Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Oddanchatram and the CF Hospital

How does a small village deep in Tamil Nadu, whose name needs much practice to be pronounced properly become a major landmark in the medical missionary heritage of our country. How does this small village with nothing but a few teashops lining the main road become a bustling hub of activity in less than 30 years. How does this remote place with nothing much to boast of in terms of entertainment, eateries or environment attract so many of the so-called cream of our society - the doctors - to live and work here sometimes for their entire lives. The story of the Christian Fellowship Hospital and the transformation it has brought to Oddanchatram and the whole surrounding area will fill many books if it were told in detail. The story of a calling given, heard and responded to, the story of obedience often with perceived and hidden sacrifices, the story of blessings beyond human imagination.

I was privileged to make a pilgrimage to this 'holy ground' where I spent 3 wonderful days with our dear friends Drs. Tarun and Anne Jacob and their delightful son Koby. (For more on this inspirational couple, visit their blog here). As I wandered round the hospital and imbibed the wonderful feeling of Christian community that still reverberated strongly through its busy corridors and shady lanes, I was reminded again of the Ecclessia and the 'utopian' idea of true Christian fellowship. There will always be difficulties, but the CF Hospital, Oddanchatram is a true oasis in the desert that is our Indian Christian Community. A place where many people from totally varied walks of life come together with the sole purpose of living with and for Jesus. Different though the paths may be there is still a unity of purpose and oneness of spirit and mission. Would that God would raise up more Ecclesias. Would that we will be given the grace to be part of one at some point.


  1. Reading your lines on the ODC experience I was reminded of our time there in 1982 when we were sensing a call and needing time to discern if it was indeed for us. Dr Tharien very kindly invited us to come to Oddanchattram and 'listen' to what God was saying to us. we lived in the house in which Drs. Jacob & Mary Cherian stayed and spent a lot of time walking in the fields behind the house waiting and praying that God would show us what he wanted us to do. You were Koby's age then and such a joy to us, lighting up our lives as we grieved for Anita. It was also in Oddanchattram that we knew Anandit was on his way and God gave us great peace in knowing he would be fine. We can still remember your excitement when you heard you were going to have a baby brother/sister and your response to him, when he arrived was pure joy.
    That was long ago and now you are blessed with Amy and Anandit is soon to be married and we are so grateful to God for our very special boys and pray you will always remain in the centre of God's purposes for your lives.

  2. Ever so often I Google my hometown or my Appacha's name, usually when I feel a little homesick. I'm glad ODC touched you. I believe its a special place too, and I hold the lessons I've learned, growing up in this place close to my heart.