R.I.P. Larry Sawyer – Father-in-law

Its hard to express in words what my father in law meant to me.  He went home to be with the Lord Saturday night, November 3rd.  Sonya and I were fortunate to be able to get here to say goodbye before he passed.  Though his life was a short 61 years, 1 week shy of his 62nd birthday, Larry impacted me greatly.

You see, it was Larry who was instrumental in bringing me to Christ.  I was a punk kid wanting to date his daughter.  On the way to Sonya’s parents house, right before he passed, I told her how fortunate it was that he let her date me.  If Hannah brought a guy home like I “was”, I wouldn’t let her date him.  I had gotten my ear pierced a second time just for the occasion.  Long hair, baggy clothes, earrings (this was before even old men wore earrings) I looked like someone that wouldn’t be good for your daughter.

When I walked in he instantly accepted me.  Talked to me like he’d known me forever.  By virtue of his size, 6 foot 3, 300 plus pounds, I was intimidated but he was a gentle soul.  After I left, Sonya’s mom cried.  I don’t blame her (she loves me now).  In her fear of the worst, she cried and told Larry that she wanted Sonya to marry a preacher.  (SIDENOTE: Sonya didn’t want to marry a preacher. She was looking for the furthest thing from God.)  When my mother in law said that to Larry, he replied, “Leave the boy alone Sandy, who knows what God can do in his life.”

It was that compassion for me, every time I came over, that led me to Christ.  One day after Sonya and I had been dating for a year, Larry invited me to church.  He had always talked to me about the things of God, but never forced anything on me.  He would tell me about Christ’s return and about the need to be ready, but he was never over-bearing.  That Saturday when he invited me to church and offered to buy me Panchos buffet after service, I decided to give it a try.

I had never been to a church quite like this one.  This one was different.  Full of the Spirit.  I was raised in a denomination that didn’t believe in the moving of the Spirit.  I felt something I had never felt before.  God touched me that morning in such a way that I realized my sinfulness.  I walked the aisle in the middle of the service and surrendered to Jesus.  As I walked that aisle, I remember the hand of a large man on my back.  It was Larry praying for me. 

The past 8 years, he has suffered much.  His body ravaged by disease, strokes and pain.  Yet in the midst of all of that, he prayed for everyone.  He was an intercessor. When he couldn’t see, walk or even get up anymore, he still prayed…he still would call out to God.  Even through all of that, he never lost his sense of humor…his agitating provoking ways.  His attitude was great through it all.

Now that he has gone, we know that he is experiencing the glories of a kingdom that knows no pain, no sickness or sorrow.  He is walking on his 2 brand new legs, dancing in the presence of Jesus. 

I love you Larry “Dad”!  Thank you for giving a punk kid a chance!

2 thoughts on “R.I.P. Larry Sawyer – Father-in-law

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