The trip changed his life! Through his grief, God met him in serving others. Then, four years later as he was mourning the death of my sister, (and had already gone to Peru on a Missions trip the summer before) once again, he knew he had to go back to Peru on another Missions trip. He needed to serve and talk his feelings out with God. Kristen (my sister) was so angry going through her sickness....but that is a long story. A few days before she died, he was sitting at her bedside and at the bottom of the bed was the scripture, Isaiah 40:31 "But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."
My dad, as any parent struggles so much when they lose a child, was hurting so badly. One day he went off away from the rest of the group and hacked his way through the jungle yelling at God, questioning why his daughter had to struggle and hurt like she did. But then he came into a clearing where a little church stood. Smack in the middle of the jungle. He couldn't believe his eyes! He entered into it. Candles were lit all around, and he saw a Bible at the back of the church. He walked up to it, and then noticed something that moved his heart as no heart could be moved. The Bible was opened to the book of Isaiah, and the verse underlined was Isaiah 40:31. God answered my dad's cry, in the middle of a jungle in Peru. He knew God was with him, and so was my sister, as the peace flowed through his heart.
With this, it made him all the more passionate to serve others who were hurting or were underprivileged. He fell in love with the people and children in India and served there for seven years. He took myself and my step-sister to Australia one summer, and then began a Missions program at his church and led other members to Panama for another seven years. He served as a Stephen's Minister helping those who were struggling in whatever capacity it was for 22 years, in fact, up until he himself was in the hospital with a broken back, and was called into Heaven.
His own suffering led him to serving. Wow! God made good out of all he suffered! I pray that is what I do with my life. Not let my suffering get in the way of still serving others. When the Lord calls out, "Whom can I send?" I answer so strongly and with tears, "Please send me, send me!"
I know I can't serve (at least at this moment of my life) as my father did, for God has his own plan for each of us. But as my dad's pastor called out during the memorial service, "Can I have a Witness?" Again, my heart called out...."Please, send me!"
I hope this ministers to you and challenges you. My dad's life challenged me. What a legacy he left. I want that for my children. I want that for you! It doesn't matter what our circumstances are....just ask God to send you....despite a hurting heart, just like my dad's, or, just like mine as I struggle so much with this illness I have....Lyme Disease. I pray my life is a ministry to others, despite my circumstances. I pray fervently that God is using me and sending me forth, even though I can't serve like my father did.
"Can I have a Witness?" The Lord is asking.