In the Arms of the Savior
Pastor Cherian Mathews peacefully transitioned into eternity on October 15, 2019 at 3:55 PM at his home in Bethel, Fatehgunj, Baroda, surrounded by his loving family and friends.
Pastor Mathews was born in Panaveli, Kottarakara, Kerala on January 31, 1937. He and his wife of 56 years, Grace, dedicated their lives in service to the people of Gujarat, India, and many parts of the world. A man of fervent prayer, vast faith, genuine humility, steadfast purpose, immense strength and contagious joy. He lived for one big purpose—to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ! His heart was always for the poor, downtrodden and the underdog. This was his lifetime calling, and he never retired.
God called Pastor Mathews and his wife Grace to Gujarat, India, in 1965. They moved to Baroda with their infant son, while Grace was carrying their second child. They did not know where they will stay the night they arrived in Baroda. Since that day until today, prayer was his only asset and the foundation of all his endeavors. He spent hours very early in the morning praying for the nations of the world. What started as a small church in Baroda has now blossomed into a ministry that has impacted the world – from India to Nepal, Burma, Thailand, Philippines, Peru, Cuba, Ecuador, Brazil, East and West Africa. Pastor Mathews oversaw about 1,400 pastors and served nearly 2,000 children across these nations. He also founded the Mathews Educational Trust, Alpha International School, Alpha Bible College, and M:28 Church Based Bible institute.
Pastor Mathews was a trailblazer and God used him to break through the stale traditions and prejudices of the prevalent church culture of his time. He went against the tide with a simple message of salvation for sinners and a heart for helping the poor. Contrary to the systems of caste, regionalism and cultural prejudice that divided people, he viewed everyone as equal, accepting people of all walks of life as his own and championing their cause. Ably supported by Grace, they made inroads from Baroda into the villages of Anand and Kheda district. Pastor Mathews was a close friend of Rev. Dr. Joshua C. Raj, one of the pioneers who launched the Gospel into South Gujarat. Together they witnessed the early revivals in Dang and Vyara districts, which mushroomed into hundreds of churches in the regions. Later he focused on church planting in twelve North Indian states. He practiced incarnational ministry by going and living among the poorest tribes and people groups and identifying with them in every way. It is believed that over a million people have heard the gospel through the mission in the nations over the years.
Pastor Mathews is survived by his wife Grace, five sons, one daughter and their spouses, and three siblings. He was blessed with 21 grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. He was known as “Appacha” to his grandchildren. And he was known endearingly as “Pappa” by all. His legacy continues through his children, grandchildren and the countless others he inspired to become ambassadors for Christ.
Many have asked about giving in honor of his life. If you wish to do so, please direct your giving to the Alpha Grace Kids Project that was so dear to his heart.