The kids and I took a trip this weekend to Baldwin City, Kansas for the Maple Leaf Festival. Our family gathers there every October at my grandparent's hundred year old home. I have fond memories of playing "Christmas" on the third floor with my cousins, sliding down the wooden staircase on a slick crib mattress, and jumping into piles of yellow and red leaves in the yard.
I remember Grandpa beautifully playing the grand piano downstairs to wake us all up early enough for church. I recall sitting still and quiet at the "remembrance" service, taking my first sip of the red communion wine, and afterwards hearing Grandpa joyfully singing "What a Savior!"
Grandpa shared his testimony every year at our Saturday night evening bonfire. He told of a sad childhood as a result of being abandoned by his father, and of lingering depression. But while in the Navy and fearing a watery grave in World War II, He came to know Christ at a Bible class. He said, "I then went to the South Pacific with absolutely no fear and at the time so full of joy that I could hardly contain myself. God had rescued my soul." I truly believe his love for God never wavered after that powerful transformation.
My Grandpa passed away on October 31, 2009. He was one of the godliest men I have ever known. He was a medical doctor, and the founder of a local Brethren church. He shared the gospel with all of his patients and preached on Sundays. He woke each morning to study the Scriptures in Greek and Hebrew, fix a cup of coffee for Granny so they could pray together for their six children, 16 grandkids, and a growing number of great grandchildren.
He loved the Word of God. When we asked him to read one verse at our wedding ceremony, he took the opportunity to read a whole chapter, and preach the gospel for ten minutes, while I stood waiting to be given away by my dad.
I miss my Grandpa Jones. I am thankful my children remember him and Granny a little, and that they are participating in the tradition of Maple Leaf. More importantly, I am thankful for the legacy and example my grandparents left. I drove home this weekend more in love with Jesus. That's the legacy he left me. That's the legacy I hope to pass to my children. Because just as Jesus rescued my Grandpa Jones, he also rescued me.
|Grandpa Jones loved our babies!|
|Granny and Grandpa's House|
You can read Grandpa's story of conversion while in the Navy in his own words here.