There is peace and contentment in my Father’s house today
Lots of food on the table and no one is turned away
There is singing and laughter as the hours pass by
But a hush calms the singing as the Father sadly cries
My house is full, but my field is empty
Who will go and work for Me today
It seems my children all want to stay around my table
But no one wants to work my field
No one wants to work my field
~ Lanny Wolfe
This song has always been quite special to me, but it became even more special the past week or so. A dear missionary, Dave Surrett, met our Savior face to face, doing exactly what the Lord called him to do – serving until His last breath. He was handing out gospel tracts in Lima just a half hour or so before the Lord called him home. This was one of his favorite songs, too. It’s true – His fields are ready, if we are just willing to GO.
I was able to spend a few days in Lima with Candy and Wilma following the loss of their father/husband and experienced something I will never forget. The two of them had such a peace knowing that Dave was called home in the place where God had used him as a missionary for over 40 years! But more than that, they had joy – REAL joy. As I listened to the stories they told and watched as they comforted others who were grieving the loss of Dave, I inwardly smiled. “The joy of the Lord is my strength” came to mind. Now, don’t get me wrong, they are grieving – there’s no doubt about that, but they know He has received the ultimate goal – “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
The Lord also gave me a “refocus” of sorts while I was in Lima with them, a better perspective maybe. You see, when I received the news that Dave had passed, I was in my room completing my monthly Expense Reports to send to Light for Living, something I had put off for several months. I sat looking at the mound of receipts and notes showing where I’d spent every penny I’ve received as a missionary and cried. I dried my tears, got on the phone to start calling fellow missionaries and a few friends in the US to let them know that Dave was gone and to please pray for Candy and Wilma. Then I started making plans to get to Lima to be of whatever help was possible to Candy and Wilma.
Later that night, a Facebook video of Candy and Wilma sharing the Gospel with the crowds on the street as the police and coroner work behind them (and behind a sheet) preparing his body to be moved. Dave had been giving out Gospel Tracts less than hour before and then suddenly, he was with Jesus! They had an evangelistic meeting right there in the street, sharing with literally HUNDREDS of people as they passed by. And the Velorio (wake) was another opportunity to point others to Christ – each night averaging 300 people or so. I honestly lost count at how many people came. At the gravesite service, Jeff (Dave’s son who had flown in from the US) shared the gospel to over 200 people.
But the one thing that stood out to me more than any of this was watching Wilma, Dave’s wife for more than 54 years. She had a peace, a calm, a goal. That goal was to ensure that EVERY person she came into contact with heard the gospel. On our way to the gravesite, I rode with the family. Wilma shared the gospel with the driver. We had a different driver on the way back, she shared the gospel. When we went to eat, she shared the gospel. When we were in the elevator with a stranger, she shared the gospel. When we were walking along the street, she shared the gospel. When she caught me watching her, she said, “We’d often prayed that the Lord would use us to our last breath. Dave’s prayer was answered. I want mine to be, too. I don’t know how much time the Lord has left for me, but I want to be sure I’m not disappointing Him by not sharing the Gospel.” TOES STEPPED ON.
I’ve had a clearer perspective since I’ve come back from Lima. And, while I only have 2 weeks left in San Ramón before I leave for my 5 month furlough to the US, I’m more determined than ever to serve Him until my last breath.
So, I ask you – Are you sharing the gospel with others? His house is full….but His fields are empty.