Two things have happened to me in the past two days that have rocked my world. I’d like to share them with you.
One year ago PFC Brett Wood, a local Spencer soldier, was killed by a landmine in Afghanistan. When his coffin was driven by the church building on its way to the funeral home, we dismissed so we could stand along the road and pay our respects. Saturday I received a call from his family and was asked to pray at the beginning and end of the memorial service planned for Sunday. I do not know Brett’s family, but my name was given by a friend of Brett’s, a young man from our church whom I care deeply about. I have no doubt that someday he will commit his life to Christ completely.
But the “kicker” for me was a phone call I received early Sunday morning. It was from a pastor in town who had planned on just leaving a voicemail at the office. This pastor told me a story of a young man who had been an addict, but whom they helped. He turned his life around. This young man went to rehab in Terre Haute and consequently moved there. Lately he has had a resurgence with the Lord (the pastor’s words) and has become very bold in his faith. In his boldness, he reached out to a young man whom he met through rehab and counseling. Long story short, this young man gave his life to Christ and now wants to be baptized. He also told Ryan that he would only be baptized by one person: Pastor Bill Grandi. When I asked the pastor who it was I was told “_____________.” I remember him! His father had trouble with alcohol and other things. I remember taking him to a “Biker” rehab facility and then visiting him while he was there. I remember following up with him and meeting with him after he was released. He chose to attend a church that was a little (okay…a lot) “wilder” than we were and when I left in 2000, I had lost touch with him.
BUT THE SON REMEMBERED ME!
I was blown away by that. I lost track of the son way back in the 90s. It has been probably 20 years or so since I had helped his father. I am not even sure if his father is still alive. I wouldn’t recognize this young man if he walked up to me on the street. But he wants to give me the honor of baptizing him.
Why do I write this? Certainly not to toot my own horn. Please understand that. I really have no horn to toot anyway. I tell this story for two reasons: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” [I Cor.3:6] The other is also obvious. We never know who we will affect along the way. Over 20 years have come and gone, and with it a lot of water under the bridge, and a young man reaches into the archives of his mind and remembers. You never know the influence you might have along the way.
Quite a “memorial” Sunday for me. Not all my memories are good ones, but this one is a “keeper.” How about you? What type of memorial are you leaving behind? Ever had this happen to you?