Unlike my mother, my father was not raised in a Christian home. Dad’s father, tragically, never came into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ as far as we know. My grandmother did know Jesus personally. Although I don’t know the precise time of her conversion, I believe it was during my father’s youth. What I do recall is my dad saying that when as a teenager he would come home late at night after being out with friends he would find his mother on her knees praying for his salvation and safety. After he was home she would go to bed.
God answered my grandmother’s prayers. Dad received Christ as Savior when he was a teenager. Hearing God’s call into vocational ministry he studied at a seminary in Cuba. He later furthered his education by coming to the States to study at Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN. He met my mother there. They eventually married and devoted themselves to serve the Lord.
They began their fulltime ministry as missionaries in Ecuador. Following five years there, dad went into fulltime evangelism. At that point we moved from Quito to Miami, FL. From that home base dad flew to speaking engagements throughout Latin America with occasional trips to Europe. Dad later pastored two Spanish churches in Miami, taught at a Bible College, did translation work, preached, taught, and started a cassette tape and publication ministry.
Dad never pressured me to go into the ministry. I initially wanted to be a physician and went to college with that goal in mind. Dad was supportive. When I changed course and majored in education, dad was supportive. When during my senior year I sensed God leading me to seminary, dad was supportive. Well, I’m sure he was especially pleased with that! But he wanted God to direct my life, whatever the path.
I was blessed to have a dad who took me fishing, told me he loved me, said he was proud of me, and, especially, consistently pointed me to the Lord. He led a time of family worship following the evening meal. He and my mom had their own time together in the Word and prayer in the morning. During my adult years dad would frequently conclude our conversations with, “Keep looking up.” By that he meant, “Keep your eyes on the Lord.” That’s a good word and one that reminds me of the plaque dad had on his office wall: “Jesus never fails.”
Dad went to be with the Lord December 23, 2008. But I continue to benefit from his godly influence.