Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dr. Sam Kamaleson and the Friends Missionary Prayer Band

On Friday, I had the great honour and privilege of having lunch with Dr. Samuel Kamaleson. The story and legacy of this man of God is truly an inspiration. About 6 months ago, I spent a week in the Alipur Hospital covering the surgical work and spending some time with my good friend Dr. Raja Paulraj, a member of that rare breed - the mission hospital psychiatrist!! It was there that I was exposed first hand to the pioneering work of the Friends Missionary Prayer Band, the organisation begun by Dr. Sam and his associates. And then, in the EMFI conference, we heard the moving testimony of Drs. Isaac and Vijila who began the medical work with the Malto tribe in Jharkhand after FMPB had been working there for many years. As we heard the story of small beginnings, rapid growth and continuing difficulties (like no electricity, phone, internet and other things that we cannot even imagine going without!!), it was a great inspiration to feel the excitement and sense of fulfillment that is so evident in those who are following God. In fact, that was one of the best experiences of the conference - being with so many people who are vibrant, excited and fulfilled. So unlike a normal congregation of health care professionals with the huge baggage that we tend to carry.....

So, when I heard Dr. Sam and his wife, Adela, were having lunch with Babloo, my dear friend from Vellore (and the music director for our wedding!), I shamelessly invited myself!! And it was a moment to cherish. In spite of his busy schedule in Vellore, with 2 if not 3 public meetings every day, he was warm and unhurried as he recounted snippets of his life and ministry. How he came to a faith in Jesus Christ through the testimony of a Hindu collegemate. How he responded to God's call by singing on the streets of Madras and then preaching to those who gathered to enjoy his wonderful voice (which has still lost none of its richness or depth). How he and a group of friends who were volunteering for the Vacation Bible School movement heard the call to form a missional fellowship at an all-night prayer meeting. How they spent 10 years meeting together and praying before the first missionary of FMPB went out (he called those the years of preparation). How his ministry and Indian passport had led him to many communist countries and had even caused him to be detained for interrogation in Romania. And how through times of loss and confusion like at the death of his 8 year old grandson, he found strength and reassurance in God and His love.

With warmth and love he responded to our questions and gave us a glimpse of the fulfilment and joy that comes after a lifetime of service to God. There was still so much more to say and hear when he had to take leave. But spending the time with him reinforced in us the clear idea that God is no man's debtor. Serving Him will only bring blessing and peace, though the road may have a few ups and downs. Men and women who have given their lives in the service of the King are all around us. The stories of those who have gone before are there to remind us. That living our lives in pursuit of power, position and possessions (in the name of being comfortable and providing for our family!!) can never compare with giving them all up to follow the call of God. But in our culture of materialism and selfishness, these stories are pushed to the back of our mind and the people who live them out are considered stupid radicals. We think God is too small to take care of our needs and spend our lives trying to take care of them ourselves. But what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul......

1 comment:

  1. In the never ending buzz of daily living, I get a breather reading my favourite blogs. I literally unwind and regain life perspectives through inspiring posts such as these. Thank you.