It’s sometimes difficult to recognize a real hero. Heros never brag about being heros. In Christ’s upside down (turns us rightside up) definition of heros it’s the last who will be first and the smallest who will be greatest. That can make it, therefore, difficult to distinguish who will be great in heaven.
Other times it’s obvious like it was for me tonight. An older gentleman emailed me out of the blue and told me he was coming to my country. He called earlier this week and I helped him get a hotel in the capital and invited him to come up here and speak tonight since he said he speaks Arabic. I met him at the hotel today before our Bible study and it became apprent to me that I was in the presence of someone who deserved much honor but expects none.
Richard grew up in Nebraska. It wasn’t long after the second World War was over that a missionary with the North African Misison came to speak at his church. As Richard was going out the door that day this missionary pointed at him and said, “What will you do with your life for God?” Richard responded, “I was thinking about being a missionary to Latin America.” “Why don’t you go to the Muslims?” was the argument from the young missionary. From there God set his path toward North Africa.
In 1958 Richard arrived single and 27 years old to North Africa. He learned French and Arabic. He lived 10 years in Alg@ria before being kicked out “for making too many converts”. From there he moved to M@rocco where he started a church in the capital. He has now spent the last 20 years ministering in France and coming in and out of North Africa to minister at least twice per year.
He is retired now and at 77 still traveling around by himself in North Africa to come and preach in our little Wednesday night Bible study. He taught tonight against the modern use tounges and the Charasmatic movement and did a great job. We were all blown away by his dedication. He is consumed with a passion for Jesus’ glory in Muslim countries. Most 77 year old checked out 20 years ago and went somewhere to hybernate until they die. He’s still going strong!
Tomorrow he’ll be teaching about the Holy Spirit to all of us for 3 hours in Arabic. Did I mention he’s 77?!