Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Legacy of a Father

I had mentioned in a post last Tuesday that I had decided to participate this past weekend in an Inside-Out Weekend at my mom’s church, Acton Baptist Church, located near Granbury, TX. In case you don’t know where Granbury is, it’s about 20 miles southwest of Ft. Worth. It was a wonderful weekend in every respect. I had a good time being able to visit with Mom as she continues to recover from a fractured pelvis suffered in a fall. The Inside-Out Weekend, facilitated by Karen Hatley of the WorldconneX staff, was also a great experience. I’ll probably post some about it later in the week, but in this post, I wanted to share what impacted me most about the time at Acton Baptist Church.

My folks moved from South Texas where we had lived my entire life to Granbury in 1992 when we were home on our first furlough from the mission field. As was their custom, they jumped in with both feet into the life of the Acton Baptist Church where they joined soon after moving. They both sang in the choir and Mom has been active in WMU and helps count the Sunday offerings on Monday mornings. Dad was an active deacon, a Sunday School teacher, and participated faithfully in the FAITH outreach ministry of the church. He also went on several missions trips with the church to work along the Mexican border.

After I was introduced this weekend as Bob Snowden’s son (though I knew several folks in the church already from previous visits), I had multiple members approach me during break times on Friday and Saturday or after the worship service on Sunday to express to me how much my Dad had meant to them. I can’t tell you how many times I found myself choking back tears of gratitude and appreciation for their kind words and tributes to Dad.

One fellow was a deacon whom Dad had mentored in the deacon ministry after this man’s ordination at Acton Baptist Church. Another had been a partner with him on one of the FAITH teams as they went out regularly to visit newcomers and share their faith in Christ with prospects. Still another had sat by him in choir and commented on Dad’s faithfulness and encouragement to him on multiple occasions. I can’t begin to express how much I was blessed by their words of affirmation regarding the positive impact that Dad had made on their individual lives.

I came away from the weekend experience with an even greater love and respect for my Dad who passed away on January 8, 2004. He passed away in his sleep during the night, having been at prayer meeting and choir practice that evening. His death was totally unexpected, as he was in good health and played golf regularly during his retirement years. I missed the opportunity of getting to tell him goodbye, but shared with my family that it was such a blessing that he went into the presence of his Lord without suffering from any illness or pain and having been exactly where he always was on Wednesday evening—praying and studying the Bible with fellow church members and practicing with the choir in preparation for Sunday worship.

The other lasting impression that the weekend drove home to me as I thought about Dad’s legacy was how important it is for me to live in such a way that my own four boys and my two grandchildren will hopefully one day be able to look back on my life and be thankful for a positive influence and guidance that I’ve had in their lives as well. I have some big shoes to fill.


Joel said...

I was working at Blockbuster that morning when you called me with the news...I remember it because I had that same weird premonition that hit me before we found out Grampa died. Both times the phone rang, and I just felt something ill in my heart.

Granda was an unbelievable man. I regret not having spent more time with him, but I'm sure everyone feels that way when a loved one passes on.

If the best way to measure the legacy of a man is to see the impact he had on those around him, Granda's faith moved mountains.

I see his reflection in you.

April Snowden said...

Though I never knew him, I have been blessed indirectly by your dad. One day I'm going to meet him, and I will thank him for the legacy he passed on to you and to my husband.

And thank you, too! Joel is a wonderful husband, and I know he'll be a great father someday.