As we exchanged hello's I had my eye on the clouds rolling overhead and was really more concerned about not getting wet than with explaining why we were only in the area for a few months. Al was there to lead a weekly Bible study (complete with covered dish!) and he began to share with us about a trip he'd taken to the mission field of Panama years ago. He had such vivid memories of one moment in his life when he had been impacted not just by praying and giving to missions, but by going. He mentioned that he wished everyone could have that experience.
Al went on to tell of how his wife of 69 years was in a nursing home and had not been able to eat or even drink much over the past three weeks. He had just come from taking care of her to lead the Bible study, and I could see his eyes moisten as he told of the failing health of his beloved. While we gathered in a circle and prayed for him and his wife my heart was breaking for him. 69 years of marriage! What a love they must have for each other. In the words of Al, "I got married when I was 17, and I've never regretted it for a moment." He was not saved, but she was, and it was because of her that he came to Christ.
As we hugged and said goodbye he added, "I love you. I've only just met you, but I love you both, and appreciate the work you all are doing." I'm praying for Al and his dear wife tonight and thinking of a greater love, a Love that loved enough to die. How long did Christ wait for me to come to Him? How much time did I waste not giving my all to Him? When Al has to say goodbye to Melba, his sweetheart, he can rest assured that she is going to a far better Lover who will never let her go.
He is my All in All!