I moved to New Jersey at age 21. Fresh out of college, I didn't know anyone in this new state. In search of a spiritual home, I visited Rutgers Community Christian Church. It was where I first met Papa Fred. Due to distance, however, I decided to attend another church... but that didn't stop his influence in my life.
At the time, God was moving mightily through the late Pastor John Wimber and the Vineyard movement. Papa Fred flew with two other brothers to California, determined to find out more. He was slain by the Spirit at the conference and came home as a completely changed person. His passion for more of God quickly spread to the landlord of my boyfriend at the time (who is now my dear husband), and then to us. We discovered how real the Spirit is. It was him who ignited the fire of our pursuit for God.
In the last ten years, I have been blessed to walk with Papa Fred again. Even decades later, his passion for God never lessened and only increased. You would still see him flying to different countries, determined to capture what God was doing on paper, and then releasing it all to us through his letters to home. Though I had never been one of his church members, he loved me as a daughter. Whenever we crossed paths at a gathering, he would always encourage me as if I was still that young 21-year-old all those years ago...
In the last week, my eyes often welled up with tears at the thought of him.
Thank you, Papa Fred, for who you were, your childlikeness, your humility, your passion for His Kingdom, and what you deposited in myself, my family, and beyond. The fruitfulness of your life will continue to grow in this global church family. As your reward, you will see your dream (the church being a home) come true!