Building People. Spreading Hope.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Tribute To My Dad

This is how I’d like to introduce and remember my father for the rest of my life. I spent a day and a half and had a wonderful visit with him on our recent mission trip to India. Even though he was getting frail, he lived a fully functional life. On April 9, 2016, I got the dreaded call from my eldest brother, Pat. Our father had taken his last breath on earth and his first in heaven! My Dad had been promoted to glory. 

His life was filled with highs and lows. My father was born in the early thirties to a poor family in a village in India. In order to support his family, he had to drop out of school in seventh grade. He was around twenty-years-old when he married my mother who was about sixteen years of age. Life was a short-lived bliss and they had four boys. Suddenly, when I was one, my mother passed away. Dad loved mom and almost always had tears in his eyes while talking about her for the rest of his life.

He didn’t surrender to struggles. Shell-shocked, dad took up on an offer by a Methodist orphanage to send his four boys there. The earliest memory I have of my father is that he came to visit us on the limited days parents were allowed to meet. He couldn’t give us much but even a pack of cookies was received with great joy. Sitting on his lap and hugs were a rare treat but they were greatly appreciated and anticipated. 

He was a gentleman. After graduating from high school, my brothers and I were in search of our identity. I was fresh out of college and I had just moved to Nepal along with my two brothers, Neil and Guine. My father had made the treacherous journey to come with a village friend to meet us. We were young and dumb — who put him back on the bus the next day. We were so focused on our lives that we didn’t appreciate his visit. He obliged and traveled back to India. Dad never resented it. I never saw him getting mad at anybody.

He was a small town man with a big world view. Even in his advance years, he read the newspaper front to back. Once, we relocated him from the village to New Delhi — the big, capital city of India. He missed his social connections in the village so after about three months we moved him back to his native village. In the years to come, Dad traveled the world to spend time with us but he always went back to the village.

He loved construction. My father was a visionary. Whether it was to build our brick house (in place of the mud house), the local church (biggest building in his village), or anybody else’s building project — he loved to direct and supervise construction.

He was a leader in his community. Poorly educated but highly gifted in his talent to connect with people. When he was able, he would walk to the market every day. There he chatted with the people and enquired about their well-being while sipping on a cup of tea. Whenever he had money, he’d help those in need. He was loved and well respected by his community.

He was a man of prayer. My father didn’t say a lot but he made it up in prayers. He didn’t pray in public but often he would wake up between 3 and 5AM and pray to God to use his four boys for His purpose. Sitting in a mud house under a thatched roof, it didn’t seem possible but he didn’t consider what he saw in the natural. I say this to the glory of God, thirty years later all four of his boys are serving the Lord. Together, we’ve traveled to more than 150 countries and preached to millions of people. Over thirty of our extended family members are serving the Lord because of the answer to my Dad’s prayers. 

Friend, if you have a living parent, don’t take them for granted. Give them a call. Celebrate their lives while they’re still with you. Let them know how much you appreciate them. Put it on your schedule to spend time with them or else you’ll never find time for it. In the Ten Commandments, there’s only one that comes with a promise in return – "Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus20:12 NLT). Friends, let us love, respect, and honor our parents. They’re the reason, we’re here.
I love and miss you, Dad!

1 comment:

  1. We are proud that he was our loving UNcle. Yes, because of his prayer millions of soul came to know Jesus. Salute to him. Always love him..