A Life Well Lived

My father passed away two weeks ago; we have just returned to Kenya after being with family in the States for his memorial.

We had been together... (10 days before his passing to Glory)

We had been together… (12 days before his death).

There is so much we could say about Edward Diener. He was born in 1917 as the second in a family of eight boys. Growing up on a farm in central Kansas, there was always a lot of work to be done. The boys all helped on the farm, of course, but it is reported that Edward was the one who most often helped his mother in the kitchen and helped take care of his younger brothers.

He was ordained in the Mennonite church in 1942, and served in active pastoral ministry for 44 years. But even in his retirement, he continued to serve the church and people. He had an amazing capacity for recollection of facts, dates and details. He could rattle off every important event in Anabaptist history with persons, places and dates completely intact. He also memorized a lot of scriptures, that is, entire books and chapters. When my mother was hospitalized prior to her death, Father and I often “read” scriptures to her: me by reading the Bible but Father by drawing from the repertoire of verses he had committed to memory.

My father followed a vigorous “visiting” routine in every community where he lived, bringing cheer to those who were elderly, shut-in or hospitalized. We always said that he was “out visiting old people.” And he continued to visit “old” people even when he was in his 90’s himself!

When in his 80’s, Father came to Kenya seven times to teach pastors. Studying and teaching God’s Word had been his passion throughout life, and it was such a privilege to receive that ministry here.

Obviously Father was very aware of his decline in short-term memory in the last several years. He seemed to find refuge and pleasure in one specific joke.

“I might have told you this before,” he would start. Even if you responded that, yes, you had heard the joke approximately 20 times before–it didn’t matter. He would still tell it again:

An older couple was out on a drive. The gentleman got to driving a little fast, and before he knew it, he was being pulled over by a policeman.

“Do you know you are speeding?” the policeman asked. “Why are you going so fast?”

“Oooh,” the old man replied. “I am sorry. But we have to hurry up and get there before we forget where we are going.”

In moments like this when the landscape of life changes, when eternity cracks through our self-induced cocoons and seems just a little more tangible for all of us, when we take a pause from the relentless routines of life, I wonder: are we also in danger of just plain going too fast? Or maybe in danger of forgetting where we ARE–ultimately–going? Is there a policeman who should also pull us over, and bring us back to a sane pace and appropriate focus?

It is always difficult to lose a parent, but I thank God for my father’s full life. Being together with all of his 32 descendants during the memorial was a source of great strength even in the grief. His was a life very, very well-lived, and I thank God for the years we had together.

~ Diane

 

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About Omondis In Kenya

Ibrahim and Diane Omondi serve on the DOVE Christian Fellowship International Apostolic Council, giving oversight to the region of Africa. They have been ministering together in Kenya since 1984 and now oversee the work of more than 100 congregations in four nations. They also give leadership to the missions thrust of DOVE Africa which includes 14 Kenyan and Ugandan missionaries serving among unreached people groups in these nations. The Omondis direct Springs of Africa, a non-profit organization sponsoring micro-finance, community development and various education initiatives.
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11 Responses to A Life Well Lived

  1. Bill Sprague says:

    And now, even as you morn, he is rejoicing in the presence off the One his eye longed to see. Oh the mystery we have! Joy in the midst of sorrow. I’m praying for you and your loved ones who wait for that great day.

  2. Thank you, Bill. A cousin called my brother the day after Father passed away and asked how was doing. “Oh, he is doing great. He is having a wonderful time!” my brother responded. Well, my cousin was shocked — but it is true. The reality of eternal glory makes all the difference, right?

  3. Lou Ann Good says:

    Sorry for your loss, but happy he had a profound impact on your life and ministry

  4. Thank you, Lou Ann. It was quite a shock to come back to the States just a little over a week after getting home, but all went well.

  5. We are so sorry for your loss, but, wow, what a legacy…what a dad! You were blessed to have his faith and service to the Lord. Great grace to you and your family! We love you!!

  6. imdonna says:

    A beautiful tribute to your father. What wonderful memories! You were truly blessed …. Hugs……Sorry for your loss.
    Donna & Tom

  7. Glory to God for the life well lived. We want to be sure we will meet again in heaven eternally, as we get glorified together with Christ! There there will be no pain or suffering!

  8. Thank you, Ken. Yes, we have eternal hope!

  9. George Otieno says:

    Sorry for your loss, but he seemed to have enjoyed a really enriching life. May the Holy Spirit comfort you and your family in Jesus name!

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