Every once in a while in one’s life, one experiences opportunities to meet truly amazing and influential people. You know the ones–their presence and legacy looms, seemingly larger-than-life, from the past into the present. Sometimes, if one is very lucky, they form a bridge between generations, a living connection to specific histories.
On Friday of this week, the whole family had the chance to meet one of those kinds of people in the Wycliffe/Jaars world–Bob Griffin, and his wife Louise.
We were at their home as part of the Jaars Ministry Day, a day where all of the active Wycliffe/Jaars personnel have the opportunity to give back to those who have retired from the organization and serve them in whatever capacity is needed (most of the assignments were manual-labor related).
The whole family worked hard at Bob & Louise’s home, clearing brush, trimming bushes, raking leaves and generally doing the harder work of yard care for the couple. The Griffins live on a beautifully wooded piece of land, so as we trimmed and picked up, we piled the trimmings in the woods, providing a home for some of their woodland creatures.
All of the kids worked to complete the task–some raked, some swept, some gathered broken branches and others picked up all the trimmings from the bushes as we cut them. We had a mostly good time, but the real jewel of the day was the time I was able to spend with Mr. Bob. He’s a very funny, sharp-witted fellow who’s had the opportunity to rub elbows with world leaders and missions giants alike.
He joined the organization in 1955, about 10 years after Wycliffe really got off the ground, and flew more than 7,000 hours as a missionary pilot, including some of the first missions with Jaars in the Helio Courier, an airplane that became a mainstay of mission aviation for years (and is still used by Jaars today). He was friends with Uncle Cam and Rachel Saint, among others. Later, he moved into administration and public relations. He even wrote a book, Cleared for Takeoff, which is based on his experiences as a missionary pilot.
We are able to do the amazing things that God has called us to do because of the service of Bob and Louise (and hundreds of others like them)–humble folks who responded to God’s call on their lives and spent a lifetime following Him. It’s our prayer that we can look back 40 years from now, and realize that God has allowed us to leave a similar legacy to the next generation.
Thank you, Bob & Louise!