Last year, Father’s Day happened to coincide with my father’s birthday. He passed away in 2002 when he was 57, after spending close to 28 years in a wheelchair because of an accident where a car fell on him while he was repairing it. Shortly before this accident he’d accepted Jesus into his heart, which completely changed his life: he stopped taking heroin and other drugs, as well as his thieving and petty criminal activities to support his habits. All of this also saved his marriage, which had been falling apart. He decided to dedicate the rest of his life to trying his best to help others who were also struggling, and despite his accident he was faithful to his commitment until his passing. I’m thankful to have had him as a father and for the example he was to me and everyone who knew him.

A few years ago, I read a survey where they found that one of the common denominators in successful people’s upbringings was that they had parents who read to them and instilled in them a love of reading. One of my earliest memories is of reading time with my dad, which happened almost every evening before bed. My dad was never far from tears, and he would often cry when reading something that touched him. In addition to children’s stories and simple classics, he read through the four Gospels several times over. This made a huge impact on my life, as I can still recall large portions of the Gospels by heart, and most importantly, I’m sure they’ve become a part of my soul.

I remember my dad and I hitchhiking often, as he didn’t drive, and public transport back then was rarely adapted to the needs of the disabled. Strangers would help to fold his wheelchair and place it in the trunk of their car, then I would get in the back seat and listen to the adults’ conversation. My dad loved to share his life story and how God had saved him and changed his life. He often hadn’t gotten very far by the time we would arrive at our destination, so the drivers would usually pull over to the side of the road so that they could keep talking. More often than not, they would end up praying with my dad to receive Jesus. I never got tired of hearing my dad talk about his life and God’s love and power to transform each one of us, no matter how sad or lost we are. Although I miss my dad, I credit him as one of the main reasons I decided to dedicate my own life to helping others find Jesus.