In the afternoon of 24th May, 2017, immediately after the Annual YFC Staff Conference in India, as staff members along with their families were returning to their respective cities, a tragic accident occurred near Mettupalayam. YFC’s Madurai Director, Mr. Stanley Chelladurai’s Bolero jeep had a head-on collision with a truck resulting in the demise of his elder son, who was driving the vehicle and the director’s wife, Mrs. Daisy Chelladurai, a herself staff . Mr. Kingsley, the Mumbai YFC Director (Tamil work) who was travelling with the family also died on the spot. Mr. Stanley and his younger son were thrown out of the car by the impact and escaped with injuries. Thanks to the presence of mind of a few local onlookers, they were rushed to the hospital and provided with immediate medical care. They are presently recovering from the physical injuries but yet to come to terms with the shock of the incident. According to an eyewitness report, the collision happened while trying to avoid running over a mentally unstable woman, who was attempting to cross the road.
The funeral of Mrs. Daisy and her elder son were conducted the next day at Coimbatore and Mr. Kingsley’s, at Pallani, his hometown, leaving behind two small children and his wife, Mrs. Regina Kingsley, also staff.
The incident is a massive blow to the entire YFC family, especially after having spent such a meaningful time at the Annual Staff Conference. Our minds continue to question how such a tragedy could have occurred—but knowing God as we do, we are learning to rebuild our trust in His sovereignty. Though we don’t know what God has in store for us, through such a turn of events, we are only learning to lean on Him and know that He is God and He knows best.
While still recovering from the shock, other tragic news was heard. The eldest daughter of Mr Ezakkiel, the Thanjore YFC Director, – Joshma, 13 – fell sick and was immediately hospitalised. After 4-5 days of extensive medical care and attention, her health improved temporarily; but later she was put on the ventilator as per medical requirements. Prayers were being made for her across the national YFC Team, for God’s mercy upon her. However Joshma went to her eternal rest on 30th May, 2017.
The entire Youth for Christ family of India is going through a time of grief, especially the bereaved families. We are grateful to all who have stood closely by us in this time of sorrow and pain. We truly appreciate the love, concern and wholehearted support which you have expressed through phone calls, visits or in any another manner. We look forward to your continued prayers for the YFC family at large, and especially for Mr. Stanley Challadurai and his son Steve, for Mrs. Regina Kingsley and her two sons and for Mr. Ezakkiel, Sofia and their children.
We also request you to remember in your prayers Mr. Sham Mohan, the National Director. With God’s help and mercy, he was able to attend the funerals and also visit the families of the bereaved, to share in their grief and extend his concern and support. Though such incidents have also left him, along with the rest of us, speechless and uncertain of the next step, we are holding on to God’s faithfulness and learning to do the same. Pray for God’s guidance and strength in the days to come, so we may be truly willing to go where God desires us to be and learn to lean on His comfort and peace even in the most testing of times.
It may be appropriate here that we request you to pray also for India YFC. We need to raise and create a special fund towards Staff Welfare and Terminal Benefits.