Growing up with my Dad being the strong spiritual man that he is— has greatly benefited me. He truly inculcated the truth in our minds and hearts.
Our family without question or debate was at every meeting, in service every weekend and studied the Watchtower together every week. Our cars could be covered in several feet of snow outside and he would be clearing them off and warming them up for us to make the meeting or service.
Besides the family study, each of us children had a personal bible study weekly as well—all my older siblings with my Mom but somehow I was the one that got to study with my Dad—me and him alone for my complete childhood and teen years. We studied the pink Great Teacher book several times, the red Youth Book countless times, and the Paradise Lost Paradise Regained book… among others. I literally had the Youth book memorized from studying it so much with my Dad.
I grew a love and deep respect for the ministry from his example and training. I recall once when I was young boy leaning on a pillar of a householder’s porch before they came to the door and my Dad giving me a quick pop on the back of my head saying, “Stand up straight boy!! We are representing Jehovah—we need to be respectful at the doors!” I’ve found this technique works well with my boys too as I’ve needed to use it on them– more than once though.
What I recall most was the daily prayers of my Father. They were always specific, addressing the issues we were facing that day, and extremely heartfelt and genuine. Jehovah was so utterly real to Dad that it was like what was written about Moses- (Hebrews 11:27) “. . .for he continued steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible.”
When any tension, worry, or question arose he would immediately tell us we were in need of prayer and pray such powerfully real prayers. Sitting with my Dad in the hospital many nights I would hear him saying whispering prayers thanking Jehovah for his friends and family and the privilege of being able to be used in the ministry even on his deathbed.
He is the most spiritual man that I know… and to think HE is MY DAD that I have had the privilege of being able to know and love and learn of Jehovah from… I’m so proud of the name he made with Jehovah. I cannot express how much of a positive impact my Father has had on not just me but everyone that got to know him.
After his stroke a few years ago he had difficulty speaking and projecting his voice loud enough so asked me to accompany him in his prison ministry. We would be allowed to go into a cell full of 20 or so prisoners and Dad would invite them all to come over to the chainlink fence separating us from them and sit in a circle on the floor—me and Dad on the other side of the fence without any chairs allowed we too would sit on the floor and have a group study with them all!! Because of my Dad’s warmness, genuine demeanor and true interest in them—ALL would unquestionably join in on the study. He would pass out “What Does the Bible Teach” books and allow me to speak loudly so they could hear—being his “spokesman” or like Jehovah gave Moses who was also weak of voice, Aaron to help speak the messages. One time a prison guard walked by and saw us all sitting in a circle on the ground studying and said, “Now THOSE are some true ministers!!”
The last few months during his struggling with COPD he never letup his witnessing and strong faith in the resurrection hope. He had studies that would come to his home and he would conduct the studies as he would whisper in our ears we then would speak it out loud. It made me think of how Christ as exemplar while hanging on the stake suffering a slow cruel torturous death still was witnessing at every opportunity to the criminals hanging on both sides of him. That too was what my Father was doing.
We all hope that these lasting impressions on his deathbed of his stalwart faith and love for Jehovah and Christ will strengthen us when we soon face intense tests to break our faith during Armageddon so we too stay faithful and will be here to welcome him back.
As it states in Romans—
(Romans 8:35-39) 35 Who will separate us from the love of the Christ? Will tribulation or distress or persecution or hunger or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 Just as it is written: “For your sake we are being put to death all day long, we have been accounted as sheep for slaughtering.” 37 To the contrary, in all these things we are coming off completely victorious through him that loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor governments nor things now here nor things to come nor powers 39 nor height nor depth nor any other creation will be able to separate us from God’s love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.