Saturday, May 28, 2011


Today, I’m very sad and prayerful.

It’s twenty-six years ago since I became the pastor of a very small, very fragmented church. Only one of the seven deacons (yes, you’re right! According to the deacons,“Because the Biblical number for deacons is seven) was a member of the denomination because of conviction. Six of the deacons, middle aged and more, had migrated from five other denominations, each was convinced that their previous practices were the correct ones, and argued the point, loudly! The odd one out, Johnny, a sound follower of Christ, member by conviction, and a young man, was a rose amongst the thorns. A bright light in a dark place!

The church had a membership of eighteen and averaged about 25-30 at the Sunday service.

I can hear you chuckling from here! Seven deacons amongst eighteen members?

Without describing any of the outcomes of this I can say that, for the first eight months, I had more headaches (not literal) than ever before in my life.

They were unhappy times!

Then! Something wonderful happened!

Johnny had a young lady, Mandy, whom he had been keeping company with for a couple of years, and I had the opportunity to get to know them and to share the gospel with her.

She came to know Christ in a life changing way, but was hurt by the unloving way she observed the deacon’s behaving. There were comments from whence she had come, and objection to her happy boisterous character and jolly laughter.

Later, I had the joy of standing before Johnny and Mandy as they made their marriage vows.

Twenty-five years on, they have two beautiful daughters, who were raised as children of followers of Christ should be. Both young ladies are now school teachers.

About two years ago we received news that Mandy had breast cancer. The lumps were removed. The surgeons thought they had it all. Then, devastation, a mastectomy was in order, then six months of chemo-therapy. Another mastectomy. More chemo.

After several months it appeared that she was clear, with the usual, “Well know for sure in five years”.

A short time elapsed and lumps began to appear in other parts of her body. More operations. More chemo. Radiation.

A little over twenty-four hours ago, the elder who cares for these dear folk now, rang me. I could hear the tears in his voice as he haltingly told me that Johnny had been called to be with Mandy!

My heart is breaking for this family, who put themselves last to server others, ever since I first knew them.

In their early fifties, Johnny and Mandy have so much more they could offer., and I cannot help but have fleeting thoughts of, ”Lord, why them and not this old, worn out feller?”

Although my body won’t allow me to travel the 180 miles to visit with them, to sit with them, pray with them, hug them and love them, I’m very confident that the Family my wife and I left behind will do so, and very well!


As of the 2nd June, no news of change.


Alan Knox said...

I'm praying for your friends and their family, and I'm thanking God that he used you to bring Mandy into his family. How much different this time would be otherwise!


Aussie John said...


Thank you for being a faithful brother. I know the family will certainly appreciate your prayers.

Our great Sovereign God is able to bring joy out of the sadness and uncertainty of this time. I pray for a miracle!

Dave Black said...

Praying. We love you John! And we love Johnny and Mandy!

Aussie John said...

Thank God for praying partners!

Post a Comment