I believe in the power of legacy. Webster’s says legacy is, “anything handed down from, or as from, an ancestor.” I would like to share what this means to me.
Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Argentina with fifteen people from my church. The trip was the culmination of several years of prayer and planning. We remodeled a church camp, located three hours from the city of Cordoba. Our work included replacing walls in the camp dormitories and painting. The trip was awesome: incredible food, beautiful countryside, 80-degree weather, a picturesque stream to swim in, and fellowship with friends. These things made the trip unforgettable, but something else made this trip special. Almost six years prior to this trip, our church had a similar trip to Argentina to build a chapel. My dad, Bryan went on this trip and a similar one several years earlier. On his trip, they battled rain almost the entire time, making working conditions miserable. Despite the rain, the team was able to build the chapel in two weeks and have a worship service in the building before returning home. The impact these trips had on my dad were obvious. He cared deeply for the Argentine people, and he was encouraged by their faith, despite their poverty.
On July 23, 2001, my dad died suddenly at the age of 48, while baling hay on our farm. To say this was a life-changing event for me would be an understatement. It is incredible to see how many people’s lives my dad touched through his job at a farm equipment dealership, through his involvement in our church and throughout our extended family. My dad lived out his faith in Jesus Christ by serving others. This might have meant going the extra mile for the customer, getting up before work to go trim shrubs at church or putting rafters on a chapel in Argentina in the pouring rain.
After my dad’s death, many people from our church gave money to a memorial fund. My family decided we would like to use this money to honor Bryan’s legacy by having a work team go to Argentina. So five years later I found myself on a ten hour flight to Argentina with my mom, brother and 13 others. It was neat to see the chapel my dad helped build, but even more amazing was to hear the stories of how God is using the church to change people’s lives.
I have been given an incredible gift in my father’s legacy. I understand that in today’s world there are far too many legacies being left to future generations filled with pain and abuse. But have hope! The legacy you have been given does not have to be yours. The legacy I hope to leave will pick up where my dad’s left off. Understanding why I have been placed on this earth and seeking to honor my heavenly Father will help me leave a legacy worth leaving, in this I believe.
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