Today while I was waiting to hear news about my father-in-law's kidney surgery(which at the time of this writing seems to have gone well), I received news of another co-laborer in the Kingdom who died in an auto accident. He was known to me as Theodore, but those who were really close to him, called him Grandpa Theodore. He was well into his 80's, a missionary in Mexico... well for the last few years anyway. His legacy was missions in Asia including Vietnam, China and the Philippines. He was the mentor of a friend of mine who I know, and finally met, from a prayer chain on the Internet. We had many e-mails over the last decade... Time flies no matter what you are doing. I am sad today.
As I sit here and think about Theodore's impact on my life, I remember when we first met. He was part of a team in doing a mission in Vietnam. He was located in California arranging things for Bobby and the gang over there. In 2000 the team finally got kicked out of Hanoi for their work. (Which is better than torture and martyrdom I think.) Theodore and I had talked on the phone quite a few times, and he had prophesied over my life; powerful stuff.
After the team got back to the USA they were given an RV and began to tour the US gathering support for whatever was next. They stopped in to see me on Cape Cod in the summer of 2000. I set-up a few church presentations for them that week. Bobby did an incredible teaching on "What Do You Need" at Living Waters and Theodore sat there with me filling in the blanks. After the service we all went in the RV and were just hanging out and talking about missions, Jesus and things like that. I remember Theodore just full of the Spirit, peaceful and energetic in his own way. After all he was 80 at the time. As we were talking I said to Bobby, "there will be a time when they say he [Theodore] is dead, but it won't be true." Bobby proceeded to talk about some of his close calls thus far, but in my spirit I knew that I heard God.
They left on their tour of the US and finally ended up in Mexico ministering to an obscure indian tribe. They have been there since that time. One day Theodore was taken to the hospital and was suffering to from pneumonia or something like it. He was nearly comatose for a few days as I recall. Here is the e-mail Bobby sent me the February of 2002.
David - Just a note, I am off to the hospital. Grandpa is on a ventilator now and they have been spending the last 24 hours trying to find out why he seems to be unable to process oxygen in his system.
Last night, they had him on 100% oxygen with the ventilator and we need to know if he can make it with his own lungs. He is sedated so the tubes will stay quiet but he is active and moving and seems to want to live badly.
We love Grandpa and want God's will for him. I am going to talk to the doctors now as I am the only one who is able to make decisions for him. Theodore is in God's hands and we could sure use your prayers.
Grandpa is fighting hard to stay with us.
Bless you and keep praying,
If you read between the lines, I think that you'll see that Bobby was not convinced that Grandpa was going to make it back in February of 2002. When I read the e-mail that day I could only say to myself, he will live even though they think he is going to die. God was right. He preserved Theodore here in the mission field for nearly 5 more years. In that time, I know that he was frustrated with the lack of funds to do what he had given his life to do, serve the poorest of the poor, risk his own life and comfort for the sake of another salvation. Bobby told me that from the day he retired from the service about 25 years ago that he gave 100% of his social security check to the work of the Lord.
Last words are important, and here are Theodore's to me.
Dearly Loved and Blessed David,
It was a real blessing for me to have Bobby share your recent E-Mail with me. The years that have passed since we first met you have filled our hearts and encouraged and uplifted us with your steadfast faith and love in Christ.
In prayers last night, my heart was filled with desire that God would fill my sleeping moments with dreams, to be a blessing for you. In dream He showed me that you had the prophetic gift and like all his deeply faithful ones would not always have a soft road. Jesus told us as written in Holy Scripture, many things He went through we would also experience. Our eternal joy is the Triumph we will always have over the evil one. Again our ever abounding joy in your toils, and for me who has been close to death these past few months, have been a heavenly reward.
With our grateful loving prayers, from Bobby and all of us,
Theodore I'll miss your e-mails, but I am sure I will see you there when I finish the race.