You may or may not remember that in March 2007, John and I went on our first mission trip together to Swaziland, Africa. While we were there we had the privilege of meeting Dave, Ohlerking, the founder and president of Children’s Cup. Dave was an amazing, godly man with a heart as big as Africa itself. I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to meet him.
On Wednesday, October 13, Dave, and his wife, Jean, had been back in Africa for just a few hours when Jesus called him home. The cool thing about this (if there can be a cool thing about dying) is that Dave had always said that if he could choose, he wanted to die in Africa. And sure enough, he did! God honored his greatest desire. I love that!
Today, October 23, Dave’s life is being celebrated, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I wish I could be there to celebrate with his family. His daughter, Susan Rodgers, and son-in-law, Ben Rodgers, are some of my favorite people and not only would I love to wrap my arms around their necks, I’d also like to honor Dave’s life. Even though we didn’t spend a lot of time together, Dave has had a huge impact on my life.
Awhile back I purchased a book that Dave wrote called Survival Proverbs for Missionaries. It’s not that I plan to go onto the foreign mission field full time, it’s just that I’m all about survival even on short term mission trips. It was in that little book that I got some of the best advice I’d ever heard for dealing with the sticky situation of refusing food offered so very kindly by someone who’s desire it is to give you their best. Here’s Dave’s advice: When someone offers you food that you know will make you sick say “I have a medical condition that prevents me from eating that.” Brilliant! Now, I just have to remember it when the occasion arises. I know I’ll never forget Dave, especially when I need to use this nugget of wisdom.
Dave will most certainly be missed on this earth but I know that there is a HUGE party going on in heaven in honor of his arrival. Dave’s son-in-law, Ben, shared some of Dave’s other nuggets of wisdom on his blog. He gave me permission to share them here. And so, in honor of Dave Ohlerking, I share with you these nuggets.
Share your strength. Save a child.
-Hope’s name is Jesus
-You can change a child’s life forever
-It’s about the children
-Once you go to Africa, you’ll go back in your mind every day for the rest of your life.
-Pray. Give. Go.
-If you don’t hold onto something, you will let go of everything. What is there that you will refuse to let go of?
-The safest place to be is in God’s will.
-Jesus said, “Go everywhere, tell everybody.”
-When Jesus said, “Come,” He meant all the way. When He said,”Go,” He meant all the way.
-If we do not predetermine boundaries, how will we know when we’ve gone too far?
-The highest reach of our faith is to have faith IN Jesus rather than faith FOR what we want.
-You can hold more in an open hand than you can in a clenched fist.
-“Can I go home and live with you?” I have been asked this by many children in many countries. Something in me never stops crying.
-Advice to new missionaries: It will take a year on the field before you really see what you’re looking at.
-African pastor wishing to honor me said, “You may have white skin, but you have a black heart.” I was honored.
-My ability to do God’s will in my life is not subject to other people’s decisions.
-Godly meekness is not weakness.Godly humility is not timidity.The strong resist unGodly desire to bluster and brag
-God spoke the world into existence. Is His Written Word any less powerful than His Spoken Word?
-Honesty goes both ways. It acknowledges both weakness and strength.
-If your future looks scary just remember God is already there and He ain’t afraid.
-Sometimes the best use of power is not to use it.
-Imagine being an African child who doesn’t have $1 worth of anything and then receiving a Tori Box full of school supplies and toys!
-God is bigger than any challenge you face.
-If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
-It is possible for believers to live in such a way it becomes natural to experience the supernatural.
-Being with caring, loving, giving Filipinos who live in poverty challenges my personal financial priorities, God bless them and forgive me.
-“We hours” of the morning again. Wonderful sense of the presence of God.
-Many cultures consider forgiveness to be weakness, but to forgive is to defeat evil by doing good.
-Like ears crave sound, and eyes crave light, my soul craves the presence of God.
-How would it feel to find out in Heaven you gave the dollar that won the last soul before the rapture?
-“Think it not strange” that every evil hell can muster is aimed at the followers of Christ. It’s always been that way–but we win!
-One of our greatest thrills is watching our children and grandchildren sell out to Jesus. We are blessed!
-If I tear you down, and you tear me down, we both lose. If I build you up and you build me up, we both win.
-God has let me live long enough to have a memory full of awesome things He has let me see and do and be part of.
-As evil deepens and accelerates, so does God’s grace and anointing.
-There is a place in Christ that can only be gained by totally losing one’s self awareness. Why don’t we go there?
-By definition lie (untruth) proves the existence truth. Truth’s name is Jesus.
-Should our embarrassment to witness cost the untold one his soul?
-You will either sacrifice your present to your future or you will sacrifice your future to your present.
-Everything God does is redemptive. He does not waste our experiences–good or bad.
-Personal peace is one of the surest evidences of God’s power in your life.
-God is incapable of doing wrong things
-I believe God just asked me, “What are you willing to let go of so a hurting child can live?”
-52 years ago today was the first time I kissed Jean! It was so good I’m gunna keep right on kissing her.
-To find God’s will, seek his presence.
-Touching the world from the heart of America
-Changing the world one child at a time
-Have you ever seen fever in the eyes of a child.
-Giving hope, inspiring dreams, changing worlds.
-Train up a child.
-“Hopeless children. Unwanted children. Diseased children. Unloved children. Raped children. Forgotten children. Enslaved children. Prostituted children. Abused children. Hungry children. JUST CHILDREN.”
“I cannot walk away from the children.”