22 October 2011

Remembering Dad - Part 2

In my first post, I focused largely on Dad's professional life, and that was an important part of who Dad was, but I think that the most important part of my Dad's life, and one which I'm glad he shared with me, was his love for Jesus.

From as early as I can remember, we shared family devotions at a mealtime each day. A Bible reading, a comment, and a prayer time. We also acknowledged God's provision each time we ate a meal, as together we said grace.

As far as I know, Dad was a member of his local Baptist church from his youth. During my life, I remember attending church as a family. Prior to their marriage, Mum and Dad both attended West Preston Baptist Church. The first church I recall attending as a family was Regent Baptist Church, and then, after we moved to Glenhuntly, we attended Ormond Baptist Church, both in Melbourne. After the move to Townsville, we attended first Central Baptist Church, and later Currajong Baptist Church. I recall Dad being actively involved in church life, including being a part of the diaconate, and church treasurer. For a time he was also involved in the management committee of the local children's family group home. As a teenager, and before my sister attained that status, I remember attending the occasional evening service with Dad, although I know he regularly attended both. After the move to Brisbane, Moore Park Baptist Church was their church home until the move to Armidale, and finally to Coffs Harbour. In each church family, Dad was no "pew-warmer", but an active participant in church family life. Over the years he continued to take on the role of both deacon and elder, and I know his Godly wisdom was appreciated by many who came into contact with him. In fact, I think that the last thing Dad did before he was admitted to hospital just prior to his death, was a prayer meeting with the other elder from Boambee Baptist.

Dad's faith wasn't just about going to church though. His faith was an integral part of who he was, and I have no doubt that the principles he learned through his growing years as a Christian led to his being the patient, principled, perfectionist, planner that my sister took delight in describing at his funeral.

Particularly during our years in Townsville, I remember our family hosting visiting missionary speakers. My parents actively supported missionaries as much as they were able to, and when I choose to move to Cambodia, to serve my Lord here, I knew it was with their support. I will never forget Dad's words when I asked how they felt about me continuing to serve as a teacher here in Cambodia beyond the first six months. Dad said, "We just want you to be doing what God wants you to do." How much more support than that can a person ask for. Thank you Lord for Christian parents who were willing to let me go.

In fact, the letting go occurred much earlier than that. It was during our teeinage years in Townsville, we developed our non-denominational attitude to worship. While my home church in Australia is still a Baptist Church, I am grateful that my growing years enabled me to experience worship in other denominations (Anglican and Methodist/Uniting), as well as the interdenominational atmosphere of Scripture Union camps. When our own family church didn't have a suitable youth group, Mum & Dad were very happy for us to attend another group that had more young people in our age group, Central Uniting Church. A while later, when I felt I didn't really fit in at Moore Park (our family church), Mum & Dad again allowed me to stretch my wings and find my niche at Kenmore Baptist.

There is so much more I could share about Dad, and maybe there will be another post in the days to come. Meanwhile, I hope that those who read this will remember a godly man, who loved his family, and taught them to know and love the only true God. What greater legacy can a man leave than a family that knows Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Thanks Dad!

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