The church my father built
So there it is – a brand new church glistening in the sun there on the shores of Lake Titicaca high in the Peruvian Andes. A dream come true for my father, whose passion to do something for God led him back to the small village we left three and half decades ago.
While it took more than 15 years, he persevered and built a place of worship fit for any city. It was a labor of love which required sacrifice, hard work and faith to trust God for the impossible.
The building is done and now he continues to labor among the people. Aside from the Spaniards who came to conquer the land hundreds of years ago, few outsiders have dared to tread through our village, much less to settle there.
But it was in that village, where I was born, that my father saw a dream-like vision of nail-pierced hands on the horizon above Lake Titicaca, and he knew that God was calling him and he put his faith in Jesus.
It was a decision that anchored our family as we trekked over the mountains to the big city and eventually to Washington D.C., where he raised a family of four kids working two jobs.
Now in his retirement approaching his 80th birthday, I can see that the road has narrowed for him in many ways but the vision has become clearer. Life is about walking with Jesus and his faith has never been stronger.
A few years ago, he sat all four of us children down and told us about our inheritance … not much there financially he said apologizing. What I didn’t see then and what he may not have realized is that he’s leaving something far greater – his legacy of faith. None of us will doubt what mattered most to our father – his faith in Jesus.
I see the beautiful church which my cousin, the artist, snapped a picture of and put on Facebook, and I’m reminded of the lessons my father taught me and continues to teach me.
It hasn’t always been easy between us. As a little girl, I looked up to him with admiration and he was my hero. As I became a young woman and later a wife with a family of my own, I realized that even heroes have broken places.
The one thing I sought from him – his approval of my life has yet to come. (Something I explored here.) The longing for it used to hurt deeply, but now rather than holding onto that expectation, I’m free to love him where he’s at and as he is … and even to say I’m thankful, deeply thankful and proud to call him my father.
In my heart, I will always be father’s daughter and rejoice in it because first and foremost like my father, I’ve come to realize and know what matters most – my Heavenly Father’s great love for me.