We've all seen the lines of uniformed men and women turn out when a fellow police officer or firefighter dies in the call of duty. They're decked out in their dress uniforms, with flags and solemnity, and respect for the one remembered.
For those who serve God, I imagine something similar, yet different. The faithful from centuries past, along with God's army of angels, will welcome those who fulfill their call of service, and Jesus will say, "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matt 25:21). Instead of a time of sadness, it will be a celebration.
This past week, a good friend and fellow pastor finished his service for the Lord Jesus. He shared his last message on earth at a church in Kosovo. He finished well, doing what God called him to do many years ago.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7 NKJV)
Pastor Larry Anderson was a genuine and humble servant of God. His wife, Jeri, was his faithful partner in ministry and life. My wife and I would stay with them when we visited their church. Being good friends, we also hosted them when they visited us and our ministry in the Philippines.
Larry and his church were early supporters of our move to the Philippines and the ministry we did. Larry and Jeri were partners with us in ministry, as they were with many others. They were especially effective in ministry to couples, and as encouragers.
He was an encourager and supporter when we transitioned from pastoring in Southern California to serving in the Philippines as missionaries. He and a team from the church he pastored were with us when a tragic fire devastated our ministry and lives in the Philippines. He and his team immediately helped us with the rebuilding process, literally and at a personal level.
In my recent time of ministry in Alaska, Larry and I connected again. Sadly, it was the last time I would see him. But, we had a great time together—encouraging each other, comparing notes, going off on photo shoots, and enjoying good fellowship. Larry was one of a team of pastors serving with Poimen Ministries.
I value the time we shared just two months ago, because I value you his life, his ministry, and our friendship. Larry was a humble yet confident leader, something I've echoed by others who knew him. Many in the church in Juneau, where we both recently served, told me of his personal interest and engagement with them. They were blessed and excited about the impact He and Jeri had in their lives and with the church.
A final salute
I salute my friend out of respect and love, and am certain of the celebration and welcome he received in heaven. But mostly, I'm thankful for knowing Larry in this life, and for the partnership we shared in service to God and His kingdom.
I'll miss you my friend.
If you knew Pastor Larry, what are your favorite memories of him?
For those who knew Pastor Larry, please continue to pray for Jeri and his family in the coming weeks and months. If you'd like to help with the expenses of the family at this time, here's a link where you can do so– Assistance for Pastor Larry Anderson and family