Finding Father

One Man's Journey to Discover Paternal Significance

Month: October 2014

A Wonderful Reunion

IMG_0002_2When I first began this blog last summer, I wrote a post entitled, “Land Of Goshen,” where I highlighted the importance of Goshen Free Will Baptist Church and the immense way they reached out to my family in the days following my dad’s disappearance in 1965.  Our family did not attend this church at the time; however, my aunt and her family were very active at Goshen.  When the church’s pastor, Johnnie Floyd, heard that my dad did not make it to the states and was listed as AWOL in Germany, he quickly came to the aid of my mother.  Even though we were not members of his church, “Preacher Floyd,” as we would affectionately call him, treated us with the same respect and care that he did his own. His benevolent actions made such a strong impression on my mom, that she recommitted her life to the Lord and became solidly active in the church.

As I also related in that post, Goshen is where I found my faith in Christ and was baptized by Preacher Floyd into the family of believers. My mom made sure we were there every time the doors were opened, so I was heavily involved at the church from the time I was a young child all the way through my college years. Throughout most of that time, Johnnie Floyd was my pastor and spiritual mentor.

Johnnie had a true shepherd’s heart and was the kind of man who would be there for you in any situation. He had already proven that he was willing to reach outside his own church walls to meet the needs of strangers, and such was the nature of his true servant heart. He had a gentle demeanor, was very approachable, and always made you feel welcome in his presence. Equally as loving and inviting was his wonderful wife, Ruth, who always strived to make her home feel like your own.

Johnnie and Ruth left Goshen in the mid 1970’s and went on to serve churches in Michigan and Tennessee. Upon retirement from the ministry, they eventually settled in Erwin, Tennessee, and have been there to this day.

A couple of weeks ago, my mom informed me that the senior adults from her church were planning to visit Johnnie and Ruth and wondered if I would be interested in joining them. It had been years since I had seen them, so I made arrangements and planned to meet them in Erwin for this special occasion. On Tuesday of this past week, I joined Goshen’s pastor, Clayton Burch, and several of their senior adults to visit and share a meal with Johnnie and Ruth Floyd.

Before we went to eat, we sat in the Floyd’s living room, reminiscing about the days when Johnnie was pastor of Goshen. He recalled several stories from his years there, including the incredible way the church broke ground and eventually built a new sanctuary, even in the middle of challenging economic times.
I had the opportunity to share with the group the story of how Johnnie and Ruth came to our family’s rescue in the winter of 1965. My mom and my aunt were also there, helping to fill in all of the details of how he quickly came to our aid when he heard my dad was missing. He helped her contact our local congressman, who started an inquiry on my dad that eventually led to my father’s discovery. I told him how much that meant to me and my family and how we might not even be in that room with him had it not been for what he did.

ken and johnnieListening to every word and smiling throughout, Johnnie admitted that he had forgotten much of that story, and appreciated us sharing that with him. I told him he may have forgotten it, but that I never would – that his genuine and caring love towards us had made an indelible impression on our lives that would remain forever.

He said “I guess you will never know until you get to heaven just how many lives you have touched,” and he’s probably right. And equally as true is the fact that we may not always recognize the contributions that others have made into our lives. We might have good intentions to do so, but something will manage to keep us from taking the time to express our gratefulness and thankfulness to the people who have meant the world to us and helped shape us into who we are. On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to do that. I would encourage all of you to take the time to seek out those people who have made great contributions to your lives and tell them just how much they have meant to you.

A Beautiful “Moment”

scott and sausedo fams copy

Yesterday was a momentous day for our family.  In the beautiful sun and sand of Georgia’s eastern shore on Saint Simons Island, we watched as our son, Jonathan, married the love of his life, Emily Scott.  Emotions ran high on both sides of the aisle as we watched Emily come down the beach with her dad and as she and Jonathan joined hands and exchanged their vows.

As parents, Jeannie and I could not have been any prouder of our sons.  Here was Jonathan standing beside his beautiful bride, Emily.  She came into his life several years ago, and what began as a very close friendship blossomed into a deep and genuine love for each other.  Our other son, Aaron was standing beside his brother, serving as his best man, and it was so gratifying to see them spending this moment together.

In yesterday’s service, I shared that when Jeannie was expecting Jonathan, we were pretty sure we were going to have a daughter.  Even though they did an ultrasound, they didn’t reveal the gender of the baby to the parents because the evidence was not all conclusive.  The best we had to go on was that Jonathan’s heartbeat was very high, and everyone would ask us if we had picked out girls names.  Not only did we have a name for our daughter to be, we also had pink clothes, given to us at baby showers.  We were ready for our girl to be born.

The first day I even considered that we would have a boy instead of a girl was the day our first son was born.  Even though I had conditioned my mind for a daughter, the little boy baby the nurse laid in my arms that day did not disappoint.   As a matter of fact, the days that both of my boys were born, along with the day I got married to Jeannie, are the three happiest days of my life.  As I have shared over and over in this blog, I consider my family to be the greatest gifts the God has ever given to me.  They are my life, and as I had the honor of officiating my own son’s wedding yesterday, all of the emotions of that truth seemed to rush over me.

Emily looked radiant as she came down the aisle.  With every step, you could sense the emotion rising even more.  I saw it in the face of the mothers, Jamie and Jeannie.  I could see it in the misty eyes of her groom, Jonathan.   And it was not any more evident than in the countenance and the words of her father, Buzz.

Buzz Scott is also an ordained minister, and together, we shared the honor of helping these two tie the knot.  As he choked back tears, Buzz bared his soul to his daughter and her husband to be in one of the most eloquent and heartfelt soliloquies I’ve ever heard.  Jonathan and Emily had asked us both to share some personal remarks about what this day meant to us and our families.   Buzz shared that what we were all experiencing was one of those “moments”  – one of those experiences that would, for all of us, alter our lives in such a positive and beautiful way.   All I could say after Buzz had finished was, “What he said.”

Some of the reasons our emotions were high had to do with the fact that, while both of us were wearing the hat of officiating minister, neither of us could contain that these were our children.  We saw them come into the world, we held them and nurtured them, we tried our best to teach them right.  We prayed that they would make the right life choices, especially when it came to choosing their soul mate.  There was no denying yesterday that God had truly brought these two together and that they both had made the right decision.

Our families have witnessed the growth of their love over the years, we have seen how God has truly knitted these two lives together.  Our emotions ran high yesterday because we all knew that, and we were all honored to be a significant part of both of their lives.  The Scotts have treated Jonathan like one of their own, totally including him in their lives.  Yesterday the two families felt completely at home with each other, and part of the emotion we felt was the blessing we received from sharing this moment with them.

In the closing lines of my personal remarks, I shared how those three days – my marriage and the birth of our sons – were the three happiest days of my life.  I then told the guests that I could add another day to that list – this day.  For today as a father, I not only got the blessing of officiating my own son’s wedding, but I got what I was thinking I would get some 28 years ago – a beautiful and wonderful daughter.

It was a beautiful “moment,” and one that will live with the Sausedo and Scott families forever.  Jonathan and Emily, Jeannie and I hope and pray that you have many happy years together, and that God will bless your marriage in every way imaginable.

 

 

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