I had already called Sid several times that week in early May 2017, because important things were quickly happening to me. That evening I got a text from him after I had made an important commitment to marry. He never texted more than a few words, but this text was a very long paragraph. He did not disagree with my commitment to marry. He just cautioned me to be sure that Faylene was with me on my proposed schedule, in case her shyness with me may have made her reticent to voice any concerns. It was a serious admonition born out of a close friendship with me. His advice made a difference. His advice had always made a difference.
We had become friends many years earlier. We led worship together, sang together ourselves, led Bible studies, and spent much time together. He had been with me through difficult health times with my late wife, saw me through situations in the ministry, and helped with our little ministry for years. I had canoed, kayaked, hiked, observed the heavens, and sat by the ocean with him.
Now my friend is in a serious stage of congestive heart failure. His health-related limitations mean he can no longer participate as a board member as much as he wants to.
Another friend had a serious case of carpal tunnel syndrome years ago, so his hands and wrists were the source of serious pain, even after surgery that was only marginally successful. He had to stop playing piano, and I loved to hear him play. Sometime later he wanted to play for the wedding between Faylene and me in 2017. He would not hear of any caution on my part. It was not easy for him to play again, but he did.
Ron had also been a friend for years. He led worship with me, gladly helped me in ministry functions, and went extra miles to obtain things or support our loved ones in the mission field. While he and his wife had seen me through the difficult times around the death of my late wife. they did not hesitate to love Faylene and me as God put us together. Ron seemed to find fresh energy seeking things to send to the Philippines on a regular basis. When we could not find items, he found them or gave them, took us to places to get special items, and was always making extra effort to assist orphan children he had never met. He packed and sent boxes overseas while in considerable discomfort. He would come to board meetings when barely able to get around.
Now my friend cannot walk. Movement is constant pain. His situation is simply hard. Two weeks ago he said that he could not fulfill any more duties with the ministry, but he shares about us from his bedside when there is opportunity.
These two men are still my friends. They have seen me through hard times and times of blessing. Their friendships were never a question. Christ put the three of us together a long while back, and I am a better man for it. Ministry functions were better accomplished for years because of these two men. Faylene and I are both thankful for them. This week their resignations from the board of CHRISTWORKS MINISTRIES only marked a change in function but not a change in the friendship that we still have in Christ.
My new board members are both good friends also, and are willing to sacrifice time to help us continue. They already appreciate the work that is before us as we continue to love orphan children, encourage our friends in the Philippines, and seek to develop materials that can reach the poor or needy in developing regions. Like Sid and Ron, I have known these men for quite a few years.
I am pointedly thankful of God’s wisdom in the Bible where He speaks of believers fervently loving one another. Having friends such as these is an honor. God does not promote “lone rangers”. He does, however, promote loving one another, and it is the kind of love that reaches practical living, real accountability, and care for others.
Thank you, ‘gentle men’ (separate words intended), for being a part of this little ministry. Faylene and I are grateful.