I’ve been reminded again that you can never really prepare yourself well enough for the news of loss. We got the word early this morning that one of my mentor-encourager-teachers went home to be with the Father.
Glen Long was and elder for the Andrews church when I moved into my teen years. He taught the Sunday morning Teen class for more years than I can remember. He encouraged us, confronted us, challenged us, and praised the accomplishments of us all.
When we decided in 1991 to return to Zimbabwe, he quickly embraced our vision and helped guide the Andrews church to become our sponsors. When we were preparing to leave in February, 1992, he and Marquita showed up on the doorstep of Dad & Mom’s house, bearing backpacks full of treats and games for the kids to have during the long flights ahead, and words of encouragement for Nancy and me that rang in our ears long after we flew across the Atlantic Ocean.
It is impossible for me to quantify the value of one person’s influence on my life. Certainly, there have been many voices to which I have listened and examples that I have been able to follow through the years. But some stand out, even rise up above the others. Glen Long’s voice and example is one of those for me.
After a long period of almost no direct contact because we were so far apart, Glen and Marquita recently made stop in Waco as they travelled with Steve and Kim to visit children and grandchildren. I am so grateful for that hour and a half when we got to sit and drink coffee, catch up a little, share pictures of family, and all the things you do when you haven’t seen some one for a while.
But I am mostly glad that I got to say, “Thank you,” to Glen. Thank you for believing that a squirrely, irrational, pimple-faced, long-haired, and awkward teenager could be better, could be used by God.
He leaves a wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, who will grieve and feel the emptiness of loss. But he also leaves a deep impression in the mind of that now-grown teenager, a legacy of faithfulness and service.
Thank you, God, for Glen.