The last few days have been very difficult as an important member of my family passed away- my grandpa. It feels so strange- hes just…gone. I have never experienced death before in my family until this happened. I’ve been to a few visitations before, said my condolences and left- but it isn’t until now that I understand the feelings that come with death.
It find it a very strange concept to grasp- We have been praying for a long time “God please comfort grandpa – please give him peace- please take his pain away And FINALLY!!! He is comforted! He is pain-free!! He is at peace!!! And now we’re crying- and in pain- but we still have peace. One of the most comforting things as a christian is knowing that my grandpa Loved God with his whole heart, he was diligent with his devotions and reading his bible. He prayed for others until his very last day, and he walked with God and obeyed him for his entire life.
In my last post I mentioned that I went on a trip to Africa a few years ago- What I failed to mention was that it was this man, my grandpa, who made it all possible. I was in trade school at the time and literally didn’t have two nickles to rub together and I get a call from my grandma. “Philip, we are going on a missions trip to Africa in two months and we would love for you to come” I told them that I would love to go. The task to raise $5000 was up to me but I struggled to raise the money, I was still in trade school trying to finish with decent grades- I was between churches and didn’t feel comfortable hitting them up for a donation. I felt really discouraged and remember saying to my cousin- “If God is truly calling me to go on this missions trip thennnnn shouldn’t God pay for it too?” It wasn’t even a couple of days later I received a call from my grandparents. “We would really like to pay for you to go on this trip with us” And that is exactly the time I realized that God had a sense of humor.
To sum up the missions trip to Africa- We thought we would be building a house for a lady who volunteered in Zambia running a school and few health clinics. What we actually did was completely different, we built a wall. It wasn’t even a big wall at that- it was roughly waist height when we were done with it. The wall didn’t offer privacy, it wasn’t beautiful, and it took a large portion of our trip to build. The area we were working in was so small that I spent 95% of my time with a pretty blonde haired girl that came along on the trip organizing a large pile of used bricks into two stacks- usable and unusable
While my grandpa and his friends were working diligently on that wall in the mid day african heat- I was starting to take an interest in the girl. Her name was Angela and she used to go to my high school- she was a few years younger than me, so I hadn’t had the chance to get to know her until this trip. I know my grandpa saw what was happening, and he didn’t say a word as her and I spent more time playing with the local children and going on walks to get to know each other better than we did stacking bricks. To fast forward the story, the local builders made up excuses not to come to work, therefore the wall could not proceed without them. What we didn’t know during those hot, unproductive days is that God was smiling on us, implementing His perfect plans in His humorous and perfect timing.
A few years later the pretty blonde girl from the mission trip and I got married. We still wanted to be involved in missions work, but I couldn’t help but remember what I said the minute I came home from Africa “I wish I would have went to bible college instead of becoming a plumber so I could have became a missionary instead” But God had even better plans for me. Angela has wonderful parents who were conveniently going to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary by taking all of their children (who I became shortly before this) to Haiti to go on a missions trip. It was on that mission trip where I discovered how God can use the simplest of talents to glorify His kingdom- Suddenly I thought to myself- “It feels really good to help people. It feels really good to use my SKILLS to help people!” I realized then that I could plumb every cottage that has 5 bathrooms with showers with multiple body sprayers and bathtubs that you could get lost in with faucets that you need an instruction manual to operate and not feel an ounce of worth again. Not after experiencing how good even the smallest task feels (like replacing a bucket with a hose bib, with a real sink that has functioning taps for a handful of students in an incredibly poverty stricken country. BAM! God works in some very incredible ways.
I owe my future to my grandpa. I love him very much, and he will be missed more than I can describe. He loved God and he obeyed Him no matter what the cost. It is really amazing to see the impact that ONE person living in obedience with God can make. My life will never be the same.
I found out yesterday that my grandpa had a specific wish for his funeral. Instead of people bringing flowers to his grave he asked that people donate money to either World Vision, or for the work that Angela and I will be doing this winter. Even during the last days of his life, he wanted to give a gift that would go on forever.
Thanks grandpa- Thanks God.