Now also when I am old and grayheaded,
O God, forsake me not;
until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation,
and thy power to every one that is to come.
|Every one of us is the product of those who invest in us over the years. I’m very thankful for those whom the Lord continues to bring into my life to mentor me, as well as those He has sent in decades gone by. I’m also quite aware that fewer and fewer of my mentors are still around (on this side) for the journey ahead. I’ve mentioned before the great impact my pastor, Dr. Don Mangus, had on our lives. I’d like to speak about two other men who helped me grow in the Lord in my early years.|
As young people in an ACE Christian school in Daytona Beach in the mid-70s, Lena and I had the blessing of having Norm and Mary Pettus as our high school principal and class supervisor. They invested much in us in those early years of our Christian lives. It was in high school that I first came to faith in the Lord Jesus, and it was “Mr. P” (as I still refer to him) who taught me the basic principles of the Christian life that are still part of my walk with the Lord. I did not come from a Christian home, so it was Mr. P who modeled for me how to be a Christian husband and leader. He took time with me and other young men to mature us in life and in the faith. I doubt he had any idea how far his influence would spread, but right after I graduated from high school, the soldiers who came to Christ during my first years of Army service were fruit added to his account. The memory of his teaching us, loving us, and being a mentor to us still lingers in my mind. By God’s grace, we still stay in touch on social media. Mr. and Mrs. P have been encouragers to us all through our journey, and we praise the Lord for them.
Just a few short weeks ago, another of my early mentors paid us a visit here. Our son Matt invited Bro. James Griggers to PNG after he had been in Australia for some meetings. Bro. Griggers and I go back to 1980 when I was a soldier stationed in Germany. He was a missionary who came to help another missionary who was helping our fledgling military church. Bro. Griggers taught me how to soul-win properly and he explained to me the first principles of theology I ever learned. We GIs would get together with the missionaries and laugh, eat, pray, worship, and talk of the things of the Lord.
A few years after we moved back to the US, Bro.Griggers joined our church and became one of our missionaries. That kept me in even closer contact with him, and over the years I had the privilege of traveling with him in meetings. In 2001 I became pastor of Landmark, and Bro.Griggers immediately taught me the principle of humility—because my elder mentor was now under my pastoral care. His letter to me expressing his submission to the authority of his new pastor has stayed with me. Even today, when I teach on spiritual humility, I often use Bro. Griggers in that instance as my example.
|Bro. Griggers & Capital City Baptist Church Pastoral Staff|
His visit here last month allowed him to see firsthand both Matt’s ministry and ours. He got to meet many of our BBIPOM students at a luncheon given in his honor, where he gave his testimony and spoke about faithfulness in ministry. He sat with our translation checking team on a Saturday evening and listened to them as they discussed nuances of language. He preached for the church here and in Christian school chapel. And we fellowshipped together—now as older saints remembering the goodness and glory of God in years and places gone by, while rejoicing that God is doing even greater things today.
In a few days our first BBIPOM graduating class will receive their diplomas. Though Mr. P and Bro. Griggers will not be here in person, their investment continues to multiply in the lives of these graduates. May we be grateful to all those who have poured into us, and may we be faithful to pass along what we have received. (2 Timothy 2:2)
|Pressing on by His Grace and Goodness, |
John & Lena Allen
In July I had the privilege of teaching again in India. Glory to God for the time with the students and with some choice pastors and servants of the Lord.