We had a very busy summer visiting wonderful Churches and meeting some very special people that desired to be involved in what the Lord has called us to do. However it was also very exhausting for we had traveled around a lot to visit these places and it seemed as though every weekend we were on the road and living out of our suitcases. We were more than ready to be back in Vietnam when the time to leave came around.
As we were preparing to leave I had a preaching obligation at Emporia Baptist Church near Pierson, Fl. I had been there several times before and really enjoyed the people and loved preaching to them. While I had never met my father, I always knew he had lived in Pierson, so when I would visit Emporia, I would always inquire of him to see if anyone knew him. Well the Saturday before I was to go up there and preach, I was at my mom’s house looking through her phone book and I looked up his name. Much to my surprise it was in there. I asked my mom if his address and number sounded familiar and she said that it did. So, I thought to myself, “Why not give him a call?”
I called and a tender voice answered and I knew it must have been his wife. I asked if Mike (My dad’s name) was there and she stopped for a second and asked who it was that was calling. I paused and explained to her who I was. She knew of me and my sister but had never met us and with a broken voice began to tell me this.
“I am so sorry Shaun, he died exactly a year ago today. He had a heart attack in April of 2012 and never really recovered. One night he went in to go to bed and never woke up. I miss him so much Shaun. It has been a really tough day.”
I was shocked to hear the news. After it all settled in I was even more shocked that a year to the day that he had passed I was on the phone with his grieving widow. They had been married for 54 years and despite the affair he had had with my mom, she stayed by him. Now after his passing, she was left mourning and missing her spouse. I had all of these feelings of rejection, pain, sorrow for never meeting him, and all kinds of weird things going through my mind. Then I realized that I am feeling these for a man I had never meet, but his wife is suffering the lost of him on the one year anniversary. I immediately began to comfort her through the words of our Lord and the promises of God. I shared with her that the Lord had not forgotten her and was using me as His instrument to encourage and strengthen her.
We were able to set up a meeting a couple of days later with my half-sister who is my age. I was able to share my testimony with them, pray with them and even encourage them to seek the Lord during this time of sorrow. They gave me some pictures of him and told me all about him. She gave me a letter written by his grandpa to his dad when he was born. It spoke about extreme faith in an extremely faithful God. It also disclosed how he, as a young man, started in ministry as a Free-will Baptist Preacher. When I read that I could do nothing but laugh, for that is exactly how I began as a Senior Pastor. We spent the final week of my time in America having them tell me about a father that I never meet, as I, in return, shared with them about a Father that I always had. God has a way of working things out for the “Good for those who love Him and is called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28). To go from being rejected and pushed out as if you didn’t even exist to the one who would bring comfort and a word of salvation is tremendous. God has a way of making things right, even when they been wrong for a very long time.