastor visited us.  He spent a little time with the family and on parting he began to pray.  While praying he said, “Lord, I pray that you will give our vallyappachen grace to obey you in waters of baptism”.  As soon as he said this, vallyappacchen who was also present while praying, shouted in the midst of his prayer and said, “stop your prayer and get out of the house”.  Vallyappachen was a well built man and six feet tall.  Everyone loved him and respected him.  In fact every one feared him even at that age.  So no one was able to say any thing in response to what he had said and the poor pastor had to leave without saying anything in the middle of his prayer.

Every one dispersed quietly to their respective places and vallyappachen to his bed room.  He knew what he did was wrong.  But there was no one there to question him.  Later his own conscience began to smite him.  He went to bed and became sick for three, four days with very high fever.  Those days malarial fever was present there in that part of the country and every one thought it was an attack of Malaria and did every thing within their limits by way of medicines and other help.  But vallyappachen was shivering and shaking
under two heavy woolen blankets for days.  On the fourth day he called one of his grand sons and asked him to go and call the pastor whom he had chased form home while praying.  The young pastor who was only in his early twenties came home and vallyappachen  apologized to him and asked the pastor to pray for him.  Vallyappachen not only apologized to the pastor, but also declared to the pastor his decision to accept believer’s baptism.  The Lord graciously healed vallyappachen immediately and he was baptized into the fellowship of the assembly at Chethackal.    This event took place when I was a little boy.  The assembly arranged a convention and a pandal (tent) was erected for the public to attend.   I remember how in one of the evening meetings our vallyammachy got up and shared her testimony in the pandal.  She was baptized when she was only 18.  At first she had to suffer heavy persecutions form her in-laws and also from her husband.  But as days went by though vallyappachen did not trouble her any more, he remained strong in his ways until this event