Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Father’s Ties

On this Father’s Day I would love to celebrate with my dear father.  He was a wonderful man who was loved by everyone who knew him.  He was loved because he loved so much.  He gave when it seemed he needed others to give to him.  He was the best dad a girl could ever have!
Dave and Dad in Mexico
(Taken in Oaxaca Mexico on a missions trip –
Dad’s lifelong dream come true)

My dad had a heart of gold – a heart bigger than you can imagine.  He was a preacher – a preacher who touched the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people.  For as long as I can remember he had a heart for people all around the world.  His lifelong dream was to preach in other countries – on missionfields around the world.  Every morning he prayed for the people in different countries, naming one country after another, until I knew them by heart.  Not too long before Dad went to be with Jesus his dream was fulfilled – he and my sweetheart went with a team of people to Oaxaca, Mexico where they helped lead a conference for pastors in that area of Mexico.  My dad was one of the preachers for the conference - it meant more to him than most people knew. 

When my father went to Heaven just over eight years ago I couldn’t bear to part with his ties!  As my dear, little mother and I went through his things I just couldn’t let them go.  They were such a part of him.  They were ‘who he was’!  It seemed that each tie held a memory for me and I wasn’t ready to let go.  Then one day I heard of a lady who took her father’s ties and made a beautiful quilt from them.  I ordered her book and I carefully planned the quilt I wanted to make.  A piece of my dad, a bit of my history, a thing of precious memories!  So, for the last eight years those ties have sat in a box on the shelf of my sewing room, waiting for the day I would take them down again and begin to take them apart and put them back together again.  To make that long anticipated quilt.     
JThompsonLast month I ‘ran into’ a dear friend I hadn’t seen for quite some time.  As we talked she told me of a lady in our town who has founded a ministry to pastors who have been imprisoned in Rwanda.  She goes into the prisons and takes Bibles and helps in training them to share the message of the God's love with the people whose lives have been so ravaged by war and terror there.  She said ‘prison pastors who receive the ties and women prisoners who receive the scarves say these gifts are evidence that people are praying for them and that they have not been forgotten.’ One warden told her that, after many years of empty handed visitors, the ties, scarves, and Bibles her ministry provides, were the first gifts the prisoners had ever received! They love scarves and ties and they all want a Bible of their own.  She gives them a Bible of their own.  And gives the ladies a bright-colored scarf.  The men receive a tie!      Rwanda Tie Ministry
As I stood there listening to the story of Rwanda, how lives were being changed, how they longed to have a Bible of their own – and a tie or a scarf – I knew what I had to do.  With tears running down my face I told my friend that I had my father’s ties and I wanted to give them to go to Rwanda.  There was no doubt in my mind – it was what Dad would have wanted.  If he couldn’t go to Rwanda, he would want his ties to go in his place.  He would want his ties to bless men who would go on to preach and share the message of the Bible he so dearly loved.
A few days later I reached up on the shelf and brought the box down.  I opened it up and looked again at the ties I had so carefully folded and placed there.      P5209555
As I took each tie out of the box I prayed for each man who would receive the ties.  I asked God to bless them as He had blessed my dad and fill their lives with the joy I had seen in my dad’s life.  And I knew I had really saved my father's ties for this - this was the reason I had kept them.  It was the reason why I hadn't cut them into pieces for a quilt.  No quilt I would make would ever have the impact my father's ties would have in Rwanda.P5209556
I took the ties and I drove to my friend’s house to give her the ties to pass on to the lady who was leaving for Rwanda just a few days later.    P5209557
I handed my friend forty-eight ties – ties that had taken on new meaning.  Ties that meant a part of my father would go to Rwanda.  After all the years of prayer for that part of the world.  After all the years he had longed to go and preach around the world.  After all the years he had been gone.  He could not go, but his ties went!

Today, on Father’s Day, the team is in Rwanda, giving out my father’s ties!  His ties are touching the hearts of some dear men in that land so far away.  There is no better way for me to celebrate today than to think about the day my father meets these men in Heaven.  And they talk about the ties they shared here on earth!
Rwanda Tie Ministry 2
(These photos are from the website of International Reconciliation Ministries.  You can read more about the ministry to Rwanda here.  The ties in these photos are not my father’s ties – they represent the ministry and show the joy one tie can give when it is given in the name of the Lord.)

15 comments:

  1. What a great story. Your Dad is very proud of you and all the work you have done over the years. What a great Father's Day message.

    Wendy

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  2. I am bawling like a baby here on the computer, reading this story. I am sure that he is thrilled. How selfless of you to give those remembrances of him away. You are so right - this is MUCH better than a quilt!

    P.S. And I love your dad's smile. You can see the pure joy in his spirit.

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  3. What a beautiful tribute to your Dad. We can all be thankful for Dads who were/are men of God ~
    Camille

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  4. What a wonderful tribute to your dad. I know angels in heaven are busy praising God. But if God wills it, I hope they are praising with joy for what you have done for these men. Another crown for you surely.

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  5. Adrienne is there somewhere that we could send ties so they would get there as well? My husband is a retired educator and I'd love to send some of his ties there too. blessings, marlene

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  6. "My father was an old-time preacher man. He preached the word of God throughout the land..."

    And would be so proud that the light of God shines so brightly in his daughter.

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  7. Love this post my friend...a perfect tribute to you father and definitely a fitting place for his ties!

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  8. Yes, it is the perfect tribute to your father. Thanks for sharing this precious story.

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  9. Adrienne, what a beautiful story! Your father would be thrilled! Bless you for hearing God's voice.

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  10. What a wonderful story! I know your dad is very pleased with this and smiling down on you from Heaven!

    Haven't heard from you in a very long time. I have left you a few comments. I wanted you to see our Praise the Lord (about three posts ago.)

    Katherine

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  11. What a wonderful way to keep your father's ministry going Adrienne. Something as simple as a tie, given with love, and yet it is so meaningful to the recipient:>)

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  12. Hi Adrienne, I'm stopping by from the Goals workshop. I loved reading this! What a wonderful idea and gesture:) I look forward to reading more of your blog.

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  13. Adrienne somehow I missed this post. I am so glad I finally caught up with it though as it was such a wonderful read!! How precious that you were able to give 48 men a blessing from your father's ties! Who would have thought that something so small and really non-essential (my husband hates ties- he's the one that says they are non-essential!) could bring so much joy to another.

    How are you healing friend? Still need an addy- I have a newsletter here for you-

    bee blessed
    mary

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  14. Oh, your Daddy would be so proud of you:)...but really this is the sweetest thing I have read in a long time!
    Rene

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  15. Adrienne,
    You had told me this story and yet, I find myself in tears reading it again. Your dad was very dear to me. His big grin and hearty laugh are a part of my earliest memories. He was undoubtedly in that "great cloud of witnesses" that got to observe the joy his ties brought to those men in Rwanda. It was fun to see his photos. He was a man of God and he was proud of his own daughter, who is definitely a woman of God. Love you!

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