I was browsing the news this morning when a story came across my screen:
The missionary who passed was 58 year-old Alan Winter, creator of Frontline Missions. He suffered a stroke while, appropriately, on a mission trip in Columbia. His family couldn’t afford to medivac him home from such a great distance, but once word got out there was an outpouring of donations to help. In just a few hours, tens of thousands were raised to help get him home.
After several surgeries were unsuccessful, however, he died.
I didn’t know this man, nor have I ever heard of him prior to today. Yet, as I read the article that depicted the type of man he was, I found myself getting a little emotional – and reflective. There’s no way to read about this man’s beautifully led life and not consider your own choices and priorities.
His daughter says her dad “welcomed everyone with open arms as part of the family” and it doesn’t sound like she’s exaggerating.
Look at how his son summed up the passing of his father:
More from NBC11 in Atlanta:
“(He) would do anything for anyone, anytime, anywhere in the world. His family is overwhelmed with gratitude, hearing from countless thousands of people who said Alan Winter saved their lives.
“I had him for thirty years of my life. And I’m so thankful for it. And I’m better for it,” said daughter Janice Sewell. “But people who only met him for an hour, he can change their lives because he’s so genuine and he loved without holding anything back.”
They speak of how he would take troubled families from metro Atlanta into their home for a month or two at a time. The speak of how he saved a troubled 15-year-old by adopting him. That teen, Jerry, is now 46, married and a father, and active in Christian ministry.
“Alan Winter – he lived full. But he died empty. He gave everything,” Jerry told 11Alive. “I would not be here today if he was not a part of my life.”
There are so many distractions in the day to day grind. We can get so lost in trying to control and plan and worry about our jobs, our home lives, our relationships, our hobbies – that we sometimes miss the God given gift sitting right before us: the opportunity to serve, love, and help others.
And it’s not just an opportunity – it’s a commandment. Actually, it’s the most important thing we should do above all else. Two of the commandments stand out above the rest:
“Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Both center around love. This sounds simple enough, but in practice our selfish nature often gets in the way and makes it difficult to put this into practice.
I’ve never met or even heard of Alan Winter. But just merely reading the comments about his life really hits home. What will people say about me when my time has come?
I hope it’s something even remotely close to this.
RIP… and well done, good and faithful servant!
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