Ray was introduced to me by Jim.
Jim was recently widowed. I knew him and his deceased wife from the adult fellowship I attend. He’s in his seventies.
Ray met Jim in another adult fellowship Jim had moved to try to move on from his loss. Ray was a diminutive gentle man in his nineties.
When the three of us went out to lunch together we spanned quite a few years…50’s, 70’s, and 90’s.
The common bond of Jesus drew us to Stonebriar Community Church. The fact we were all without our wives pulled us that much closer.
Jim faded from the scene as he struggled to fit in. I still see him from time to time.
Ray and I often sat next to each other during the second service. He would give me updates about the airplane he was building. I guess a little old guy needs something to pass the time of day with. He completed that project last fall.
Another mutual friend informed me Ray was in the hospital a couple of months ago. He recovered fine from that.
Since I’m volunteering with the toddlers during second service I hadn’t seen Ray in a while. The mutual friend told me last Sunday Ray went home to be with his Lord the previous week.
Two of his daughters were with him as he slipped into Glory. Ray opened his eyes wide right at the end. One of his daughters asked him what he was seeing. His arms lifted off the bed before his body went limp for the last time.
Ray was being escorted Home at last. I have no doubt he heard Jesus tell him, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” the next second of his existence.
Ray served his Lord well as a missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators. He was one of those gifted linguists that learned a native tribe’s language by living with them. Then he would develop an alphabet so he could invent a written language for these folks.
From there Ray translated the Bible into this new written word. Ray did this TWICE IN FORTY YEARS.
That’s when he became a legend in my mind.
The second time Ray had to buy a boat because that was the only way they could access the island those people lived on. Indonesia is like that.
With a lack of modern entertainment Ray could be found fixing something. That would endear him to the native folks. Eight children proved there were other means of entertainment that didn’t require modern conveniences.
Ray likely met some of the people who were introduced to Jesus from his work. I’m sure more will follow.
My writing might surpass Ray’s quantity of saved souls someday. Maybe not. That’s not really important.
God doesn’t keep score on such matters. He gives each of as an assignment to carry out.
Ray did the best he could to fulfill his mission. I must now give it my best, too…and so must you.
You probably won’t travel outside of the country you’re in now. I might not either. We don’t have to to be effective for God’s kingdom.
Do your best to touch the folks you come in contact with. Your neighbors may not see another Jesus in their lifetime.
They do know you’re a follower of Jesus Christ…don’t they?
If not then begin there. Live different from your culture if it doesn’t adhere to Jesus’s teachings. Don’t jamb Jesus down their throats. That isn’t very effective.
Show them the peace Jesus offers during your trials. They’ll come to you wanting to know your secret. I’ll give you a hint…Jesus shouldn’t be your secret. He needs to be made known for everyone who asks.
Sometimes translating the Bible doesn’t require a written language. Living it out is often more of a challenge, but that’s our assignment, my friend.
Let’s pray for each other to be better examples of Jesus.
I’ll see you later. Wade