Friday, February 7, 2014

Where Two Or Three Are Gathered Together ...


It had been a particularly tough day, Tuesday. Dad was almost motionless all day: he could barely open his eyes, barely eat or drink anything, barely speak to us.

Even Matt, when he came over, was unable to capture his interest.

We called our dear Naomi and our dear Navaid, who reassured us of their constant support and availability.

Later on Elliot and Oliver, and an assortment of Dad's children, filled up the house and the space with sound, with laughter, with conversation; and he managed to sit up for a while, to half-enter into what was going on, to walk around behind us when the swirl got too fast.

Wednesday was slightly more promising. He was more alert and he could move around with greater ease. But his eyes were dead, glassy, no light or spark in them.

Then Brian came over to visit.

Brian may as well be another son to Dad. They have known each other since Brian was about 16, and Mum and Dad loved Brian as though he was their own from all those years ago.

He sat across from Dad, not saying too much or forcing the conversation, his penetrating, loving gaze never leaving Dad's face. 

And suddenly Dad began to talk.

"You know the verse, The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous shall run to it and be safe?" he asked Brian, who nodded.

"I've been giving these kinds of verses to people for decades. I need them for myself now ..."

Deb said to me later, "When you can't talk to your best Friend, who you're used to talking to throughout the day every day, you just want to die ..."

"They're still there," Brian replied confidently, with conviction.

"Yes," Dad whispered.

Wednesday evening Bronwyn came over with the boys; and she brought Ian Trigg, the lead pastor of Foothills, with her.

Ian sat on a little stool that had been drawn up next to the couch where Dad lay. He took Dad's hand and started to ask him questions about India, about his ministry.

They began with Dad arriving back in 1959 and teaching a few students in Chembur, Bombay. They went on to how the college moved to Bangalore but how Dad stayed in Bombay to continue studying with the students there, to work in the churches he had become involved with.

We talked about coming back to Canada on furlough ... the educational systems for us as third culture kids - "Fourth culture kids, really!" Bronwyn exclaimed when we looked at it through the eyes of Ian ... what it was like for Dad and Mum to leave us in Canada  - "The worst kind of pain," he admitted.

We talked about how, through the seeds planted by two men who sent letters requesting Dad to join their work, John Teibe and Jake Johnson, Dad went to India to fulfill God's calling for his life.

And as Dad told Ian about churches planted, colleges started, orphanages and children's homes flourishing, work with prostitutes and victims of HIV, deaf schools, music ministries, Ian marvelled at how God had worked and continues to work because Dad and people like him were and are so faithful to their call.

Bronwyn told Ian that the verse that has governed Dad's life, that has comforted him and directed him and sustained him, is the one found in the first letter to the Thessalonian church, chapter 5 and verse 24: "FAITHFUL IS HE THAT CALLETH YOU, WHO ALSO WILL DO IT."

"It's about His faithfulness," Dad replied to Ian. "He is the One who does it all."

As he prepared to leave, Ian asked if he could pray for Dad. These two godly men linked hands and Ian thanked God for the ministry Dad has had that has impact all over the world today. He thanked God for the ministry that Dad continues to have, preaching, leading Bible studies, counselling, sharing, helping to shape the characters of those who will seize the baton and carry on with the race. He prayed for strength for Dad in a huge ministry that he has and that will continue to develop: that of praying for people, of holding them up before God, a ministry of intercessory prayer.

And then Dad prayed for Ian - for his ministry, for his family, for him.

And in the hush, all of us in the room knew that we were standing on holy ground.

For where two or three are gathered together in My name,
there am I in the midst of them.
(Matthew 18:20)

13 comments:

  1. so beautiful. Thank you for sharing. It reminded me of when he would pray with my Dad and encourage him!

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  2. My prayers continue. Your dad is such a beautiful soul. I have been thoroughly blessed each time we have interacted. Praying for rest as peace go all of you.

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  3. What a blessing to have had such Godly parents. Continuing to pray daily.

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  4. Sorry to hear your Dad is not well, but encouraged to hear about how your family surrounds him. Peace of Christ be with you.

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  5. Our prayers continue, may the Lord be with your family.

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  6. Wishing you all the best for your Dad, Karyn.

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  7. "It is ever a privilege . . ."

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  8. Mary Di Pilla OlinykFebruary 9, 2014 at 12:09 AM

    Praying for your daddy - what a real blessing it must be to have such a Godly man as your daddy ...

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  9. Karyn, I send my love to you, your father, and your family, especially Debbie, who has entered my pantheon of heroes. I have always been quietly amazed, and thankful, each time I've been in your father's presence. A kind and truly good man.

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  10. My thoughts and prayers are for your dad and all of your family. It always shows whenever you are all together how much love there is in your family.

    I still remember when we opened the Best Western and your dad prayed a blessing on it and the staff and owners and I could literally feel God's presence fill the room.
    So many guests would come in and say that just walking into the hotel felt different and I know that it was the Lord still there. I am so thankful that I got to know you and your family through that venture.

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  11. love & hugs...

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  12. Remembering your dad, in connections with God always. You are so blessed to have awesome man of God, we love him.

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  13. Beautiful, touching, sweet, sad. How wonderfully amazing he must be simply because he is your Dad. Xoxo

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