Death of a Pastor. . .

June 23, 2008

We were about to end the Men’s Conference last Saturday when a colleague showed me an sms on his phone. One of our elder pastors in Southern Luzon died from a cardiac arrest early that morning. Ptr. David Oloya has passed on.

I was on the phone giving instructions to my wife who was at that time having car problems, when the Area Superintendent in Southern Luzon approached me and shared some very recent events with Ptr. Dave. He said that last June 16, Pastor Dave celebrated his 77th birthday. The church leaders gathered around him and presented to him a birthday cake (it was his first bday cake) and he blew the candles. The Superintendent said “he was a picture of perfect happiness” at that time. It turned out to be a wonderful birthday gift, a wonderful time with people who loved him, a wonderful time to honor the man of God because he was about to go home.

In 2004, Ptr Dave was sent to Kerala, India to teach at a livelihood center there as part of the denominational missionary efforts. I still remember him sitting with us inside the office of the national director as we were waiting for the send-off ceremonies downstairs. I was part of the Missions Board at that time and part of the sending ceremonies would be to ask some questions we would like to ask our missionaries before they take off. I remember asking him why in his old age would he want to go overseas to become a short-term missionary?

Ptr. Dave was quiet for awhile and then slowly opened his hands before me and said ” Pag tinitignan ko nga ang mga kamay ko na kulubot na… tinatanong ko nga ang God kung may magagamit pa ba Siya sa mga kamay na ito? Ang sabi ko sa Panginoon – gamitin lang Niya ang mga kamay na ito ng naaayon sa kanyang kagustuhan…” (When I look at my wrinkled hands, I could not help but ask the Lord if He could still use these hands? I told the Lord to use these hands according to His purpose and will…”)

What he said 4 years ago never left me. I can still picture him infront of me with his wrinkled hands open before my eyes. I was asked to say the prayer at the send-off ceremonies. There were no dry eyes in that conference hall that afternoon. God in His abounding grace and mercy, has deemed to send 2 senior citizens to India so that through their skills, the gospel will be preached.

Ptr. Dave Oloya is now with the Father. He has faithfully served the Lord for 30 years.

Thank you Lord for the life of Ptr Dave. Thank You for your life that has been made manifest in His. Thank you for the impact that his life had on the people, communities, churches and outreaches that he did. Thank you for loving him and sustaining him throughout his physical life. We have been blessed by who he has become.

I am looking at my hands as I type this and the same prayer is being formed in my lips.

“Lord, I also open my hands and wonder how you could use these. Use these hands according to your will and purpose in my life…. Thank you for the privilege of participating in your Kingdom work. Our efforts are puny and we make a lot of mistakes. But I realize now that we do not need to worry too much about the results because it is not about us, it is all about YOU. ”

In Jesus’ name.

AMEN.

PS. Ptr Dave – I will see you in heaven. The next time I see you and you open your hands, I will see how glorious your hands have become.

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