TITLE: DADDY'S STORY 3/26/14
By Gloria Grenade
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“Tell me the story again, daddy,” I said with childish zeal as we rode back from town that day.
My strong father drove his truck carefully along the narrow winding roads of my Caribbean island birthplace.
“Well child,” he said, with his usual Caribbean flourish, “I was thirty years old. I was well known in the village. Grandpa was a sugarcane mill owner and I had money to burn. I had a good job and I had my own car. In fact, it was the only car in the village. I had lots of women friends” he added in a somewhat apologetic tone.
“So you were a bit of Don Juan?” I asked with all the respect I could muster.
He smiled wryly as he responded.
“Of course it was what all the men did, and don’t forget I did not think it was wrong. No one did back then. One day my life changed. English missionaries from St Vincent came to our island. They lived in town and came to preach. Town was the capital city of our island. The missionaries needed a chauffeur to get them from town to the village next to ours. They called it a crusade.
“What were their names, Daddy?” I asked.
“Mr. and Mrs. Hunt were their name. They were very nice white people. As I drove them that first night, they asked me about myself. They listened to my stories and did not criticize me as I talked about my lifestyle. That night I squeezed into the back row of the church building as they sang hymns and preached the Gospel message from John 3:16.
"The words are 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his One and Only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life'.I could not believe what they were saying about the Bible, God and Jesus. To think that Jesus died such a horrible death for me and my sin was a revelation to me. I found out that I would go to hell if I did not repent of my sins and give my life to God.”
Was that the first time you heard preaching, daddy?” I asked in amazement.
He mused silently for a few seconds and then said “I had occasionally gone to Aunty Alice’s church but the service was out of a book, with words that meant nothing to me. Anyway, my aunt was not what I would call a nice woman.”
My father wiped a tear from his eye as he said “I think becoming a Christian saved my life. That night I felt as though in that whole room of people, God was talking to me alone. I went forward at the invitation.”
“What did you do differently after that, daddy?” I asked quietly.
“Well,” he said with gusto “I went home and woke your mother. You were a baby then. In the late hours of the dark Caribbean night, I told her what the Bible said and what Jesus had done for us, and that she had to give her life to Jesus.We talked about doing the right thing, which was that we had to get married.”
“The next night of the crusade I took her along and she gave her life to the Lord. We were married one month later. What was so strange is that I never wanted to do any of those things I used to do anymore. The desire to wander left me. I got a Bible and we would read it together. We went to Bible study every week and learnt as much as we could.”
I know that my father had the heart of a missionary evangelist. He was always talking to people and to us - his children about the Lord. He helped people willingly. He regularly gave farm produce to the poorer neighbors, and never disrespected people like many did. He was not perfect but he was strict with us and with himself. We had daily family devotionals from RBC Our Daily Bread every morning before he went to work. Our family grew to be quite large and he took us all to church.
It was not easy for him living a changed life in such a small community. When I became a teenager I realized that he was a trusted respected man in the village and in our community on the island. Many still talk about him. It has been many years since he died.
Among my many memories is the fact that he made my sisters and I sing hymns in public meetings. We sang at church, in the prison, and in the loud open air evangelical meetings at which he and others preached .
“Well, it’s been a while since I told my story” said Daddy with a smile.
We were almost home by now and the time had flown by. I will never forget my Daddy’s testimony and I thank God that He brought him into the Kingdom that day.
Thanks to God that my father had a car, that he drove the Hunts, and thanks to all the other missionaries who brought the message of Christ to my island. I also give thanks to God for the Christian influence my father was to all who knew him, including me and my nine siblings.
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