Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Those Who Have Gone Before

It was December of 1931 when a certain baby girl was born. She was raised in a home of good morals, but not a Christian one. It wasn't until she was eighteen years old that she made a personal decision to put her faith and trust in Christ. So desiring to learn and grow in her Christian walk, she left home and went to Bible school (college) at nineteen years old. In order to help pay for her tuition, she worked as kitchen staff.

Not long after she had been in Bible school, a young man named Roger noticed this classy young lady. She had caught his eye. The Bible school students all sat around a long dinner table, and Roger, being the outgoing young man that he was, stood up and said, "Alright, how about everyone give their names and where they're from." As the students - one by one - began to introduce themselves, all he *really* wanted to know was what HER name was.. and he eagerly listened for her reply. Finally... he found out her name. It was Dolores.

On Labor Day weekend of 1951, Roger walked over to the girl's dormitory (a large, third floor house) to invite one of the young ladies, Naomi, to join him for an evening at the City Wide Crusade. Naomi and Roger were both from the same home church and their Dad's were both Pastor's, so naturally, they were good friends. When Roger inquired for Naomi, he learned that Naomi wasn't around... so he thought to himself , "Why not ask that new girl, Dolores to come with me?" Just then, Dolores came walking down the staircase, dressed in a beautiful plaid skirt & matching sweater. Wow, she looks beautiful, he thought. He asked her if she'd like to join him, and she replied, "Oh, but I'm not appropriately dressed for the service!" He was quick to reply, "You look great to me!"

And so, Roger and Dolores continued to go out on dates and their friendship grew. Infact, things began to go so quickly that Roger began to wonder if it was the right thing. After all, just earlier that year in the Spring, he had broken off his engagement with a young lady who wasn't God's will for him. Maybe he was getting too serious with Dolores too fast. He wanted to make sure he was doing God's will. In November, just before Thanksgiving, Roger told Dolores that they probably better "cool off."

A couple weeks later, Dolores went home for Thanksgiving. Wouldn't you know, Thanksgiving weekend, Roger & the quartet he sang in were going to be singing at a church meeting nearby. Dolores was still interested in Roger and since the young men were going to be representing the Bible school that they all attended, she decided to just go to the meeting.

All this time, Dolores quietly had had her eye on another young man. He was rather good looking, she thought, and he was a nice guy. Wouldn't you know, after the meeting that Roger & his quartet sang in, this "other" young man noticed Dolores standing outside the building, waiting for her ride. He asked her if she needed a ride home, and she thought, "Why not?"

The "other" young man and Dolores were on their drive home and he said, "Hey! Do you want to stop and get a snack?" She said, "Sure!" And so, Dolores & he stopped at a restaurant and found their table inside. Dolores chose a seat facing the front door of the restaurant — then... in walked Roger & his quartet with him! Dolores put her head down and couldn't look up. Roger saw Dolores right away, and noticed how she couldn't make eye contact with him... but he proceeded to sit at his table. It was then that Roger realized that he truly loved Dolores, and it was okay if they continued to step forward in their relationship.

And so, as the story goes, Dolores & Roger got back together again, and about a WEEK later, Roger asked Dolores to marry him! Dolores went to Roger's family's for New Years, and that's where she met her future-in laws.

Dolores was still a new Christian, and Roger felt God's calling to be a Pastor. (His Dad was a Pastor too.) Roger was thrilled to disciple Dolores & teach her the word of God, and she loved learning more of the things of God.

It was a summer day — on June 13, 1952 —  that Roger & Dolores were married.

Over the next few years, Roger pastored at Fennville Bible Church and Chester Gospel Church, both in Michigan. During that time, which, the Lord led Roger & Dolores to become missionaries to Quito, Ecuador.

For several months, Roger and Dolores first lived in San Jose, Costa Rica where they went to language school to learn Spanish, and that is where she gave birth to their second daughter, and third child.

The next two years, Roger & Dolores served as missionaries in Quito, Ecuador where he served at HCJB radio station.

Due to Roger's health, the Lord called their family to move back to the States in 1960.

After they moved back to the States, Roger continued to faithfully Pastor at three different churches over the course of the next several years — Calvary Bible Church (Michigan), Calvary Baptist Church (Maryland), and Calvary Baptist Church (Michigan).

In May of 1982, Roger was diagnosed with Leukemia. He was admitted into the hospital... and he never came out.

As he sat there in his hospital bed, he had his Bible leafed open where he was reading and he said, "I just don't feel like it's my time yet. God still has work for me to do!"

Only six weeks after being diagnosed, at the young age of 50, the Lord called Roger home to glory on June 29th, 1982.

It was his wish for many years that the "Hallelujah Chorus" be played at his funeral... and it was.

This man was... my Grandpa.

I never knew him, for I was not born yet.

Over the years, I've heard countless stories from others about this man of God... a man who loved the Lord and made an impact in others lives. To this day, my Grandma still hears stories from others about how my Grandpa touched their lives, and some, of whom he personally led to Christ.

So you see, I cannot wait to get to glory. Not only and most importantly to see my Savior, but I can't wait to meet my Grandpa with outstretched arms and say, "Thank you for leaving behind a godly legacy."

The challenge for you and I today is to ask ourselves, "What kind of legacy will I leave behind?"

You are choosing TODAY whom you will serve.

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith."

—Hebrews 12:1, 2


Lori said...

Sweet Leah....what a wonderful blog entry you have shared! I didn't know most of the story of how mom and dad got to know one another, so thanks for sharing it! I had to giggle about Papa being engaged once before G'ma...b/c Uncle Matt was engaged once before me too. Must be a family thing. ;-) U Matt and I often use the song by Steve Green, "Find Us Faithful" when talking about Papa for he was truly a man of God and would have wanted nothing more than to have his children, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren find him faithful...even in death. I never met him either--he had been gone for 5 years when Uncle Matt and I married. But I've heard lots of stories. I think my sweet husband must've got his outgoing-ness from his father. :-) Thank you for sharing this post...I loved reading it and intend to pass it on. Our history is very precious as it has been blessed by God over and over. Love you! Aunt Lori

Samantha R said...

What a neat story and to see the hand of God through it all. Your grandparents sound like they were true Christians, devoted to Christ and you can see it just by looking at their faces!

Amber Noella said...

This is a sweet story! I love hearing stories of people who lived in those days. I'm always asking my grandparents to share their stories!

Thanks for sharing, Leah!!